We could name several different problems that companies face when taking the first steps into social media, however a very popular one is “blog content”.
It’s a clear challenge how to come up with regular blog topics and posts that ultimately deliver value.
The typical approach consists on acknowledging that you need a blog for your company, then you publish a couple of posts, no one leaves a comment and suddenly you/your team start finding excuses, saying that you’re very busy to look after the blog and that on top of that is not delivering any results. Does that sound familiar at all?
Let’s tackle the problem in three steps:
First step: The Objective
To write valuable content in order to get found by people in my niche. The goal is to become a solid and reliable resource of useful information that will help prospects, customers and people in my community make a better decision when it comes to X product, service in a given industry.
Insight: When working with clients, we found that if we don’t define the objective/s at the very beginning, it’s very easy to lose track, focus and interest.
It makes a huge difference when clients see the blog (and the valuable content to be delivered), as an asset that will help them get closer to their customers, grow a community and why not, convert more sales, rather than taking “blogging” as just another task.
Second step: The team
Assuming that step one is clear, is it going to be only you writing blog posts or will someone else in the team help? Define all potential candidates. Create a spread sheet with their names and area/s of expertise. It will be easier to assign a specific blog topic to a certain blogger based on their profile.
Please, don’t limit the blogging team to Management / Upper Management. You’d be surprised to see how many passionate and knowledgeable professionals you have in the front line that could contribute with excellent content. Remember: They’re always in touch with the customer.
Third step: The content
A very healthy excercise to sort out the “what do we write about?” question is to go to technorati.com and blogsearch.google.com to look for blogs in the same industry and find companies that write about a similar product or service. This will provide you with a very valuable insight in term of the “voice” of the blog, ideas for articles and what content do users seem to like the most (based in number of comments for example)
After that, there’re several different ways to come up with content ideas but I’ll share with you my most powerful one and it’s called: “Make it public“.
You know your product, service, industry better than anybody else. You know the customers’ regular questions and you know what makes them happy. Think very carefully about your day to day activities and how you deliver quality content for customers and prospects…
You and company own a wealth of information that can be easily shared with your audience. The problem is that you have been working extremely hard to deliver all that great content and resources in a “private way” (email, telemarketing, post… how many people can find you like that and how many benefit when they get your message?)
Yes, I’m aware that companies also handle private information. That, of course is out of the question and stays confidential but if you receive the same question from customers every day and you came up with different useful solutions, why not share them all in your blog and “make it public“! Why not making an ebook with those ten valuable resources for your community to download? Why not explaining in a one-minute video the TOP 3 of them?
Start by going through all the internal wealth of information, the day to day activities, Q&A, interactions with customers, problems and opportunities. You will be surprised how much of that is not being shared “publicly”. This post was created after writing a list of our customers’ top questions 🙂
Final tip: create an Excel spread sheet (Google document even better so the entire team can collaborate with ideas in one spot) with two tabs: Blog posts ideas (document every topic idea, otherwise you’ll forget!) and content pipeline so you are in control of the posts to be published on your blog.
So, open the safe, acknowledge your wealth and make it public. Thoughts?