The following is a guest post by Jill Phillips. Jill is a freelance writer from Buffalo, NY. She writes about business and tech topics. When she is not writing, Jill enjoys taking photos and hiking with her dog. Connect with Jill via Twitter @jillphlps
Having and maintaining a company blog is rapidly becoming an important marketing strategy for businesses. However, creating current and relevant content can be a struggle for many companies to generate information that their current and future customers will want to read.
Your staff is an excellent source of this blog content, but getting your employees to contribute can be a constant battle. Some staff members may feel that they have nothing meaningful to offer, whereas others may think that they are not good enough writers for the company blog. In addition, creating content can be a time-consuming task that your employees may be hesitant to undertake. With the best blog content coming from your knowledgeable staff members, there are a few ways you can encourage these valuable employees to start writing.
Give Them a List of Topics
There are a few things as daunting as staring at a blank page when you know that you need to be writing something meaningful. For company blogs, there are lots of different potential topics, so choosing one can seem like an exceptionally intimidating task. This fear could cause many employees to avoid contributing to the project.
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If you give your team a list of potential topics, you can improve participation. For example, start with a list of good topics, passing it around to your potential contributors and asking them to sign up for a subject that excites them to write. Another tactic could be pointing out some blogs that are similar to your own. Get ideas from the comments on other blogs as well; these comments often showcase popular topics in your industry that you could expand into full blog posts.
Finally, try directing your team to social media sites, allowing them to find related topics that are already being discussed as relevant. By providing these suggestions, you can remove one of your writers’ biggest barriers: choosing a writing topic.
Let Them Be Creative
Whether or not you provide a list of possible topics, you have to allow your staff writers the freedom to be creative and to write about company-related areas that interest them. Your employees will work much harder to produce higher quantity blog posts if they are writing about topics they are passionate about.
It is also important to remember that for many writers, their passion does not necessarily align with their job titles or roles. For example, just because one of your writers works in human resources does not mean that they cannot be interested in writing about a more technical field.
Be sure that your list of potential topics includes items that could interest a wide range of team members, making it a potential passion project for everyone. If you force your writers to spend time reading or writing about a topic that is uninteresting to them, you will end up with uninspired blog pieces and discouraged writers.
Ask Each Employee Personally
If you have a large company, it can be tempting to send out a mass email requesting the assistance of blog writers. However, group emails seem impersonal and are very easy to ignore, so you are unlikely to receive volunteer contributions this way.
Instead, approach each of your employees individually to ask them whether they would consider writing for your company blog. Try to tie your request with that the employee’s current work project or personal interest. This will make the task more in-tune with the staff member and will create less additional responsibility to the employee’s current workload. Try to craft a persuasive and personal request that demonstrates your excitement to have the individual involved. Your staff members are more likely to say yes to this direct invitation to write.
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Give Them Incentives
When creating your company blog, you have the choice whether to require everyone to contribute or whether to ask for volunteers. In either case, you want to consider an incentive plan to get more entries. For example, you could reward your employees with gifts or other perks for every blog article that they produce. Even if you require minimum participation, you could still give incentives for exceeding your expectations in length or in quantity of contributions.
If you want to create an environment in which people want to contribute, you will need to reinforce this behavior with some sort of reward that your employees will value. This does not have to be monetary; in fact, simple company recognition can be a very good motivator for many people. Another strong motivation for your employees could be the chance for your best bloggers to work remotely rather than in the office. Many employees work extra hard to earn this type of reward.
Give Them Some Guidance
Even if you have provided potential topics and your employees get excited about one, not everyone is ready to take that topic and write extensively about it. This is especially true if you are just beginning your company blog and there are not many entries in it to demonstrate the type of content that you want on your blog.
Whether your staff writers are blogging veterans or newcomers to the concept, they may be concerned about the quality and style of their writing. Consider providing an outline for some topics to help jump-start your team’s writing.
Offering templates or outlines, especially at the blog’s inception, can really help your group focus on the information and style you want. These outlines do not necessarily need to be point-by-point guidelines. However, some direction about the writing structure, especially in regard to length and readability, will be beneficial to your staff as they begin the writing process.
Show Them the Results
Your company blog is a large and important project, and you are requesting the assistance of your employees. These contributors want to see the end result of their hard work, including the impact of the blog on the company’s marketing strategy and business.
Make sure that you regularly update all of your employees about the performance of the blog and how its incorporation into the business has had a positive effect. This continual reminder of the project’s importance and impact will keep the blog on employees’ minds and will keep your writers accountable.
For instance, you could report the number of page views, the number of unique visitors, the current click-through rate and the amount of search engine traffic your blog is currently generating. You should also indicate the number of new leads, the amount of revenue and the most popular content to your staff.
With this information, many of your staff members will work harder on their current blog posts, and others may also be interested in contributing in the future. Your employees want to see that there is a purpose and a mission behind the project, and these reports can be the key to those realizations.
Your company blog is a very powerful tool for communicating to your clients and for generating new leads for your business. In order to have high-quality content that will encourage these clients to read your blog, you must motivate your employees to contribute their knowledge. Consider some of these suggestions as you work to keep your staff engaged and excited about the project, and your blog will help your company become one of the leaders in your field.
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