Blogging

Corporate Blogging for SMBs: How to Get More Employees to Contribute to Your Company Blog

By Elisa Gabbert October 08, 2012 Posted In: Blogging Comments: 13

 

SMB Blogging

Lots of small and medium-sized businesses have figured out that a corporate blog is good for business. The potential benefits of a well-run corporate blog include:

  • Brand development
  • SEO traffic and valuable links
  • Ongoing inbound leads

But buy-in is one thing. Actually creating and publishing new blog content on a regular basis is another. Maintaining a regular publication schedule is a struggle for everyone, but it’s especially difficult for SMBs with their smaller budgets and smaller teams. You might not have a dedicated copywriter, and if you do, that writer is probably being pulled in multiple directions – writing copy for your email campaigns, landing pages and so on (oh, hi, to-do list!).

A good way to make sure that you’re regularly publishing new content on your blog is to enlist the help of employees outside your marketing department. This distributes the burden and workload among more people and brings a greater variety of voices and topics to the table. So how exactly do you get them to do that? Obviously, everyone is busy, and it’s all too easy for people to say “That’s not part of my job.”

Here are four ways to get everyone at your company involved with blogging.

1. Make it Easy for Them

For people who don’t write every day – and even for people who do, really – one of the hardest parts of writing is coming up with an idea. Make writing easier for your coworkers by feeding them a topic, so they can skip the brainstorming part and go right into production. Here are some ideas for helping them out with topic selection:

  • Turn it into an interview – Ask your coworker five questions – responding to an interview is much easier than writing a blog post from scratch. (They don’t have to think about organization or write an intro or conclusion!) For example, you could ask a VP or your CEO to make some predictions about the market in your vertical in the coming year, or ask someone on the product team about upcoming features.
  • Feed them a prompt – Make it super-easy for them by telling them exactly what to write about – give them a topic, a title, even a sketchy outline.
  • Crowdsource it – Ask everyone in a department or even everyone in your company to answer one simple question or a provide a tip, then turn it into a list.

2. Offer Incentives

Let’s be real – sometimes the only thing holding your coworkers back from contributing to your corporate blog is the nagging feeling that blogging isn’t what they’re getting paid for. Content is important, and good content doesn’t come free, so get approval to offer a small reward when someone in the company contributes to the blog – it could be as simple as a Starbucks gift card or as enticing as a $100 bonus.

3. Flatter Their Expertise

Make sure your coworkers know they don’t have to  be an expert in writing or marketing to write a post for the company blog. Ask them to write about whatever they’re best at. The founder/CEO of a startup could write about how they secured venture funding … your graphic designer could talk about the fundamentals of design for an e-commerce site … a customer service rep could write a case study about a creative way that a client used a product. Make sure the topic is in their wheelhouse and encourage them to show off their expertise. (And assure them you’ll give the writing an edit so they can focus more on making it interesting.)

4. Turn Work They’ve Already Done into Content

Remind your coworkers that they don’t have to create something out of nothing. They can turn work they’ve already done into a blog post. Almost anything can be a case study, provided that some technique or lesson can be abstracted out so others can act on it. Did your in-house SEO implement a cross-site change that boosted rankings? Ask her to write out what she did step by step. Did your UX manager create a customer survey? Webinar slides or an internal presentation can be turned into text. The possibilities are endless!

If you’ve found other ways to get more people at your company in content creation mode, share them in the comments!

Image via Anna Hirsch

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Comments

Monday October 08, 2012

Lorita Serpa (not verified) Said:

This is an interesting read. This is something I have to look into next. That's right, writing a good business blog is really important.

Tuesday October 09, 2012

Ayaz (not verified) Said:

Hi! certainly a great post and contributing by all the employees in social media business is really necessary to grow your business effectively.

You should gather the meetings with them time to time to discuss about issues and interacting with each employee can make this job easy.

Wednesday October 10, 2012

Richard Kraneis (not verified) Said:

Blogging Gold

It's amazing.  Companies full of talented people can't manage to produce a meaningful weekly blog.

It's not that they can't write.  It's just that they can't find the time or motivation to write.

SMB blogging is perhaps the easiest way to generate meaningful free traffic at a website.  And yet, SMBs fail at this constantly.

Any SMB in your readership should call a meeting today to start meaningful blogging.

Thanks for your article.

