If you want to set your company apart from the competition, creating a corporate blog is definitely one way to do it.
Providing valuable, fresh content on a consistent basis is one of the best ways to build a loyal and engaged audience online and become a thought leader.
Blogging helps drive credibility as well as website traffic.
Win win, right?
Wait, it's not that easy though!
If you want to stand out and set yourself apart, you want your blog to incorporate a diverse set of topics and viewpoints.
What's the best way to do this?
Create a blogging team for your business.
Below are six steps to take when structuring a team of bloggers for your business:
1. Reliable roster: the most important question to ask yourself when considering building a team of bloggers is: who is reliable? Your bloggers need to be reliable, trustworthy and credible. If you want people to enjoy reading your blog, and if you want your blog to generate sales, you need to be strategic about who you include in the blogging team.
Since it takes months to gain traction for a newly established blog, you need people who are going to commit to blogging consistently over time. Instant-gratification folks aren't going to be the best fit; you need a reliable roster of bloggers who are committed to showing up with creativity and thought leadership on a regular basis.
When you make a reliable roster, your online audience can start to familiarize themselves with your blogging team and feel like they really “know” the people behind the posts. That's going to keep them coming back for more.
2. Divvy up roles: There are a lot of moving parts of a blog, from image creation to formatting to SEO. If you want to set yourself up for success, you need to spread out the responsibility among your team of bloggers so that nobody has to bare the brunt of the work alone.
By spreading out responsibility among members of the team, you create a sense of buy-in that keeps your bloggers committed. It will take months to establish your content editorial calendar and plan out your topics and blogging schedule; it shouldn't take months to clarify roles. If you have someone on your team that is super organized, make them the traffic coordinator. If you've got someone with a strong eye for design, assign them the role of proofreader.
You want to get the roles and responsibilities buttoned up BEFORE you start creating your entire content editorial calendar. One of the best ways to assign roles and responsibilities is to tell the team what roles need to be filled and ask them which responsibility they would be more willing and happy to take on; this way you give the content contributors the ability to weigh in on what aspects of the blog they will contribute most towards.
Clarifying roles early on will save you time in the long-run. It will also help the team envision exactly how all of the moving pieces will work together to create the big picture: an informative, engaging blog for the business.
3. Pick passionate people: Enthusiasm and interest are contagious. You want people to leave your blog feeling better off than when they arrived. So, when building your blogging team, you want to fill it with passionate people who are eager to share and teach.
The readers of your blog will be able to tell which bloggers are passionate. If you pick people solely based on their writing skill or area of expertise, you could be leaving passion on the table, and that's a huge missed opportunity! You DO want your bloggers to have diverse viewpoints, expertise and interests. You DON't want your bloggers to have varying levels of reliability or commitment when it comes to your blog, because your readers will be the first to see it.
If you don't get a degree of engagement and commitment from your team of content creators, you'll never get it from your readers. Pick people who enjoy writing, teaching and sharing. Choose those who see the value and benefit of blogging for the business because blogging is a commitment. The people who see the value and benefits are the ones that will continue to craft content after the “honeymoon” phase has passed.
4. Make a mission: You want your bloggers to be united around a common mission/goal. Whether the goal is to inform the local public about your offerings or to drive more traffic to your website, you want your bloggers to be clear on exactly what you're aiming for as a result of blogging.
Crafting a mission will enable your team to come up with creative calls to action to include at the end of their posts. Including strong, clear calls to action at the end of each blog post is going to be the fastest and easiest way to move the needle on that big blog goal.
Keep in mind that the strongest missions are ones that are created from the bottom up; they are made by the blogging team themselves rather than being passed down to the team from the CEO. It's a lot easier to commit, and buy-in, to a vision that you had a say in crafting.
5. Celebrate the launch of the blog: Once you have created your team of bloggers, you want to celebrate the launch of the blog! That is especially true if blogging is a new endeavor for your business; a party will help generate excitement about this new initiative.
A kick-off party is also a great way to make your bloggers feel valued; it helps create a sense of team camaraderie among all of the bloggers. If you want your bloggers to stay committed and creative when the going gets tough, you need to show them how much you appreciate their hard work. Celebrating the launch will be the first way to show your bloggers your appreciation and gratitude for their contributions.
6. Plan the process: Last but not least, you need to plan ahead for how blogs are going to be created from start to finish. (This is why you want to have clarified the roles and responsibilities early on.) You want to be sure that everyone on the team knows exactly what their role is before the first post is published. This way, everyone knows exactly who to go to for what.
Planning out the blogging process is critical because it enables each blogger to know exactly what role they play in the content creation, publishing and promotional process.
A simple and straight-forward way to do this is to create a process document that gets distributed to the entire blogging team; this process document should reflect each blogger's role and responsibilities, as well as the back-up contact for each individual on the team. Make these documents visible to all and easy accessible through DropBox or Google Drive.
While there are a ton of other ways to build a blogging team and keep the team committed, these six steps will help pave the way to creating a motivated and engaged team of bloggers for your business.
Don't forget: building the team is really just one step of the blogging process for your business.
You need to meet with your content contributors on a regular basis to get their feedback; you also need to measure the effectiveness of your posting and promotional strategy and be ready to make adjustments as needed.
For example, I recommend looking at your Google Analytics on a monthly basis to see which blog topics and bloggers lead to the highest number of views.
Sharing those statistics with your staff, providing positive feedback and celebrating even the smallest of successes (like a new record for website visitors in one day,) will keep your content contributors to creative, committed and connected.
Do you have a blogging team for your business? What steps did you take it build it?