On Thursday, I had the pleasure of moderating a session featuring Loren Baker (VP of Business Development at BlueGlass and founder of Search Engine Journal), Jennifer Slegg (President of JenSense) and Melissa Fach (Founder of SEOAware and Managing Editor at Search Engine Journal) where the three spoke about planning and executing your blog. Great panel!
Jennifer started out the panel an initially focused on planning out your blog posts. She emphasized the need for an editorial calendar and recommended the WordPress editorial calendar plugin, which looks very handy. She also emphasized the need for editorial guidelines.
After you have the basics established, where can you find writers for your blog? She recommended a host of options, but most interesting to me was that she recommended using students for blogging. Above all, she warned to avoid writers for article sites and to only accept original content. There’s also a WordPress plugin for assigning writers called “Post To-Do Lists“.
Jennifer also recommended to repurpose content in different mediums and to identify popular or trending topics to write about using Google Trends.Melissa Fach
Melissa was up next and really brought a publisher’s view to the panel. In the case of Search Engine Journal, most of the writers are external. Melissa had a list of her top recommendations:
1. Have Defined Goals
Melissa emphasized that you need to be supportive of your writers, but choose them carefully. Do they meet your goals? She recommended using Evernote to bookmark content by an author she might like to contact later. She also mentioned that one way you can give writers a little more value in writing for your publication is to provide some social sharing for them, even when they write an article for someone else. She also mentioned that SEJ supports rel=Author, meaning that the authors get a bit more visibility in search rankings for their work. To keep writers organized, she uses Trello and its to-do lists.
When it comes to content, Melissa recommends to try to be diverse.
Last up was Loren Baker. Loren emphasized to determine your blog’s “mission” and is “guiding principles”. Add your own ideas and voice to content, but try to avoid negativity as it can create a firestorm of problems. Be clear, concise and sharp in your writing. Use your blog to build a community, and always try to respond to comments (which can help build that community feeling). Encourage writers to write about their passion — it helps them keep growing and stay excited about their work. Use the blog to showcase what your company does.
Finally, reuse your content in multiple ways. Different people digest content in different ways, so be sure to find other ways to package content as well.