Are You Empowering Your Employees as Content Creators? You Should Be.
August 15, 2013
Do you have content writers on your staff? You probably do and don’t even know it. Every one of your employees is a content creator and can be an important part of a successful content marketing strategy. They were hired because of their expertise in a function that relates to your business and it’s your job to help them get their domain expertise out of their head and onto your blog. It might not be obvious to them that everything they know about a particular function or industry or business practice might be valuable insight to your customers and prospects. But with a little encouragement and communication of the “what’s in it for them” (e.g. good for their career/professional development, management recognition, etc.), you can help allay their fears.
Here are 4 tips to creating an employee content engine for your company:
1. Break Down the Barriers to Writing
One of the most common barriers to getting your employees involved in content creation or contributing to the blog is the fear of writing a blog post. Those who have never done so before can be intimidated by putting their thoughts out into the world for all to see and comment upon. It’s your job as a marketer to encourage them to get their thoughts and expertise out there.
One very useful resource that I have used to overcome this challenge is from what I like to refer to as “the bible” of content marketing, Content Rules by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman. This book is the essential guide for all content marketers, and it includes some very useful tools for getting new bloggers up and running. They have put together a blogging template that outlines the blogging process, making it easy for newbies to jump right in. Put that into place along with a few brown bag lunch blog training sessions at your office and you are primed for success
2. Incentives Work Wonders
Now that you have the essential playbook (Content Rules) in hand and the helpful templates, it’s time to incent participation. I recommend putting together a point system with tiered prizes for blog contribution and have seen these types of incentive programs work wonders when coordinated by a smart content marketing manager. For example, Marketo has a fantastic incentive program in place for internal bloggers which the following is based upon. Level 1 can be something simple such as a branded T-shirt or Starbucks gift card. Rewarding writers after just one contribution can really get the ball rolling. Level 2 could be a much more significant prize, such as X, for three blog contributions, Level 3 for six, and so on.
3. Don’t Forget the Editorial Process
With all of the new content coming into your blogging pipeline, it’s essential to have a quality check in place. The template will help out with any formatting issues, but remember quality always trumps quantity in the world of content. You will need to have a final reviewer in place for grammar checks and to add a bit of SEO optimization along with scheduling for the editorial calendar.
4. Ongoing Fuel for the Content Machine
Programs such as these are vital to a successful content marketing strategy. Once the ball gets rolling you will start to see new ideas and topics along with fresh opinions and writing styles begin to come out of the woodwork. It’s an internal content awakening of sorts, but just as with any program it’s going to need some TLC to keep it going strong.
Celebrate those who contribute to your blog and call them out in a company newsletter after they get their first blog post published. Publish their blog contributions to your LinkedIn company page, then take the top performing posts and run a Sponsored Update. It’s just another way to reward your internal content creators while making sure they know that their voice and expertise are contributing to the overall humanization of your brand online.
Your employees are the lifeblood of your business. Empowering them to contribute to such a powerful medium will help deliver the most difficult kind of content to create; the organic kind.