5 Steps to Leverage the Power of Team Blogs
Has your company ever dabbled in the fine art of the team blog? Then you probably know how difficult it can be to keep everyone on schedule and how rewarding the outcome is. In this article, we're presenting Flawless' strategy to team blog success – from planning an editorial calendar to advertising the results on social media.
Step 1: The Editorial Calendar
There's an old proverb: at the beginning of every team blog is a successful editorial calendar. Okay, that one's made up, but you get the idea. In order to succeed with a group project like this, you need a good plan in place.
At Flawless, we have people who are unique in their roles, but work in a similar field as others (like predominantly customer-facing roles or management), and vice versa, some who work in mixed pod units, but share a job description with others in the company (e.g. Marketing Technologists and Writers). To keep the workload balanced, we distributed the schedule evenly among area of expertise, pods, and individual people. That comes down to about one blog post every 5 to 8 weeks/person. This is what it looks like (colours indicate pods or units):
Step 2: Tapping into Communal Brain Power
Ever stared at a blank page or document for hours at a time, hoping for the words to write themselves, and just to finally give in to the unsatisfying insight that it's just not happening that day...? Writer's block is the natural enemy of the creative professional, and there's nothing like a hard deadline to trigger it.
In my experience, there's two ways out (not counting the "In vino veritas" option – the editing process can get real messy😕):
- Go for a joy ride, turn it into a road trip half-way across the country, accidentally end up in a small B&B at the coast, leave your old life, and finally fulfil your dream of becoming an art instructor/surf teacher. (This is a fictional story. Any resemblance with real people is accidental.)
- Ask someone on your team.
That brings us to the point: tapping into the diverse skill set of your entire team and their respective vantage points from working in different roles. By leveraging this resource, you have x times the ideas, experience values, and creative energy. Bye bye, writer's block!
Step 3: Delegate Writing Tasks
So you've found a great blog template and filled it with topic suggestions, but what about the writing? At Flawless, we're in the privileged position of having professional writers on staff. Understandably, not everybody is born a Shakespeare and even if your company's accountant happens to be a skilled essayist, they might not have the time to spare.
To keep the threshold low for my co-workers, we decided to allow for a range of possible submissions in a full post's stead: from a mere topic suggestion consisting of a title and a few pointers to a list of bullet points or a semi-finished paragraph, everything is good enough.
The reason is that we want to showcase our company's multitude of expert viewpoints to share with the world, irrespective of a team member's actual writing ability or willingness. It's a great example of "Practice what you preach" and SMART goals: let everyone do what they're good at and what they can realistically achieve.
Step 4: Share it with the World
This one shouldn't come as a surprise: a team blog is meant for sharing, so make sure that the word gets out there. A few things to avoid from the pros (that have definitely never happened to us before):
- When using a Content Management System (like HubSpot), make sure that you're posting to the right accounts and at the right time. Few people will pay attention at 2 in the morning or look at your admin account that doesn't have any followers.
- Make sure that you're pitching it to the right audience: suitable hashtags, the right voice, and proper SEO sure help.
- Avoid over-exposure: ever seen too many motivational posts and articles on the same old issue? Exactly.
Step 5: Consistency
This part is the easiest to understand, yet the hardest to accomplish. In our experience, it works best when one person is responsible for managing the team blog project. It can be as simple as sending reminders to team mates about blog post due dates a week in advance or adding tasks to their calendars (that's what we do, actually).
Finally, make a point of encouraging the team and giving feedback: people will be more involved in a project when they know that their work has an impact, so share the stats (e.g. blog visits, likes, SEO ranking) with your co-workers and post new submissions on the company message board.
Good luck with creating your own team blog and feel free to share your experience. We're looking forward to hearing from you.