31 May 2011

How To: Start a Corporate Blog

How To Start A Corporate Blog

So you have set up your company website with all your products or services, and you keep hearing that you need a corporate blog, but you have no idea where to start. First, ask yourself the question: why do you want or “need” a blog? Then, create a plan and start the content development process!

Figure out why you’re blogging

Many people think that having a blog is a standard practice when it comes to websites, but that’s not always the case. Unless you have a reason for having a blog in the first place, then it doesn’t make sense to create one. So if you had a blog, what would you use it for? What type of content would you publish? How often will you publish posts? Who is going to write for the blog?

That being said, a blog is distribution channel you can utilize to reach your visitors, customers and potential customers while sharing knowledge with the world and positioning your company as an expert in your industry. A blog can also be great for link building, as it is a place to house content you can potentially leverage for links.

Make content decisions

As mentioned before, there are many reasons to have a blog, and most typically blogs are used to publish content. Blog content is published in the form of posts, which could be written text, photos, videos, slideshows… whatever type of content you can successfully create that resonates with your target audience.

The content you publish should also all fall under an overarching theme and serve a similar objective. In order to build up your reputation as an authority, sticking to your expertise is necessary. For example, the Vertical Measures blog is also known as the Search, Social and Content Blog, so all content published fits into that theme. We strive to provide the latest and greatest information pertaining to link building, SEO, content publishing and social media in the Internet marketing industry, and our visitors have come to know and expect that of us.

Create an editorial calendar and plan

Set a schedule

Blogging schedules vary greatly from company to company and among different industries. In the SEO and Internet marketing industry, many blogs post multiple times a week as there is a wealth of information, news and data being released every day. But you don’t have to publish content every day, or even every week. As content marketing expert Joe Pulizzi recently stated in a blog post:

“As long as the blog post serves these two goals it’s worth doing a post:

  1. Is a compelling and interesting story to your target audience (the reader), and
  2. Serves the objective for your blog”

If you are serving those two goals, it doesn’t matter how often you post, as long as there is consistency. Setting up a schedule – be it multiple times a week, once a week or twice a month – and sticking to it is important as your readers will anticipate new content consistently.

Find your contributors

Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of starting a corporate blog is rounding up contributors that can commit to supplying content. But remember, blog content doesn’t have to be written content. Blog posts can be video, photos, interviews, slide shows and more. So find out what type of content your contributors are comfortable with and ask how often they would be willing to produce original content for the blog.

Create a calendar

The key sticking to a publishing schedule and holding your contributors to their agreement to produce content is configuring an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar should include all the basic information about your blog – the title, contributors and publishing schedule – but also break down each post.

For example, the VM editorial calendar includes all the basic blog information, but then assigns publishing dates to contributors, as well as a topic or niche to cover in that specific post. The calendar also marks keywords associated with any given post and sample social media promotional material to use when distributing the post. The calendar also has designated fields for measurement after the post is live, like the number of comments and pingbacks received.

You can tailor your editorial calendar to be specific to your company and industry, and you may have to do some trial and error to see what information is useful to you and your blog team and what information can be left out. After you’ve configured your editorial calendar and plan, you can share the information with your team and start creating content for your blog.

What are your experiences with starting a corporate blog? What have you found to be the most challenging part? If you still need help, be sure to pick up Blogging for Business: A How-To Guide.