Is one of your corporate goals for this year is to implement a blogging strategy? If not, it should be. Maybe you’ve always wanted to have a company blog in order to share ideas, successes and industry insights. Or perhaps you recognize the value of generating fresh content on your website for lead generation and SEO efforts. Or maybe you’re running out of content to share on your company’s social media pages – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, or Pinterest.
Never fear — your blogging strategist is here! I recommend the following tips when you are implementing a new company blogging strategy:
- Find a blogging platform: I recommend WordPress for your blogging platform. It’s easy to log in and create new posts, and most Web developers are familiar with integrating it into your existing website. You can add a WordPress blog to your existing website, so if you’re already paying for web hosting, you can’t beat the price (nothing). For some small businesses, you can even create a custom WordPress template to use as your website, so this may save you the effort of creating a separate website and blog.
- Customize your blog: WordPress has many templates or themes, which companies can use to customize the look and feel to match their existing branding. I suggest doing this and finding a theme that fits best with the style of your website and the type and frequency of content you’ll be posting. Your graphic designer or website designer should be able to help you with this. Also, you’ll want to humanize your blog by adding a profile photo of the person who will be blogging on behalf of your company.
- Allocate time for your blog: This is the tricky part for many busy professionals and executives. You must designate a person that will be dedicated to updating your blog on a regular basis. If you do not have time to do the blog writing at least weekly (or writing and scheduling them in advance), you need to hire a marketing staff member or outsourced corporate blogger (sometimes called a ghost blogger) to write the blog posts for you and submit them on your behalf. However, your work is not done when you outsource your blog to a ghost writer. You must still commit to communicating regularly with your blogger with blog topic ideas, as well as review, editing and approval of your blog posts.
- Determine the content for your blog: Next, you’ll need to brainstorm a list of topic ideas for your blog. One place to start is with your product or service category. What topics would be of interest to your customers? Do they have frequently asked questions? What trends are prevalent in your industry? What are some common search terms for your company’s products and services? Write down and categorize your blog content ideas into a running topic list, and continuously update it throughout the year. Use things you hear, read and see out in the field to generate new ideas for your blog post.
- Create a content calendar: While you don’t need to have a detailed calendar of blog postings and topics, it’s a good idea to know when you plan to post your blogs by committing to a weekly, daily or 10 times/month schedule for your blog. Set a day in your calendar and stick to it, or have your marketing team or outsourced blogger help with this process.
- Start blogging: Most blogs are short and informal in nature, consisting of around 300 words (less than a page of text). They are typically written in a more casual, conversational tone than a brochure, press release or whitepaper. Try to write as if you’re talking to another individual, rather than writing it with a sales message in mind. Help the reader learn something new or interesting about you, themselves, your business or their business.
Even without a formal strategy or a fancy template in place, it pays to get started with your blogging strategy as soon as possible. The more time passes, the more opportunity you’ll lose to educate a potential customer and develop the credibility that will lead to a future sale. So get blogging!