3458301956_6130b5b946_m (1)A couple of years ago, we were talking to a client about starting a company blog. They were really hesitant to get started. When we kept pushing them to tell us why (we thought their product line and their company philosophy would be perfect fodder for blog posts), they said, “Well, I just don’t want our company blog to be another of those long-abandoned blogs a few months from now.

It’s true that the Blogosphere is filled with many blog sites that have become ghost towns. There are a lot of reasons for this. Often times the cause for abandonment is frustration. So much time and effort can be infused into a blog, and many times it can take six months to a year to begin to see results. Companies aren’t usually prepared for that, so the effort is deemed a failure sooner rather than later.

We offered our client some tips on how to make sure their blog wouldn’t be added to the list of ghost towns, and we thought we would share those same tips with you today. Without further ado, here they are.

1. Set up an editorial calendar first

One of the toughest things about blogging is coming up with a topic to write about on a regular basis. It doesn’t seem like it would be hard, but once you put some time pressure on yourself it suddenly seems impossible. This can cause a lag in blogging which can then cause blog death. To avoid this, we suggest creating an editorial calendar first. It does not have to be detailed. Rather, each blog post should just have enough of an idea so that it will jog your memory when you come to that particular date. Setting up an editorial calendar not only tells you if you have enough content to keep a blog going, but it also takes off a lot of the pressure involved in trying to think of topics.

2. Establish realistic expectations

If you are proposing that your sales will increase as soon as you start to blog, you need to take a big step back. Even though “content marketing” is all the rage these days, the reality is that especially now, when there are so many blogs pushing out information, it can easily take six months to a year for your blog to start gaining traction. In the interim, it will feel for awhile like you are just blogging for yourself. Prepare people in your company for that reality, especially your bosses.

3. Choose a consistent time to publish your posts

We normally like to recommend one of two potential schedules for bloggers. If there is someone in the company who has the time and inclination to write, we recommend a schedule of 2-3 blog posts a week (MWF or Tuesday/Thursday tends to work best). If the company does not have a designated writer or if adding blogging will be difficult given time constraints, we recommend one post a week. If your company is going to post one blog a week, we recommend doing so on the same day every week and as close as possible to the same time every week. This will begin to create a sense of expectation for your readers.

4. Have a plan for promotion

Given all of the blog noise in the online world, it is virtually impossible to expect that people will simply stumble upon your blog and become loyal readers in any kind of meaningful numbers. We advise researching social media platforms to see what might be a good fit for your company and starting those efforts in parallel with your blogging efforts. Your blog posts will add content to your social media presence and your social media outposts will help promote your blog posts.

5. Don’t give up

This sounds simplistic, but given the factors we mentioned above, it can be the hardest part of all. After putting together an editorial calendar and writing blog post after blog post, it can be very demoralizing to still not make a blip on the radar. When you get no comments, no tweets, no Facebook “likes” – nothing to indicate that anyone is actually reading what you are writing, it can be very frustrating. Throwing up your hands and asking what the point is can seem like the next logical step. We advise you to hang in there. You are building a backlog of easily accessible content that can be shared with your customers, and blogs are also great ways to help your company show up better in Google search results. Even if you aren’t getting the most tangible sorts of positive reinforcement, it is still well worth your while.

Have you ever looked blog death in the face? How did you avoid it? We’d love to hear from you!

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aloha75/3458301956/ via Creative Commons