Creating an Effective Business Blog: The Why and The How

The benefits of blogging continue to grow as midsize to enterprise-level brands utilize it for everything from improving search rankings and standing out from the competition to demonstrating their skills and knowledge, promoting their products or services, and even building better, stronger relationships with their customers.

If you’re reluctant to jump on the business blogging bandwagon, here are a few stats to change your mind: 

·   77% of internet users regularly read blogs. In fact, more than 409 million people visit over 20 billion blog pages monthly.

·       Blogging businesses experience 126% higher lead growth than non-blogging businesses.

·   Blogs can result in a 434% increase in indexed pages and a 97% increase in indexed links.

·       70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles rather than advertisements.

·       82% feel more positive about a company after reading their relevant content.

Not only is regular blogging a relatively inexpensive way to drive more traffic to your site and attract more potential customers, but the value of informative and engaging posts that are used to connect with the reader, rather than merely as a form of promotion, last long past the publishing date.

Old blogs that customers can continue to learn from can be kept fresh with recent data and new links and, even more importantly, can be shared with others. With friends and family recommendations still being the most trusted source of brand information for 93% of individuals (and traditional advertising being the least), what could be better than that?

However, creating high-quality content on a regular basis can be challenging. You need an efficient workflow for your company’s publishing operation, to maximize returns, reduce inefficiencies, and drive the highest quality content possible.  

Permissions are a major consideration – who will have input into the content, and how will you know your posts are ready to publish?

Companies with a mature marketing organization likely already have excellent publishing processes in place. Here are a few tips to put you on equal footing.

Assign one point person to work with your writer.

Avoid too many cooks spoiling your blog by having a single employee liaise with the writer. This person will be responsible for describing the article’s focus, arranging any necessary interviews with company members and internal stakeholders, coordinating any permissions that need to happen, and communicating revision requests back to the writer.

This individual, usually either the content or marketing manager, will take complete ownership of the project, overseeing the piece from start to finish. This avoids confusion, communication issues, and conflicting information being passed along to the writer. 

Involve your final decision-makers early on.

When organizing your blog, you need to think about who will have final sign-off on the different articles. It may or may not be the same person each time, depending on the type of pieces you choose to write.

However, what does need to be the same are the procedures – this is important for both efficiency and continuity. 

The person with final sign-off should approve the topic and outline early on to ensure it is handled correctly right from the start. After all, their input could change the scope of the piece, and you don’t want this happening after it’s already written.

Be clear as to what type of input you’re looking for from anyone else who reviews the piece.

Often, blog posts require contributions from several individuals or departments (again, depending on the topic of the piece). For instance, you may need to circulate a draft through engineering, operations, and beyond to ensure that information included in the article is 100% accurate before publication.

When doing this, be clear on exactly the type of feedback you are looking for. 

You want team members to add substantive input, catch any errors or omissions and let you know if any inaccuracies need correcting. 

Proofreading and editing should be left to a single, experienced individual; otherwise, you could end up with a mashup of competing feedback and edits. Always pass the same version from one person to the next or work in a platform like Google Docs so you avoid having different versions altered by multiple people.

Incorporate all feedback from each round of revisions and send one clear set of directions to the writer.

This idea links back to having a single point of contact for the writer, but also encompasses any feedback provided by various departments. What you don’t want is to give the writer instructions pieced together from multiple perspectives. This tasks the writer with satisfying competing needs – an impossible task!

While you may have different opinions internally about what each piece needs to include, this should be hashed out between those involved in advance so that the information sent to the writer has a clear focus. They should know precisely what needs to be said and how.

Have a clear system for documenting permissions and approvals. 

Technology can be a great ally in keeping the various steps of the writing-to-publishing process in good order. It also helps prevent any misunderstandings and the potential misfiring of unapproved content. Asana and Basecamp are both great options.

Such programs enable the content or marketing manager to track the progress of the posts from ideation through creation and on to publishing – documenting any requests for employees and stakeholders to review the piece, provide feedback, and grant permissions as they go.

In conclusion, the marketing benefits of business blogging are substantial in terms of increased traffic and revenue. However, so too are the challenges if you don’t have a clear and workable system in place for managing posts. This is especially the case when multiple departments are involved in providing and corroborating details.

If you are looking to find a way into blogging for your business but need a little support with setting up the publishing process, get in touch at hello@miranda-miller.com.

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