The company blog. In the beginning, it sounds like a great idea. “We’ll put a face to our name, connect with our customers, share our expertise, and we’ll have fun doing it!”
Not to mention the online branding and SEO benefits that come with active blogging.
Then reality sets in.
“We don’t have any writers on staff. All our writers are busy. We need more structure. Is anyone reading this thing? How is our traffic? Why are we doing this again?”
If you are having a tougher time than expected keeping your corporate blog updated regularly, you are not alone. We struggled to figure out the best way to manage our own blog, but with a little unconventional thinking and some good, old-fashioned hard work, running the blog became easier and now, the blog pretty much runs itself.
To help you master the corporate blogging challenge, we’ve decided to share three lessons we learned while revamping our own blog, The Wpromoter.
Lesson #1: Two (or Five) Hands Are Better Than One
When we started The Wpromoter, we planned to use one writer to blog three to five times per week and extend an open invitation to anyone else who wanted to contribute.
Turned out the writer who was expected to update the blog had other work to do, and the assumption that each blog would take only one or two hours max was inaccurate. No one will deny it’s possible to bang out a post in an hour or two when required (and it may even be good), but expecting this regularly is unrealistic. Things like editing and search engine optimization can take an extra hour or more, and if you intend to write a feature-like post from time to time, plan to spend the majority of your day working on it.
How did we solve this? By assigning the responsibility to seven people instead of one. We also mandated those traveling to conferences to post recaps upon their return. Suddenly, we had content, being posted regularly, and it was good. Done.
Lesson #2: The Holy Grail of Corporate Blogging? Consistency.
Once we realized tasking one person with keeping the blog fresh was unrealistic, and before we arrived at the solution of seven regular bloggers with rotating guests, we tried to involve even more people in the blog. After all, variety is the spice of life, right?
Sorta. What happened when we assigned ten plus people to blog each month? They didn’t. Or they forgot. Or they needed editorial help and didn’t ask until late in the game. The result of this mixed bag approach was inconsistent blogging – sometimes we’d have three posts in a day while other times we struggled to post three per week.
The lesson learned here is simple but often disregarded: humans are creatures of habit. Though it seemed that dividing the responsibility among more people was the solution to time and resource issues, turns out people are better inclined to do something if they do it all the time (or at least more often than once or twice per month).
The answer? Streamline. We scrapped the mixed bag calendar, landed on our team of seven regular bloggers and various rotating guests and the rest, as they say, is history.
Lesson #3: Rules Are Made To Be Broken, But Implement Them Anyway
At Wpromote, we pride ourselves on having fun while we work. To that end, when we launched our company blog, we didn’t think strict guidelines and rules were needed.
“People know what to do, we do this for our clients!” was the thinking. But, people didn’t know because we never told them. Doing an incredible job on a client campaign is possible because you know what to do and expectations are clearly defined. Rocking out on a company blog with murky expectations and bare bones rules is quite another.
The lesson? Another simple one we often forget when things are going well: people like structure. Even the most free-spirited among us tend to do better when they know what is expected. Once we realized our blog was suffering due to lack of clearly defined expectations, we got to work setting and implementing basic rules.
The result of adding more structure to our blog initiative has been stellar. People know what to do, how to do it, and when it should be done. There is more excitement surrounding the blog and bloggers are accountable. Likewise, a job well done, by standards once assumed but rarely defined, is now more easily recognized. With everyone happier, it’s a win-win.
While we hope these three lessons shed some light on how to manage your own corporate blog, there are plenty of other factors to consider. Depending on the size and nature of your business, there may be legal issues, marketing restrictions, and PR-related concerns to address. You may need to implement or follow a social-media policy, or restrict your bloggers to posting only on certain topics. This post doesn’t cover everything we do here at Wpromote to make sure our blog is one we are proud of and isn’t intended to; we simply hope sharing our experience will help make your blog a success.