For six months, I was a mid-level copywriter for a national homebuilder. My job was to write headlines and brochures and tantalizing floor-plan descriptions that would, ultimately—ideally—sell some homes. But I am a content strategist at heart. And from almost the moment I began working for the company, I wanted to incorporate content (specifically, a blog) into the marketing mix.
I knew a blog would help develop engagement, build trust, and incorporate SEO value, which the company had recently created a committee to address.
Still, the organization was large and corporate. There were legal concerns to be wrangled, marketing directors to be convinced, and a host of other roadblocks in the way of the project—roadblocks I had encountered before and have continued to since. And I know I’m not alone.
That’s why we’ve created this Common Blogging Roadblocks series. Over the course of three posts, I’ll tackle a few of the barriers I hear about often: finding time, generating ideas, and dealing with legal concerns.
If you work with a start-up or a smaller marketing team, chances are that time is your challenge. And it’s smart that you’re thinking about that challenge now. It’s far better to address the time issue before launching a blog, or you may find that you can’t keep up with your publishing schedule.
Consider these questions before you get started:
Can you solicit guest bloggers?
Bringing in content from smart guests can help build trust and engagement as much as (if not sometimes more than) writing the blog entries yourself. Do you have access to guest bloggers? Will they be able to help you out occasionally or even on a regular basis?
Bringing other content creators on board is a good way to save time, but remember that you’ll still need to schedule time for writing emails, editing, and publishing.
Do you have the budget to hire help?
Free guest blogging may be hard to come by, depending on your industry, your connections, and the popularity or exposure offered by your site/blog. But you can still reap the benefits, even if you don’t have the clout to attract them just yet.
How? By hiring freelance bloggers. If you have more budget and less time, this may be a great solution for you.
Will a change in format or terminology give you the freedom to publish less frequently?
When I worked on the blog strategy for the national homebuilder, we stopped using the word “blog,” in part because it made our legal teams nervous and in part because “blog” brings with it some unspoken promises. When you run a blog, readers expect you to publish content frequently (at least weekly in most cases). But if you have a “tips and tricks” section or an article center, you can build user expectations from scratch. If you are only going to publish an article once per month, just make a slight change in terminology and format, and set the publishing expectations yourself.
Is blogging really the right kind of content marketing for you?
If you don’t have budget for freelancers, can’t find guest bloggers, and can’t commit to an article center, maybe blogging isn’t the right kind of content marketing for you.
Recently, I’ve encouraged several new entrepreneurs interested in building thought leadership and engagement to become guest bloggers/writers instead of starting their own blogs. If you don’t have time to consistently publish on your own site, find publications and blogs that already reach your target audience and offer to guest blog or contribute an article, developing a following and a reputation without committing to an article or two every single week.
Have another tip for marketers trying to find the time to blog? Leave it in the comments below. And stay tuned tomorrow for another blogging roadblock: generating ideas.