Join Dayna Rothman for an in-depth discussion in this video Leveraging internal and external blog contributors, part of Content Marketing: Blogs.
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- Once you've determined your content mix and cadence, the next big step is to actually get blog writers. So you wanna be able to leverage internal and external blog contributors to make your blog well-rounded. What are internal blog contributors? Internal blog contributors are generally employees who contribute to the blog. Your contributors should not only be from marketing, they should also be from all functional areas of the company. The reason I mention this is, most likely if you're creating a blog, you're from marketing.
You want to make sure that it's not only marketers that are creating the content for your blog, but that you're taking advantage of all of the other functional areas of your company as well, because they have a ton of other expertise. For your blog to be diverse you need the help of your entire company. You really wanna create a culture of content contribution throughout, and this is actually extremely difficult. So how can you get those contributors from within your organization? First you wanna get stakeholder and executive support.
You wanna explain to these stakeholders and executives why it's important for people throughout your organization to be blogging. And it's important because you wanna really be out there as thought leaders within your organization and industry, therefore you need a diverse perspective. The more people that you have blogging for you, the more buyers will see you as an authority. So you wanna create a grassroots evangelism program. Tell people within your organization about your blog program and get them excited about contributing.
You wanna have some word-of-mouth marketing going within your organization to really start that culture of content creation. Incentive your program-- and I'll go into this a little bit more in detail, but incentives always work. Whether they're gift cards to Starbucks, or t-shirts, or a much bigger incentive, by incentivizing your program you're giving those prizes, which really helps your blogging initiatives. In a sense you're gamifying contribution. Create a splash. So I certainly recommend that you actually create a formalized program for blogging contribution.
Consider naming it, consider having posters created and t-shirts, plastering it all over the office and getting people excited for blog contribution. And then also consider offering blog training and one-on-one consultations. Not everyone within your organization is going to be a natural blogger. They might not even be a natural writer. By offering blog consultations and training, you're basically telling folks in your organization that although they might not be great writers or they might not have a great idea, you are there to help, you can help them get to a place where they're comfortable contributing to the blog.
So this is actually an internal blogging program that we created a couple years back that has been extremely successful. The goal for this program was to increase the amount of bloggers that were contributing to the Marketo blog. We had a very aggressive blog schedule cadence and mix and we didn't have that many people actually contributing. And so as a result what would happen is the couple people that did write a blog would be responsible for writing blogs on a weekly basis. We really wanted to expand this out so we created a program called Blog Wars.
So we themed it for Star Wars, which was pretty cool. We got posters created, we got t-shirts created. We had a big launch, plastered all of this all over the office, We also had an executive send out the e-mail to introduce our blogging program internally. And then we also had some really great incentives aligned to actually posting blogs. And not every organization is gonna have the budget like we did to do something like this, however there are things that you can offer. Maybe it's a team lunch, maybe it's a day off, maybe it's a half day off.
As an example, for one published post we gave out a t-shirt. Three published posts we gave out a choice of a JAMBOX, Beats headphones, $200 Nordstrom's gift card, an XBox. For seven published posts we gave out different choices of tablets, Nordstrom's gift card, and a camera. And for 20 published posts we had an airline gift card, another camera, Macbook Air, or a Lenovo Yoga. So this was a really great way to incentivize our internal teams to start blogging.
We also provided a guidebook to show them how to blog. We offered personalized trainings for them. So we were removing all the barriers to entry which was a great way to get started. As a result, this was a very successful program for us and we went from three full-time bloggers to about 40 across the organization. So you can certainly do something like this to start incentivizing your blog contribution. So now let's talk about external blog contributors.
External blog contributors are people from outside your company, such as influencers, customers, or partners that provide guest blogs to you. Again, you wanna have an extremely diverse blog. Not only internal folks, but you also want external thought leaders to provide their thoughts in blog form to you. So how can you get these contributors? First, create a formalized guest blogging program. Decide internally what this looks like, how many guest blogs you're gonna post per week, how are you gonna get these guest blogs.
Are there different guidelines that they have to abide by. Reach out to influencers in your industry on social media. Social media is a great place to start for finding blog contributors. You can either reach out to folks individually, or you could have your social team just post a broad-based tweet on contributing to your blog. Send an e-mail to your database asking for blog submissions. You most likely have a database of engaged customers or prospects. Ask them for blogs. You can ask customers and partners for a blog swap.
So tell them you will create a blog post for therm if they'll create a blog post for you. And then reach out to other companies in your industry for a blog swap as well. Blog swaps are a really great way to show value both ways. One thing that I do wanna say here is that you should create guest blogging guidelines for each of the people that contribute to the blog externally. There most likely are various things that you do and don't want them to write about, or say, or things they should focus on. By creating a guest blog guideline there's really nothing left unsaid.
So every blog that a guest blogger submits to you should abide by these guidelines. The one pictured here is actually an example from our own guest blogging guideline that we've created at Marketo. Every time a guest blog asks to blog for us we send them these guidelines, and then as we're looking over each post we make sure that the guest blog abides by these various guidelines. Another great way to find bloggers is using a platform. This is a screenshot from a platform called BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo can actually help you find influencers in your industry.
All you have to do is search and it ranks influencers based on page and domain authority, as well as followers on Twitter, retweet and reply ratio, and average retweets. In this example I searched for content marketing to find people that the platform felt to be influential on the subject. From my own personal knowledge I agree, I do feel that these people are very influential on the subject. So once you have this great list from a platform like BuzzSumo, all you can do is reach out to each influencer and ask them to blog.
Having blog writers is a key component to any successful blog. You need both internal and external writers to be successful. So now that you have some great ideas and places to start, go out and recruit your writers.
Are you a business that needs to start a blog from scratch? Dayna Rothman, senior marketer at Marketo, shows how to choose a blogging platform and design your first blog. Then she dives into creating content that will drive conversions—writing on your own or with inside and outside contributors. Finally, she explains how to promote your blog and measure the impact of your marketing efforts.
Start now and learn how to connect with customers and market your business online with great blog content.
- The benefits of blogging
- Choosing a blogging platform
- Designing a blog
- Working with contributors
- Writing blog posts
- Promoting a blog
- Measuring the performance of a blog