This is the transcript from our new video so it may not read as well as a normal blog post would.
Hi. Today I want to share with you some tips on managing a group or a company blog. If you’ve got a group or company blog, for example like we’ve got at Koozai or the other one that I’m managing at the moment, which is called State of Digital, it’s important that you’ve got these different things in place to make sure that that blog is a success. There are eight things on the board here that I’m going to talk through in turn, and I’m going to start with Blogging Guidelines.
If you have a blog that has got more than one writer, and that writer isn’t you, it’s important that you’ve got guidelines in place so that the people that are writing for you fully understand what you’re trying to get out of that blog. What’s the aim of that blog? Who are you trying to attract, and why are you trying to attract them?
This is where the blogging guidelines can come in. If you’ve got writers or authors, it’s important for them to know the guidelines that they need to follow. How many times can they link out in a piece of content? How many times can they include images? Where do they get those images from? Who’s your target audience? Are you trying to target people to come and buy from you? Are you trying to target people to just share and amplify that content? All of this stuff can be laid out clearly in blogging guidelines. Like I said, if you’ve got more than one person that isn’t you writing for your blog, having those guidelines in place is absolutely key to the success of what you’re doing.
The next thing that’s important is the content strategy. If you’re writing content for the sake of writing content and it doesn’t actually have a purpose, it’s not going to get the shares, or the attention, or the traffic, or the conversions, or whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve, that it deserves. So when you’re writing a piece of content, if you’re just getting into the office one day and you think, “Oh no, I’ve got to write a piece of content. What am I going to write about,” that’s typically going to end up being content for the sake of writing content. There will obviously be times when that isn’t the case, but nine times out of ten, if you’re just coming up with an idea and you just think, “Ah, I’m going to write something,” it’s not going to be your best piece of work.
So having a strategy for every piece of content that gets written on your blog is absolutely vital. You want to know who you’re trying to target with that particular piece. What are the goals for that particular piece? Like I said earlier, are you trying to aim to get lots of social shares? Are you trying to get somebody to buy from you? Are you trying to get someone to subscribe to your newsletter? What is it that that piece of content needs to do? Once you know that, you can make sure that, when you’re writing that piece, that you’ve always got that in the back of your mind. That way you’re going to get a better take-up on the piece of content that’s getting written and essentially, hopefully, achieve the objectives that you’ve set out. So content strategy is very, very important.
The next thing is the schedule. Schedule and deadlines come hand in hand, really, so we’ll look at schedule first.
At Koozai we plan our blog content a year in advance. Not necessarily what we’re going to write about a year in advance, but we know who is going to be writing for the blog and when those posts are due to go live. We plan it a year in advance so that we can look ahead to November, and we know that we’ve got November covered, these are the posts that need to be written, these are the dates that they’re going live, and these are the people that are writing them. Yes, this does change. Obviously, people take holiday, people are off sick, things happen. But having that year in advance schedule, we know who’s writing and when. We can then start building the content strategy and, around that, making sure that we’re mapping topics and posts to the people when they’re writing them and when they’re going out.
At State of Digital, we do this about three months in advance. So it’s up to you. You look at your business and your blog to work out what it is that you need. A month tends to be quite tricky to work with because a month comes round so quick, so three months to six months to a year is probably the most recommended, from my point of view.
Deadlines. If you give a blogger a deadline of the day when the post is due to go live, all sorts of things can happen. Things happen at work. Other priorities come up and sometimes those deadlines don’t get hit. So I would always recommend, if you’re giving people deadlines, try and give them a week in advance, a week before the post is going live, so that you’ve got enough time, in between when the post is due to when it goes live, to actually get something written. Like I said, all sorts of things can happen, so make sure that the deadlines aren’t the actual deadline for when the post is due to go live.
Editorial team. This is something that we set out with State of Digital about two or three years ago now, and it’s worked really, really well. We’ve basically taken some of the blogging team and we’ve said, “Right, you guys are our editors. You have various bloggers reporting to you, and you are the ones that are in charge of making sure that that content goes out on the day when it’s supposed to go out.” Obviously, again with deadlines and stuff, stuff does happen, other priorities come into place. But if you’ve got an editorial team of however many people you need, depending on the number of bloggers that are in your team, we found at State of Digital that that’s really worked well. We’re getting content out on time, it’s on topic, and we’re making sure that the content that’s being written has got a purpose, it’s got a strategy behind it and it’s helping us to achieve the goals that we’ve set out for State of Digital.
At Koozai, we have an editorial team, but it consists of a lot less people. It’s got our Content Marketing Manager and also a couple of people in the content team when he’s not around. So it’s a smaller team, but we know that there’s an editorial process. We know that we are 100% happy when we’re meeting the deadlines of the posts and that the content going out is as it should be. Which also then leads me on to proofreading.
Proofreading, I don’t know about you, but when I read blog posts or read any content, if it’s riddled with typos and riddled with grammatical errors, it kind of puts me off a little bit. If the content is awesome, I can kind of live with it a little bit, but it’s just one of those things that’s a bit of bugbear. At Koozai, we have all of our content go through a proofreading process, and that’s done with one of our content writers. So we write the content, we upload the post to WordPress, and then that piece of content will get proofread before it goes out. Obviously, we’re all human and no one’s perfect, so sometimes there are errors in pieces of content, but there will be fewer errors because it’s gone through that proofreading process.
Next up is images. We’re seeing more and more, on various social media platforms, that people and companies and blogs are getting fined for misuse of images, for using people’s images that they don’t own or don’t own the royalties to. So at Koozai, going back a couple of years now, we actually got an intern in, to go through the entire blog and actually go through and remove any images that we weren’t 100% comfortable where they’d come from, or we weren’t 100% sure whether we had full rights to use that image. We went through, we removed everything, and we replaced it with images that we had actually bought the royalties to.
There are so many sites out there that you can use. You can use sites like iStock, BigStock, PhotoDune, you name it. There are a lot of these sites that you can use, and you can pick up images for relatively cheap.
Again, when you come on to the guidelines, having an idea about how your bloggers should be using images is absolutely key, because, at the end of the day, the owner of the blog is the one that will get in trouble if they’re using images that they don’t actually own the royalties to. So this is a key one for me. Like I said, at Koozai, we’ve gone back through all of our images over the past five or six years or so and got rid of the ones that we weren’t really comfortable with.
The final point is a custom short URL. These are really handy for when you’re sharing content on social media, in particular Twitter. It’s great, because rather than posting your entire URL of the piece of content, it will shrink it down into a nicely branded, shortened URL. At Koozai, we use kooz.ai. That’s our shortened down URL.
There’s a great blog post on this on Mashable, so I’m not going to go through and explain in this video how to do it. But if you just google “custom short URLs on Mashable,” the post will come up and it will explain to you what you need to do. They’re a great way for branding. It’s a great way so that, whenever you’re sharing content, all of the content is being shared with that. You tie it in with your Bitly account, as well, so that you can see statistics on how often your content has being shared on social and wherever else that content is being shared with that URL. So yeah, if you haven’t got a custom short URL, I’d recommend that as well.
That’s about it for my managing a company or corporate or group blog video for today. I’m sure there are other things that we’d want to include in here. If you’ve got any other tips that you want to share, please do share them with us, and if you’ve got any questions, please do get in touch.
Thanks ever so much.