Many professional services firms and other knowledge-based organizations know that the strength of their brand lies in the expertise of their people. Getting those people to contribute their expertise to the development of blogs, white papers, and other content can be challenging, especially when balancing operational and client needs. So how do you get employees to help write blogs and other content?
Empower Personal Brands
Career driven rock stars want a platform to share their ideas and expertise, but they don’t want their identity watered down or erased by a corporate avatar. Instead of homogenizing your contributed content under a generic admin or brand, let individual voices be seen and heard. By giving employees a platform to build a personal brand within your company, they are motivated to contribute and to share. You can set guidelines and expectations so you can preserve the integrity of the brand (and avoid litigation) but be careful not to exert too much control. It can not only turn staff off to the idea of participating, it can also lead to inauthentic voices and content that feels forced.
Often employees are very busy with existing client and organizational demands. Writing content is extra work that is both hard to weave in to an already busy day and usually unrewarding because it doesn’t tie into any type of performance bonus, evaluation, or other standard compensation protocol. Many companies have seen success incentivizing staff contributed content by either offering specific bonuses for content or by making it a metric for driving promotions and raises. If taking a bonus model, it’s best if a flat rate is associated with each type of content or marketing effort. For example, offering $50 for each blog post, $200 for each white paper, or some other number. I have seen some companies offer less and others offer more. The key is to match the compensation to the effort and to set rates that are appropriate for the level of expertise your firm provides and the compensation your in-house experts already receive. Basically, make it worth their while.
Create Support Systems
Often companies expect employees to write highly polished, finished content without any support. Without the right support, it will not happen, no matter how much money you dangle in front of them. Support includes:
- Time to complete content during work hours. If it’s for work, it should be completed during work hours, even if it is receiving extra compensation. It is outside their scope of duties, and thus outside the existing compensation arrangement for the hours of work they perform.
- Training on how to write types of content and basic writing skills. Many experts are not skilled writers, nor do they understand the common practices and formats for blogs versus white papers or other forms of content. Providing training allows them to develop better content with less rewrites and frustration.
- Editing support for rewrites and copy editing. This can come either from an in-house marketing professional or an outsourced editor. Again, most experts are not writers. Giving them access to an editor not only helps them improve, it also ensures you end up with a finished product you can actually use.
- A culture that encourages and celebrates contributed content. John Maxwell says, “People are motivated by what they see.” If they see a culture and leaders who encourage and reward staff generated content, they will be motivated to provide it.
A Reliable and Enforced Process
People are more likely to deliver content if they know there is a reliable process with accountability measures in place. This includes having a content calendar with specific deadlines for each step of the process and publish dates, a single point of contact who manages the process, consequences for not meeting deadlines, and rewards for delivering a finished product. Too often companies issue a mandate for contributions and never create a path toward completion, nor do they develop the reinforcement measures to make sure it actually gets done.
Bottomline, to get more employees to contribute content, you need to give them a visible voice on the platform, a reason to want to do it, the support to do it, and a way to get it done consistently. It helps to work with an experienced content creation manager, either in-house or through an agency, who can help put the systems and processes in place and develop your talent into competent content creators.