Savvy Speaks: Surprising Things We've Learned in Two Years of B2B Blogging

Savvy Speaks: Surprising Things We've Learned in Two Years of B2B Blogging
Savvy Sisters - Wed Mar 30, 2011 @ 04:30AM
Comments: 10

Savvy Jamie looked at the calendar recently and asked a question that got us all thinking: "Don't we have an anniversary coming up?" As hard as it is to believe, Friday marks the two year anniversary of the Savvy B2B marketing blog! That got us thinking about how far we've come and the lessons we've learned along the way.

With humble thanks to each other and to our loyal readers, we offer our "$.02" on how we got here.



Power in (the right) numbers

Between the six of us we have 11 human kids and over a dozen of the furry kind - not to mention 6 super busy self-employed lifestyles. So we all have moments (or days and weeks) when we can't be as active on the blog as we would like. Those are the days when the Savvy Sisters really come together - adding an extra post, soliciting a guest blog, or coming up with a great marketing tool to feature at the last minute. 

So having a group involved is great, but it has to be the right group - it just wouldn't work if we were all more interested in what was "fair" and "who's doing what right now" than in creating something meaningful and useful for ourselves and our audience.




Have a plan—but be flexible

One of the things that bloggers learn quickly is that maintaining a blog takes a lot of time and work – and burn out is really easy. As many of my other Savvy Sisters mentioned, the (right) group format has been key for us as we have all taken turns with different parts of the blog, and we always have each other’s backs.

Besides having the right group, the next most important thing is to have a plan. With any blog it’s important to have an editorial calendar, but it’s even more critical with a group blog. Jamie is our editorial calendar guru. In January, she laid out the schedule for the entire year, assigning dates and leads for all posts. We no longer have conversations about who’s turn it is to do something. and it’s helped all of us to plan ahead.

Even though we have a schedule, we're always open to change. While we used to have traditional posts Monday through Thursday with a wrap up of our favorite posts on Fridays, we recently changed the format of some of our posts to include these crowdsoured posts as well as a "Toolkit" post where we highlight something we love. These new post formats have made it easier for us to plan, and we’ve been able to offer different content. I look forward to seeing how we’ll evolve!



Make friends and be okay with change

As Kate said, we have a really special group here at Savvy. I don't know what the odds are against six independent women building a long-term, frictionless team; but I'm really glad we beat them.

In addition to the amazing relationships between the Savvy Sisters, this blog has introduced us to many people outside our core team. Each of us has had the pleasure of connecting with some of the brightest and nicest people in the B2B space. I believe that our Friday Wrap-up series - highlighting the excellent work of others - has been instrumental in starting conversations and sparking collaborative projects with our peers.

The blog format has changed a great deal since we first launched. In the beginning, we ran five weekly feature posts, the vast majority of them authored by members of our core team. Today, we've given the blog an editorial makeover - coming up with new, more streamlined ways to deliver useful content and introducing many more guest posts. My takeaway is: Don't get too hung up on what you think your blog "should" be. Go with the flow, listen to your audience, try new ways of bringing value to your space. Know that good blogs come in all flavors.

Above all, make it fun - for you, your readers, and your partners.

Wendy Thomas


Lead by Examples 

I can not even begin to tell you how much I have learned from this group of talented and fearless women. We've laughed together, yes - we've even really cried together and we've always, always been there for each other.  

From the mechanics of setting up a blog way back when to figuring out site stats, not a day goes by that I don't pick up something from being a member here at Savvy. 

There is nothing (and I mean nothing) that I can't ask of my colleagues. Business help? Someone's got that. The Tweet button doesn't work - here's the new code. Say, what's the going price for a 5 article newsletter? - got ya covered.

All I have to do is send out a "what do you think about this?" and I get non-judgemental emails from all giving me their honest opinions. There is no competition, only the desire to help each other and move everyone forward. 

We are co-founders of a blog but we are also great friends. It is a rare group we have here, a team that melded together over a common goal and which continues to grow in its strength. 

Being a member of the Savvy team is being a part of a sisterhood. It's the kind of stuff you usually only see in movies but that we are fortunate enough to experience in real life, every day.  



If you can dream it you can be it!

In the Fall of 2008 I left the cushy confines of full-time employment for the freedom of freelance B2B writing. Armed only with one client and a copy of The Well-Fed Writer I set out into the big wide world to make my fame and fortune. I consider it divine intervention that less than 3 months into my journey I fell into the company of the 5 amazing women I am now in collaboration with on this blog. 

A confession I have never made until now.......I didn't even really read any B2B blogs until we started this one. I read blogs about what to feed my kids and where to shop for bargains but the idea of reading a blog about my profession sounded a bit dry. Being a Savvy Sister was about taking even the dry parts of our lives as marketers and trying to make them fun. When you spend a big chunk of your career doing B2B and B2G software sales it can beat the joy right out of you! Being a Savvy Sister gave me the confidence to mix some of my creative pursuits in with my professional ones and it has reaped great rewards for my clients as well.

The truth is, when I set out on my own in 2008 I thought I knew 90% of what I needed to in order to be successful.  Being part of this blog taught me I only knew 10% but the other 90% was attainable and the Cliff Notes were an email away.



Guidelines are a gift

As Jamie said, we've evolved the blog quite a bit over the past two years. One thing that has helped us stay sane managing a 5-day-a-week blog with multiple contributors is guidelines. It took some iteration -- and working out the kinks on the fly -- but we are very clear when it comes to all the details that make the blog look polished.

It may seem nit-picky, but hammering out the details on title format, image characteristics, copy formatting, placement of the re-tweet button, and author attribution make each post look like part of a cohesive whole. Likewise, when we solicit a guest post or respond to inquiries about accepting guest posts, we simply point folks to our guest post guidelines. This makes it so much easier to manage these interactions and clearly explain what we're looking for and how to work with us.

We went through similar discussions about our "connect with us" options, resources page, and blogroll. At times, it seemed we were constantly working through these issues. But now that all the guidelines are in place, things run very smoothly. And that's a great place to be!


Have you been involved in a group blog?

What lessons have you learned about blogging (group or solo) along your way?


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