Creating enough content is easier work when you find contributors outside your marketing team. But convincing them to write isn't easy. Learn how to do it.

Persuade Content Contributors

Overcome the Top 5 Obstacles to Recruiting More Content Contributors

Fri Mar 27, 2015

While most marketers wouldn’t want to take the “marketing” out of “content marketing,” they also welcome help with the never-ending process of content creation. Engaging other teams in your organization–from sales, to product, to customer support—can relieve the pressure of producing new content, and enrich your content offerings with additional voices and ideas. With a variety of content contributors on board, everyone wins, and especially your audience.

In a perfect world, convincing people from other teams to write content would be as simple as asking them to do it. In reality, it can be difficult to enlist new writers for your content marketing efforts. We’ve identified the most common obstacles and objections to recruiting more content creators, and found strategies for overcoming them, so you can keep on publishing.

1. They’re Too Busy

No one likes extra work and thoughtful writing takes time. Once someone has committed to writing a piece of content for you, work together on finding a reasonable timeline and setting firm due dates. If the project is open ended, it will always fall to the bottom of their to-do list. Check in frequently, see how you can be helpful, whether that’s by providing early feedback or an outline, and try to learn what would give them the best head start and get them to the finish line.

2. They Don’t Know What to Write

If you’re approaching a first-time content contributor, be prepared to educate them about what you think your audience wants to know. Bring a couple ideas to the table, and if possible, have a brief abstract for each to give your writer a starting point and clear direction. They might end up writing about something else entirely, but clear examples will help guide the conversation in a productive way. Sometimes you’ll find that your contributor knows what to say, but not how to say it. Ask questions to clarify and help them narrow their focus.

3. They Think They’re Bad Writers

For someone who isn’t used to having their writing featured, publishing a blog post can feel scary. Your contributor wants to do a good job and not be embarrassed. Remember that your job is to be a coach, not a substitute player. Encourage, work through revisions, and give them the opportunity to rewrite based on constructive feedback. Remind them it’s not a graded class assignment, and that the primary goal is clarity, not perfection. Be patient and resist the urge to just rewrite it yourself.

4. They’re Experts In Something Not Relevant to Your Audience

Your contributor might be well-versed in a subject that doesn’t provide immediate value to your customers. But that’s no reason not to write. Even if someone’s expertise and content is not a great fit for your primary audience, that doesn’t mean it won’t work well in another platform—either an industry website, or LinkedIn’s Pulse platform. Raising a contributor’s visibility and building their personal brand through content—as long as it’s not in any way at odds with your content strategy—still has a net positive effect on your company’s visibility and credibility. If the message will provide value to someone, just find the right forum.

5. They Just Want You to Be a Ghostwriter

Some people truly are just too busy, or really are awful writers. Occasionally, this person will be an executive in your company who needs to get some more visibility through content, and it falls on the marketer’s shoulders to create the whole thing. Ideally, you can still make this a collaborative effort. Help your ghost-contributor clarify ideas and intent through dialogue, and ask them to supply any related ideas and talking points that you can adapt. This will help you maintain their voice and personality even when you do most of the writing.

Getting people whose main job is not content creation to write can be a delicate process fraught with anxiety—just as it might be for a marketer to be asked to write code or prepare financial statements. Taking the time and effort to develop trust and confidence with your contributors will pay dividends in a richer and more voluminous content output that will deepen engagement both from your audience and within your organization.

 

Karo Kilfeather, content marketing manager at Percussion Software
Karo Kilfeather
Content Marketing Manager | Percussion Software

Karo was born in Poland, and learned to speak English by watching "Saved by the Bell" reruns during her first summer in the U.S., which has left her unable to go through life without occasionally breaking the fourth wall. As Percussion's content marketing manager, she oversees and creates content that drives website traffic, engages followers, and helps fill the marketing and sales funnel. She writes about content management, content marketing, SEO, social media and web design, and how to make it all less complicated.