Managing Bloggers

Blogging is one of the best things you can do for traffic and conversion at your website, but many companies have trouble getting from a blogging plan to the reality.

You can hire a blogging service like Haden Interactive and cross it off your to-do list. In theory, you also could write your company blog yourself, but a) you don’t have time and b) if you have time now, you won’t have time once the benefits of your blogging kick in. (If they don’t kick in, then you’re not the right blogger for your company.)

You can also use a bunch of bloggers: your staff, friends who blog, freelancers, or helpful volunteers. How can you make sure that you end up with regular postings, a consistent voice, and social media mentions to keep your blog posts in front of your customers?

Bloggers at your website

Decide when articles will be posted and put that decision on a calendar. A regular schedule like Monday/Wednesday/Friday at 8:00 a.m. or weekdays at 10:00 is easy to remember and can lead to more regular readers.

Have one person who is responsible for making sure the articles get posted. That doesn’t mean that he or she (or you) must do all the work, just that there will be one person who accepts responsibility for checking to make sure that scheduled posts actually are published.

If you use WordPress, a plugin like Edit Flow makes it easy to set up an editorial calendar, accept pitches, assign topics with length requirements and talking points, alert photographers to the need for a photo, approve drafts, and schedule posts.

If your blog doesn’t have features of this kind available, set up a system internally. For our clients who don’t use WordPress and who need compliance checks or other types of oversight, we resort to email or shared documents in Google Drive. Josepha uses a spreadsheet to create an editorial calendar.

If you have a lot of people involved in the project, emailing back and forth can introduce confusion, since it’s hard to keep track of who knows what and who is involved in which decision. Using your CRM or a PM tool like Basecamp can help.

We like to keep as much of the management at the blog itself as possible. At Blogger, for example, you can have your bloggers save posts as drafts and schedule them into the future, and put one person in charge of final review and approval.

Make sure the one person you choose is able to catch typos — and won’t introduce errors. If possible, someone who can keep the voice of the blog fairly consistent can be a good thing. The alternative to this is to give all your bloggers bylines so each can have a separate voice. In that case, your responsible individual can just be in charge of catching typos and making sure the post actually posts.

External bloggers

If you rely on external bloggers to write about your company, you may have less control. We’ve been working with a project that involves external bloggers, and we’ve seen errors (like getting the name of the company wrong) but we can’t get in and change them.

You also have less control of voice and overall message. This can be a great benefit of using outside bloggers, of course. People often trust what someone else says about you more than what you say about yourself. You can also reach different audiences when you have multiple voices writing about you. There can also be some value to links from external blogs

“Some value” because later links from one site won’t have the same value from the point of view of linkbuilding as the first link did. Also because paid links have no value at all, and depending on the arrangement you have with your external bloggers, you may be looking at paid links. However, links from an external blog can produce great traffic — we’ve seen a strong external blog be the top source of traffic for a website.

Set up ground rules ahead of time, including frequency of posting. You can still use an editorial calendar, just as you would with internal bloggers.

You can also still have someone who checks to make sure the posts are launched as agreed. He or she (or you) would then need to send an email about any factual errors or typos. I’m always grateful to have errors or typos pointed out and your external bloggers should feel the same.

Once the posts have been planned, assigned, written, and launched, someone must post them at your social media platforms. You can set them up to be posted automatically, or your responsible individual can tour the social media platforms you use and post them.

At Haden Interactive, we have someone responsible for editing posts, someone to make sure they’re posted, and someone to post them on social media. We figure this kind of belts and braces approach gives us multiple chances to catch those typos.

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