Current stats tell us that roughly 2.73 million blog posts are written each day.
Now, you may be wondering why your company should even be adding to the millions of blog posts out there, but don’t let this scare you off. This number demonstrates all the clutter your customers have to sift through on a daily basis.
The fact is, your company should be blogging, despite so many others doing the same.
As HubSpot tells us: “Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate information online.”
You’re smart enough to know by now that you need a company blog. You even know that posting on a regular basis is a must.
But have you ever stopped to think that you might actually need a content marketing team to take your blog to the next level?
The Ins and Outs of Blog Production
These days, blogging goes much further than choosing a topic, writing a quick post, and hitting publish for the world to see.
Everyone is already doing that.
You must find ways to stand out (in a good way; we’re not talking Miley Cyrus at the VMAs here).
If you don’t make a good impression, your company’s content risks falling into the world of clutter, where most other blogs live.
So to stand out from the crowd, take time to strategize about how you’re going to produce and distribute content that people actually want to read.
[tweetthis]To stand out, strategize about how to produce and distribute content people want to read[/tweetthis]
Think of your company blog like your research and development department. Before you launch a new product (blog post), you would perform extensive market research to see if people would even be interested in what you have to offer.
Once you find a viable product (the topic), you’ll have to back it up with well-thought-out and researched content.
One of the reasons that Henry Ford was so successful is that he figured out how to increase his efficiency by using an assembly line for his products. Each worker was skilled in a particular area and did their part to contribute to the greater cause of making a car.
Your company’s blog should be produced in a similar fashion: you need people on your team who are experienced in specific aspects of production and distribution.
Before you start tallying up how much it’s going to cost to hire all these people, understand that unlike Ford’s assembly line, your teammates can wear multiple hats.
Let’s take a look at who you’ll want to have on your content marketing team.
Meet Your Team & Learn About Their Roles
Of course you need a writer when blogging, but oftentimes that’s all they’re used for.
The reality is, you should also use your writer as a researcher. After all, when they go to write each post, they’ll be researching facts to support their claims anyway so they’re already doing this role.
Use your writer as a topic researcher and give them enough time to explore topics that go beyond a simple Google search.
To find out what topics are worth writing about, have your writer check out BuzzSumo, a popular search tool “that tracks content on all social networking sites and ranks them based on the number of shares on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest.”
With BuzzSumo, all you’ll need to do is type in a topic that you think is worth exploring and the results will let you know if others find it just as useful. This gives you great insight as to what content is resonating best with readers.
Your writer can also check out Google’s Keyword Planner tool to understand what users are searching for.
Since the Keyword Planner tool tells you what users are looking for and BuzzSumo tells you which specific topics performed the best, you’ll have an idea of how to take your topic a step further.
By taking extra time learning about the topic during the research phase, you’ll ensure that your blog post is not like every other one.
It also gives the writer a chance to explore a unique or complex angle that they may not have found if they were simply given a topic to work with and a short deadline.
Have your writer generate a list of topics that will span three months of work for your team. So if you publish two blog posts per month, have them come up with 10 topics.
By adding four additional topics, you’ll have room to throw out any run-of-the-mill options. If you like all ten, you’re already set up for another month or two. It’s a win-win.
Writer’s duties: topic research, writing blog drafts
It’s easy to think that if you hire a solid writer, there’s no need for an editor. While this may be true, it’s always best to have a second set of eyes.
Of course, you want to hire writers who are well versed in proper grammar and spelling so you don’t waste your editor’s time, but they can do much more for each post then catching tiny mistakes.
For starters, your editor can challenge your writer’s ideas to make the post stronger. They’ll be looking at this post with a fine-toothed comb, which can be tough for a writer to do once they’ve become partial to their writing.
It’s also important to choose an editor who isn’t afraid to give feedback. Oftentimes, editors will simply clean up issues they deem unfit and move along, but this won’t make your blog posts any stronger.
Instead, choose someone who can give constructive criticism that takes your posts to the next level. It also helps if this person is a writer by trade.
Editor’s role: review drafts for spelling/grammar/word choice errors, challenge ideas presented in each post
Once the editor gives the writer feedback and the writer polishes up the draft to be publish-ready, you’ll want to hand the post over to your assistant.
The assistant takes care of all the tiny details that go into publishing each post, and believe us, there’s a whole checklist of items to get through.
A typical assistant will:
- Transfer the post into your Content Management System
- Add a featured image to each post
- Add supporting images
- Add subheadings, lists, or emphasis (bold or italic) to certain items
- Add meta descriptions and SEO tags
- Add important links
- Set the date and time to launch
Although I call these details tiny, they’re very important and very time consuming. That’s why an assistant is crucial. By using one, you can free up your time to work on the big picture strategy with your writer and editor.
Assistant’s role: convert blog post draft to publish-ready post
To keep the entire process running smoothly, it’s also a good idea to hire or utilize a project manager.
A good project manager is organized and proactive. They look for ways to improve the assembly line and help keep posts on schedule.
Your project manager should be kept in the loop during every stage of this process. It’s their job to keep things on track.
Slack is essentially a private chat room that keeps everyone involved in a project on the same page. So your project manager can stay in touch with your writers, assistant and any other teammates within a matter of a few seconds. No more digging through email threads or missing an email update altogether. Instead, your project manager can ping anyone and be updated in an instant.
Slack can also be helpful if your writer is stuck on a topic and needs some ideas. By having everyone in this chat, your team can bounce ideas off each other and offer support as needed. You can also share files and quickly search for old records in Slack.
Trello is another tool that your project manager and team members should use to stay organized. With Trello, your project manager can create individual cards connected to each task. This gives each member of your team a snapshot of what’s coming up, what’s due and any important details attached to each task.
Trello also has a comment feature that everyone on the task can see so no one is left in the dark when it comes to updates.
Project Manager’s role: ensure the project stays organized and on schedule; communicate any updates or edits needed with team members
Promotion & Distribution
The days of hitting publish on your blog post and walking away are long gone. Now, your team has to spend time promoting and distributing your content to get the best ROI.
This stage brings all your team members together for a solid group effort.
Your project manager, or even your assistant, should spend time identifying potential outlets and forums where your content will reach and help users.
One strategy that we use at Audience Ops is answering forum questions.
Once your project manager finds a few questions in forums related to your topic, have your writer answer them. You’ll want your writer to give a well-thought out answer instead of something like, “We know how you feel and this article answers that for you,” with a link to your blog post.
Give the user enough information to show that you can help and provide a link in case they’d like to learn more. Chances are, this small snippet of information is enough to pique their interest and make them click over to your blog.
Although this strategy may seem like a bit more work than what you’re currently doing, the extra effort will be worth it.
These days, it’s not enough to simply produce content. Your company’s blog must become a unique resource that gives users information that they can’t find anywhere else. This is how you stand out from the clutter.
Following this strategy has been a smashing success for our clients here at Audience Ops, so we encourage all business blogs to adapt a similar plan.