Keeping an effective blog is one of the best investments you can make in your startup’s marketing presence (see more in our blog post here). However, it requires your team to create and publish content for the blog on a regular basis or the benefits are muted. This might be fine for big companies that can afford a staff dedicated to content marketing, but if you work at an early-stage startup you probably can’t afford such luxuries. While there are no silver bullets to creating an original voice, your company can adopt a few blogging best practices to help build a great blog. Here is a short guide with a few concise tips on how to produce content that is easy to produce and engaging to read.
1. Use an editorial calendar to plan out your content into the future
Publishing content on a schedule is important to building a loyal audience. It allows your readers to anticipate new content and shows that your company is organized. One tool that helps your team post content regularly is an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar is a system that helps you plan out the different blog posts you intend to write over the next couple weeks, with specific deadlines for each post.
Editorial calendars give your team the ability to get an overview of what the content marketing strategy looks like over the planned time period. For example, if you run a subscription coffee delivery startup and would like to launch a series on procuring quality coffee beans, you can use an editorial calendar to decide that in four weeks you will post six times about each of the six farms your company’s beans come from. Then, you would write each of the six headlines, space them evenly throughout the month, assign articles to certain team members, and receive notifications for when each blog is due. Planning the headlines of your blog posts ahead of time will help you diversify topics over a certain series, jot down inspiration posts to write later, and coordinate writing with other contributors.
Finally, planning out your content across time is key to getting maximum SEO benefits from your blogging. Google’s search crawlers categorize your blog into ranking on different queries and keywords based off both the content under your domain, and the popularity of that content. Going back to the coffee bean example, if you want to rank highly for the query “artisanal organic coffee beans,” then the best way to get there is by planning out a content strategy centered around a series of articles about organic coffee. Being consistent in publishing quality content will attract a loyal audience, which will signify quality to search algorithms, resulting in a lasting boost in your rankings.
Odds are, if you are a founder you’re not also a professional writer. As such, it is important to prevent burnout from one member of your team by delegating different blog posts to different team members. Since it is easiest to write about things you find interesting, using the editorial calendar mentioned above, plan out each member’s blog posts based on their own interests. Writing good content is laborious and challenging: if you try to dump the responsibility of writing content a single person, your whole blog will probably implode (see all the company blogs that started off strong with 4 or 5 posts and then went radio silent).
Having multiple writers means your blog posts will be varied and interesting. But sometimes consolidating the work under one person helps with organization and accountability. If you prefer consistency over variety, recruit an eager high schooler or college student as a staff writer. Most likely they’d do it for little more than the opportunity to have it on their resume. Alternatively, reach out to industry specialists to write guest posts on your blog. With the rising trend of podcast-esque guest rotations, featuring a well-known guest from time to time can provide a great boost to your blog traffic.
3. Repurpose internal resources
If there’s anything I have learned from running a fleet of small businesses, it is that documentation is king. My work at HSA (check out my bio here) sometimes feels like being octomom - the different companies I help run are in different industries with distinct business models and target customers and each demand constant attention in special ways.
The great part of keeping a great operations manual is that good internal resources often translate well to good external advice. I happen to have a lengthy internal guide on how to use Airtable as a content management system (CMS). I have similar documentation on the usage of Mixmax, Hubspot, Mailchimp, Hotjar, Moz, etc. and could consolidate that into a blog post about helpful software tools. Same thing applies for technical resources and creating developer guides.
Writing a great blog shouldn’t be as hard as it seems to be when you start out. By using editorial calendars (we have one built into our product at blogwise), delegating writing to different team members to maintain diversity and prevent writer’s burnout, and repurposing internal resources, your company can get to a great start with its content marketing strategy.