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6 Tips for Creating a Successful Blog Strategy

dreamstime_s_29668737Blogs can be tricky. They are a great asset until you realize you haven’t posted in a week. Or, one day you wake up and there are 13 blogs you have to review and approve.

An essential component to any social media strategy at a company is a good blog program. We have an open blogging system and authors are able to publish directly – this is a good thing! However, how do you manage an influx of blog requests that can impact the overall engagement and metrics of your blog?

What can you do when your blog becomes wild and untamed?

1. Start with an audit of all bloggers

When we performed an audit we realized some of our authors had changed organizations and were no longer focused on blogging and a number of the authors had not blogged in over a year. We removed the individuals who had changed focus and those who had not blogged for a significant amount of time.

2. Re-train the authors

After the audit, we noticed some of our active bloggers had another issue – blogs were written in formal, company-branded voices that read more like a press release. We wanted our blog to highlight the individual voices and share real stories. We trained over 100 bloggers in three different sessions on how to bring their own voice to their blog, encouraged them to share photos, graphics, and videos. We also reviewed best practices such as SEO for blogs, how to use the “read more” function, and create a custom tweet for each blog article.  This kind of training can help even seasoned bloggers understand new trends in blogging and social media, new tools available in the blogging platform, and reinforce company guidelines.

3. Use Gamification

Cisco had recently partnered with Bunchball to create Social Rewards – social gamification and badges on the blog site for authors and subscribers to the blogs. In our training sessions, we encouraged authors to use the Social Rewards to help boost their own author profile and to support the other authors on their team. After we reviewed the program we had some very healthy competition going on who could reach higher levels.

4. Focus on Engagement, Not just Page Views

In all our training and efforts, we focused on engagement and social shares on the blog, not just page views and visits. When an individual puts their social profile behind content by sharing it on their social media accounts, they are giving you a true stamp of approval. This is a significant measure of just how well your content is resonating with your audience.  As a team, we set an initial goal of a minimum number of social shares per blog to encourage authors to think deeper about what their audience wanted to hear – and to encourage personal sharing on their own account. It was a naturally occurring result that by encouraging our audience to take part in the Social Rewards program, we were also encouraging social shares.

5. Build an Editorial Calendar

We set a self-service editorial calendar where bloggers could sign up for their blog timeslot. We limited blogs to no more than two a day and limited posts on “big news” days. By having a public editorial calendar, we allow the authors to see what is being planned and if their content is redundant or something fresh and new. When conflicts arise, we leave it to the bloggers to decide amongst themselves which topic should be a priority.

6. Measure and Report

Measurement is critical. I ran a baseline for five months before we started the audit and all other aspects of the new program. Then, every month we ran reports on top blogs and the lowest performing blogs. We looked at social shares, unique visitors, and page views. We tracked month over month success and called out the areas were we did not see success.

The Results:

By implementing the steps above we saw a major change in the blog content and performance. From January 2015 to July 2015, the average social shares per post increased by 40% and the average unique visitors per post increased by 555%! In addition, after May we saw zero blogs with under 50 social shares. This is our success story!

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Twitter Polls Are Coming!

You may have heard the news coming in from Twitter this week…


Cisco Data Center, @CiscoDC, received the opportunity to be one of the first Twitter handles to have the polling enabled on to our account. (Yes, we do feel special too). Here at Cisco, we are excited to test the feature so we conducted our first poll yesterday with great results.

Benefits of Polling

One of the biggest benefits to Twitter Polls is that it gives brands a new opportunity to engage with their Twitter network. The most obvious benefit is that brands now have the opportunity to ask anything and get feedback in real time. The real time aspect of Twitter’s new polling feature will enable quicker decision making that will help brands create more effective social media campaigns.

Time and Analytics

Each poll is live for 24 hours, which gives people only 24 hours to choose one answer of the two you can provide. No third or fourth answers are possible. During this time you will be able to see real time analytics of the number of respondents and the current results of the poll . Your respondents are able to answer the question anonymously.

