Conventional wisdom tells us that a blog is an anchor for all content marketing activities. It is where you publish content with the hope of driving traffic to your site- which will somehow miraculously convert into signups or leads.
But sometimes, a blog is not available. The company’s website might not have a blog, or it could be under construction. I’ve had the misfortune of working with companies where this was the state throughout my entire engagement. So what do you do then? Giving up on content as a strategy seemed lazy and shortsighted, so I improvised. And I’ve learnt some helpful tips that might help others too.
Pick an alternative blogging platform
No Blog? No problem? Medium is an excellent blogging platform, that allows to start blogging right away and enjoys an in-house crowd and as easy to distribute or share as any native blog. In addition, there are industry- specific blogging sites (for instance- InfosecIsland , informationsecuritybuzz) that are vying for guest writers (sometime they allow only novel content, which means that even if you have a blog you can only publish original content there). These do not require any setup- you simply submit the text (via email) or upload it an that’s it. These sites enjoy very relevant traffic and also share and promote your content via their social channels.
Use Social as your blogging platform
LinkedIn Pulse allows to publish very long, content-rich (visuals, videos, links) posts. In addition to being extremely easy to edit and publish they also guarantee native audience and exposure that most blogs can only dream of. Easy to share within and outside the platform, this ensures very good visibility and reach.
Some people use Facebook in the same manner, and enjoy similar benefits (although the target audience is different and long text posts on Facebook are not as appealing to read as on LinkedIn).
Leverage guest blogging and partners blogs:
If you work with partners you can provide them with content they can post on their blog- they will be more than happy to from two reasons- they need quality content and you will help them sell your product, which is what they ultimately desire. Similarly, many industry blogs accept guest post and provide with backlinks and credit, and they will be willing to reciprocate once you have a blog.
Use PR and media publications
If you are lucky enough to have a PR agency or access to media, you can use it to show your stuff to the world. Many industry media outlet accept guest post and thought-leadership pieces (they are more willing to do so via a PR agency they are familiar with then through cold email, but even if you don’t have one it’s worth a shot). The upside (other than seeing your pieces published by someone else, which is always nice) is that they are perceived as more prestigious and professional than self-generated posts.
Guidelines and best practices
However, posting on external platform is not the same as post on your home turf. Here are some best practices you might like to consider:
- Speak in one voice
On a company blog you can choose if you publish under “the company” or a specific function; CEO, VP Marketing, etc.
When publishing elsewhere it will be usually done using a specific person- the company’s CEO LinkedIn account (you can read all his "posts" in the following link) , for instance. So the piece needs to be written in a first person voice and suite his personality. As the content creator you must make sure he or she are comfortable with the article they have “written” (this might sound funny, but I ghost-write for a startup CEO for many months and people were so certain it was his own work they applauded him frequently ).
- But consider some diversification
A single person can only write (or have solid opinions) on so many issues, so, from time to time write as the head of sales, product or R&D. It will make things look more authentic (and they too, will reap the praises for your writing!)
- Amplify the same way you would for your own post
That’s right, tweet it, FB it, post it in places like stummbleupon and Reddit . The same as any blog post.
- Consider the peculiar nature of the platform
If your posting on LinkedIn, maintain a more professional and traditional approach than on Facebook.
People will “Like” and comment or your post (which they never will on your blog)- so use it to create real conversations and convert them into actual leads.
Publishing quality content without a blog is a challenge, but once you’ve mastered it you can use it even if you do have a blog. For instance, I publish mostly on Owntrerenuership.com, but from time to time will post on LinkedIn- it gets more exposure and helps build my audience.