Why Industrial Companies Need a Blog Calendar and a Super Easy Way to Make One

Posted on Jan 11, 2012 by Kerry O'Malley
b2b-blog

Editorial Calendars Are a Must for a B2B Blog

 

Blogging has been around on the Internet since 2004, but most industrial companies are just beginning to think about adding a blog to their website.  Although a blog does not have to be part of a company’s website, and can have its own URL, you’ll get the greatest SEO benefit by having a blog incorporated into your website pages.  This means industrial companies are not only faced with the decision about whether to blog, or not to blog.  They also often have to factor in the cost of developing a new website, one that is “blog friendly” and SEO optimized.  What that really means is a website developed with up-to-date technology.  Many industrial companies stuck a website up ten years ago and haven’t updated it since!

The fear factor

Beyond the financial considerations, manufacturing companies and industrial service providers are often hard pressed to envision what a blog for their company would look like.  What will they write about?  Who will do the writing?  How often will they have to post?  With so many companies operating at the utmost lean capacity, who is going to take on what seems to be a monumental task?

How to remove the fear factor

Isn’t it easier to find a destination with a map?  Isn’t it easier to construct a building with a blueprint?  Let’s talk about how a blog calendar can be the map, or blueprint that will provide the answers to most of the questions you have about your company’s industrial blog, and provide you with the confidence you need to move forward.

When you choose blog topics in advance, it will become clear who within your organization is best suited to write that particular post.  When you have a blog calendar that covers a period of three to six months, it gives the writers a chance to think about what they will write in advance.  When you develop a blog calendar based on the topics you want to cover rather than the NUMBER of posts you have to write, it becomes less overwhelming.

A framework for the blog calendar: mentorship

I think one of the best functional descriptions I’ve heard for a B2B blog is “mentor.”  Think about what a mentor does.  In terms of business and in a broad sense, mentors provide guidance; solutions; and tools.  These mentorship roles can be an excellent framework in which to construct your blog calendar.

A simple process for creating your calendar[list style=”circle”]

  1. Do this by yourself, or have several of your potential blog contributors join you. You’ll come up with a lot more ideas if you have a team working on this.
  2. Remember, you are not going to consider the number of posts you’ll need.
  3. Create three columns that correspond with the mentorship framework above.
  4. Guidance – topics will cover insights based on the expertise of your company (or an individual within your company)
  5. Solutions – products, processes, services, or knowledge that will help your readers deal with common problems or obstacles
  6. Tools – these topics will be instructional in nature and provide your readers with a process to accomplish a common task or initiative
  7. Pre-determine the amount of time you will brainstorm, and start the clock.  Whether you set aside 30 minutes or an hour, stick to the timeframe.
  8. Brainstorm potential topics for each category with your team members.  You know how brainstorming works: there is no bad idea.  At this point, just start writing out ideas and don’t judge.
  9. After your allotted time period for brainstorming, take a short break.
  10. Come back to the table and review all of your topic ideas.
  11. Start brainstorming again for another 15-30 minutes.  Just seeing the first list in front of you will set off a chain reaction in your mind of additional topics that dovetail with what you already have.
  12. Now, go back through all the ideas and evaluate.  After all, not every idea thrown out during a brainstorming session is viable.  Cross off the ideas that are too lightweight; seem too ambitious; or are not truly representative of your company’s image.[/list]
When you have your final list, start filling in your calendar.  By this time, you have probably realized that with this approach, your topic ideas will somewhat dictate the number of posts for your calendar timeframe.  If the calendar is for three months and you only have six solid ideas, that’s only two posts per month (and you’re in trouble.) If you’re lucky enough to come up with 50 good ideas, but you know you won’t get more than 2 posts per week out of your contributors, take the best of the 50 and save the rest for your next calendar planning session.
[list style=”circle”]
  • Designate the writers for each post and write them in the calendar.
  • Make the calendar pretty if you want to.
  • Finally, distribute the calendar to all involved parties, including the people the writers report to.
  • If you can get buy-in, making the blog writing part of each contributor’s review process CAN be an incentive to follow through (but not always.)[/list]

Believe me; you will feel a huge burden lifted once you have some structure in place.  You can’t make people turn in their posts on time, and the blog manager will still always have to be the nudge that makes things happen when they are supposed to.  Just stay the course for this first period of time, and see how it goes.  If this process doesn’t seem to work for your team, change direction and try something different when you create the next blog calendar.  After all, we’re talking about creativity, here.  Creative types are allowed to change direction – it goes with the territory!

Author: Kerry O'Malley

omalley@marketectsinc.com

Marketects was founded in 1999 by Kerry O’Malley, a proven marketing communications professional in international, manufacturing companies. Working on the “other side of the desk,” she hired ad agencies to manage her employers’ advertising and P/R programs. Frustrated over the lack of attention and level of enthusiasm she was looking for in the marketing agencies she worked with, Kerry realized that there was a definite need for a full-service marketing firm that specialized in working with industrial companies. She resolved that her clients would always receive the highest level of service possible and never feel like the last kid chosen for the team.

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