Group blogging for business: quick how-to guide

Blogging can be a great way to support certain marketing strategies. A blog manager that consistently finds fresh angles, fills information voids, or discusses hot topics could position her company’s blog to experience some real traction (go, you). If only time and ideas were infinite resources.

Blogging: your place or mine?

If you’re looking to bolster your business blogging efforts, you might consider joining a team of contributors at another well-read blog. If you contribute several times a quarter or year, you could develop a presence in that blog’s community.  Reader interest andgroup bloggingearned credibility could have members trekking over to your company’s blog. However you may only garner passing curiosity and not a true readership.

In some cases it might make more sense (and provide greater long-term value) to develop a team approach for your blog, instead of bridging over to someone else’s.  Maybe your analytics suggests that during periods when you post more frequently, the traffic among new visitors skyrockets, and readers spend a longer time on site. Or maybe your fresh content snares great discussion on Twitter, giving you the chance to extend your brand’s reach through a hashtag or RT. Sounding good?

Be the man with a plan

Before you send a shout out to all your Twitter followers, you need a plan. Sure, you can get a cool submission from a smart someone willy-nilly now and again, but a more organized approach will:

  • Save you from answering the same questions time and again (like “What’s the word limit?”)
  • Communicate to the contributors that you mean business. Whiners need not apply.
  • Establish clear expectations for all parties, including issues with deliverables, quality, and commenting etiquette.
  • Help protect the relationship. If for some reason an arrangement with a contributor goes bust, you’re more likely to maintain goodwill if everything’s laid out to begin with.
  • Make it easier for the contributors to participate. Hey, they have lives and jobs (and blogs) too.
  • Allow you to pick up new or replacement contributors pretty seamlessly.

How to set up a successful blogging team

Things you need to do first:

  1. Think long and hard about what the blog does for your business. What metrics matter? Can’t answer those questions? Do not pass Go, head back to Strategic Planning and hand over $500.
  2. Examine your site analytics, and analytics from the social media platform you use. Identify best days to publish and the type of content folks like to read most. Other stuff will bubble up, too.
  3. Choose realistic goals for the new blogging program. For the first couple of quarters you’ll adjust content topics and styles on the fly, but it’ll still be helpful to have some goals to measure against.

Think like a project manager:

  1. Armed with the knowledge of your mission, objectives, metrics, goals, and high performing content topics, write a simple document that outlines the basics for your new posse, almost like a project brief. Include anything that will help the writers understand the business side of their work for you.
  2. Prepare an editorial guidelines document. Outline requirements for writing posts, including:
    1. Preferred categories and tags
    2. Use of meta data including titles, tags, descriptions
    3. Your position on anchor text use and linking
    4. Use of images, screen shots, or graphics
    5. Stance on media like podcasts, video, or embeds
    6. Position on copyright or re-publishing terms
    7. Compensation or gifts

There are a ton of details to cover in an editorial guidelines doc, but these should get you off to a good start.

  1. Set a process for gathering author bios and head shots. Your writers will probably want to choose their own anchor text, and the head shots should be a uniform size.
  2. Assign WordPress credentials to each author. Maintain a master list. Set up author pages.
  3. Create a rolling 3 month editorial calendar. Assign authors due dates on a recurring schedule (makes their lives a little easier). Use Google Docs or similar tool for easy upkeep.
  4. Set up a meet & greet for your new authors, maybe a webinar. Help them get acquainted. A Facebook Group might be a useful way to keep the communication open and free-flowing. Alternatively, Zoho Projects or Freedcamp could serve the purposes of both file sharing and group messaging. Set up a central repository for the RSS feed of each author’s own blog so that they can cross-promote content.
  5. Encourage community and collaboration. After all, you have a smart group of people there. What happens when they hook up?
  6. Badge of honor – Publicly recognize contributors and let their networks go to work for you. Create graphic badges authors can place on their blog and link back to their author page on your blog.

Did you find this post helpful? Do you have any great additions? In another post we’ll look at how to choose authors for your blogging team.

I first published this post, titled “How to set your blogging team up for success,” on the Oneforty blog April 26, 2011 as a contributing author. I’m cross-posting here so that Insights & Ingenuity readers might also learn and enjoy.

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How to pick the perfect contributing author for your business blog | Insights & Ingenuity

[...] I gave you some suggestions for how to start a blogging team for your business. If you’re interested in setting up a multi-author blog to support lead gen or thought leadership [...]

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