24 Nov 7 Ways to Encourage Blogging
Back in the dark ages, when we started The Sounding Board (yes, I was here back then), it felt like pulling teeth getting colleagues to contribute. There were a number of issues at play. We were busy with “real” work and nervous about the new platform. For many of us, it was the first time being published, and we were fearful of the negative comments we might receive. Looking back on it, of course, we had no reason to be fearful; we were simply writing about the topics we covered day-in and day-out for our clients.
We have even less reason to be nervous these days. Facebook and Twitter have changed the way we feel about putting our thoughts out into the ether. Moreover, the digital natives we hire come to us ready and willing to express themselves.
But time remains an issue.
We’ve tried many different tactics over the years for getting our employees to devote more of their time to blogging. Some have worked, and some – like assigned, topic-specific editorial calendars – have failed miserably.
So today, having led our agency’s blogging program for the past few years and after talking at length with clients and other blog editors in our industry, I’m ready to report on a few of the more successful strategies we’ve seen:
SET TEAM GOALS
We’re a tight-knit staff here at SBX, so setting team goals (as opposed to individual blogging goals) has been a good motivator. These team goals can take a multitude of forms. Incentives can range from cash and gift cards to paid time off or even simple public acknowledgment. It took a lot of trial and error over the years to find the goal system that best suits our team. So start where you can, solicit feedback, and make gradual tweaks over time. Eventually, you’ll find the sweet spot.
MAKE IT A COMPETITION
We’re also a very competitive bunch here – bowling, mini-golf, cook-offs, corn hole. You name it, and we’ve competed against each other at it. In the past, we even had a competition for most blog views (with a small reward for monthly winners and a Kindle Fire for the year’s top performer). But don’t feel limited to measuring blog views. Blogging metrics are everywhere. If you’re competitively inclined, pick the metric that fits best with your long-term goals and start a healthy competition.
DOLE OUT SPOT BONUSES
Recently, one of our clients was trying to motivate his subject matter experts to provide more technical blog content. During a company meeting, the blog manager handed out $100 bills to every employee who had voluntarily contributed that month. The surprise element added to the excitement. So be thinking about impromptu blog rewards – perhaps for bringing in a lead that turns into a sale, or for creating a particularly popular comment string, or anything else that benefits your business.
MAKE IT PART OF THE JOB DESCRIPTION
Another one of our clients has subject matter experts who act as external “faces” of the company. They participate in media interviews, host webinars, and create content, including plenty of blog posts. These employees recognize blogging as a fundamental job responsibility, and the content they create flows directly out of day-to-day conversations with customers. It’s been a highly successful arrangement – and one that’s well worth emulating.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Upper management buy-in and (better yet) active participation are huge motivators when it comes to employee content creation. As an employee, joining the boss in a blogging effort is a great way to demonstrate your dedication to the company’s goals. However, be aware that actions speak louder than words here. So if you truly value the blogging efforts of your employees, lead by example.
SHOW THE RESULTS
For many employees, simply seeing the results of their efforts can be a strong motivator. So try to share specific numbers with your team, especially those that illustrate a positive impact – traffic numbers, time spent on the site, pages viewed, comments, etc. Additionally, be sure to share how these results are impacting your evolving strategy.
MAKE IT A REWARD
Several blog editors have told me that instead of treating blogging as a requirement, they’ve turned blogging into a reward for a job well done. By encouraging their employees to blog about their own successes (projects, promotions, speaking engagements, and other milestones), these companies are building internal excitement around the blog, while promoting success within the company.