9 Lessons I Learnt Putting Together A New Blog

So deBugged was launched on April 1st. Wow, its nearly a month old!

Let me share with you what I learnt along the way to building a brand new business blog for Rentokil:

  1. Read until you are fit to burst:
    After discovering on day 1 returning from maternity leave that you are going to be managing the project: read, read and then read some more blog posts on what makes a good blog. And what doesn’t make a good blog. And what makes a good title for a post. And what makes a bad title for a post. And what beginner blunders to avoid. And how to get people to comment on your blog. You get my point… There is so much advice out there that at times it was hard to see the wood for the trees. However, I was pointed in the direction of some excellent blog posts, blogs that I now subscribe to, e.g. HubSpot, CopyBlogger and ProBlogger.
  2. Get to know the team:
    Members in this project were from a number of functions and included: several Web Developers (Gareth, Leyton and Mark) , Gary the SEO expert, Randolph the Market Director, and Caroline the head of rentokil.com as well as some input from the legal team (checking the footer statements were all correct and accounted for). This is a pretty big deal you know, Rentokil joining the social media world that is! It had to be done right (or in an ideal world – as close to perfect as possible). I think I have roll-called everyone, we worked really well together actually. It seems this social media project brought a huge amount of enthusiasm to the work place.
  3. Meet a social media expert or two:
    We had a strategy meeting with a company that eats, sleeps and breathes social media. Since Rentokil had virtually no experience in this area, it was time to call in the big guns: Distilled. Tom and Lucy helped us with an excellent brain storming session for blog post ideas such as Unbelievable Truths, which reminds me, must re-visit that list – we came up with some brilliant suggestions. With the stuff we work on every dayat the office, well, we kind of get de-sensitised to how interesting it actually is to the outside world. The “flies in cling film” comment to explain ‘encapsulation fly control units’ was a perfect example of how technology can be described in terms that make it more understandable by the general public.
  4. Improve your vocab:
    As an aside, I tell you what; my social media terminology has also dramatically increased recently. It now includes (and this list isn’t exhaustive): RSS feed, sticky content, linkbait, tweeting, digg – it’s a brand new world of words out there – 0ne that I was clearly missing out on before.
  5. Decide on the blog name and categories:
    This took some time, but eventually we decided on deBugged – great suggestion Caroline. Short, catchy, and with that all important anti-grammar capital letter in the middle. With 5 categories, the idea was to capture 5 different on-line audiences. Yes, I suppose they could ultimately crossover and ideally they will because of the sticky content we have on deBugged. So with funnies, technology, industry, professionals and a technician’s view; hopefully we have all our bases covered.
  6. Select the styling for the blog:
    This step had to be one of the easiest actually. I got sent a couple of mock-ups, loved one, hated the other. Done deal. Just made a few minor changes and the blog is as you see it now.
  7. Produce new and attention-grabbing content:
    This needed to be ready for a soft internal launch, with more posts ready to go for the external launch. Some content was already available: from the International bed bug seminars held earlier in the year, and also some interviews that had taken place with a technician for another project. Adding content to deBugged just required learning how to use WordPress to: upload new posts, personalise the home page, etc. and it was pretty easy actually. There were a few IE6 bugs, but apparently that’s normal and they were quickly sorted out.
  8. Find your own voice:
    From a personal point of view, it was also really important I found a voice for my posts. I decided fairly early on that I should write about pest control from a personal perspective since the technical and industry insights direction just wasn’t my area of expertise. Hence my “pests & me” posts – I still have a few more up my sleeve so watch this space.
  9. Decide on a launch day:
    It had to be on or near April the first really didn’t it, seeing as we ready to go-live mid-March? So yes, we did two spoof posts. For the mutant bed bug story we went to a lot of trouble of making our new blogger realistic. He even got a biog like the rest of us – friends and family may recognise him ;) The other spoof wasn’t spotted as fast, but that’s probably because our resident bed bug story-teller wrote it, and he is usually pretty serious. Gotcha!

Now that deBugged is live, I have to monitor visitors, their loyalty, number of pages viewed, entry and exit points, bounce rates, etc. for the next 6 months; all courtesy of Google analytics. Monitor and analyse that is. I think getting loyal visitors to this blog will be an interesting challenge, but then I am also reliably informed by many a blog post, that there is a “niche blog out there for everyone” on-line – you just have to find the right hook.

So come this way… and find out more about the creepy, crawly and biting little pesky critters that you call ‘pests’ which then make you call us.

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