Your brand is awesome, you have great content, and your blog is off to a great start. But before you started said blog, did your team consider editorial guidelines? The content is crucial but so is maintaining control over how the content is created.
Here are five things to consider when putting together blogging editorial guidelines. These ideas apply whether you are the only one blogging, you have a team, or you allow for guest posts.
In General: Audience, Topics, Edits/Reviews
It is important to establish specific guidelines for your bloggers to know your particular audience they are writing for. In addition giving them some initial ideas on topics is helpful so they know what is OK to write about and what is not advised. And of course letting them know how the editing and review process will work – for example if your team will review and edit or if the blogger will have to edit the piece until it is complete (or if there are certain amount of review rounds that are acceptable).
Formatting: Pictures, Videos, Bulleting, Headings
In order to make the process more streamlined and efficient it is more important to outline specific formatting procedures. For example how pictures are to be submitted (size, type), if videos can be used, how paragraphs should be written (headings, bullet points, sub headings). Some blogs even have rules on how soon you can have a heading in a blog post and how long paragraphs should be. Word count is also an important item to consider – 300 to 800 words is fairly standard.
Source it, source it, source it. If your bloggers are using other sources to back up their thoughts, then they should be hyper-linked or sources at the bottom (however you prefer). Linking back is usually helpful to cross-promote content.
If your bloggers are influential and have a large social following and their own blog where they host content – it is usually considerate and helpful for the brand to let the bloggers post on their blog as well. Key is to decide if and how much they can re-post. Some blogs allow a blogger to re-post and link back while others prefer an excerpt. Either is acceptable.
Giving your bloggers a specific weekly or monthly deadline is key in order to stay ahead of review times, and ensure that specific posts will be live when planned (but still allowing gaps for content that is drafted quickly due to current events).
Another thing to consider is letting your bloggers have a bio which includes their picture, what they do, their personal blog, and/or social network links like their twitter handle. It helps give them an incentive and also gives your posts some more credit. Win-win.