Group Gordon’s Maya Kriet offers tips for maximizing internal resources to fill your content pipeline. 8.18.15
Content can be a marketer or PR professional’s best friend. A single valuable piece of content can have a trickle effect, becoming a source of countless other nuggets of communications gold. With one great industry survey and set of results, for example, you can also create a wealth of corresponding infographics, blog posts, and social media posts to engage your audiences – be they media or potential customers (or both!).
Our clients are enthusiastic about producing original content – and it’s an area in which we love to assist them. As media outlets look to pump out more and more online material on a daily basis, they are increasingly open to publishing submitted content. Not only does this help position our client as a resource for that publication’s readers, but it is also an excellent tool for us to demonstrate client expertise as part of our routine media pitching.
Yet, we often see clients – especially small or mid-sized ones – struggle to effectively tap their in-house knowledge to create valuable resources on a consistent basis.
On one hand, clients know that creating an organizational “culture of content” – one that encourages all departments, not just the marketing team, to think how they can support content development – enables them to keep external content fresh, show off their teams and establish thought leadership. In fact, some of the most interesting, shareable materials we’ve seen haven’t originated within the silo of the marketing department.
On the other hand, encouraging clients’ internal experts to step out of their daily routines and comfort zones to compose a blog post or help develop collateral can feel like pulling teeth. As much as colleagues may genuinely want to help with content creation, their priorities and attention will likely lie elsewhere. So, deadlines are overlooked. Frustrations bubble. And opportunities get missed.
This leads to the question we get most often from clients striving to establish a “culture of content” in an organization that lacks a dedicated content team: How do we motivate our colleagues to help us create resources?
Here are a few practical tips to begin building a pipeline of valuable content despite the constraints of many busy schedules:
Recognize that for many of your colleagues, creating content goes above and beyond their daily responsibilities. Seriously consider rewarding team members with perks for their “extra” work. Need internal contributors for your corporate blog? Award gift cards to crowd-pleasing destinations, such as Amazon.com or a nice local restaurant, to team members who meet a certain goal for contributed posts. If monetary incentives aren’t within the budget, think about establishing other rewards, like an extra vacation day.
Clearly communicate the expectations you have of your colleagues from the get-go. Develop a content calendar that reaches at least 6 months out and give your team a generous amount of lead-time to develop their contributions, providing them with regular deadline reminders along the way. Services like SignUpGenius can help to automate the process by enabling your team to individually sign up for content delivery dates and receive friendly reminders by email.
Also, consider designating ONE “Chief Content Officer” to stay on top of your content calendar, review and finalize incoming materials, and manage whatever internal approval processes your company may have.
Content creation may feel completely foreign to the colleagues whose technical expertise you’d most like to leverage. Make the task feel less daunting by simplifying the process as much as possible. To help alleviate writers block, for instance, develop and share with your team a standard questionnaire that helps them outline their target audience, objectives, and main points before they begin to write. Alternatively, and if feasible, “interview” your internal experts and use their knowledge to personally draft content that they can then review and revise.
Creating and leveraging original content across your communications efforts is an excellent way to engage both customers and media, but it certainly isn’t easy. If you’re finding it difficult to create enough material, you’re certainly not alone. Remember that clear guidance, structure, and positive reinforcement can turn your colleagues into your biggest helpers and go a long way in making your endeavor a long-term success.