How I Got My Entire Team to Create Content -- Without a Fight! [+Video]
At first, I threw out every excuse in the book:
The team doesn’t have time. Not everyone is a writer. They straight up hate writing.
I knew convincing my colleagues to create content would be like pulling teeth, but back in 2015, when our founder and CEO, Bob, insisted we start publishing two (and at one point three) articles a day, I had to get them on board if I was going to get it done -- and keep my head above water.
Today, almost three years later, our website traffic is 10x what it was, subscriber numbers are up 130%, and I love having so many voices on our blog.
But how did I do it?
I’ll get to that in a minute, but first, let’s talk about who really should be creating content for your company and why it’s important.
Who Should Be Creating Content for My Company?
“Your content is the soul of your business, and if your soul is represented by someone who knows nothing about your company, I have concerns for you and your brand.” - Marcus Sheridan
If the title of this article didn’t give it away already, the answer is everyone.
Whether you are B2B or B2C, selling a product or a service, no one knows your offering and processes better than those who work with them daily.
Your team members are the ones executing on your promises and interacting directly with your consumers.
Their voices will best represent your views and set realistic expectations for prospects through your content marketing efforts. Not to mention, their individual perspectives and experiences are also what make your organization unique.
Your team members are your core differentiators and creating content is one of the most effective ways of highlighting them.
Now, getting buy-in from the top for content marketing isn’t always easy, but once you’ve got it, more than half your battle is won.
One of our partners (and one of the nicest people you’ll meet), Marcus Sheridan, gives a great workshop on building “a culture of content marketing" that you need to check out, but here's a video and some Spark Notes to help you make the case.
Creating content internally:
- Helps you share your unique perspective
- Allows you to speak directly to your audience
- Gives team members the opportunity to establish themselves as experts
- Creates an authentic, representative voice of your brand
Once your team has bought into the culture of content marketing, use these five tips from my own personal experience to start executing on this plan of action.
Insourcing: How to Get Your Team to Create Content
1. Make it Easy For Them
Even in inbound marketing, content creation isn’t second nature for everyone.
To ease your team into creating content, find creative ways to make the process as pain-free as possible for them. For example, consider the following:
Do a Group Q&A
At IMPACT, I started small. Once a week, I prompted the entire team with a general, industry-related question and asked them to reply by the end of the day with a 3-5 sentence answer.
Once I had a few responses, I would edit and proof each one, attach headers, and post all of them as cited quotes in a single blog article.
Not only was this tactic easy for the team to complete during a busy work day, but it got several names on our blog at once and also drew an encouraging amount of traffic.
Some of our team members even had their quotes quoted in other articles across the web. Not a bad start for first-time content creators!
Here are a few examples:
- 5 Brands Whose Emails We Actually Love Seeing in Our Inboxes
- 7 Go-To Websites for Overcoming a Creative or Strategic Rut
- 6 Concentration Tips to Help You Banish Distractions & Get Back to Work
- 7 Influencers We’d Love to Invite to Thanksgiving Dinner
Record Them Speaking
Some people are better at voicing their thoughts than they are putting them on paper. So, instead of forcing your team to sit down and craft an essay, try recording them speaking and transcribing what they say into a blog article.
You can also consider turning voice recordings into a podcast or even a fun, typographical video.
If your team member is comfortable talking in front of a camera, consider making a video for YouTube or even Facebook.
After you have that video, you can, once again, transcribe a portion of the video and post that along with the recording in a blog article.
Don’t Make Them Think
All marketers can agree, one of the hardest things about content creation is deciding what to write about.
Save your team the trouble by assigning them topics or helping them brainstorm. Helping them develop and outline an idea will make the process that much easier for newcomers.
At IMPACT, we have a thorough backlog of not only articles needed to achieve our goals, but tabs full of link, topics, and keywords for inspiration.
I keep this regularly updated and highly encourage my teammates to add to this on their own as well.
2. Give Them Plenty of Time
Remember in high school when your teacher would assign you a 2000-word essay with only a week to write it?
Don’t be that guy.
At IMPACT, I work with team members to select a publish date with, on average, at least three weeks to research, write, and get feedback.
While I can’t promise that everyone will take advantage of all of this time, you’re much more likely to earn the support of your team with a timeline that is convenient with the rest of their workload.
Note: Once we agree on a publish date, I document it on the Calendar in IMPACT's HubSpot portal.
This way everyone in the organization can see who is writing when, creating not only transparency, but accountability. You can read more about that here on the HubSpot Customer Success blog.
3. Let Them Explore New Mediums
Our team is made up of a variety of different talents, as I’m sure yours is too.
Marketers, project managers, designers, developers, sales reps; Everyone has their area of expertise and skills and these don’t always include writing, but that doesn’t mean they can’t create content!
Some of the best marketing content on the web isn’t long-form or even text-based. With this in mind, shake up with your content mix by allowing (and encouraging) your team to explore new mediums that are a better fit for their skill set.
Let your designers create an infographic or a slide deck from existing content or developers a quiz or calculator.
Allowing your team members to use the skills they already have to contribute to your content will not only diversify your content mix but also make them more willing to participate.
4. Reward Them
It’s basic psychology. People are more likely to do something, let alone make it habit, if they are rewarded for doing so.
I don’t mean a bonus in their paycheck or a special prize (if you can afford these, go for it), but a little positive reinforcement can a long way.
At IMPACT, we use a platform called 7Geese to set and track team goals and give recognition. When someone’s article hits over 300 shares or 1,000 views, I award them the “Bad Ass Blog” badge to let them and everyone on the team know about their success.
As I monitor the performance of our blog, I also let them know when their articles generate great comments or high-quality leads.
While it may not be a tangible, physical reward, this information lets our new contributors see the greater impact of their content on our agency. Especially if your peer isn’t the most confident content creator, this insight lets them know that what they did made a difference and that it worth doing again.
Note: If you don’t have a software like 7Geese at your organization, don’t underestimate the power of simply walking over to someone’s desk and recognizing them personally. Letting them know you appreciate their contribution can also make the world of difference.
5. Check-in With Them
With a full workload, it’s easy to lose track of things -- especially if they’re assignments you’re not used to having.
Knowing this, make sure that whoever owns your content strategy (be it a Content Marketing Manager, like myself, Director of Marketing, etc.) checks in with your team as their deadline approaches.
Hey, just ask anyone at IMPACT.
As soon as the one-week mark before their publish date hits, everyone on our team will get a Slack message from me saying, “Hey! Just a reminder, you’re down for an article a week from today…”
This little gesture not only keeps your team on their toes, but gives them an opportunity to ask questions or troubleshoot with you.
If, for some reason, you learn one of your peers can’t meet their deadline, you’ll be happy you gave yourself a week to fill their spot in your editorial calendar.
No More Leaky Bucket
If your business’ content strategy doesn’t include your entire team, you have a big leak in your marketing bucket.
Today, creating content is the most efficient and effective way to make yourself known by your audience and to establish trust, and it usually costs nothing to get started.
Need help getting your team on board with content creation?
Check out Marcus’s workshop on Content Marketing Buy-in here or simply, leave a comment below!
I’d be happy to lend a helping hand. :)
Wondering where to begin?