Reluctant Bloggers – How to Manage the Blog Killers
It’s no secret around the office than I am a reluctant blogger, and by reluctant I mean I would rather read legal notices in 102° heat with a halo of gnats around my head than write a post. I am not alone and we, the reluctant bloggers (RBs), can kill a blog before it has a chance to get its first linkback. This is not a problem if it’s a personal blog about pencil sharpeners (they matter, seriously1) but if this is a blog that represents your organization or company, it’s important to plan around us RBs.
At Hodges we are big proponents of blogs for our clients, but we strongly recommend an editorial plan along with the blog, lest it die on the vine. The situation you must avoid is a logo, a snappy title, a tightly designed blog and then: “Recent Post: Aug 10, 2010.”
Of course an editorial plan will address the larger strategic goals of the blog, like its point of view, the type and variety of content, the timing of posts and SEO considerations. But the plan must also manage the mundane but critical question of any blog, “who writes it?” Remember, deep down inside RBs want the blog to die, so how do you manage us blog killers? Here are few tips:
- Designate an editor. Too often the answer to “who writes it?” actually puts the employee or employees tapped into multiple roles of writers, editors and project managers. This is a recipe for blog burnout and the birthplace of RBs. Split the role of editor and content writer(s) and it’ll free up your internal experts to create useful content and the editor can then suggest topics, keep the editorial calendar on track and, you know, edit the posts. It can be a thankless job, (thank you Tony Scida) but it’s important.
- Ghost it. So your blog is a vehicle to make a star out of key expert in your organization, or it’s a forum for a C-level executive but, alas, she is an RB. There is nothing wrong with ghostwriting blog posts, provided the author has some involvement in the process. Ideally, they help develop the topics of the posts and either bullet out its key points or are actually interviewed by the writer on the subject. I can’t imagine a scenario where someone wouldn’t see their own bylines, but just in case this is not clear, they must review the posts before posting. (I did write this blog post, FYI)
- Spread the wealth. Gong Blog is open to all our employees and a check of the bylines gives you an idea of who on the staff are enthusiastic bloggers (EBs). Identify and encourage your EBs as you move forward with your blog. Guest blogging is popular and if it works for your organization have at it – for some EBs writing on their own blogs simply isn’t enough.
- Don’t ask RBs to write blog posts. Simple enough, why bang your head against the wall?
If you already have one, check your blog now to see if RBs have effectively killed it and either put it out of its misery by deleting it outright or make plans now to revive it without us RBs.