If you have ever worked for a content publisher, you know that they have some very hard deadlines that must be followed. What would a newspaper be if it frequently didn’t get to press in time? Those of you who (still) read the paper would be a bit miffed not being able to read the funny pages with your morning coffee. TV is no different. Shorwrunners have 8-10 days to produce a show in order for it to be ready to air on time. Failure is not an option!
In a world where everyone is a publisher, (if you have a website, blog or twitter account, you ARE a content publisher) the only deadlines we have are our own, and we don’t mind so much if it occasionally has to be extended. And in truth, most of your audience wouldn’t have a fit if a blog post comes a day or two late from when they expect. But all that doesn’t mean that you don’t have or need a set of guidelines to, well, guide your content publishing efforts.
Establishing guidelines for you and/or your blogging team to follow helps ensure consistent messaging. Whether it’s consistency in publishing the content, how it’s formatted or the focus of the content, all of these will help you stay on the path that your visitors expect.
Determine what your audience wants, and then decide the best way to deliver it. Create guidelines for the voice and tone you’ll use so that all those involved in producing the content can maintain a certain level of consistency. Having a firm grasp on what topics you do and don’t want to cover can prevent you from going down a rabbit trail that just doesn’t serve the goals you want to achieve.
Also have a plan for socializing the content. More and more audiences are not coming to our sites unless prompted from the social channels they are following us on. Stay focused on those platforms that provide the most value and ignore those that don’t. That can save you a lot of time down the road.
Once you have your guidelines worked out, it’s a good idea to write them down to ensure there is no ambiguity. Update them as often as needed and as new issues arise. Creating these guidelines up front allows you and your team to produce better content on a regular basis with relatively fewer problems.
If you are going to be a publisher, you might as well act like one! But there is no need to reinvent the wheel! With a few quick searches, you can find some specific guidelines good enough to
steal tweak and use as your own.
While guidelines won’t be any sort of magic bullet to success, they will keep you on track and increase the value of what you are providing. When everyone is a publisher, you should use any advantage you can.