Blogging is a powerful tool that spans a broad range of marketing initiatives. It can become the centerpiece of your thought leadership campaign, bring in leads, support search engine optimization and much more.
Everyone is doing it, and no one wants to be the last one to hear about a great party. But before you dive in and commit resources to creating and maintaining a blog, make sure that you are creating content that your audience will want to read, and that also maps back to your goals.
Here’s how to get started:
- Identify your goals. Your blog should support your corporate goals and it should also have some goals of its own. Do you want it to be a thought leadership vehicle? Is it primarily there to drive SEO? It is primarily a lead generation tool? Do you want it to foster community among your user base? It’s hard to do everything at once, so make sure that the mission is clear at the outset.
- Create a calendar. Unless you love to write for a living, your blog needs an organizing force to keep it fresh. Identify one person to manage the blog and have that person create a content calendar complete with topics and authors. Then start cracking the whip!
- Create great, consistent content. The person in charge of the blog should also identify the ways in which you will develop topics. You can tie them to seasonal events that matter in your market such as holiday shopping or back to school. You can tie them to industry trends that you mine through Twitter, RSS feeds and the news. Or, you could create a timeline of your own thought leadership path. Maybe you are debuting new research in May and need to set the stage for the research and then parse it out to the relevant vertical markets. Also remember to think more broadly than text – infographics, videos, images, etc. can help create interest in your content.
- Be bigger than yourself. As I’ve said before, blogs are for other people. You blog cannot be all about your company and products. In fact, if you are about to write a post solely focused on a new product launch or why your company or product is great, stop. That’s what your news page is for. A blog is all about creating conversations. Your role is to start them and then to curate them. I use the self-promotion litmus test: if your blog post’s point is nothing more than to say how great you are, think of a new one.
- Aggregate content from others. Not only does content aggregation fuel SEO, it makes your blog a place to come for industry information, and communicates transparency. There are some great tools available like Curata, Storify and paper.li that offer a variety of approaches for pulling related content into one place.
- Seed, syndicate, curate. Don’t stop at posting your content on your blog. Quality content has the potential to be posted on other sites that are looking for relevant and timely content. It also has the potential for be syndicated to other sites and blog directories. And finally, it’s all about conversations, so create a system for monitoring for opportunities to enter your content into relevant conversations – watch Twitter, LinkedIn groups, other blogs, etc. Your content can live on if you are vigilant about finding the right opportunities to engage.