How To Set Deadlines And Processes To Make You (And Your Team) More Efficient 71
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You’re blogging for obvious reasons: Your blog is a really powerful tool.
And that helps turn your readers into paying customers.
But blog posts are comprised of multiple components, so they require multiple people—or for one person to wear many hats—in order for the right keywords, ideas, text, images, and marketing to come together and work as a cohesive unit.
So how to set deadlines and work as a collaborative team to create awesome content is a challenge.
But here’s exactly how you can rock a content creation process that works for your team—from how to set deadlines and assign roles to actually creating the collaborative blog post.
1. Establish Blogging Goals And Guidelines
Before you start blogging, you need to establish goals for your blogging team so they have some guiding principles that will inform their work. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?
Some examples of good goals for a blog are:
- Increase organic traffic to website as part of a comprehensive content marketing campaign.
- Build your organization’s reputation as a trusted source of information in your industry.
- Connect with potential customers in your target audience.
- Create original material to publish to social media outlets.
In addition to establishing some broad goals, such as getting more Web traffic, you should also have some specific blogging guidelines for your team. Some examples of these might include:
- How many words each post should have.
- How many links/images/keyword uses/etc. each post should have.
- How often blog posts need to be published (editorial calendar).
- Where to find appropriate images for the blog.
- Writing tone/grammar/style guidelines.
- Information about the target audience you are writing for.
By establishing goals and guidelines for your blog, you create a foundation that will help shape your blog and ensure that all team members are on the same page. If everyone on the team understands what you hope to accomplish with your blog and how you want them to do it, this will eliminate the need for extensive rewriting, editing, and other issues down the road.
2. Make Sure Everyone Knows Their Role
When you imagine how a blog post is created, you might think of a single person, typing away in solitude—the blogger. However, effective business blog posts often require several people to work together in a collaborative environment.
Usually, it’s most effective for the roles to be split between two or three people, though sometimes one (very busy!) person may fulfill all roles.
Here are some of typical roles that go into blog post creation:
- Project manager: This person assigns all tasks and sets deadlines.
- Topic and keyword generator: This person is responsible for finding blog topics and doing research to determine the best keywords and title to use. This person may also be the project manager.
- Content writer: This person is responsible for writing the content, which should incorporate the ideas, keywords, title, etc., as given to them by the project manager or topic/keyword generator.
- Content editor: This person checks and fixes the content’s grammar before the post is published.
- Image-finder and blog publisher: The accompanying images (and image tags) are essential for a good blog post. Someone must be responsible for finding these images and securing the necessary copyrights. This same person is often also in charge of actually posting the blog (typically using a content management system like WordPress) and making sure everything looks as it should.
- Promoter: A blog post is not worth much if no one ever reads it. Someone needs to promote your blog on social media, posting links to it across different sites and social media platforms.
These marketing team roles may differ somewhat from one team to the next, but the point is that everyone involved is responsible for a particular task so that nothing gets left by the wayside.
It’s also good to have team members that can fulfill multiple roles if needed. For example, if your main writer is out of town one week, the editor should be able to step in and fulfill her role.
3. Set Deadlines Your Team Can—And Will—Actually Meet
Everything you’ve done so far—setting goals, guidelines, and roles—has led up to how to set deadlines that are realistic and achievable for your team.
Once everyone knows their role in creating a blog post, you need to set deadlines to make sure each team member actually completes their assigned task, and that they do so in a timely matter. After all, you should be publishing a new blog post every one to two weeks, so timeliness is key.
In today’s mostly virtual workplace, the best way to set deadlines and make sure everyone is on task is by using a project management tool like CoSchedule. With CoSchedule, you can manage all communications regarding the blog in one place, and ensure all tasks and subtasks are completed on time.
CoSchedule helps teams collaborate together on content marketing projects like blogging, social media, and events. The tool allows teams to assign different tasks to multiple people working on a given project, while minimizing the use of email.
Based on role, you can customize your workflow, set deadlines for each team member’s unique tasks, and comment back and forth to the team right in CoSchedule.
What Does A Successful Collaborative Blog Post Look Like?
So, you’ve put together a team and they’ve started to publish blogs. But how do you know if these blogs are any good?
Well first, you’ve got to make sure they have specific instructions. All of our writers know exactly what is expected with each blog post, including, but not limited to:
- Word count
- Tone of article
- Number of inbound and outbound links
- Types of images to use
- And more….
Think of the things you’d have to include in a perfect Write For Us page.
Let’s dive into it a bit deeper.
Okay, so, what qualities do effective blog posts have?
- Good blog posts have multiple visuals. Custom images, illustrative screenshots, and photographs of real people are best (as opposed to stock photos). The guidelines for our writers specify how many images, and the types of images that are appropriate for the blog post.
- Good blog posts are easy to read. Content should be broken down into multiple sections with multiple headers and sub-headers. Bullet points and numbered lists are much easier to read than a big wall-o-text.
- Good blog posts are optimized for SEO. Posts will integrate keyword research in a natural, organic way.
- Good blog posts have links. Make sure your blog post links to other resources for further reading, including previous blog posts you’ve published. Where possible, you should also link to studies and statistics that reinforce the points you make in your blog.
- Good blog posts are original and engaging. This means that they shouldn’t have any re-hashed content from other blogs. They need to have original ideas and be written in a fresh, engaging manner.
- Good blog posts have proper grammar. If you want your blog to be successful, a blog post with bad grammar is simply unacceptable. Make sure all writers and editors are up to par and don’t have sloppy writing habits.
- Good blog posts have great titles. Having a catchy title is crucial if you want your blog to do well on search engines. If you need help you can use a headline analyzer or a blog topic generator.
Don’t Forget About Guest Blogging
While not every blog post will require a guest blogger, this is another important role that makes your blog a group effort.
As a guest blogger—someone who writes a post for a website other than their own—I am able to gain exposure and Web traffic for my business through new outlets, and allow new audiences to get to know me.
Another great thing about guest blogging is that it is a two-way street, meaning that I often receive a guest blog post from the site I’m writing one for. This helps me meet my own content needs and also get some fresh and interesting perspectives for my blog.
This is a great way to divvy up the work for your team, which puts a little less strain on some of your deadlines.
Remember: Your Blog Is A Work In Progress
Having one good blog post is certainly an accomplishment, but in order for your blog make a lasting impact that furthers your organization’s goals, you need to publish great blog posts on a regular basis.
That means knowing how to set deadlines each team member meets.
By working as a team with project, rather than assigning just one person to the job, you can make sure your blog doesn’t run out of steam over time. In particular, you can ensure several things:
- Your blog won’t get stale: Multiple minds = multiple sources for new ideas!
- There is accountability if your blog is falling short in key areas.
- Blog posts are always completed on schedule: If one member of the team is sick, another can step in to fulfill that person’s role.
Above all, remember that a blog must be an ongoing effort. Blogging is a process and something that picks up steam over time.
Once you put together your blogging dream team and let them do their work, you will start building a blog that is a force to be reckoned with.
March 3, 2015