There are few things more intimidating to marketers, product managers or business execs, than being asked to write a blog. Although everyone pays lip-service to the importance of regularly publishing blogs as a way to engage with their target audience and customers, our experience is that very few people actually feel comfortable doing it. One of the key reasons why, in Designworks’ opinion, is that too often blogging is viewed as a one-off activity not as part of an integrated marketing approach.
Get A Plan
Blogs should not be a stand-alone pieces of content. They should exist as part of a plan and, once people understand this, what to write suddenly becomes much easier. At Designworks, we’ve seen our clients struggle with this for years and have designed a very practical approach to overcoming this. Our experience is that a 90-day rolling plan is the most effective way to do this. This enables you to integrate blogs with your other marketing programs and still gives you the flexibility to insert new blogs if a hot-topic or event occurs that needs a time-critical response.
Ten Steps To Develop Your Blog Plan
Developing a blog plan need not be a complicated or long process. In Designworks’ experience, it comes down to ten simple steps:
- What are your blogging objectives?
- How will you measure progress towards these objectives?
- What channels will you use to publish your blog?
- What are the major themes and key topics you want to discuss in your blogs?
- How do these themes and topics integrate with other marketing efforts?
- Who is your most qualified person within your organization to discuss these topics?
- If you have multiple people writing blogs, what will be their voice and tone?
- Are these people going to write their own blogs or just create a flow and content for a qualified copy writer to complete?
- Who will review this content from a marketing perspective and make sure that images and messages stay on brand, have SEO efficient titles and contain clear call-to-actions?
- If people respond to your blogs, how will their comments be curated and answered?
Once you have answers, you have the making of a sustainable blog plan – no more staring at a blank screen thinking “what the heck am I going to write?
“Blog” Is Not Another Name for Advertising Copy
The content and voice of a blog should be different from that which you use for website or advertising copy. Here are three ways that Designworks’ believe blog content should be differentiated from other copy:
- Written in the first person and contain personal anecdotes that draw parallels between the authors and readers’ experiences.
- Strive for impartiality and, while acknowledging the authors’ role at their company, set out pro and con arguments for the position that they are espousing and treat other options with appropriate respect.
- Educationally focused and might include tips and tricks, best practices or even, in developer focused blogs, code-snippets.
That is not to say that all blogs must meet all these three criteria all the time. It’s very important to have blogs of varied lengths, on a wide range of topics and that showcase different voices and perspectives.
Blogs: Your Brand Matters
As with any collateral, branding and design matters when it comes to your blogs. All of us have seen examples where well-meaning writers create a blog that’s off-topic or uses an image or background that’s off-brand or, worse, that breaches copyright laws. It can therefore be very useful to have pre-designed templates and a library of pre-approved images for your blog contributors to work with.
Designworks Can Make Your Blog Successful
Blogging should be approached like any form of marketing and Designworks can help from planning, to designing and building correctly branded templates and image libraries, to including writing services. We can also help promote your blogs via distribution services and social media campaigns that complement other paid and organic search marketing activities. Need help planning, writing or managing your blogs? Talk to Designworks.