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5 Steps To Establishing A Corporate Blog

Before I get into what this blog is about I think it might be better to tell you what this blog isn't. First, I won't be discussing why you should be blogging, I'll take the fact that you are reading this as a sign that you already know you should. Second, it won't be a technical how -to-manual of setting up and maintaining blogging software. In this post I will take it for granted that you have already decided to blog, and that you already have blogging software, whether it's hosted or self-hosted. Now that we have gotten that covered let's get right into the meat of this post.

It's important to note that when I refer to establishing a corporate blog, I am referring to blog that is written by multiple people within the business, not just one person whose job it is. Always remember, a business that blogs together, thrives together (more tongue-in-cheek but you get the point!).

Step One - Establishing A Goal

What is going to be the goal of your blog? I know that your end goal is going to be to generate leads but how will you accomplish that? Are you going to use it as a pass through to another site, such as a dealerships retail site or are you going to use it to generate leads right on the blog? Here are a few questions to ask yourself when establishing the goals of your blog:

  • Are you trying to create brand awareness?
  • Are you trying to build an email list?
  • Are you trying to increase the conversion rate of your website (thing about a dealerships retail site) by creating trust and influence through the creation of valuable content?
  • Do you want to connect with other leaders in your market, in hopes that they will refer others to you?
  • Do you want to spread the corporate culture so that your readers can get to know you know you on a more personal level?

Here are a few more goals to keep in mind, while you're establishing them:

  • How many posts per month do you want published? Once a day is best, but that's not always feasible, at a bare minimum if you can publish 2 or 3 a week you are doing good.
  • Which departments will be included? I'd prefer all, but you know your business better than I.
  • Who will be in charge of editing and publishing the posts? It's good to have one person that collects, formats and edits all posts.
  • How will leads be handled? Who will leads go to, will it go to the blog author or to a single person (or persons)?
  • Who's job is it to respond to comments? Yes, you must reply to EVERYBODY that comments on a post, even if it's a thank you. Will it be the blog author or somebody else?

You could even drill down your goals further and set traffic goals, click-throughs to your website or even conversion rate (readers vs. the number of people that perform an action such as submit a lead or sign up for your newsletter). Always remember that when you set goals to make them specific, realistic and timely.

Step 2 - Develop A Set of Keywords

Traffic is important. Wow, that was an understatement, but is the reason for step number 2. In order to get the kind of traffic that will equal sales (buying cars, service, or parts if you're a dealership) you must write for the audience that you are seeking. In order to do that look no further than the questions that your customers ask of you and take a close look at what interests them. Once you do that take a look at Google's Keyword Tool, it will tell you how many people are searching for a specific keyword, it will even let you know what the competition level is on specific words.

Step 3 - Map Out Specific Topics and Create An Editorial Calendar

Now that you have established a set of keywords, both long and short it's time to create topics out of them. For instance if you found that "auto repair in Denver" had over 4,000 searches per month (it does I looked) then you might consider writing a blog post titled something like, "5 Things You Need To Consider BEFORE Searching for Auto Repair in Denver."

Make your list of post topics as long as possible before you start writing, always adding to it so that you never run out of things to write about, thinking about things to write about, here are a few places you can go to find topics:

  • Your Customers, just ask them what interests them.
  • Twitter Search.
  • Yahoo Answers.
  • Industry Magazines.
  • Your own life experiences, don't be ALL professional write about what is going on in the lives of employees.
  • What other places can you think of?

After you have your list of topics it's time to put a date to them and schedule when each topic will be posted, this will serve as your editorial calendar.

Step 4 - Pick Blog Authors

Now that you have an editorial calendar along with a list of topics it's time to choose who is the best to write them. Using the example post title above, and if you're a dealership or an auto repair shop, who would be best suited to write it? A service adviser maybe? How about the service manager or even a service tech? On your editorial calendar put the name of the person writing the post next to each topic.

Step 5 - Set Writing Guidelines and Stick To Your Editorial Calendar

At the onset its import to put certain writing guidelines in place such as length. While it's hard to say how long a post should be, because if you ask me I will say as long as it needs to be to get the point across I will say that you should probably keep your posts to a 300 word minimum. As always, spelling and grammar is important and as I mentioned above its good to have one person in charge, don't worry grammar doesn't have to be college English level good but it should be well written. Along with length also talk font type and size, it's important that the formatting remain consistent. A few other things to think about.

  • Whenever possible use bullets, they are easy to read and is less intimidating than long paragraphs.
  • Use short paragraphs.
  • It's okay to use links to outside content, make sure that the content linked to isn't scandalous in anyway.
  • Use powerful headlines that will make people want to read the rest.
  • While you do want to use your keywords, don't go overboard with them.
  • Use images to spruce up the look of the post.
  • Use sub headlines whenever possible.
  • Let everybody know that plagiarizing is NOT acceptable in any way, shape or form.
  • No profanity of any kind.
  • What other criteria can you think of, use the comment section below.

Following this simple 5 step process you can have a corporate blog up and running in no time that will create word-of-mouth, increase repeat customers and generate you more traffic than you ever thought possible. Your blog is the center to your social media strategy and is a very important part of any online marketing strategy.

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