Add to Technorati Favorites

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Thinking of blogging? Here's How to Start.

I've had some offline questions regarding my post on why scholarly publishers should blog, so here are some thoughts on how to go about planning your corporate blog strategy:

  • Find and list all blogs, microblogs, magazines and forums in your community, identify friends and foes and prepare to interact with both. Who you link with will affect your blog’s ‘authority’. Set out a clear idea of who you’re trying to influence – what are the priority sites you must have point to you?
  • Positioning: What are you going to write about? Who will be your audience? Why should they read you?
  • Set policies: agree on how contentious subjects should be handled and make sure every poster knows and that your blogging policy is aligned with the PR strategy.
  • Decide the tone of voice. This has to fit with your natural company brand. You probably have a company-wide tone-of-voice policy for collateral and email copy but you may want to revise it for the blog to be friendlier, more open, and less wordy, as is customary with copywriting for the Web.
  • Always include the option to comment - you should look at this initiative as building a two-way relationship.
  • Brand it. I don't feel strongly that your blog should mirror your corporate identity but it should definitely tie-in and probably use the same domain.
  • Who is best placed to write about what your audience wants to read? Corporate blogs should usually be managed by senior level people, preferably including the CEO. But you could also consider product or technical managers, and it’s a great idea to involve editors and other key opinion leaders if they're willing. Blog posts should not necessarily be written by the marketing department, although you should discuss your plan with them first to ensure it matches the PR strategy.
  • Think about frequency. Get each blogger on the team to commit to one post a week. If you have eight bloggers that's a good range. People will manage how they recieve notifications anyway (either through an RSS reader or by email digest).
  • Software - test the off-the-shelf ones out there like WordPress and Blogger. Also discuss with IT whether something can be built internally. But don't worry that using off-the-shelf services might seem 'unprofessional' - you're embracing the freeware that your customers will be familiar with and why become an expert in building blog platforms as well as publishing content?
  • Burn your feeds with something like FeedBurner so that they are findable, searchable, and indexable. This service will also offer promotional tools like pushing post headlines out to other websites via banners (see the bottom of our homepage for an example).
  • Prepare ten or so articles before launching the blog and garner interest and posts internally first until you have a good range of topics and your blog team is comfortable with what to write about.
Let me know how you get on!

No comments: