You’re a marketer surrounded by experts and product pros, but none of their voices make it into your content. You’re struggling to fill in your editorial calendar, and your co-workers vanish when you say the words “blog post.” Sound familiar?
It can be tough to get everyone on your team involved in your content process. Writing a blog post sounds like hard work, especially to those who don’t consider themselves writers. But channeling the expertise around you can be transformative for your content. If you want to create content that’s helpful and interesting to your audience, you need to buddy up to the people who actually talk to customers all day.
Feeling stuck? Here’s how to win internal support for content marketing and get the whole team engaged in your thought leadership program.
Highlight Their Unique Contributions and Expertise
You may be the marketing expert, but keep your eyes open for other experts in your organization — leaders who are plugged into the industry, product developers who are always looking for the best new features to add, and salespeople who hear about your customers’ challenges and problems firsthand. Incorporating these voices will strengthen your content — and get even more people excited to contribute content.
Tyler Moore, marketing director at App Press, a mobile development platform, says he asks co-workers to share their expertise. The company’s CEO writes about where the mobile industry is heading and thoughts on big news in the mobile world. Moore himself writes about how to market mobile apps, while the project manager might write about mobile app design or how to manage a mobile project effectively.
When you’re asking for help, Moore suggests emphasizing how their unique experiences and expertise can improve the customer experience. He says he has found big benefits from getting everyone involved: “By writing on a variety of topics with multiple authors, you’ll be able to appeal to more people, help spread the message and produce better content through collaboration.”
One of our favorite examples of promoting internal expertise is PreCheck’s Employee Spotlight. PreCheck, a Rep Cap client, highlights employees on its blog by asking questions about their backgrounds, interests and the work they do at the company. It’s an easy way to put a human face on an organization while helping other employees see the depth of knowledge and experience around them.
Start a Conversation
You may find that your experts aren’t good writers — and that’s OK. You can still tap their expertise for your content. Get your content creators to set up interviews, “day in the life” documentaries and other meetings with your internal experts to find out what they think about issues in the industry, learn during the day or hear from customers.
Rather than asking people to write, ask them for a 30-minute call or meeting. Ask quick-fire questions and record the answers. Pull out all the information you can, then turn those ideas into blog posts, case studies or white papers. Interviews are especially effective when you’re working with people who don’t think of themselves as writers, since you’re removing the writing from the equation.
You may be surprised by how much engagement this approach yields, with customers and employees. “Sometimes it’s as simple as asking my colleagues if I can set up a camera in front of them while they work on a project,” says Chase Montani, marketing coordinator for REDCOM Design & Construction, a general contractor, design and engineering firm. “Our longest-tenured employee, Andy Bartushak, an 85-year-old professional engineer, allowed me to set up a GoPro in front of him to take a time-lapse while he did a site survey sketch by hand. To this day that is one of the most popular pieces of content REDCOM has pushed out.”
Help Them See the Big Picture
It’s easy for employees to focus only on their team or department and lose sight of the bigger picture. But when they get involved in developing content, they refocus on bigger goals and understand where their work fits in. Help them make the connection: When you approach people about contributing content, speak in terms of strategic and business objectives, not words or specific activities.
Antenna, a marketing consulting firm, is staffed by a community of 100 consultants. Antenna consultants work inside client companies, sometimes for one-off projects and sometimes embedding with them for months. Since the consultants don’t work on the same projects or in the same office, CEO Brendon Schrader wanted a way to connect consultants to each other and highlight the breadth of projects Antenna takes on. He has accomplished those goals through content.
The company interviewed consultants after they’ve finished a project, and compiled their stories in a blog series called The Work We Do. These stories helped consultants share ideas and learn about the different industries and topic areas their colleagues were working on.