If you made it through the polar vortex to my ‘Box Lunch this winter on creating an editorial calendar for your organization’s ongoing content, then this morning, you probably opened up a glorious spreadsheet rife with sensational blog topics, prompts, and authors, all in different stages of your workflow. You probably kicked your feet back on your desk, sipped your perfectly warm/hot coffee out of a mug labelled WORLD’S BEST BLOGGER, and sighed the contented sigh of a master content strategist.
Okay – more realistically, if you were gathering content from a team of writers, there was probably some scrambling involved, whether from last-minute edits, a snag in approval, or a topic that just doesn’t seem that relevant anymore. Faced with a single, blank, unlined page – or the blinking humanoid Word paperclip – sitting down to hash out an unplanned last-minute post can seem downright Sisyphean.
Do I have a solution for you? No. But I do have a strategy for producing great content from a range of voices – utilize your brand’s advocates (think external) and ambassadors (think internal) as blog content authors. Here are reasons to get started:
Passion & Expertise
If there’s one quality that should be universal among your brand’s advocates and ambassadors, it’s passion. Passion for the purpose of your organization, business. Passion can often translate into energy...and ideas! Why wouldn’t you want individuals who are excited about your brand to write about it?
The crucial part is to find expertise within that passion. What are your ambassadors and advocates experts in? What issues do they love to write, discuss, and talk about? Chances are, you’ll encounter a wide range of blog topics you hadn’t thought of previously. A great example of this is one of our current clients, the American College of Sports Medicine. Comprised of thousands of sports medicine professionals, each with different areas of focus, expertise, and passion – all of which can be turned into quality blog content from a variety of voices.
There’s nothing wrong with needing a carrot on a stick. Incentive can help your writers prioritize their writing, as well as provide a reward for a job well done. Incentives for blogging can range from fun to professional. Getting official author credit, or a link back to one’s personal blog or site, can be a big deal in creating name recognition and raising an author’s profile in certain industries. Or, you might decide that creating blog content is worth professional development, continuing education, or other workplace credit. After all, your author’s words are worth something!
I’m no ringmaster of fun, but a few fun incentives I’ve encountered are throwing your name in a hat for a free lunch or other prize, donations to a charity of the author’s choice, and yes...candy. Because who doesn’t miss the days of solving a math problem at a chalkboard and getting to pluck a Tootsie Roll from the desk of your teacher?
Today, it’s not enough to merely publish blog content, pat yourself on the back, and turn the office lights off. You’ve got to spread the word and reach of your content through other digital channels, whether that’s investing time in e-mail marketing, social media, paid ads, or skywriting.
So where’s passion play in? Well, not only can you share content via your organization’s channels, but your brand ambassadors and advocates, since they’re likely passionate about the topics they’re writing about, they’ll want to share with their networks as well. But this is beyond just increasing the reach of content – this is about taking pride in work that’s well-done, whether it’s a hard-earned piece of knowledge, or a random creative insight. It’s okay to puff your chest a little bit – your blank page wasn’t going to fill itself!
What strategies do you use to get a variety of voices contributing to your content?