We have a confession to make: we’re constantly encouraging our clients to make regular updates to their blogs and yet, while we’ve been busy delivering all our clients’ stories online, we’ve neglected our own. As we make a new commitment to ensure that we do publish regular content here, we’ve come up with some tips and tricks to help you if you’re struggling to keep your site up to date.
Make a plan
One of the great advantages of a blog is that, because of the fast turnaround times, you have the opportunity to address topical subjects and market changes. However, you can’t rely on something newsworthy appearing when you have time to write, so a plan can help you get things on track and save you time when the deadline looms. Some of the posts may offer tips like this one, and others may address subjects you know are coming. You may not have a crystal ball to see what is coming, but many key events, from elections to regulatory changes and even relevant awareness days are all scheduled in advance and can be integrated into your plan.
Guard your time
It may seem like a friendly blog post is less essential than other aspects of your work, but regular, updated content can help to improve your position in search engines and provide a springboard to PR. Blog content is as much a priority as anything else in your workload, and if you’ve allocated time to write a post, keep to that schedule and don’t let yourself get pulled into a meeting or a call unless it’s urgent.
Involve the whole team
If you’ve committed to, say, a weekly blog, it can be difficult to come up with 52 fresh ideas, but if you share it out across the organisation, many hands make light work. They also make for an interesting blog. You can invite input from the sales team about key new contracts or installations, from IT about any new investments and subsequent service improvements, insight from product managers and experts on the market or highlights from a new product launch from marketing. You get the idea – involving the whole organisation will mean your blog has range and the variety will keep your audience coming back.
Invest in outside resource
If you outsource the work, someone else is under contract to deliver it, which is a key advantage. However, once you’ve made the investment and the content is something you’re paying for, you’re more likely to value it as part of your integrated communications strategy. That means you’ll have stronger ideas, and without the pesky homework of actually writing it, you can focus on the bigger picture.
In our case, we work with our clients to plan and write their content, and have a variety of ways in which we produce their blogs to account for the different levels of input and commitment people can give us.
At our highest level of collaboration (i.e. that with the most input required from a client) we may interview a subject matter expert about a specialist subject and turn it into a professionally-written blog. Conversely, for clients with little time to spare, we may agree a quarterly, six-monthly or even annual plan in advance, create and write the blogs in their entirety and simply submit them for approval. Often, our blogs fall somewhere in between: we’ll have a quick chat with you to gain a sense of your thoughts or opinions on a particular subject, go away and do some further research and write the blog up for you to approve. And even if we do say so ourselves, feedback suggests this works well for many clients! We often turn a couple of bullets into a well-researched, 1200 word piece and our clients tend to love them – our rejection rate so far in over two years of blogging for clients is…zero!
Measure your results
Whatever process you go through to produce your blog, make sure you check back on the response each post receives; from overall website hits to engagement on social media, you’ll find that each blog will deliver some value. That in itself can be very motivating, but beyond that, it will help to sharpen your plan for the future. Blogs offering tips may provide sales leads, whilst market insight and good news stories from within your organisation may generate PR. Some topics might provoke a conversation which suggests people want to hear more from you. The measurement can be a valuable tool to refine your content plan and support your overall marketing objectives.
Those are our key tips, and we plan to take our own advice and ensure that we keep this blog up to date. Keep checking back to find out how we get on!
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Addendum: our new difficulty rating system!
We’ve created a rating system to describe how difficult the activities we blog about are, should you try to implement them or carry them out yourself.
Needless to say, we’re here to take that burden away from you, so if you want help with your marketing, drop us a line!
Most organisations find it challenging to produce and maintain a quality blog. Even if you can write, can you find the time and focus to maintain a blog of your own? Most people can’t, which is part of the reason why content writers exist! Quality blogging requires technical writing skills and decent research skills, but above all it takes planning, time and the right mind-set. One of our core services is helping companies to find their voice and to uncover the vast sources of content that lie untapped within their employees.