Most aspiring inbound marketers have a few business blogging hurdles to get over. The first hurdle?
Truly believing – like, in the darkest recesses of your soul – that blogging is an indispensable part of being a successful inbound marketer.
Once you believe that you have to blog, the next hurdle is actually blogging. Although if you’re already an avid blogger, you know that even with all the shortcuts in the world, you really just have to sit down and write. As Nike says, just shut up and do it.
Now that we are clear about the first two, let’s get to the last one. So, what’s the last hurdle? For many companies, it’s publishing that content. Yes, you got that right!
Bureaucracy is the culprit. Even if the post is ready, the administrative system followed in a company delays the process of publishing the post and causes difficulty in maintaining a consistent publishing volume.
This post will help you get over that last hurdle, addressing some of the most common internal organizational blockers marketers face when trying to get their blog content published.
Take a look at these internal organizational blockers below:
1. Blogging is Taking Excess Time
Blogging, indeed, takes time. However, if the time it consumes is becoming a grievance, it means you and your team have not come to terms to fully yet understand the importance of business blogging.
The below data statistics from HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing Report on the ROI of business blogging might elucidate you.
- Blogging frequency directly correlates with customer acquisition. 92% of companies who blog multiple times per day have acquired a customer from their blog. (Holy cow, you guys!) But even if you only have time for it once a week, don’t worry – 66% of those marketers have acquired a customer, too!
- Everyone else is doing it 70% of marketers are blogging at least once a week. Probably because they’re all getting customers from it.
- Not only do marketers rank inbound marketing channels as those that deliver the lowest cost per lead (CPL); 52% of marketers who blog say it delivers the lowest CPL of all other inbound marketing channels.
Once you’ve convinced your boss, you have two options. Either keep doing it yourself because your boss is convinced it’s worth your time, or outsource it.
2. Boss Wants to Review and Approve before Publishing
Bosses are often busy, but if your boss is so worried about losing control that they need to read everything before it goes out, you’re going to suffer a huge bottleneck in the content publishing process – because almost no boss on the history of earth has both remembered to, and also completed, a task you’ve requested of them in the timeframe you set forth. And if that’s a bit of an exaggeration, it’s probably not by much. The fact of the matter is, you’ll spend more time chasing them down, asking them if they could please read that post you gave them two weeks ago already.
So what do you do? First, tell your boss that you agree it’s important to have another person review blog content before it gets published because it is. But tell your boss that you’d like to have a colleague trained on the approval process so your boss isn’t responsible for the task any longer. Depending on what type of personality your boss has, you might even want to position it as his/her time is worth more than that type of minutiae or offer to let him or her train that designated colleague.
Why does this method – working with a colleague instead of a boss on content approval – work? Because when a colleague reviews content, it’s more of a team effort, as opposed to an annoying task that keeps clogging up your boss’ calendar. You and your colleague will enjoy a shared success when your blog takes off. And when you’re relying on one another to complete a project together, that bottleneck disappears, because your success is tied to one another’s productivity.
3. SEO Team Needs to Review and Approve
This is another bureaucratic nightmare that often stems from a lack of SEO understanding. Well, that’s not totally true. It stems from a lack of understanding of 2019 SEO – your boss probably gets SEO from 2001 just fine.
If you’re being forced to have an SEO specialist look at every blog post before it gets published, your boss probably thinks SEO is about keyword density and other smoke and mirrors tricks. It’s not. On-page SEO is something any blogger can master because it’s really just about creating quality content with a bit of consideration for keywords for which you’d like to rank.
Google’s major Panda and Penguin algorithm updates have all had one thing in common – they’re trying to reward content creators for how helpful they are to readers. Not for how good they are at stuffing keywords into their blog posts. If your boss doesn’t understand this new way of “doing” SEO, refer him or her to these posts that detail why the only thing you need to be concerned about to have excellent on-page SEO is quality content.
Your boss can refer to this definitive guide to SEO to widen his understanding of the concept. The guide can also be emailed in a pdf format, so users can save it for future references.
4. Legal Counsel must Review and Approve
This is a hurdle we hear all the time from customers who work in industries, like financial services, medical services, or, somewhat ironically, legal services. Getting over this bureaucratic hurdle comes down to advance preparation. Here’s what you can do.
First, ask your legal team to do a little upfront work. Just like you have an employee manual that serves as guidelines for your in-office performance, your legal team should write down some guidelines that dictate what can – and more importantly, what cannot – be published in your blog content. Ask them to provide examples of each so you truly understand the nuances of their requirements. This will help prevent time wasted on blog content you could never, ever publish.
Speaking of wasting time on blog content you could never, ever publish, the next thing you should do is create an editorial calendar full of blog topics. Send this to your legal team, and ask them to approve and reject topics, adding notes next to each topic of anything they think the writer should beware of to sidestep legal landmines. Try to send as many topics in one spreadsheet as possible; it’s more likely you’ll get speedy responses if they have one document to review once a month, instead of one document to review every week.
Once in a while, you’ll want to write about things that really do require a massive amount of legal revisions. That’s okay. But to do that, you’ll need a backlog of content that doesn’t require a ton of legal finesse to get published. That way, you’re not left hanging when a legal team takes several days or weeks longer to approve your blog post than they said they would.
5. You Forgot to Mention XYZ!
Do me a favor. Scroll back up to blocker #3, the one that talks about requiring SEO approval of blog content, and make a quick note of the three bullets I placed there. Why did I do that?
Because sufficiently explaining the Penguin and Panda algorithm updates requires several separate blog posts of their own. They’re huge topics. If I went into detail about them in this blog post, I’d be going off on a major tangent, and I’d lose readers. I mean, where would it end? As I explain Panda and Penguin I would encounter countless other tangents I could go off on, and before I knew it, I would have just written a 500,000-word blog post about all of internet marketing.
You have internal linking that fulfills your purpose. You can refer to this post on internal linking for SEO the most appropriate practices to learn more about the concept.
6. Your Blog Post Lacks Branding
Inconsistency in the style, tone and even grammar of your content is a fair gripe, especially in larger organizations, especially if you have more than one person in charge of content creation, it gets even more difficult. However, this can be solved by getting everyone on the same page with a content style guide.
A style guide for your written content will ensure everyone creating content is playing by the same rules, and give everyone one place to consult for their questions, whether about the decision to hyphenate a word, or whether their audience would truly appreciate that joke you want to make in the last paragraph of your post.
There is a blog post on HubSpot to help you create your own thorough content style guide, and also The Internet Marketing Written Style Guide to get you started with general style guidelines, tips on common grammar mistakes, advice on proper source attribution, and all-around help creating your first written content style guide, ensuring your content maintains a consistent brand voice.
This article was originally written by Corey Wainwright for the HubSpot blog, and republished with permission.