When talking to companies about starting a blog, we usually are greeted with two questions. The first is, “How are we going to come up with enough content for a blog?” and the second is, “How can we make sure our blog doesn’t end up as yet another abandoned company blog where everyone can see that the last post went live five years ago?”
Starting a blog can indeed seem like a very intimidating undertaking, but there are ways to break down the process so it becomes more palatable for everyone in your company. With that in mind, we offer these five tips for getting your company blog started.
1. Determine what the purpose of your blog will be
Yes, that’s our first tip no matter what you do. We don’t regret offering advice that way! The last thing we want to suggest is that you do a blog just so you can say you are blogging. The time commitment is definitely too much to have a rationale like that behind it. You want to determine if your blog is going to be a device to try to increase your sales or if you are going to try to leverage it to build your status as a thought leader in your industry. These two objectives can of course both be the reason you start a company blog, too. Whatever your reason, everyone in the company should be on the same page, and you should have ideas about how you will measure the success of your efforts.
2. Determine how often you will post
We recommend that a blog site should get updated once a week at the very least. In this scenario, your post would go live on the same day every week, and we also suggest you try to publish at the same time on that day. This creates, over time, a sense of expectation where people will start automatically checking your site for new content on your “update day.” We do not recommend that companies start out with blogging every day. That can be very difficult to maintain at any point, but especially at the start of your blogging experience.
3. Map out an editorial calendar
This is truly essential. Whether you choose to plan your first 50 posts, the first six months of blog posts, or even the first year (it’s a good idea to factor in slots for commentary on current events), having a game plan gives you much more confidence as you begin to create your content. You will see proof that you do indeed have enough to talk about, and the pressure to come up with new topics won’t haunt you on a weekly basis. Writer’s block is minimized when you know your topic in advance.
4. Discuss the “voice” of your blog
Finding your blogging voice can be difficult when you’re just blogging for yourself. When you are presenting the voice of your company there is an extra layer of pressure, and hence it can be a little more difficult. There are a lot of ways to pinpoint your company’s persona. Sometimes it helps if you pretend your blog posts are just being conversed about with your clients on a one-on-one basis. Maybe you want to be more formal than people may think you are, or maybe you want to be a little more casual. Again, everyone in the company should be on board with this process.
5. Determine if your blog will be self-hosted or posted to a blogging platform
We’ll have more on this subject next week, but one of the first big decisions you’ll make about your blog is where it will be housed. Many companies add the blog to the company website, so it would be “yourcompany.com/blog.” We are using wordpress.com for our blog, at least for now. There are pros and cons to both approaches.
This last tip is big enough that we are actually going to just focus on that next Friday. In the meantime, if you have any questions, let us know!
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/4455035915/via Creative Commons