I had the great privilege last week, at the inaugural DemandCon event, to share the stage with Kristie Wells, Founder and President Social Media Club, Chris Kovac, Director of Social Influence Nicholson Kovac and Mike O’Neil, The LinkedIn Rockstar for a panel discussion on Social Media.
For those of you who didn’t attend here is some context for my Top Ten Rules of B2B Blogging slides.
#10 – Don’t go it alone
Blogging does not have to be a solo enterprise. In fact I would argue it is better when a group like the Savvy Sisters get together. Team blogging is a great way for a company to spread the burden and opportunity too. You can use some of the same successful tricks we have on the Savvy blog with things like crowdsourced posts and guest posts to keep your blog fresh and the number of voices broad.
#9 – Make a commitment
You need to commit to yourself and your audience what your posting schedule will be for at least the first 6 months of the blog. Do this by creating an editorial calendar and mapping out what your targets are. This is also a really good was to manage resources in a team blogging situation. You will likely still need a resource / task manager to send reminders to everyone but at least if the team has buy in to the calendar up front you have a better chance of meeting your targets.
#8 – Survey the landscape
Look at others who are blogging in your space. Competitors, partners, vendors and read them religiously for a month. This is a great way to generate ideas for your blog. See what you agree with, see what you disagree with and make some notes about possible posts on those topics. Additionally this can then become a great resources section or blog roll for your future blog.
#7 – Comment, Comment, Comment
If you are part of a team blog then read and comment on the posts of others from the same blogging team. This will encourage your readers to comment. Comment on industry posts, analyst posts, LinkedIn Discussions and you can gently mention a similar or related post on your own blog. Remember the key here is gently mention not spam every related site!
#6 – Promote, Promote, Promote
Tell everyone you know you now have a blog. Simply adding it to your email signature and LinkedIn profile will not be enough to drive traffic. Tweet about your posts, mention them in LinkedIn Group discussions and on your companies facebook wall if you have one. Once someone in the industry (analyst, vendor, etc) agrees to guest post on your blog ask them to promote it to their social network as well. That was an early way on Savvy that we picked up traffic was by asking our “heroes” to guest post and then we gained some small share of their social media influence.
#5 – Dress your blog for the Google position you want
Your blog needs to look and feel like it is in the big time even when you are only blogging for the 4 members of your team with the first 20 posts. Make sure you have a style guide and guest post guidelines from day one and that you are projecting confidence and professionalism.
#4 – Grade Yourself
Use tools like Hubspot’s Website Grader, Google Analytics and your hosting CMS’s own admin functions to see where your traffic is coming from and when it is coming! We quickly found at Savvy that certain days were better for traffic than others. The main reason you are getting this follow up post with original content on a Thursday is that is our highest traffic day.
#3 – Copy off others papers
The most important thing to remember in the blogging world is to give proper credit if you repurpose someone else’s content. We are all flattered when our post appears on a “best of” list or is quoted in another piece. We are not however flattered when our entire article is copied and pasted under your by-line. We are likely to call you out to all 5,000 of our twitter followers. Don’t do it!
Clever ways to fill space on your blog and build street cred at the same time to do run features like our Tuesday Toolkit or Friday Wrap Up where it is a consistent look and feel but is wholly sourced outside your blog. The Toolkit features a short write up on a tool or piece of research the Savvy Sisters have run across in our blog travels. The Friday Wrap Up is just a “have you seen this” type list of other blog posts that week.
Another way to “recycle” is features like the Savvy Road Trip we ran last summer where we actually repurposed some of our older but still relevant content by subject matter. The best 5-8 posts about white papers, social media, case studies, etc.
#2 – Get a great editor
You do not need to be the world’s greatest writer to blog. You should however have an editor if you aren’t. Just because you are publishing on line doesn’t mean all rules of grammar and punctuation have been thrown out the window! I have failed to promote blogs that said very flattering things about me because the blog post itself was laden with typos and bad writing.
For our guest posts we have a general guideline that three sets of eyes see it before it goes up. Initially I would suggest that for all posts in a team blog or hire an editor who can do it for you!
#1 – Celebrate good times
Being part of the Savvy team has been one of the best professional experiences I have ever had. Blogging should be fun. I promise if it hadn’t been we wouldn’t have stuck with it this long! No one wants to be part of something that is more pain than pleasure. So if your blog starts taking off celebrate those with a few off-line cheers. In the early days we celebrated traffic, mentions, comments, etc with a collective pat on the back and virtual toast! We have made a public point on each of our “birthday’s” as a blog to mark it with a special lessons learned post. This is part of our desire to give back to the B2B blogging and social media community that has given so much to us.
My final comment to the group in San Francisco was to blog by being human (not overly corporate) with your company blog and have fun!
About the Author: Heather has spent the past 15 years advocating for the customer perspective in her approach to software development and product marketing. Her penchant for collaboration is what drew her to the Savvy B2B team. Read more of Heather's posts here or contact her directly at email@example.com.