Adding a blog to your corporate site is a big deal. It’s a big deal to your audience who will soon be soaking up your content, and it’s an even bigger deal to staff members who will be asked to contribute and add to the company’s investment. But before you get started, why not put the proper groundwork in place now, beginning with four essential blog documents that every corporate blog needs.
Below you’ll find the corporate blog Must Haves that every blog needs to get off the ground safely. By hitting the essentials before your launch even takes place, it will help you bypass problems down the road. It will also empower employees and give them the resources they need to become blogging company assets.
1. A Blog Mission Statement
When you announce your new corporate blog to your team (or even to yourself), you want to be clear about its purpose. A blog is a big time and resource investment, and you’re going to need to sell it to your team. I’ve found that creating a mission statement to help your team understand your blog’s mission is a good way to get early approval and to get them on board.
It’s natural that there may be fears from certain employees or hesitation from others worried about dedicating time to writing. By showing them how the blog integrates with the company’s larger mission and why it’s so important, you help alleviate these fears and help them view the blog as a natural extension of their job.
Your blog’s mission statement should be in the forefront of everyone’s mind to keep people focused on it’s real objective (attract customers, build awareness, establish thought leadership, etc).
2. An Official Blog Policy
If you’re like most companies, there’s a lot of formal paperwork. You have a written policy for how to deal with returns, how to answer the phones, how to calm down angry customers, etc. Your blog is no different; don’t let it go live without first putting an internal blogging policy in place that everyone is aware of.
The goal of your blogging policy is to lay the groundwork for what’s to come and give your team the information and the tools they need to be blog effectively for your business. This may include information about:
- Blogging training documents
- Process maps for publishing posts
- How to generate appropriate blog topics
- Comment policy & how to respond to commenters
- Legal restrictions/confidentiality issues
Whatever will be involved in your blogging process should be addressed in this document so that employees have a central place to go for information. This essentially becomes their “road map” for blogging with your company.
3. An Editorial Calendar
Your editorial calendar may just be the most important document of all when it comes to your blog. This is the document that is going to make sure that you have fresh and targeted content to publish on a regular basis. Your internal editorial calendar breaks down who is blog
- Who is blogging
- On what day
- On what topic/keywords
- And when drafts of posts are due to others
This document is what keeps your blog running smoothly and it’s what helps you make sure you’re covering all the topics that you want to on your blog.
To create your editorial calendar I recommend using Google Documents, but you can use whatever application is easiest for you.
I like Google Docs because it’s easy to create the spreadsheet and then share it with everyone on my team.
4. Best Practices For Promotion
Another “must have” document to go along with your blogging strategy is a best practices for promotion document with tips for using common social media sites. Once a member on your team publishes his or her post, their job likely isn’t done. They’ll then need to go to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and wherever else to share that post with the people in your network.
This best practices document should go over how posts are shared (do you use third-party tools? Is only one person responsible for all social sharing?), on what sites they should be shared, and the type of language to be use. It should also share some specifics related to each site to help the blogger understand the unique uses for each and how your audience there differs.
Having this document at your employees’ fingertips will help them to feel more comfortable doing something that probably isn’t natural for them.
Above are four official documents I believe every corporate blog could benefit from. What other best practices do you think people need once they start blogging?
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Great post! This is good information for any small business owner to incorporate into their blogging activities. I think #4 is particularly important because there are lots of black hat tricks out there and most of them aren’t worth doing.
I think another great thing to add to this list would be a “Social Media Strategy.”
Aside from promoting your posts within social media, I think it would also be important to figure out a strategy focusing on how to manage the audience and leverage it positively as it grows.
When you do this correctly, building more traffic and links to your blog becomes easier and easier…which in turn helps SEO rankings in Google.
Just having a written plan at all will put you ahead of the majority of blogs (or so it seems when I read through them).
Thanks for sharing this and I couldn’t agree more. As far as how to present these, a blogger agreement can often be the right tool. That way you are not only outlining policy, editorial calendar expectations, etc but requiring your bloggers to sign in agreement. Blogger agreement is actually a template we’re working on right now at DIY PR Shop. Hopefully it will be ready later this summer for businesses to try out. 🙂
Now where is the LOVE button when you need one? Superb post!