My day job is to help companies with their market facing blogs. I have not talked much about these services on this blog. So this is one of the few promotional pieces I will provide. In this post I will share a sample high-level action plan from these efforts.
A blogging strategy needs to adapt to the business goals and culture of the organization so it should be implemented in a very flexible manner. Listed below are a set of sample suggested steps and a sequence. I work together with clients to refine these actions to best support their individual goals. Sample initial action steps are listed under each main step. These steps are covered in detail in the customized best practice blogging guides that I provide to clients. I target these guides to the issues that individual clients face and cover the state of the blogosphere in their niche, along with other requested issues.
Phase One: Setting up the Blog and Getting it Ready for Prime Time.
Before you start to promote the blog you will want to get it in decent shape. Here is what needs to be done.
Ensure the Blogging Strategy is Aligned with Business Strategy – review the business objectives of the blog and how they fit within your firm’s overall marketing and business strategies.
1. Decide on a descriptive name for the blog and write a two sentence description to go along with this name.
2. Pick the content coverage of the blog and consider the types of posts you will write. This can be enhanced and modified as you continue.
3. Write the “about this blog section” which covers your objectives, content coverage and any relevant policy issues.
4. Decide and name the major categories of content, or themes, that will be covered in the blog. Make sure they align with your key words and all the significant key words are covered. You can add more later.
5. Pick the original bloggers. Match expertise with selected themes. This group can be extended later.
Design Blog to Optimize Search Results and Reader Experience – create blog design and navigation, add features such as expanded and multiple blog rolls, and recent posts.
6. Select blogging platform, create blog design, features and navigation and set up the blog.
Create Initial Blog Posts that Optimize Search Engine Results for Desired Themes – most new readers are reached through search engines – learn to think like a search engine to optimize results for desired themes.
7. Refine list of key words, group them, and prioritize them.
8. To optimize search results for the key words, apply principles of search engine optimization without trying to game the system.
9. Apply best practices for blog post content, style, and types.
Phase Two: Promoting the Blog and Ongoing Improvement
Once the blog is set up in a way that you feel comfortable and there is some initial quality content (posts) you can begin the promotion process. New content needs to be added on a regular and consistent basis.
Register Blog with Relevant Blog Sites, Add Connections to These Sites, Provide Viral Marketing Features, and Ensure RSS Feeds are Notified – claim blog on Technorati, add it to blog directories, consider features like email to a friend, make sure all key RSS directories are pinged.
11. Decide on the blog registration sites and directory to align with and complete the registration and directories that you select.
12. Add links to blog submission and bookmarking sites that reflect desired themes and encourage exploration.
13. Consider adding widgets related to the sites you select.
Connect with Key Bloggers in Market – determine the key external bloggers on your selected themes, add them to blog rolls, comment on their blogs, write about what they are doing and link to them, join the market conversations
14. Discover the key bloggers in your market niche. Make them the foundation of your blog roll. Consider multiple blog rolls on specific themes. When you write about other bloggers and link to them, be sure they are on your blog roll.
15. After the other suggestions to the blog have been implemented, reach out to the key bloggers you have identified, comment on their blogs, write blog posts that comment on what they write and expand their ideas.
16. Be sure to practice reciprocity whenever a blogger you respect writes about you. Monitor trackbacks and incoming site referrals.
17. Create a group or several groups of key blogs in an RSS reader to monitor what the key bloggers are saying and look for opportunities to write about them.
Make use of Blog Submission, Aggregation, Social Networking, and Bookmarking Sites – allow readers easy means to submit blog posts to these sites and submit selected posts.
18. Explore ways to make use of social networking participation (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn) to promote and support the blog.
19. After the other suggestions to the blog have been implemented, get involved with the relevant content sharing sites (e.g., Social Media Today).
20. Go ahead and add the widgets that allow readers to submit posts as part of the initial effort.
Monitor Results and Make Adjustments – conduct experiments and look at the results, monitor why people come to the blog.
21. Use tools such as Site Meter, Feedburner statistics, Google Analysics, and Technorati to monitor results amd make adjustments to the blog.