As I sit and write this blog post, there are another 7 posts being written across the table from me. There are posts on marketing automation, website performance, SEO and landing pages. By the time the hour is up over 4,000 words will be generated. Later they will be proofread, edited and be ready for publishing on our blog.
As digital marketing professionals, we see a great deal of value in sharing our knowledge and creating quality content for our readers. Not only is it part of our jobs to contribute content, we also see it as something we need to do to continuously drive traffic, establish ourselves as subject matter experts and generate leads.
Although blogging is part of our jobs, it doesn't receive as much attention as our other day-to-day activities. It's always hard to find the time to blog. A good time to sit down and concentrate. A good time to just think. So, we set up a blogging group.
As of this writing, this little blogging group alone has met only 11 times, for one hour per session. In those 11 short hours we've produced 30 blog posts consisting of 15,825 words. Those 30 blogs generated:
- 9,039 views
- 2,734 social shares
- 76 inbound links
- And call to action click-through rates reaching as high as 21%
What Is A Blogging Group?
This concept was introduced to me by a friend at my previous company. A bunch of us would get together and blog for an hour. When I joined Search Engine People, taking the lessons learned from my previous employer I decided to introduce it to the team here.
It's an hour of blogging, and blogging only. It's an uninterrupted hour of creative thinking and writing. Its a quiet session where everyone has the same goal: to create content. Some will produce a full blog post, others will have a draft and sometimes there will only be an outline. The whole purpose is to get started and dedicate our focus and time to producing great content.
In addition to providing writing space and time, the group has also been effective and generous at providing topic ideas, feedback, and even an editorial direction.
How Do You Start A Blogging Group At Your Company?
Start small and recruit members strategically. I started with just 2 people who shared my vision and had the desire to create content. At the end of each session, I solicited recommendations of names of people who'd love to participate in the project. On a one-to-one basis I reached out and positioned the group as a Super Secret Invite Only Club - my email open rate was 100%. I pitched the idea and every week one by one the group grew to 8 members.
What originally started out as a pilot project turned into a real program with strong support from our leadership team.
How To Make Each Blogging Session Effective
Don't meet too often, otherwise blogging fatigue will set in and participation will drop off. Our bi-weekly meetings are working quite well. We even had a month long break from blogging.
If you're leading the group at your organization prepare a list of topics for members to choose from. Most people will already have a topic they'd like to write about, but having extra ideas in your back pocket always helps.
- Learn : How to Easily Generate Over 100 Blog Titles on a Single Topic (Andrei Petrik)
Encourage any type of writing device. Laptop, pen and paper, a smartphone or even an old school typewriter. Let the writers pick their tools.
Spend the first 5 minutes asking everyone if they need help with getting started. A discussion could easily open up which will help get creative juices flowing. But be conscious of the time, as you only have an hour. Next, start writing. It's amazing how much content you can produce when the room is quiet and all you hear is keys tapping away.
End the session just 5 minutes early and again go around the room and share what you wrote. Encourage others to share and ask for feedback.
Taking Your Blogging Group To The Next Level
After you have established a routine and a dedicated group you can significantly supercharge your content strategy by creating themed or campaign focused content. Turn your regular blogging sessions into strategic content production powerhouses. If you use a content calendar, share the topics with the group and let each member pick what they'd like to work on.
- Find out : Why Every Blogger Needs an Editorial Calendar (Laura Blaker)
Do you have an eBook in your content marketing plan? How about multiple posts on a specific subject? Collaborate and assign different writing sections/chapters to different people based on their writing skills, styles and subject matter expertise.
Creating content internally is hard, we get that. But it doesn't have to be. A blogging group easily removes many barriers and objections. To get one going, start small. Make it exclusive and selectively invite new members. Be consistent with your meeting times. Collaborate and ask for feedback. Take it to the next level by introducing campaign based content production.
- How To Use Your Analytics To Distill The Best Topics For New Posts (Marcela De Vivo)
- 1 Million Page Views Later, How I Am Blogging Different (Dave Schneider)