Four Steps to Create an Internal Blogging Program

Your company blog is a critical channel for inbound marketing efforts, lead generation, brand awareness, and more. But how do you get more content? You alone simply can’t crank out all the content that’s on your editorial calendar — and you may not have subject matter expertise to contribute to some of these posts.

You need to build an internal blogging program that actually works and gets people excited to contribute. I have worked with several companies, both small and large, who have faced this exact issue and soon created an enthusiastic, effective blogging program.

Here are the best ways to create a blogging culture within your company:

Create a blogging strategy

Before you invite in others to blog with you, you first need to determine what your blogging strategy actually is.

You have several options:

  1. Less frequent but high-value blog posts (such as top-of-the-line content from your founders, executives, etc. that are unique and high-value)
  2. Frequent blog posts that are educational and link-bait articles (they can be blog posts with tips, lists, etc.)
  3. Highly technical blog posts (meaning you may need engineering resources)
  4. Product-only updates (large product announcements, monthly updates, feature announcements, etc.)

To start, make sure to match your blogging strategy with your overall company’s goals. If your brand seeks to be exclusive, and leaders in the space, you can’t be writing everything and anything. Therefore, your content should match strategy one.

On the other hand, if you’re in a crowded space and need to convince a lot of people that your service is better and also need drive the best traffic to your site, you should use strategy two.

You get the idea. After you decide your larger strategy, you can then begin planning how to get others involved.

Incentivize your writers and get them to contribute

It’s probably obvious to you as a marketer that blogging is an essential part of the marketing plan nowadays, but others in your company may not believe that – yet. Why would an engineer, for example, take hours of his/her time (time they could instead be spending building products) to write a blog post? Or why would a support manager (the one on the front line who is hearing what problems and solutions matter most to your customers) take their time to write a blog post when they could be taking care of customers and going through support tickets? And why should the CEO take time away from fundraising, hiring, and managing executives to write?

Based on what your blogging strategy is, you can decide how to incentivize your new bloggers. For example, if you go with strategy one, you can tell your engineer, support manager or CEO that because blog posts are written less frequently, you have an anxious, captured audience who really pays attention when something is published. That means people are guaranteed to read it and take in the advice or knowledge. In addition, their name can be associated with the blog post to give them credit for the great content they’ll produce.

But sometimes that’s not enough. The amount of eyeballs that can potentially see their post may not be enough to tear them away from their day-to-day. To that effect, I’ve seen some companies run an internal competition each month where those who contribute can stand up to the judgment of the marketing team for the honor of writing the best blog post that month. Criteria can range from traffic #s, social referrals, sales inquiries, social conversations, etc. This can play to their ego or competitive side and further incentivize them to do a killer job.

The best scenario, in my experience, is when everyone in the company believes 100% in the value of content marketing and is more than enthusiastic to write blog posts – and sometimes even suggest topics! I have had many engineers come up to me in the past who were excited about a new topic idea and just needed my help putting the blog post together in the best fashion possible. This is rare, but certainly ideal.

Evangelize your program internally

Once you have a few bloggers signed up to contribute, let the blogging begin! Make sure to keep each blogger informed on the success of their writing to make them feel positive about the experience and time they took to write. Then, share these results with your company. You can do this in person if you have regular company meetings. You can also send an email such as, “Joe wrote a post on X for us last week and since then we’ve seen XX,000 blog visits, XX% of which resulted in website visits and now XX demo calls are scheduled!”

Those are tangible benefits that anyone can understand. A message like that not only makes Joe feel great, but makes everyone else think, “Hey, I can do that!” or “Hey, I can top that!”

The more transparent you can be with the team about the success of the program, the more positive everyone will feel. That will go a long way towards getting more people on board and keeping existing writers contributing.

Provide resources for your bloggers to succeed

Perhaps a new blogger knows his or her subject matter better than anyone you’ve ever met, but he or she doesn’t know the first thing about how to organize thoughts into a coherent blog post. Or perhaps they want to do a bit of external research to spruce up the post but doesn’t know what other resources are credible. That’s all right up your alley, so you can help!

Let them know off the bat that you can help them with all that and more at any point during the blogging process. You can begin by sitting down and having a brainstorm session to flesh out the idea and coming up with an outline for their post. Then, keep in touch with them while they are writing their draft to help them in any way needed. The more they feel you are supporting them and can help them succeed, the less fear and friction they’ll feel.

I will say that none of this is an easy process, but the results can definitely be huge. If you can get a variety of members on your team to contribute, each with their own line of expertise and flare in writing style, your blog will begin to show the expertise and personality of your team. This will make people want to come back for more. And if you’re always focusing on great quality content by using the best experts on your team, you will bring in unique, qualified visitors who will respect what you’re writing about. Visitors will soon feel confident that you’re the leader in the space based on the quality content you provide — which is unmatched anywhere else.

Has your company implemented an internal blogging program yet? I’d love to hear if you’ve approached it differently or the same! Share your stories below :) 

  • http://smitpatel.com/ Smit Patel

    Great post!

    Looking forward to reading more :)

    • http://linkedin.com/in/kristindziadul Kristin Dziadul

      Thanks Smit! :) More to come!