Your company is undoubtedly filled with talented people of all varieties: introverts and extroverts, analyticals and creatives, writers and non-writers. They’re all on their way to becoming subject matter experts in their particular areas, but how do you translate technical expertise into awesome blog content? Here are five steps to get your employees excited about blogging, sharing great blog post ideas and promoting posts once they’re written.
1. Share Your Blogging Vision and Gather Support
Excitement is contagious. When you share your vision for what you want to accomplish with your blog, it makes people more receptive to joining the cause. So invest the time to create a killer blog strategy, and then speak to your employees in a company meeting about your blogging objectives (and what meeting those objectives will mean for your business). Talking about a vision can be especially effective in smaller companies where there’s already a strong sense of camaraderie.
Also share the research and competitive insights that have been gained in developing your blogging strategy. Emphasize that all employees can add value to the company blogging effort, whether they’re willing to write posts, promote posts on social networks or contribute blog title or blog topic ideas.
2. Establish a Central Repository for Blog Ideas
Now that you’ve got some initial momentum, task someone with setting up a central area on your intranet where employees can post ideas for blog topics or titles. Create the system so that everyone can see at a glance what ideas are new and which ones have already been taken. Encourage friendly competition among employees in coming up with the best blog ideas; creative employees can be especially competitive when it comes to brainstorming new writing ideas.
The best blogging ideas can come at any time – at your desk, while you’re at lunch or in the middle of the night – so encourage your employees to be always be prepared to write down that unexpected idea (whether on their iPhone, desktop notepad file or an actual notebook).
3. Lead Your Bloggers by Example
When it comes to blogging, few things are more motivating than a busy leader who takes the time to write thought leadership posts on the company blog. This type of post can be an insightful description of takeaways from an industry conference, a thoughtful commentary on an emerging industry trend or a new way of looking at the business landscape. Whatever you end up posting, your employees will appreciate that this blogging thing is more than just a vision – it’s something important enough for you to invest some of your valuable time.
4. Create a Group of Blog Champions
So you’ve shared your vision, created an idea repository and done some blogging of your own. Now assemble a team of blog champions who can help keep the buzz going. These champions are typically from your marketing staff or are simply passionate about writing and sharing your company’s value to your target audience.
Once they’re assembled, this “blogger club” should meet regularly; these meetings will involve sharing (and occasionally debating) blog ideas, discussing different research and writing techniques and expressing opinions about important industry trends. In addition, the blog champions need to determine how to encourage and support other employees; this could involve a series of blogging workshops or simply an invitation to take part in blogger club meetings.
5. Spark Interest with Social
Creating an effective blogging strategy involves more than just creating an editorial calendar and reaching out to guest bloggers. It also involves thinking about social promotion of your posts.
Your company’s brand and the personal brands of your employees are closely connected in today’s era of social networks. Encourage the person in charge of your blog to coordinate social promotion by asking employees to share key posts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or Facebook. This promotional strategy involves knowing where your target audience hangs out online, what time of day they’re there and what types of content interest them. Tactics can involve things like what hashtags to use in promoting posts on Twitter.
Whatever networks you use for social promotion, encourage employees to include the social bylines (such as the writer’s Twitter feed) when sharing a post on a social network. This will help readers to associate individual employees with your company over time and help you to collectively extend your social reach.
So what kind of success have you had in generating employee interest in your company blog and what challenges have you encountered? Post your comment in the field below.