Most companies are aware of the effect and therefore the need for a content marketing strategy to boost their online presence, but the number of US companies blogging for marketing purposes is only around 40 percent.
The reality is that keeping up with a blog can be a lot of work. Consistency requires commitment to a full editorial calendar. Going outside the bounds of your company’s marketing team and getting colleagues to contribute is a good way to generate plenty of content.
But not all of your colleagues are writers and convincing people to voluntarily add to their workload is not easy.
A reason to bother your colleagues
People look online to get a first impression of a company, and the blog is often the best place to look for the real voice of the company. People want to see an overview of who you are, what you think and what you do but your marketing team doesn't have time to become experts in every department.
To publish a range of content that’s specific and knowledgeable, you need:
- Sales people writing on how they help customers.
- Research and development on what’s coming up in new products.
- The CEO on the mission and outlook of the company (and maybe the industry as a whole).
- The customer service reps to answer common customer questions.
Your colleagues are the key, but they may be reluctant to get on board. These tips will turn them around and get them enthusiastically contributing to the company blog.
1. Mandatory participation
Requiring a realistic level of contributions guarantees the blog calendar stays current. Of course, mandatory is not the same as encouraged participation, but sometimes making something a requirement is the extra push needed. Try to get managers on board to help you enforce your plan.
2. Early incentive
Early on, you can initiate a gamified system. Create incentives to reward colleagues for participation. Implement levels of achievement for things like sharing posts, commenting on blogs or the number of posts written to engage colleagues in the whole marketing process.
3. Give them the numbers
- Companies with active blogs can generate 67 percent more leads
- Businesses blogging more than 20 times a month get five times more traffic
Motivate people by tying the blog's goals into their departmental objectives. Quality content has a big impact on incoming customers, and getting more customers is in everyone's interests.
4. Give them more numbers
Once you’ve got a string of contributions, post marketing metrics, whether essential or non-essential. People will enjoy seeing the comments and shares on their own work and seeing the engagement from customers and other colleagues and it will motivate them to contribute more.
5. Detailed briefs
Even with incentives and good reasons to blog, you’ll still have reluctant writers. If you want colleagues to contribute, a detailed brief which pinpoints the topic and outlines the main points will encourage employees by giving them a clear structure to work with.
6. Questions to answer
Another way to give colleagues a starting point is to give them a question to answer. Every single one of your colleagues is an expert in what they do and they get questions. So, turn those questions into a blog article. They already know how to answer - they just have to write it down.
7. Flexibility in format
Don’t limit assignments to written blogs. Promoting a content culture means allowing for creativity. If the sales team wants to create a video series or the owner has an idea for a podcast, let it happen.
8. Offer editing
For people uncomfortable with writing, knowing someone will take a look before the publish button is pressed acts as a safety net. For some of us, writing is work and you push through. For your colleagues who only write for your blog, knowing help will be there allows them to relax and write.
9. Hire writers
Interviews and ghost writers take the pressure off those expert colleagues who just don't have the time or ability to write. Find writers that know how to extract the important information and can create blogs in interview format or write on your colleagues' behalf. For your colleagues, a short amount of time spent sharing expertise equals quality content from experts in writing.
10. Spread the responsibility
People will be more enthusiastic if the added workload is minimal. The more colleagues that contribute, the lighter the load. In a company of 50, if everyone contributed, you'd only have to write a post once every two months to fill a post-a-day editorial calendar. That said, sometimes it's best nurturing the most enthusiastic and talented to do a little more, rather than battling the most belligerent.
Success for all
A successful blog has to be consistent, give voice to the entire company and target the buyers looking to get an impression of what the business behind the blog is all about.
Make the blog a team effort from CEO down to intern and encourage colleagues to contribute to the company blog so that is becomes an accurate representation of who your business is and why customers should buy from you.
(Hat tip to Jim Winstead for the photo)