Writing is FUN! Or, How to Get Your Peeps Primed for Blogging
But I’m not you, nor am I your employees. So I don’t expect any of you to looooove writing, but I do expect you to believe one thing: Writing can be fun!
It really can! And why does that matter? It matters because we’ve entered the age of content marketing, and one key to generating all the web content required is blogging.
Blogging is like one little thing with all kinds of big benefits. Blogging works for SEO purposes. Blogging generates content you can repurpose in other ways (like email newsletters, ebooks, articles, and more). Blogging builds brand. Blogging engages. Blogging can feed social media sites. Blogging…you get the idea.
Yet…blogging takes some time. Writing time. Time which equals money. Money you won’t want to pay to some pricey writer like me when you’ve got a building full of…employees!!
Yes, employees…think of them as your content marketing arsenal you’ve yet to tap into. And then think of their reaction when you tell them you want them to write as part of their job…a few will perk up and smile (because a frustrated writer lies hidden in many of us!) and the rest will sink into their seats and moan. Why? Because school and work have taught them that writing is hard. They’ve been taught that writing work and they have to do it a certain way and there are all these rules and all these expectations and and and…
And what? Writing doesn’t have to be hard! Writing can be FUN! And here’s how you can make writing fun for your employees, so they’ll make content for you…
Step away from the red pen.
First, let go of all your notions about what their writing should be like. You can play the role of proofreader and clean up typos, but you don’t get to play the role of editor, not for this. You can, of course, make sure everyone is staying within company guidelines as far as what they’re saying and how they’re saying it. But no editing of their voice.
Set them free!
Second, make that freedom very clear to them from the very start. Don’t lead off with the legal department’s guidelines; you’ll have time enough for those later. Don’t hand them style guides or review your distant memories of English 101. Just let them write. Let them get comfortable with writing. Let them see how it feels to just write.
Let me tell you a story to make my case: My oldest hated to write, all through elementary and middle school and into high school. Hated, hated, hated it. Then he had an English teacher who was lax about writing rules…and my son flourished as a writer, wanting to take Creative Writing as an elective the next year. This from a kid who would rather have cut off a limb than write an essay! It wasn’t that he didn’t follow the rules for good writing. It was just that this teacher stopped making “the rules” the highest priority.
Let them go…and grow
It takes a while to develop a voice. It takes a while to figure out what you want to say and how. It takes a while to get the hang of writing. I write fast. I type fast. But I have been writing for eons. I’ve been a freelance copywriter for over 12 years, and I was a magazine editor before that and a graduate student before that. Writing comes naturally to me as a result. Your peeps will likely need some time to develop as writers and some will just drop out and not want to do it. That is fine! Don’t expect 15 blog posts written the first week, all perfect. Writing is organic. It will come. And maybe not in the ways you expected.
“I just got off the phone with…”
I often hear, “But what would I blog about?” said in a whiney voice. Omigosh, ideas for blog posts are never an issue, because your employees are living blog content every day at work! One of my mentors tells people to start a blog with, “I just got off the phone with…” Why? Because every day we come into contact with someone or something worth blogging about. The question asked by one customer is a question that would be asked by many. Approaching blog writing that way makes for very real, very helpful content. Make sure they know that’s a mindset you encourage.
Make blog writing FUN!
Celebrate your bloggers! Blog too if you can! Make sure other employees know who’s blogging and encourage them to read and comment on the blogs! You know what you’ll get as a result? Better blogs!!
I did a quick search and below are the samples of employee-written blogs that I found. Not many! Which is interesting…. Can you say “opportunity”? Check them out. Get motivated. Get blogging.
If you’re still not convinced about employee blogging as content marketing, or you’re not sure you can convince your employees, let me know. I love helping businesses get set up to blog and coaching employees to write!