Richard

 

Wednesday October 10, 2012

Elisa Gabbert Said:

Thanks Richard. I find that a lot of people who think they "can't write" are actually really great writers. It's just that they're unfamiliar with it so it seems scary. They don't realize how much of what they do every day already involves writing.

Wednesday October 10, 2012

Colleen Hofmann (not verified) Said:

As the manager of our agency's blog, it's a constant struggle for me to inspire and incentivize my co-workers to contribute to our blog. I have tried some of your suggestions already, but I have to say the interview idea is interesting. I'm trying to get back into feeding them prompts, because that worked well in the past. I just need to carve out the time to suggest them! Thanks for sharing your tips.

Wednesday October 10, 2012

Elisa Gabbert Said:

It's like pulling teeth sometimes, isn't it! Good luck ...

Monday October 15, 2012

Innah | InkJetSuperStore Cartridges for Canon (not verified) Said:

Definitely, results would be a lot more promising if you can get your team working towards a common goal. Corporate blogging will definitely put your business on a comfortable spot especially if enough effort will be used to achieve a sound and dependable business position.

Wednesday October 17, 2012

Anitti Sathiaraj (not verified) Said:

Elisa , You have stated that Blooging will help in SEO also. But what if the blogger posts something which is controversial and it leads to the defamation of the company ? So it is a threat to encourage blogging ??

Wednesday October 17, 2012

Elisa Gabbert Said:

Well, no. Anything you do as a business can be done poorly and could hurt your reputation ... but that doesn't mean you should just sit tight and do nothing. Everything worthwhile involves some risk. Informed bloggers can avoid controversy pretty easily, and a little bit of controversy is unlikely to sink your whole business if you handle it properly.

Wednesday October 17, 2012

Nina Anthony (not verified) Said:

I manage a nonprofit website that provides trainining and consulting to small business owners. As you can imagine, we are under-staffed in marketing and everyone wears many hats. consequently, trying to get my colleagues to contribute to the blog is an ongoing challenge. So, I went to our President to ask for help and she offered up a great incentive: a free day off for every quality (I had to approve it) blog article submitted. I thought I'd get slammed with articles, but to my surprise it hasn't worked! I think that people feel that unless their job is related to marketing, web content management, SEO, etc...that they're not getting paid to blog and they have more important things to do with their limited time...

Wednesday October 17, 2012

Elisa Gabbert Said:

Wow, I wish I got a free day off for blogging! I sympathize -- we offer incentives and it's still hard to get a lot of employees to contribute.

Wednesday November 07, 2012

Dave Young - co-founder of Shortcut Blogging (not verified) Said:

Make it Easy For Them. YES!!! But, sometimes even that won't work. Sometimes, you have to practically DO IT for them. That was our experience in trying to get our SMB clients to write blog posts. So...we started doing it for them. Not as ghostwriters, but by interviewing (and recording) them.

We would start with a brainstorming exercise of topics that the blogger (business owner, expert, etc.) could riff on for 5-10 minutes with no outside research. If you're an expert in your field, this list is pretty easy to generate.

We then use one of our professional broadcasters (freelancing for us) to conduct recording sesisons via Skype with this expert. In an hour, we can record enough interviews to fuel a month's worth of weekly blogging.

Next step...transcribe. Ah, but it's hard to read a transcription, so we use our professional editing freelancers to re-write and re-structure the transcript as written content for the blog.

VOILA! Blog posts. Weekly, beautiful, blog posts. No ghostwriting needed. All the words came out of the mouth of the expert, so no risk of embarrassing the company.

It's not cheap, but it's less expensive than not being found by Google.

By the way, that brainstorming exercise is free. (opt-in, of course) http://www.shortcutblogging.com/brainstorming/

Monday December 08, 2014

James Self (not verified) Said:

Elisa, 

A very interesting read that really does emphasise that blogging can be accessible to a wide range of employees. Being part of a Digital Marketing Agency myself, I too understand the importance of blogging and how everyone in the company can contribute.

At Strategic IC we undertook some research into the challenges of getting 'Non-Marketing' employees to blog; http://www.strategic-ic.co.uk/7-ways-get-non-marketing-employees-blog/

It is great that businesses are beginning to understand the importance of employee blogging, but it is also very important that they understand how they are to get the most out of everybody at their disposal.

 

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