Whether you're a start up, small business, organization or in higher-ed, blogging is the cornerstone of your content marketing strategy. These days, content marketing is the engine that makes your marketing either good, bad, or spectacular.
"I Don't Know How to Blog"
But for many, blogging is hard. It can be time consuming if you have no one on staff dedicated to regular blogging efforts. Maybe your marketing staff wears several hats and is so focused on creating other great content like landing pages and white papers that they just don't seem to have time to get those bi-weekly (at a minimum) blog posts out regularly. Maybe they just don't feel comfortable blogging or don't even know what a good blog looks like.
And that's not good. If you and your staff are knowledgeable about content marketing and inbound marketing you know that you are missing the key element of attracting customers and missing out on some solid increases in ROI, if you don't have a consistent blogging practice.
Posting, new, original content to your blog will have a huge impact on your search results.
Your natural search results.
Depending on your industry, and with work, blogging can help get your website in the coveted top three results in Google.
Meet Your New Business Bloggers
The good news is that you have several options to get on track with a regular, growing, business blogging strategy.
One option is to take the headache out of blogging by hiring outside help. Just remember that you need to hire experienced marketing writers who understand your strategy, goals, and business objectives. They also need to interface with your staff and be able to pinpoint the kind of content your customers are actively searching for by using online tools and analytics.
Another option is to empower your staff to start blogging. You can do this by pinpointing a few key people as primary company blogger and providing them with the training and tools to support their blogging efforts within your overall inbound marketing plan.
If you're thinking right now, "I don't have people on staff who can write blogs." Think again. Your employees are living in a world of content every day. A few may even have personal blogs. And everyone is posting and sharing on Facebook, Twitter and through email.
Maybe this doesn't make them bloggers - yet. But with a little help, lots of encouragement and some clear instruction, you just may have a built in blogging team.
In this two part blog post, using the Business Blogging Template below, we'll show you how your busines can consistently blog at least twice a week starting today.
The Business Blogging Template
1. Capture Blog Ideas
Create a shareable spreadsheet in Google Docs called "Blogging Ideas". Create columns for "Date", "Idea", "Working Headline", "Links", and "Name".
Share the documents among your identified company bloggers. Task each of them with uploading three ideas per week. They can do this as they come across other blog posts, industry news, customer questions, and just plain old inspiration. Tell them to not censor themselves and to have fun.
2. Get the "Write" Words
Next, gather a list of your businesses' keywords. This should include both short tail and long tail keywords. If you don't have this list (and I hope this isn't the case) march on over to the google keywords tool and your google analytics to see what people are searching for in your industry. Upload that list to Google Docs and share again. If you need more information about keywords we'll also be blogging about it in the elements of your content marketing plan.
3. Select Your Blog Topics
Every week pick a day to have a 15 minute chat about the topics. Select two strong blog topics to write for the next week. If you have just three people on the team, you'll have almost a dozen topics to choose from.
Try to stay with the strongest, or even easiest, topics to write about. The objective here is getting your staff bloggers to start seeing good topics everywhere AND helping them take the plunge into the blogging process. Take the two topics from the list and move to step 4. Keep the unselected topics on the list and keep adding to it. If a topic hasn't been selected in three months, delete it. (Or create your own rules).
4. Choose Your Bloggers
Now it's time to assign this week's topics to your bloggers. It's best to have at least three potential writers in the mix so you can spread the work out week by week. Remember, the objective is to consistently, and systematically, post two new blogs a week. Once you master this you'll move to three per week, then five or more.
5. Brainstorm and Prep
Next, let the writers discuss their assigned topics. Are they clear on a direction to take? Do they understand the topic or can they at least find enough information to get started? You'll spend more time doing this at the beginning. As the process becomes more ingrained, you'll be doing this less and less.
Stay tuned for 6-10 Coming Soon in Part 2.
Now that you have a system to begin growing your business blogging, including an expanding catalog of topics and staff ready to write, look for the next steps for business blogging in steps 6-10 of the "Business Blogging Template" - the meat of how to easily write great business blog posts, step by step.