Your business has been blogging for a while now. You’ve developed a solid brand identity and amassed a dedicated following. But you’re realizing that you just don’t have the time or staffing support to maintain a consistent blogging schedule anymore. You’ve begun to consider outsourcing your blogging needs to a content creation firm, but you’re concerned that outside bloggers won’t be able to write as well or with the same insights as someone from your own company.
It’s a fair concern. According to research conducted by Pardot, 80% of consumer respondents stated that the authenticity of content is the most influential factor in their decision to become a follower of a brand. In fact, authentic content was reported to be 3 times more important to consumers than a brand’s position in their industry. And what’s a surefire way to deliver inauthentic content? Having writers blog for you who are unable to capture your tone. Voice variance = inauthenticity, which ultimately = reader mistrust and lost customers.
The silver lining? It is entirely possible for outsourced bloggers to adopt your unique brand persona and write convincingly as an extension of your company. Read on to discover how the writers at Virtucom Group successfully blog for businesses from every industry A to Z, from auto dealerships to zoos, by following this 3-step process.
- Research, research, research
Research the brand
As soon as the ink dries on a signed client contract – and often, even before that – our writers need to find out absolutely everything they can about the company they’re about to blog for. Who are they? What do they do? What is their stance on relevant topics in their industry?
The best place to find answers to these questions? A brand’s website: the about us page, the letter from the CEO, the mission statement, the existing company blog. Once we’ve scoured each landing page on your site, we have a well-defined sketch of who you are and what you stand for.
Research their industry
No matter how technical or specialized a business is, we can gain insights into the field through research. There are now 966 million websites worldwide. An incomprehensible amount of information is available all the time, accessible through just a few simple clicks.
If we’re working with an oncology practice in Massachusetts, we might research cancer care terminology, like chemotherapy, metastasis and sarcoma. We may also look into cancer trends in the Northeast and emerging therapies. If we’re working with a public university in the Midwest, it’s important for our writers to understand hot topics in academia, such as free speech on college campuses and confronting climbing student debt.
- Create a brand style guide
Once we understand who a brand is and the sphere they’re working within, we’re ready to compile that information into an internal document, which can be readily referenced by the team of writers and editors working on that account. Why is a brand style guide important? In short, consistency.
When your brand’s voice and personality are consistently presented, readers will begin to feel like they know you as they read your posts from week to week. Just like you’re more likely to converse with a friend, readers are more likely to interact with a brand who they feel familiar with. And a brand style guide ensures our entire creative team is on the same page, so every word you end up publishing is uniform and cohesive.
So what’s typically included in a brand style guide?
- General brand persona/tone. When describing the voice of a brand, we try to be as descriptive and precise as possible. Maybe your persona is modern, high-tech and edgy. Maybe you have an energetic, personable demeanor. Or perhaps you prefer to come across as authoritative and professional.
- List of words/phrases to use and not to use. Everyone has those specific words that they just can’t stand. We’ll find out yours and make sure to keep them out of your copy for good. If you prefer specific types of language, let us know, and we’ll keep note of those as well.
- Industry-specific glossary. Whether your business exists in healthcare, architecture, finance or another complex industry, a working glossary gives us the vocabulary to create content that makes you an authority on the subject.
- Brand-specific technologies or proprietary names. In this section, we’ll compile a list of trademarked terms that are unique to your brand. Maybe it’s a software you’ve developed or a piece of manufacturing equipment you’ve designed.
- Receive and internalize feedback.
The more blog posts that are written, the more comfortable writers become assuming the brand’s identity. In the early stages of the relationship, however, it’s normal for a brand to have feedback on the first few pieces of content. Criticism is always welcome. When a brand provides feedback, it helps refine and concretize the overall vision. By keeping the channels of communication open and welcoming productive dialogues as needed, we’re able to better achieve the desired writing style. After a round of revisions, specific requests will be documented, so we can put them into place going forward.
Interested in outsourcing your blogging to a firm who can properly represent who you are? Check out our 3 full-service blog content packages and let us help strengthen your brand identity and online presence.