Physically setting up a blog is not that difficult. A little while back, I wrote a post for small business owners on why start a blog and 25 tips to make it work.
It was so popular -- got more than 350 bookmarks on Delicious at the time -- that I also packaged it as a free eBook for portability.
What's often difficult is integrating the blog in your existing content and marketing strategy. Where do you start?
There are so many things already going on. If you're a marketing or communications professional you probably have a few ideas.
When you're the blogger
Starting is easy. As a marketing and communications professional you're used to writing content for the organization. You may need to get some practice on conversational style and voice and negotiate what is acceptable to post with regulatory and legal, for example.
How do you stay the course over time when you have competing campaigns and priorities? It's not enough to be a great project manager, although that helps. Developing content is a creative activity and you'll need to dedicate chunks of time to it. Which you may not have.
Plus one more thing, is having marketing and communications people or, even better, buying posts from writers, going to attract the kind of organic relationships you want to have with prospective customers? What about participating in the community? Is every organization's blog an island? Should it be?When you're not the blogger
Some organizations are better off involving technical or scientific subject matter experts. Imagine you're a company that caters to other businesses and your literature touts your expertise in a specialized field, why would you not have the experts in that field active in social media?
In the same way professionals speak at conferences and events -- live and virtual -- talk to the media and analysts, they should also be the ones building a platform and a following on behalf of the organization. And today, they have a chance to get their name out there tenfold without having to wait for anyone to publish them.
We reviewed a few months ago why developing a B2B content strategy starts with who. In this case, you'll be the coach. You can do background research, share competitive analysis, provide training on using search terms in posts. Make introductions to others in the same field. Get things started.Integration points
Since you're going to be a publisher, you'll want to have an editorial calendar. You'll also need to establish a cadence -- how many times a week you post and when. This will help you make the commitment. You can always write when you can and schedule the posts for those days.
The cadence will help you build a readership by setting expectations.
The integration happens at strategy level. Your social media strategy builds on your communications strategy, which is designed to support the business. In an ideal world.
Here's how you think about it:
- what's my objective? How can a blog help you achieve that on top of or to extend other marketing activities?
For example, have you ever heard from a customer: "I didn't know you did that, too"? If "that" is a profitable line of business where you may not have as much marketing awareness activities going, then your objective may well be to get the word out on that.
Or imagine you have a region that is underserved by your search marketing strategy -- maybe the keywords are too expensive or competitive and you don't have a strong enough case for too specific Web site pages.
They're both cases where integration would work well. You can then use other marketing activities like trade shows, Webinars, and opt-in newsletters to get the word out about your blog -- cross post the invites, repackage the content, etc.
- how do I set goals for the blog?
Look at your objective and think how you can make it specific for social media. Say that by the end of Q2, I want to become the "go to" company for "that" item for small businesses that do xyz or buy abc, how do you think about the editorial calendar?
This means your content -- and your social media activity -- will need to map to certain topics and events that attract and speak to specific buyers and their needs.
- when you think strategy, you figure that in this case you'll use social media to identify and connect with your buyers by being helpful, personable, and getting to know them better
You do want to bring the getting to know them better part back in house to give you content and potentially service ideas.
- what do you measure?
Start with a baseline, then look at performance indicators, for example, do you have more subscribers, comments, are people contacting you? Are they signing up for your newsletter, which you cross promote on the blog?
One thing that many company blogs are still catching up with is the integration with industry conversations and market ecosystem. In other words, many are just blog versions of marketing material, or press releases, or technical bulletins in intent.
Why not become the platform for a certain subject matter in the industry and examine the offerings of many companies, or discuss industry trends in a geographic area?
Who does this well? Usually independent consultants. It takes an enterprising person who plays well with everyone to get the market ecosystem integration done well.
These are just some ideas I've been thinking about. Integration takes discipline and hard work and it pays off in reinforcing and supporting your existing strategies. What do you find challenging with integration? Who does it well in your industry?
Other resources for blogging:Corporate Blogs
© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.