Content Marketing: How to manage a change in content on your blog
You’ll get no arguments from me that starting a new blog can be difficult.
There are plenty of great content marketing resources from MarketingSherpa and elsewhere to help you do that.
But, what happens when your company decides to undergo a change in content?
Navigating the waters of a new format on a well-established blog is a different kind of monster than starting from scratch.
Make sure everyone understands the big picture
If you haven’t noticed, there are a lot of new faces on the MarketingSherpa blog.
When I asked Brandon Stamschror, Senior Director of Content Operations, MECLABS, about some of the elements driving the change in content, Brandon explained the new approach was a unique opportunity to return blogging to its roots.
“For us, it felt like it was time for our blogging voice to come full circle,” Brandon explained. “Blogging originated as the ultimate personal journal. It was a platform for practitioners who were passionate about their message being heard, but over time, that approach has evolved into a more sophisticated medium that has as much in common with a trade journal as it does with a personal journal.“
Another reason Brandon mentioned for the change was based on the idea that members of the MECLABS research team have a wide range of insights and practical advice to offer our audience.
“We realized that we are in a place to leverage the strengths of both approaches. Real world practitioner discoveries and observations supported by a consistent editorial standard,” Brandon said.
Instead of letting all of that content simply vanish, the era of the MECLABS practitioner blogger had arrived.
Consequently, this also meant the MECLABS research team would be taking on a new writing initiative, so the first real challenge was one of communication throughout the organization.
So, the first tip here is simple – communicate, communicate and communicate.
Make sure everyone in the organization understands the reasons for change and what their role in those changes will be, as your team can’t help build something they don’t fully understand.
Anticipate problems and start looking for solutions
This is my faith in Murphy’s Law – if anything can go wrong, it will – so the trick is to anticipate problems and find solutions to avoid headaches later.
For instance, while having a sizeable pool of new content creators was a great asset, there was one catch …
Most of our practitioners’ writing skills were based on formal training in academic writing.
Few had prior blogging experience, while only one to my knowledge had any experience in journalism or exposure to the editorial process.
Based on our assessment, here were some of the problems we anticipated:
- Limited blogging experience – How do we help analysts to start writing blog posts?
- Formal training in academic writing – How can the content team help practitioners develop blog writing skills?
- Few have exposure to editorial process – How do we build a new editorial process that allows for more revision and editing time? How can we educate our internal thought leaders on the editorial process?
After a few rounds of discussion, our team decided a blog post template provided a simple solution to solve the problem of helping analysts get started writing blog posts.
The feedback we received from our in-house writers so far is the blog post template has been helpful in providing some rudimentary direction and structure to get started.
In short, the more problems like these that you can anticipate and find solutions for beforehand, the less painful your transition will hopefully be.
Any change requires patience, passion and perseverance
Experienced authors will likely tell you good writing is not easy to do – and neither is good editing for that matter.
But with a change in content, your paradigms of editing and publishing must shift as well.
So, now that we’re editing content from new in-house writers, here are few principles I use to help keep everything on track.
- Patience – Give new writers plenty of time to think, write, revise, rinse and repeat until great content emerges.
- Passion – Passion is key for success. You have to be excited about creating new content and spread that enthusiasm as far and wide as you can within your organization.
After all, if you’re not excited about the change, then why should anyone else be?
- Perseverance – Content marketing lives and dies by deadlines, so you’ll need to hang in there when the going gets tough.
By tough I mean:
- Practitioners will deliver content late
- They will deliver content that needs more development and revision
- Some will find any excuse not to write
- While others do not want you to change a word of their content without prior written consent
No matter the obstacles, you have to find a way around them for a new way of doing things to be a success- and that is the very essence of perseverance.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the audience
One important thing to remember here is the birth of a change in some respects is also the death of a legacy.
So when you have an established audience, they can be fickle – and they have every right to be. Your brand built an expectation, so your content should meet and exceed the perceived value behind those expectations.
And all changes — if done right — will be about what really matters in the end: your audience and how you can better serve them.