The best batters in the world have hitting coaches. The best singers have singing coaches. If specialists in their respective fields need coaches, then why wouldn’t you offer coaches to your company’s bloggers?
Coaches can come from inside or outside of your company, as long as they have blogging experience. You wouldn’t hire a presentations coach to help with your slap shot, so why would you hire a blogging coach who has never blogged? Here are the top ten things that a blogging coach can do for you:
1. Serial Content Strategy
Creating serial content differs from the fire-and-forget content that emanates from traditional marketing and PR departments. Instead of focusing myopically on a particular campaign, corporate bloggers must establish trust with their audiences. A blogging coach helps them focus on the goal at hand — publishing content that’s so valuable that customers can’t live without it.
2. Measure and Report
Business owners love measurements and the best blogging coaches gather data and offer analysis. What’s the frequency of the blog posts? What’s the average audience size? What’s the blog’s acceleration? Are there any trends to learn from? By performing this function, blogging coaches can extract valuable lessons to help fine tune the direction of your B2B blog.
3. Dispassionate View
Pressures to create content will come from all directions. Marketing folks will try to influence how bloggers describe products and services. PR will try persuading them to write about the corporate news-du-jour. Your blogging coach is an advocate for your customers — not your company’s traditional communicators. Therefore, a coach looks dispassionately at your blogger’s content, helping to guide them through their own creative process.
4. Help with a Social Media Policy
The first thing that a company must consider before blogging is to create a Social Media Policy. The policy will be used as a foundation for all future Social Media efforts. Do you have one? If not, have your blogging coach get on it right away.
5. Lightning Rod
There are two types of successful corporate bloggers: those who push the envelope and those who’ll eventually push the envelope. And when that time comes, the Traditionals will pounce, requiring your blogging coach to “take the bullet” for the blogger. After doing so, your coach will remind everyone why the company started blogging in the first place and your blogger can continue fulfilling that original mission.
6. Sounding Board
Bloggers are different animals compared with your traditional content creators and therefore need to seek the advice of their own kind. Nothing is more frustrating than having someone who doesn’t even read blogs let alone write one offer advice to a blogger. By talking with someone who knows what it’s like in the blogging trenches, your bloggers can collect relevant information to help them carry on.
7. Back to the Basics
Sometimes it’s best to get back to basics. Perhaps your blogger has started writing traditional outbound-centric content and is starting to sound like your public relations documents. Perhaps they haven’t published a new post in three weeks, when a weekly pattern has already been established. Blogging coaches come with big shoes by which to kick bloggers in the tail with — before your readers (who actually wear bigger shoes) do.
8. A Source of Inspiration
Blogging is a lonely effort which requires periodic inspiration. One of the best things coaches can offer bloggers is a monthly meeting (or teleconference) that offers a safe place for them to hone their craft. A call created for and by bloggers to share their stories, lessons, and inspirations.
9. Big Head Deflater
Coaches give and coaches take away. As your blogger becomes popular, it’s human nature to be tempted to take on a superstar personality. Coaches exist to help create great content for your customers. If your blogger’s fat head is blocking the sun and casting a shadow on that content, some head-shrinkage is in order.
How are your bloggers doing relative to other forms of communication? Which content attracts more readers: your corporate newsroom or blog posts? Do competitors have similar blogs? How do yours match up? Do competitors publish their audience size? Are they getting more or less comments from readers? Which of their posts get the most comments and which ones get the least? By comparing apples-to-apples, blogging coaches can help sharpen topic-selection, using clues from other sources.
Photo Credit: Cyndie@smilebig