You probably don’t need a refresher on why populating your site with frequently-updated, engaging content is a good idea. But despite the obvious benefits and the best efforts of marketers, too many company blogs fall by the wayside.
In this guide, we’ll look at some of the most common problems faced by companies looking to make their mark on the blogosphere and offer some strategies for keeping your content campaign in top shape.
Getting Staff Invested
It’s relatively easy to convince upper management of the need for content. They’re keenly aware of industry trends and if your competitors are seeing success with their efforts – they’ll be chomping at the bit to get the company involved.
However, given that the day-to-day running of the business takes up most of their time, the ones you’ll expend the most effort on convincing to place their client work to one side and put virtual pen to paper is the wider team.
Blogging will typically put staff outside their comfort zone and there’ll undoubtedly be a lot of valid questions as to why they should give up their time and effort for an activity that can be intangible.
While memos from on-high might prompt them into consistently producing something – content that’s written without effort is, in general, read without pleasure. Having some blogs on your site is arguably better than nothing, but as we know, when it comes to content – you get out what you put in.
Online marketing and content’s place in the SEO (search engine optimisation) spectrum is a complex topic and for those of us in the know, and it can be hard to explain the rationale for what we’re doing in a way that translates team member’s efforts into a perceptible result.
There’s no silver bullet for this, but some of the tactics I’ve found most effective include:
- Creating an editorial calendar that highlights what team members are expected to produce and by when (preferably months in advance)
- Highlighting on-site or external content that’s been particularly effective and illustrating the positive effect this has had for the company (e.g. number of site visitors reading it, social referrals, et cetera)
- Encouraging the wider team to get involved in marketing content (for instance, putting their latest blog in their email signature and promoting articles via their own social profiles)
- Circulating good content from third-parties in the wider industry as a conceptual prompt.
When explaining how blogs fit into SEO, not everyone needs to be an expert. And I think it’s more than acceptable to cite the basics – it’ll bring qualified leads to the company site, it’ll make it easier and more preferable for search engines to ‘read’ and will help to position the company as a thought leader in its sphere.
After all, you’ll be doing most of the legwork when it comes to search optimisation and promotion – leaving them free to get on with the business of creating engaging, interesting and relevant content.
The mentality of a bird in the hand being worth two in the bush is often applied when it comes to blogging (and several other marketing activities). If a team member has client work they could be getting on with – they’re much more likely to prioritise this over writing.
While this comes back to the issue of tangibility, even if you get everyone in the company on board, there’ll inevitably be occasions where content is delayed. Since it’s so vital from both a search and marketing perspective to keep a steady stream of content, it’s vital to have contingency plans in place.
Some tactics I’ve seen used to great effect include:
- Having a stock of ‘ever-green’ content that won’t go out of date to fill in the gaps
- Making sure team members have sufficient time and resource capacity to get involved (after all, you don’t want to make something as important as blogging seem like extra work)
- Having a ghost writer on hand, who can turn some bullet points or a conceptual brief into a fully fleshed-out article
- Timing content production so that it doesn’t impinge on ‘crunch time(s)’ (a busy period when the company is likely to be flooded with client work).
Lack of concepts
There’s no way to tell what content’s going to be popular and for those unfamiliar with writing, coming up with ideas can be daunting. Despite their reluctance, your staff’s heads are likely to be filled with interesting facts, figures and industry knowledge that it’s your job to unlock.
Be sure to make time for regular brainstorming meetings and discussions about what your potential clients might find interesting. Create fictional personas of your ideal customers and think about their needs, desires and pain points.
Get people talking about content and make sure the conversation is two-way. Inform qualitative ideas with hard insights from search analytics and trending topics. Making content part of the culture will prompt on-going discussions and help ramp up the quality of content you produce.
If you’re looking for a shortcut, I’ve personally had some great successes with Tecmark’s 6-3-5 method of idea generation. It’s simple to understand, can be easily and quickly carried out with a small team and will almost certainly result in some great ideas being fielded.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share or think I’ve missed the mark with any of the above? If so, don’t hesitate leave me a comment below or fire me a tweet.