Congratulations! You’ve wheedled and schmoozed your way through the mire of convincing your CEO, Executive Director, or Honcho of Another Official Stripe to launch a blog on your dazzling new, 2.0 enabled website. Or maybe you’re the Honcho, and you have realized that blogging is a great way to increase awareness about your company/initiative/life’s work and connect with your audience. Great job – you’ve come to the right place! With some careful and deliberate planning and consideration, the corporate blog can be a place of content worth sharing. Here are some tips on how to make it so.
1. Identify a coach. Somewhere within your organization is a person who reads blogs. Who blogs themselves. Who knows a little bit about the blogging process. This person can help you. Find them. Whether it’s by providing motivation, giving quick editorial feedback, feeding and checking links, or just showing up on “post day” with a helium balloon, the blog coach can be an essential tool in getting thoughts posted.
2. Commit. That means signing off, in blood, to the promise that your new blog won’t wither on the vine within 3 weeks, or 3 months. You’re in it for the long haul, and blogging needs to be seen as another product or extension of your products.
3. Plan an editorial calendar with natural opportunities to share information. There are several editorial calendar plug-ins with which to augment the back end of your site. A calendar can be an effective tool for planning posts aligning with strategic activities and events, planned press releases, or reactions to industry news. If a plug-in is too fancy, then get thyself to Google Calendar and plot it out there.
4. Comments are good. You might never get a comment, and that might be because your content is boring. It also might be because your readership are lower on the Ladder of Engagement than in other sectors. And it might be because you aren’t asking questions that readers can respond to. Don’t sweat it. Use the challenge as an opportunity to tweak your writing. Try new things. Increase the amount of links in your posts. And if all else fails (and it will unless you do this) – start commenting on other people’s blogs. Quid pro quo. But please, please, do not make visitors who want to comment go through an extensive registration process. Remove the barriers, and people will share.
5. Get up close and personal. Be yourself. Develop your voice.
6. Use the discovery process. If you’re the author of the blog, have your “coach” interview you. An interview is a great way to draw out motivations, inspirations, and opinions that can translate to an engaging read for site visitors.
7. Integrate in other conversations and channels. In order to be read, you must be found. A blog is not an island, and selective integration with other social media channels is paramount to drawing traffic and inserting yourself into the world of online conversations. Ensure that your posts are tweeted (and Twitter is a whole other essential ballgame). Link your blog to relevant industry directories. Mention it on your company or organization’s home page, and certainly in your newsletter and any other communications. Have your coach ensure that relevant keywords are tagged, and that includes images. Link those to a Flickr account that links back to your blog.
8. Interview someone else. Struggling to come up with content and ideas to blog about? Interviewing someone else in your industry is a great way to share knowledge and extend relationships. Is there a leader in your organization who deserves to have their story shared? An employee who’s done something amazing? An interview post can be short and sweet, and rewarding to everyone involved.
9. Edit with kindness. This one’s for you, coach. Remember that we’re striving for an authentic voice, not an overly sanitized sales pitch. Don’t let the copy editors loose. Copy editors are lovely, smashing people, but over-editing a post will destroy any sense of the authentic, natural flow that makes a blog a blog.
10. Make it fun. Blogging should be an expressive act that happens to be good for business. As soon as it becomes a slog, the quality of the posts diminishes, the time between posts increases, and eventually your blog rests in the Graveyard of Abandoned Corporate Communications.
11. Use Evernote to catch and catalog inspiration. Evernote lets you capture content you find online, and save it for when you need it. It’s great for remembering things that might inspire a post of your own, including photos, text, videos, and sites. It’s free, so you have no excuse not to try it. Filing cabinet, be damned. The 21st century is here and you can save it all! Whee!
Got additional tips and experience to share? Here’s the place!