This past week, a few people have mentioned to me that they are embarking on group blogging. In fact, we just received a comment from someone who is starting a blog:
“Our biggest challenge will probably be publishing a continuous flow of interesting posts seeing everything is done on a volunteer basis.”
Ah, yes, that is a huge challenge! In addition to working on Savvy B2B, I also manage the blog at the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). This is a daily blog with posts from guest authors in the content marketing space, so I am very familiar with this challenge.
There are two key points in this statement: How do you keep posts both interesting and consistent? Today I’ll give you some ideas on keeping posts interesting, and I shared some tips on how to be consistent on CMI.
Provide a list of topics
One of the questions writers ask most often is, "What do you want me to write about?" It’s very useful to keep a running list of topic ideas to share with writers. Not only does this list provide thought-starters, but it also shows writers the kinds of posts you are interested in.
Share exemplary posts
Another good way to help writers understand the kinds of posts you are looking for is to provide them with examples that have been well-received and that meet your editorial objective. I have a few favorite posts I share with new writers, and I have also started sending email updates to all contributors with links to posts that have done well each month. Everyone likes to see what works, and it sparks more ideas.
Include many writers
If possible, have a large pool of writers for your blog. Not only will this increase the number of ideas and persepectives, but it will also reduce the frequency for other writers so they can spend more time on each post.
Note: If you are new to group blogging, start with a small group of contributors. This way, you’ll be able to finesse your process with a few (hopefully flexible) people. You can then build out your writing team from there.
Some of our most popular posts on CMI are those where we ask contributors some questions around a topic and then have them weigh in. Here is an example of a series that we did on engaging content.
Crowdsourced posts work well for a number of reasons:
- It’s easy for writers to provide shorter answers to specific questions than to write entire posts.
- The multiple perspectives in the post are invaluable.
Contributors are likely to share the posts, so they often get more exposure.
To “bring it all together,” I like to include a summary and the end of each post that offers the key points. It’s great for people who like to skim!
Try different formats
While most of the posts you will receive will likely be text-based, think about other formats you can offer, such as video, slides, inforgraphics. Even if you do not have expertise in all areas, one of your contributors may.
Look outside your industry
You can get ideas for posts anywhere you look. Of course, it’s useful to keep up with other bloggers and news sources in your industry, but some of the best inspirations come from topics that have nothing to do with your market. Pick up a magazine or surf some websites that are outside of your space, and be open to whatever ideas may come at you. For instance, here are some website ideas I gleaned while watching Sesame Street with my daughter.
Something I am starting to do with CMI is to have phone calls with small groups of writers to get feedback and ideas for the site. I will be keeping these groups small and the calls short so it's easy to participate. It's important to ask people who will provide honest feedback. While it’s nice to hear, “Everything is great,” the only way you’ll get better is to hear both the good and the bad.
Those are a few ideas on how to keep ideas fresh for your blog. What else can you add to the list?
About the author: Michele is the Content Development Director of the Content Marketing Institute where where she works with a fabulous group of contributors who know a lot about content marketing. She's also a B2B content marketing consultant who has a passion for helping companies use content to connect with their ideal buyers. You can follow her onTwitter @michelelinn or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B.