At Convio Summit last year (that’s right, 2011 is already “last year”) I was asked for tips on managing a blog team. Good question! When you have a large team from all different areas of a company, it can be challenging. In fact, sometimes the marketing team not so secretly refers to blog team management as “herding cats.”
To be completely honest, when I started managing Connection Café I didn’t have much of a plan for how I would motivate and coordinate my team. I just started doing stuff, hoped it would work out and since have tweaked as necessary. I’ve been pleased with the results – as I hope my team is as writers and you are as a reader. And while I know the same approach won’t work in every organization, I’d like to share five tactics that I think work well for us.
- The Blogger Alias. We have a blogger alias set up in Outlook that allows me to easily communicate with team members. Since we’re a very email heavy culture at Convio (what office isn’t?) I use this sparingly with the hope that my bloggers will know if I’m sending something to all of them, it must be pretty important.
- Semi-Annual Meetings. Just like we’re email heavy, we’re meeting heavy. Since my blog team has other responsibilities, I try to be very respectful of their time and only host two blog meetings per year. I also employ a concept I learned while on staff at Girl Scouts: cookies make everything more fun.
- Ed Cal Planning. At our semi-annual team meetings, we plan our editorial calendar for the upcoming six months. Each team member provides me with a “date-ish” (some give specific dates, others say “the week of” and still others say “any time in X month”) and I coordinate the behind-the-scenes magic of who writes what when. I then send out the calendar to everyone.
- Reminders. I’ve sent them the calendar but let’s be honest, very few of us revisit emails that are multiple months old. Because I want to make their blogging experience as easy and enjoyable as possible, I send reminders every Friday to the next two weeks worth of bloggers. This is the tactic I have received the most positive feedback on.
- Saying Thanks. I’m a big fan of saying “thank you” and to date, showing appreciation has never failed me. In every reminder email, at every meeting and as often as I possibly can, I tell my blog team thank you. Every three months we also recognize the most popular post of the quarter and at our meetings I share our successes with the whole team. I may manage the blog, but they provide the smarts.
That’s only five ideas and I’m willing to bet there’s a hundred more really great tactics out there. Please share your ideas in the comments so we can all learn from each other.