Thinking about launching a company blog? Great, now if you want to avoid being "that guy," then here's the essential elements that you should incorporate into your blog.
1 - A strategy. Why are you blogging? What are you attempting to do with your blog? Establish your company as an industry leader? Boost your brand awareness? Provide customer service? Know what you want to accomplish with your blog, and make sure that your goals are consistent with your overall business strategy.
2 - A dedicated group of bloggers. If you only have one blogger, or if you have five, every blogger needs to know what is expected of them, and what their role is. If each blogger needs to write 2 posts a week, they have to be willing to give you 2 posts a week.
3 - A posting schedule. This ties in with #2. Ideally, a company blog should have at least 2 new posts a week, and up to 5. Less than 2 is too little, and over 5 is usually too much. Make sure each blogger knows how many posts a week/month they are responsible for, and have the posts up on a set pattern. Don't have the bloggers put them up whenever inspiration strikes, that's how you end up with 2 posts a week; one on Thursday night at 10:46pm, the other on Sunday at noon. Set up your posts to run in the middle of the week, and then move outward. Tues, Weds, and Thursday are usually the best days for traffic, so schedule posts to run these days, usually around 10am-noon.
4 - A comment policy. Do you moderate? If so, how long does it take to approve comments. When Shelia leaves a comment at 3am Saturday morning, will it be noon on Monday till it's approved? You need to know this. For extra credit, list it on the blog itself.
5 - An 'About Us' section. Tell me who you are, what you do, and how I can get in touch with you. Gotta have this. For extra credit, add a section explaining what your blog is about.
6 - Pictures and bios for EVERY blogger. Again, this is non-negotiable. I need to be able to SEE who every blogger is, and I need to know their background. Gotta have this.
7 - A blogroll with NON company links. Point your readers to sites/blogs that you think THEY would be interested in reading. Sure you can add your website, but please mix in some non-company sites as well.
8 - RSS subscriber buttons. Give your readers a way to subscribe to your blog, via a feed reader, or email. Feedburner can help you set up both, go to Feedburner.com and set yourself up a free account, if you haven't already. A small section explaining what RSS is and the advantages of subscribing would be a nice touch as well.
9 - A section for Recent Comments. This isn't a 'must have', but it's a really nice way to put the focus on your readers, and it also gives them an idea of which posts are getting the most attention.
10 - A personal touch. Be human. Refer to commenters by name. Say 'thank you' early and often. Ask for feedback, and opinions. Remember that ultimately, people don't want to connect with companies, we want to connect with people.
What did I miss? If your company blogs, what are some other elements that you believe are vital to your blogging efforts? Which of these are most important?
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