RonAmok!

The adventures of an analog engineer and digital storyteller who studies emerging networks and their impact on the great game of business.

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.

10. Benchmarker

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

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Filed under: Content Development

Comments

Great Post, as usual. I’d actually add another task that blogging coaches can do.

0. Make sure you choose the right person to blog. There’s a special set of talents needed for blogging, especially the ability and desire to write and to have natural peer-to-peer (i.e. not talking down) conversations with customers. You said it best yourself, “if you approach an employee to write a corporate blog and they see it as one more burden to carry, they’re NOT a good candidate”.

harry the ASIC guy
February 8, 2009

Great Post, as usual. I’d actually add another task that blogging coaches can do.

0. Make sure you choose the right person to blog. There’s a special set of talents needed for blogging, especially the ability and desire to write and to have natural peer-to-peer (i.e. not talking down) conversations with customers. You said it best yourself, “if you approach an employee to write a corporate blog and they see it as one more burden to carry, they’re NOT a good candidate”.

harry the ASIC guy
February 8, 2009

A blogging coach never occurred to me.
Incredible idea!
Blogger needs to keep swinging the bat;
coach is teacher and advocate.
Do the same rules apply to a corporate podcaster?

Bob Wright
February 9, 2009

A blogging coach never occurred to me.
Incredible idea!
Blogger needs to keep swinging the bat;
coach is teacher and advocate.
Do the same rules apply to a corporate podcaster?

Bob Wright
February 8, 2009

Hey Ron, I agree with you and Harry about employee recruits.

I’ve learned that one out of 10 employee blog recruits (these are people who actually sign up) get into the groove and post regularly.

The other nine post once or twice and then literally fade away. Many of these folks will actually hide from you (if you are the community manager … and blog coach) when you hound them to get a rough editorial calendar together that will help them plan their posts.

And Bob, yes, in my view the same rules apply to podcasters — these are simply blogs but in video (or audio) format.

Tom Diederich
February 11, 2009

Hey Ron, I agree with you and Harry about employee recruits.

I’ve learned that one out of 10 employee blog recruits (these are people who actually sign up) get into the groove and post regularly.

The other nine post once or twice and then literally fade away. Many of these folks will actually hide from you (if you are the community manager … and blog coach) when you hound them to get a rough editorial calendar together that will help them plan their posts.

And Bob, yes, in my view the same rules apply to podcasters — these are simply blogs but in video (or audio) format.

Tom Diederich
February 11, 2009

Good advice that could be used with or without a coach.

One task that could well be added – writing pointers.

It sounds mundane, but poorly written work is not well received. I don’t mean typo’s (although there is a *journalist* I know that really needs this help!), but grammar and writing style – rythm, structure, calls to action, etc.

James Colgan
February 12, 2009

Good advice that could be used with or without a coach.

One task that could well be added – writing pointers.

It sounds mundane, but poorly written work is not well received. I don’t mean typo’s (although there is a *journalist* I know that really needs this help!), but grammar and writing style – rythm, structure, calls to action, etc.

James Colgan
February 12, 2009

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