Enabling Content Contributors: Six Tips To Transform Your Organization into Contributing Rock Stars
Getting your extended business team to "write more" is a major challenge for content marketers. In every piece of research we have ever seen about content marketing strategy some form of "finding enough content" or "getting more people to contribute" is a top five challenge for marketers.
The two go hand in hand of course. You need more content to fill your content marketing strategy. At the same time, your organization is likely filled with smart people who have strong points of view on relevant topics for your business. Even if you have a very-engaged core team of bloggers and contributors, or are buying content from third party content services like WriterAccess or Scripted, there are always people at the periphery who *should* be involved with your content creation efforts, and they are not.
And yet, the refrain from those potential contributors is the same:
- “I don’t have time”
- I don’t know what to write about
- I will write, just let me finish writing this big report (or ppt, or proposal, or…)
But no sooner do you leave their office and that same person bangs out 4 tweets, comments on a blog post, and posts an update to their Facebook page and their LinkedIn profile. Right. All of that activity added up to 100-200 words right there, without even trying.
The reason that these very talented folks are not prioritizing your need for content over their daily tasks is simple. It just isn't a core part of their work stream. It's not malicious. It's not that they don't like you. And it's not that they want to see you fail. No, it's just not connected to what they need to do every day.
Your job is simple then: make their contributions a seamless part of their daily work. Here are six ways to engage your contributors and get them to produce more.
1. Capture their feeds
Make sure you are subscribed to their existing contributions to their social networks. If they are tweeting frequently or posting in other channels, support forums etc, these are excellent sources of inspiration. If you arm them with ideas that are aligned with their areas of interest, they will be more inspired to contribute. Show the contributor how easy it will be to pull those together into a simple article or blog post or other content type.
2. Grab existing content
Most of the people that you want to contribute likely are already producing content for their function. Whether it’s a proposal, a report, a plan, a strategy brief, or something more tactical like email briefings to management, there is likely something that already exists. Grab that content, sift through it for the nuggets that would be relevant for your strategy and work with the contributor to create the piece.
3. Connect the contributions to their goals
This does NOT mean having "make contributions" one of their goals. That rarely works unless it is a top down mandate, and even then, you will see sketchy results at best. Instead, have a solid understanding of your contributors goals are and how they will measure the success of their efforts. Point out areas where their contributions to your content marketing strategy will contribute to that success. If you can make that connection easily, then you have their attention.
4. Be Persistent
Talking to a key contributor once, and even successfully securing a piece of content once, isn't enough. Have a plan for repeated contributions at a pace that makes sense in the context of their goals. Don’t ask for a weekly blog post if they struggle to get you one. Make it more periodic, but make it planned.
5. Set Deadlines
Make sure you agree on a reasonable time frame to complete the deliverable, and stick to it. Without a deadline, your contributor may get sucked into other projects that push yours down to the "I will get to that next week" pile. Only next week never comes. Check in periodically with your contributor to be sure they are on track and if you can offer any assistance to make sure it comes together, or if you need to extend the deadline. It's CRITICAL that once the contributor completes the content, that you/your editorial team quickly edit and put the content piece into production. Nothing worse than finally securing a piece of content that then languishes in the editorial cycle. (And if your content management system is keeping you from posting content quickly, watch this short product demo on how Percussion will enable a better process.)
6. Share Successes
Perhaps most importantly, share the results of their contribution. Show how it helped you achieve your goals, and publicize that success throughout the organization. This will encourage others when they see how you use their contributions, and share in the success of your joint efforts.
Getting contributions from your extended team takes work of course, but they will be very valuable components of your content marketing strategy. Follow the above six steps to make it easier to create a sustainable contributor program.
What do you think? Have you had success getting your team to contribute content? Share your ideas in the comments below.