Last week, Savvy B2B celebrated our one-year anniversary. As we mentioned in that post, we have learned a LOT over the last year about managing a team blog. Over the next few weeks, we'll share our favorite tips.
In our last post we talked about the benefits of collaborative blogging. For the six of us, this approach has been ideal, but not every collaborative blog is a bed of roses. There are a number of challenges you may face when launching your blog, so here are our top tips.
Find the right team
It's not just about matching up complementary professional skills or even aligning blogging goals. It's important to also consider things like sense of humor, personal style, and team philosophy. If you're going to make this work, you will be spending a lot of time with these people - you may as well enjoy their company. Though you may have an initial urge to invite everyone you know to join you on a collaborative blog, it's best to start small and test the waters to be sure that each member is a good fit.
Define the working structure
Once you've got the team, it's critical to reach an understanding about the desired group dynamic. Will there be one editor-in-chief, or will each team member operate independently? At Savvy, there is no single leader. We work more like a volunteer committee - each of us more concerned with the success of the blog than our individual egos. While this works for us, it's a model that could easily fail if everyone on the team isn't committed to the success of the project.
Commit to a dedicated kickoff
When we first launched, we had weekly phone calls complete with agendas, task lists, next steps, and all that jazz. There were lots of details to be discussed and resolved, and we made the time each week to get on the phone and work them out. These will become less frequent as you get rolling, but it's critical to have this "face" time (even if it's only over Skype) to make things happen.
Set up collaboration tools
We use Google docs for our collaborative efforts - from our editorial calendar to special projects and our meeting agendas to our spreadsheet that tracks costs. Find tools that work for you and then use them!
Deal with the gory details
They aren't always fun, but they need to be addressed. Check out 78 Questions to Ask Before Launching A Blog to get started.
Develop an internal style guide
While it's nice that each of us has her own style, we also want the blog to look consistent. We developed an initial style guide in covered things such as how to format headers and graphics; how to refer to frequently used terms; and login information for the site. Over the year, we've added things such as code for things like our "Tweet This" button, guidelines for guest posts and responses to emails for questions for frequently asked questions.
Get organized editorially
Also not always exciting, but critical to keeping from losing your mind is the editorial calendar. Save yourself time and stress. Our calendar template is an easy and efficient way to get started.
Tell your audience how you work together
You need to understand how you work together -- and make this clear to your audience. While the "Savvy Sisters" persona caught on quickly, we've gotten a lot of questions about how we work together (do we work individually or as part of an agency?). Your blog should include 'About' content that tells your story and also a way to identify each member individually. If you're making yourselves available for hire, provide readers with clear guidelines about how to contact and engage members.
Do you work with a collaborative blog or are thinking about starting one? Give us your suggestions or ask your questions in the comments below.