By: Shelly Joines
Three years ago this March, we started out on a blogging adventure. We had hopes of where this corporate blog would take us, but had no idea the exposure and workload it would bring along with it. In that time, we’ve tried a myriad of organizational tools, deadlines, strategies to accumulate graphics and ways to improve. If your organization or association is interested in creating a blog, we’re sharing how it all came to fruition and some things we have learned along the way.
Selecting a platform-
This all comes down to personal choice, experience and budget. There’s no one stop shop for everybody, for our company WordPress was the best. They even share the difference between a .com and a .org option on their site which you can learn more about here. We decided to go the .com route.
Tip 1: Pay to get a custom domain for a year. Building your credibility by establishing a professional web address is worth it.
Tip 2: Pay to remove all ads from your pages for a year. Seems like a lot to remove randomly selected ads, but all it takes is for a few ads to contradict your message and you have guests writing in upset! And it will happen.
In our office of over 30 people, we take turns to author a post. In the past three years, we have varied from having the entire office participate to working with a smaller group of 10 based on interest and skill sets.
Tip 1: Find people who are passionate about writing, but also passionate about what they do. If you utilize a team, consider including people from different departments with unique viewpoints.
Tip 2: Create a final editorial review committee (2-3 people). In our office, our review committee knows the tone and content we’re looking for and gives every post the final review and edit before posting.
While your first authors are creating their next Great American Blog Post, take the time to design your page. We chose a design based on our blog name, which is a departure from our website and marketing materials. Again, there’s no surefire answer for what works best – just evaluate your goals and your potential audience. We use the below sites for original design and current headers for each blog.
Tip 1: I highly recommend utilizing PicMonkey to create images and headers for a small annual fee. It’s originally geared towards editing photographs but you can do so much more with it.
Tip 2: I also use Canva which is great when you have specific dimensions for a social media platform (and every site is different). You can build from layouts and themes that they have for no cost, use your images, or pay a small fee for specific graphics.
We don’t encourage you to use “click bait” methods, but instead research optimal graphics and titles to grab the audience’s attention. Don’t post a blog without a feature image (that resides at the top of your page) as when you share on other social media sites people may only see a link. Spend the time to find a graphic that will connect with your audience and get them to want to read more.
Tip 1: Oftentimes, it’s easiest and quickest to just take your own photos with a camera or phone. You own it – you can use it!
Tip 2: Create a graphic use policy for those writing for or managing your page. Don’t fall prey to grabbing an image from Google or through a Creative Commons site. More often than not, artists aren’t paying attention to what they are giving up when they upload and CAN come after you. Another option is to use graphics from sites that require attribution. However, be mindful of following their agreements for use and how to credit the artist.
Creating a blog can require a lot of resources, but the dialogue that it can start with your members, prospects and colleagues while establishing your credibility is priceless. It may take several days or months to develop your blog – it just depends on what tools you have available.
If you’ve been blogging for some time, what else would you share with interested parties about getting started? Maybe you’re still new in the blogging world, but have a great tip. Comment below and share it with us!