Earlier this year we started asking everybody at Heinz Marketing to write one blog post a month. We weren’t worried about keyword density or anything too scientific – just wanted to increase the voices & diversity of content we publish on a regular basis. You can check out several examples of their great work here.

I’m really excited about the traffic, conversations and customer/prospect/partner engagement we’ve generated from this outstanding content so far. I wish we had started doing this earlier!

For those thinking about employee blog contribution programs, especially in professional services industries, here are several reasons I think you should get it rolling.

Great writing practice
Everybody (no matter what their role) needs to improve and sharpen their communication skills, not just written, but writing regularly helps you organize and present an idea in a clear, straightforward and compelling way. This improves the way you write emails, the way you present in client presentations and more.

Sharpens strategic thinking
Our staff is encouraged to pick the top of their choosing (usually focused on something related to sales, marketing or productivity), but we ask that they pick something they’re passionate about, working on or have become an expert in. This has led to some great posts on A/B testing, webinar marketing, remarketing platforms and more. It’s a great way to deepen and widen the knowledge of your team, and improve how they think about what that learning means for their business, their jobs and their clients.

Can be great for morale
We celebrate every new team blog post. It’s become fun to talk about what we’re writing about next, or brainstorm with teammates about the outline for a particular piece. Getting more of your team to contribute – and then showing them the retweets and engagement it generates – can be a source of pride.

Lots of great perspectives & topics
The more you direct what people should write about, the more you restrict the creativity of what you’ll receive. I love that we keep things fairly open for our internal contributors. One of my favorite pieces was a recent post by Erin Alvarez, our amazing administrative assistant, who outlined several connections between Dr. Seuss and sales & marketing. It was a well written, highly-creative piece. Different from what we usually write, but that’s why it worked so well! And judging by the reaction, comments, retweets and conversations it generated, clearly many of you agreed as well.

More content equals better SEO
We don’t tell contributors which keywords to use, where or how often in their posts, but there’s a clear tie between regular blog updates and better SEO. Sometimes you just can’t predict when an article will take off, so the more content you produce, the more chances you’re giving your audience and the search engines to love you and send you traffic.

Doesn’t take a lot of time if you’re doing it right
This isn’t the New Yorker. Were looking for short pieces, 500-600 words. We encourage our contributors to write in a casual, conversational style so that it matches how they talk. The more we do that, the more they can write based on an organized stream of thought. Makes for great copy, but also often takes less time to produce.

As an example outside of Heinz Marketing, I’d like to highlight the well-executed Optify blog. They’ve done a great job engaging employees from throughout their organization with a diverse set of content. Very well done.

I’d love to hear from others who have encouraged, experimented or otherwise driven sustained internal contributions to your blog or other content projects. How’s it going? What’s working, and what hasn’t?

  • John Clark

    Love it. Great idea.

  • Working on it!

  • I’m curious to know how much carrot/stick you used? We’ve tried this a couple times in the past a few different ways with little to show for it. Right now we do a free lunch every quarter for anyone that blogs, and we get less than 2% of our people participating in any given quarter (once you take out the regular contributors that have been blogging forever). We tried the stick in the past, but found that managers didn’t enforce it and very few managers even brought it up at all with their teams after the initial push.

    • I don’t think it’s something you can force on people, but some encouragement and “value translation” might help. For example, have you enumerated the reasons why blogging is valuable for their personal brands and/or their professional development? How blogging can help increase their prominence and the potential of getting exposure for promotions, new jobs down the line, etc.? Make it clearer how blogging can benefit them individually and you might get a few more takers.

    • Agree with Matt that you can’t force it on people and sharing the value is part of the process/helpful. At Optify, we reviewed all of the posts for the previous month at a meeting and gave the top posters – based on shares, likes,tweets, +1’s – an amazon gift card. We also rewarded the post with the most pageviews in the first two weeks.

  • Sam H

    I also found this information useful. I’ve just joined a company managing their social media and recently wrote a post covering similar points. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    http://www.exeid.com/news/uncategorized/the-secret-to-writing-an-amazing-blog-post/

  • Pingback: 59 Benefits Of Content Marketing From 50 Expert Marketers()