Blogging Tips – Plan For Success

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It seems the web has gone blogging mad! New blogs are cropping up everywhere but a lot of organisations are ill prepared and their strategy is poorly thought out.  Consequently, we thought it sensible to draw up a list of ‘Blogging Tips’ for organisations who are trying to decide whether to start up a blog for the first time.

  1. Once you start you can’t stop: A blog is not just for Christmas!  Blogging is a long term commitment which should not be underestimated. If you blog every day for a year and then stop, people might think you’ve gone bust and it could affect your site rankings too. Obtain buy-in from key people within the organisation, apportion time to blog frequently and delegate responsibility for regular contributions. Be aware that a blog could have a negative impact in terms of PR at times too.
  2. Set Goals: For a lot of organisations, a blog is something they pick up and put down when they feel like it.  In order for a blog to be successful you need schedules, goals, knowledge of your intended audience and an editorial strategy to connect and engage with your stakeholders. Plan ahead and you will ensure you achieve the results you seek.
  3. Be realistic: If the goals you have set yourself are unrealistic, e.g. too few people are following your posts, you may fall into what we call the ‘why bother’ trap. Don’t expect every post to become the post popular webpage on the Internet!  Be realistic. Your blog is a channel for you to use to communicate with and grow your influence within your chosen communities. This is accomplished over time by providing helpful information that engages your readers at every level.
  4. Keep it light hearted: Remember, most people read blogs in their spare time. Consequently, make sure your posts are useful but also enjoyable to read.  Don’t be afraid to inject a bit of humour… but keep it clean! Also, recognise that colleagues will want to get involved in writing content if it’s enjoyable. Keep contributors happy and they’ll keep coming back with new content.
  5. Watch Your Grammar: Don’t believing everyone can write well. Too many blogs today are written badly with sub-standard grammar and poor attention to detail. Consequently, appoint someone to be the Editor; someone with good copy writing skills and editorial flair. However, because many people within an organisation will contribute to a blog, the editor has also to be a diplomat. Some of the copy presented to you will be poor and you need to be mindful that the person submitting it probably thinks it’s the best thing they have ever written. Be kind when providing feedback and in time you’ll start to receive the kind of content you crave.
  6. Think ‘outside the blog’: Increasingly, information consumers want independent content, not content which positions the host organisation in a good light to grow its business. Think about inviting VIP Bloggers to submit content to your site for a set fee every month. Consider asking your audience to submit content too – but be careful, almost edit any contributors first. Further, a banner saying “guest posts welcome” can be misinterpreted as “desperate for content”.
  7. Circulate feedback: Make sure you keep your organisation informed of your blog’s progress. Remember the buy-in you process you went through at the start and you’re your internal stakeholders motivated. You’ll need their support when you want to invest in more social media and content marketing.
  8. Accumulate Statistics: Key facts are your friends. Without key analytics you will have nothing to support your requests for more investment. You need to know what’s working and what’s not to maximise the organisation’s return on investment.
  9. Oh it’s just a marketing thing: A blog is not just for marketing! So many people think this is just an excuse to rank well against some long tail search strings. NO! Not only is it a crucial factor in your search engine visibility, it has the power to start dialogues with potential new customers and can also affect existing customer loyalty.
  10. Think like a publisher: Deadlines are all important. Not just for the publication dates of your articles, but all the milestones in the article writing and blog posting process. Once you establish them, make people accountable for them. Why? If you become known as someone that is lax on deadlines, you’ll always be chasing copy, rather that it being submitted to you on time – every time.
  11. Expect the Unexpected: At some point, you will receive negative and disparaging comments on your blog posts from either within your organisation or externally. Instead of being afraid, be prepared. Firstly, make sure all comments are moderated before allowing external users to post a response. Secondly, establish a process for handling negative comments with professionalism and tact. Having the process pre-defined helps you react rationally and logically. Thirdly, accept that some of your posts might go viral and think through any negative PR before you hit the PUBLISH button.

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