Before launching a new web property, it is imperative to set expectations and the effort required from all individuals involved.
You’ll want to weed out individuals who may mean well but will abandon the project once they realize it takes time and effort on their part to ensure success. It is equally important to establish a sponsor with enough pull to “make things happen,” this is the person that can review content before publishing and help overcome scheduling issues.
For those people who were still on board after this initial stage, I’ve always promised to create a content marketing machine to maximize the value of each content contribution in return for the effort they put in. If some people were discouraged, I would ease them into the process by organizing them into a group and getting them to contribute regularly to the firm’s newsletter program. In a past role, I was able to develop and manage eight blogs and four microsites by utilizing this approach over a two year period.
Below are three key resources to utilize when launching a new blog and/or microsite.
1. Blog / Microsite Request Template
In order to ensure that expectations are properly set and everyone involved knows the effort required on their part, consider using a “Blog or Microsite Request Form.” A standard web property request template could include:
- Overview (document the professionals involved; describe the history of those involved in creating content; gauge the desire of business development reps to move forward; and, describe the project).
- Goals & Objectives
- Strategic Alignment With Firm Goals
- Target Audience
- Competitive Landscape
- Evaluation / Key Performance Metrics
- Content Strategy
2) Create a Content Strategy and a Content Calendar
Some of the items to include in your blog or microsite content strategy are:
- Desired Content Types (Think categories)
- Needs Assessment (What is the current opportunity or gap?)
- Content Development (How will we learn about new content and how will articles be assigned)
- Publishing Schedule (Commitment of two articles a week or rethink need for a blog/microsite)
- Content Roles (Managing Editor; Content Creators; Content Poster)
- Approvals Process for Publishing Content (Who will approve the content before it is posted/published)
- Promotional Plan
3) Establish Processes So Everyone Understands What is Involved
Part of launching a successful web property is to lay the foundation for what individuals involved should expect. Some firms are able to throw a project management resource at such projects; for those firms that cannot, I have found that creating simple processes and documentation helps all parties involved not only understand what steps are coming up but also trust that you have it under control.
Steps to Launching a Blog or Microsite
- Step 1: Organize group nationally (get buy-in/commitment, get national lead on board, establish BD support, get right people in place including an editorial team, writers/bloggers, admin to post)
- Step 2: Complete Blog Request Template to define goals, target market, publishing schedule, etc.
- Step 3: Get proposal approved within marketing and by appropriate parties (managing partner, CEO, National Group lead, etc.)
- Step 4: Create content plan (start writing!)
- Step 5: Develop property
- Step 6: Final approval before property is brought live
- Step 7: Launch and Promotion (MARCOM plan)
- Step 8: Measuring, Regular Content Updates, and Maintenance