During Polling Analytics Information

During the 24-hour response period, mobile users are able to see the question rendering in two big buttons like this:


Participants are also able to see how many people have already voted and how many more hours the poll is open to respond.

After participants have answered, they are able to see via visual confirmation, their choice and also the real time results of the poll as show below:

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Post Polling Analytics Information

Once the poll has closed, everyone (whether they have participated in the poll or not), will be able to see the results of your poll. As seen here:

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Character Limits

For the initial tweet, you are limited to 95 characters and for each of the possible answers; you are limited to 21 characters. Clear messaging and a concise plan will be critical for using this feature.

Are you excited to use this feature on your account? What would be your first poll question be?

Tell me in the comments below.



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Join the Conversation: Where Shopping Experience Meets the New Digital Consumer

The demands of increasingly mobile and digital consumers are creating unprecedented complexity for retailers and brands.  How should retailers respond?  We’re going to tackle this question together on Twitter next Tuesday, October 27 at 1pm EST/ 10am PST.

Together, we’ll discuss questions such as:

  • Who is the new “digital consumer”?
  • What does the future of retail look like through the lens of digital technologies?
  • What have you learned about the behaviors and expectations of the digital shopper?
  • What is the role of security in retail?
  • Why “trust” is key in winning wallet share of the digital shopper?

It’s always been my experience that the best ideas emerge from a combination of people with different viewpoints, areas of expertise, and experiences.  That’s one reason I’m (@anabellepinto) looking forward to being part of the next #CiscoChat with my colleague, Ron Kjelden (@rkjelden), focused on how retailers can create shopping experiences that meet the demands of the new digital consumer. Read More »

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Mobility IQ Provides Real Time Analytics at MWC 2015

Using a mobile tabletAs we begin our preparations for Mobile World Congress 2016 (hard to believe), I thought it would be fun to reflect on this year’s show. Cisco worked with the GSMA and the Fira again this year to deliver a carrier-grade Wi-Fi network to 93,000 attendees. After winning last year’s WBA Wi-Fi Industry Award for Most Innovative Hotspot Venue, we challenged the teams to do more this year. We staffed the Network Operating Center with Wi-Fi experts to ensure the network was always delivering peak performance, and we continued to push the envelope on network capability, demonstrating the pure power of a well-deigned carrier-grade Wi-Fi network in a dense trade show environment. I love this video that gives a behind-the-scenes peak into the NOC at work.

We also used Cisco Mobility IQ to gain business insights about Read More »

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Digital Manufacturing: Transforming Your Business Model

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Today’s announcement of Cisco’s Digital Solutions for Industries at the Global Editor’s Conference highlights our unique approach to help customers capture the promise of digitization. As Tony Shakib’s blog notes, “Digital transformation necessitates a combining of business and IT strategy that connects everything, embraces analytics, and takes a holistic approach to data security that spans technology and operations.”

Digital disruption is already happening across manufacturing and other industrial sectors, and we’re stepping up to help businesses in these segments harness the benefits of digitization across their value chains. For example, using innovative models like machines securely connected (thru Cisco Connected Machines) for real-time monitoring and analytics across Cisco’s Intercloud, digital manufacturers are optimizing their plant operations with improved control, increased efficiency, less downtime, higher productivity and duty cycles, and more flexible manufacturing.

Research suggests that a significant number—as many as 40 percent—of incumbents will be left wounded, probably mortally, by digital disruption over the next five years. In the face of these pressures, CEOs recognize that those companies who can leverage digital technologies and business models will come out ahead. This video provides an overview on the challenges, opportunities and benefits of Digital Manufacturing:

For forward-thinking manufacturers, digital transformation is not just a new challenge but a major opportunity—maybe the most significant in decades—to pull ahead of competitors. Digital Manufacturers are seizing the opportunity Read More »

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