Once you’ve embraced blogging as the best way to attract visitors to your website and demonstrate your capabilities and value, it’s time to get others in the organization ready (and willing) to write posts.
This will be an uphill battle—you probably won’t have a single person raise his or her hand and say, “I want to blog! Please include me!”
Not only are most people reluctant writers, they don’t believe they have the time to blog.
Here are some tips for persuading would-be (or, actually, would-rather-not-be) bloggers in your company to get involved, and to keep them excited about being part of promoting your company.
1. Provide statistics that demonstrate the value of blogging.
There’s a wealth of available information related to blogging’s benefit to an organization. Here are a few highlights:
- Blog frequency affects customer acquisition. Ninety-two percent of companies that blogged multiple times a day acquired a customer through their blog (HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing, 2012).
- Eighty-one percent of marketers rated their blog as “useful,” “important,” or “critical” (HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing, 2012).
- Once you write 21 to 54 blog posts, blog traffic generation increases by up to 30 percent (TrafficGenerationCafe).
- Businesses that blog more than 20 times a month get five times more traffic than those that blog fewer than four times a month (HubSpot).
- B2B marketers using blogs generate 67 percent more leads than those that don’t (Social Media Today).
- Companies that blog have 97 percent more inbound links to their websites (Social Media Today).
- Websites with blogs have 434 percent more indexed pages (Social Media Today).
Share these stats with your bloggers so they understand the importance of what they’ll be doing: They’ll be helping market the company by sharing content that prospects are looking for, and they’ll be attracting these people to your website, where you can turn them into leads.
2. Choose people with expertise in relevant areas.
People generally love to talk about what they do and how their role contributes to the company’s success. That’s just one reason to include people throughout the company on your blog roster.
Rather than simply choosing people to blog based on what they tell you about their writing abilities (most will say, “I’m not a good writer”), choose people based on what they know about your business and your prospects. They’ll appreciate that you recognize their skills and value, and they’ll be able to talk much more productively about topics related to their role than someone who’s not in that role.
Here are some departments that can be real assets when it comes to providing content:
- Sales: Salespeople often know the most about what prospects need, what questions prospects ask (which your content should answer), and what competitors are up to.
- Engineering: Engineers know why your company does things they way it does—why, for instance, your lawn mowers’ steel blades go through a special hardening heat treatment step while competitors’ do not.
- Marketing: Marketing people know what’s going on in the market, what innovations are being unveiled and what’s next on the horizon.
- Operations: Operations people can talk in detail about manufacturing processes and how they affect product quality and performance.
- R&D: As long as they don’t divulge trade secrets or proprietary information, your R&D team can discuss the “how and why” of some of your already-launched innovations.
Everyone, from the top to the bottom of your organization, knows something about your company that would be valuable to your audience, so tap into them.
3. Don’t ask for more than one blog a month.
The more you blog, the better for your Web traffic, but for most organizations daily blogging is unrealistic (unless you hire an inbound agency to help). Determine what you’ll reasonably be able to do (blog at least twice weekly), then start making assignments. Don’t, however, overwhelm your bloggers. If you have enough staff to make it work, give them just one post a month to write.
4. Provide helpful tips on how to write.
As I said earlier, most people don’t believe they can write, but providing simple tips can reduce bloggers’ anxiety and give them confidence.
5. Start with an outline.
An outline makes the job of writing a blog post infinitely easier and helps reduce the stress the writer goes through. Work alongside each writer to create an outline that:
- Starts with an introduction that tells the reader what they’re about to learn;
- Has a solid, well-articulated “core” that will lead people logically and clearly through the topic;
- Has a closing that wraps things up nicely and reiterates your introduction.
6. Assure bloggers they’ll have access to an editor and a review team.
Bloggers need the safety net of both an editor and an internal team that can evaluate each post and provide constructive feedback.
An editor’s job is to verify the appropriate subject matter and tone, check spelling and grammar, determine each post’s relevance to the audience, and evaluate the overall value of the piece. Then the editor will make recommendations for improvement (or do it himself or herself).
Because your editor may not know “everything” there is to know about every facet of your company, a review team—usually comprising representatives from the primary departments in the company-is set up to give each post a “once-over” that ensures the accuracy of company facts and figures.
7. Share successes.
With a software program like HubSpot, you can see in real time how many visitors each blog post gets, where these visitors come from (social media links, organic searches, etc.), what topics generate the most traffic, etc. Share these with all bloggers so each knows how well your blog efforts are performing. Early success (and if you blog often enough, you’ll have them) creates momentum and motivates bloggers to improve.
8. Reward people for their efforts.
Because blogging is almost certainly not a part of your team members’ job descriptions, you’ll want to reward them with gas cards, gift cards, company apparel—or, at the very least, hold blog meetings over the lunch hour and buy the pizza.
Once you get your blogging protocol down, it’s time to start building other systems of content output. That’s the only way you’re going to cultivate leads. Email is king in lead generation, so convert your blog subscribers into prospective customers with this tip sheet.
Meg Hoppe is the creative and content director at Weidert Group, a leading inbound marketing firm. A version of this article originally appeared on the Weidert Group blog.