Although outsourcing can provide content for your company blog, it is wise to utilize the specific skills and insider knowledge of existing employees. These are the people who will understand the projects, products, and services you offer and the attitudes and values the company stands for.
Unfortunately, convincing staff to write blog posts may be difficult. The reticence may come from lack of time, lack of writing skills, or doubt that they have anything worthwhile to say.
The positive outcomes of employee blogging should not be ignored. If you wish to encourage them to share their unique ideas, experiences, and opinions with your consumer base, try these tips to encourage your team to blog.
Give Them a List of Topics
Whether fueled by performance anxiety or worries about worthwhile content, employees may be stymied at the start if forced to come up with their own ideas. This can often be the most difficult part of writing a blog post. When so many potential topics are available, choosing one can be nerve-racking.
Get the team together and share your ideas about what would make good content to share with the public. You can assign topics to individual employees, create a sign-up sheet with ideas, or even make it a bit fun by drawing topic suggestions from a hat. Letting people pick what they are comfortable with and knowledgeable about makes more sense.
If you do not want to come up with ideas yourself, suggest places where the employees can get ideas of their own. These can include social media pages, question and answer sites, and even competitors’ blogs.
Let Them Be Creative
If you are lucky enough to have members of the team who can conceptualize ideas and are eager to write about them, give them free reign when it comes to content creation. As mentioned above, pairing topics with people who know the most about them lead to more successful blog posts.
Maintain high morale among the blog-writing team by letting them follow their passions and interests. A boost of fun, such as running a content creation contest, can encourage great endeavors. The range of content ideas should be wide while still incorporating the main thrust of your business practices, niche, and values.
Ask Each Employee Personally
As an employer or a manager of a team in a company, you should have specific knowledge of each team member’s job description, abilities, and interests. Approaching each employee separately allows you to encourage a blog post based on their current project or a recent event or development they were involved with. For example, if one employee just finished a large technical upgrade project, he or she can write a blog post about the process or the new benefits that will be realized because of it.
This type of thing will keep your target audience abreast of business developments. It will also give your team member the opportunity to write a post without the need for excess research or time spent. Suggesting a closely related topic may require more time, but the employee is more likely to tackle it because they already have most of the information.
Personal interaction between the boss or the manager and the employees not only fosters a more congenial work environment but also makes requests more difficult to refuse. If you want your team to write blog posts, make the requests for content personal.
Give them Some Guidance
Besides helping team members choose a topic to write about, help with the writing process may result in more completed posts. People may be unsure if their writing ability is good enough for the company blog and some may struggle with writing organization or grammar.
Create one or more post templates that employees can use to share their information and ideas in written form. These can be as in-depth as a list of subheadings and bullet points, or as free-form as a list of questions to guide the writer. Flexible guidelines that cover word count and structure can give the bloggers peace of mind that they are turning in a sufficient post.
If you are handing out topic ideas to the team members or allowing them to pick their own, each could get a folder, either hard copy or on their computers, with a packet of the post preparation materials. It can include title suggestions, keywords, and other information that pertains to the topic. An outline and structural guidelines should be included in each one.
Reassure the writers that all grammar and spelling mistakes will be dealt with before the piece is posted on the company blog. Also, provide the option to include or leave out their byline. Anonymity may encourage some team members to write more expansively.
Give Them Incentives
Running a blog post contest can give competitive team members a true incentive to write more or better posts. However, not everyone is encouraged to do something for just the chance of winning a small prize or perk. Instead of a contest, you could just offer incentives based on content goals.
The simplest way to encourage blog post writing is to make it a required part of their job description. If each employee needs to write one post per month, many may only complete that one post and never consider writing any more.
If you want to fill the company blog more, additional posts can garner rewards. These can be monetary like a bonus in the paycheck or a gift card, actual physical gifts, or any other valuable thing that your team members may want. Perhaps the employee who writes the most blog posts can get an extra hour lunch or time off at the end of the day.
If the employee is not required to be in the office throughout his or her shift, the opportunity to telecommute can be a great incentive to encourage people to write more. After all, quality blogging can be done from anywhere. Many employees will make the extra effort so they can stay home later in the morning, or drive in to the office for four full days and still get their regular pay.
Show Them the Results
Everyone works more enthusiastically if they can see and understand the positive outcome that comes from their efforts. Telling the team how important they are to the success of the company’s blog and website will encourage them to greater efforts.
Some data that may encourage them includes website traffic analytics, blog conversion rates, search engine placement, and overall company profits. Sharing which blog posts get the most positive responses can help the writers tailor their work to a more profitable end.
No matter how large or small the business is, employees gain motivation from feeling as if they are truly an integral part of the success of the company. With concrete evidence that their blogging efforts are paying off in front of them, most team members will be encouraged to write more.
Whether you require blog writing as a part of every employee’s job description or not, you will need ways to encourage them to create more and better posts. For many, writing for the company may be surrounded by fear and uncertainty about whether their contributions are good or interesting enough. With these six tips, you can encourage your team to blog more effectively.
Some employees may have a creative flair and come up with topics on their own. Others will appreciate a subject sign-up sheet and strict guidelines and templates to follow. No matter what their writing method, all employees should put forth a greater effort if the process carries with it a valuable incentive such as a gift card or the opportunity to telecommute.
A company blog remains a vital part of the Internet marketing arsenal. Content is a king that will not be dethroned anytime soon. With a steady stream of blog posts written by team members with something unique to share, website traffic statistics will improve and the company brand will become one of the most trusted in your industry.
Jill Phillips is a freelance writer hailing from Buffalo, NY. She is an aspiring entrepreneur, writer and tech enthusiast, who loves to share her insight on digital and social media topics. When she is not writing, Jill enjoys taking photos and going on long walks with her dog. Connect with Jill via Twitter @jillphlps
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