When you manage a website for a small business, there’s no better way to make it more discoverable than by regularly posting on your blog. But small business owners struggle to find the right people to craft quality prose. However, in many cases, your talent is right in your backyard.
Your team members are among some of the best people to turn to for great, effective copy. Who else knows your brand better than the people that work for you? Who else can create a helpful blog post about the intricacies of a product better than your own customer service team? Far too often, employers are quick to turn to third-party freelancers to get the job done. And while there’s nothing wrong with a solid freelancer, especially if you don’t yet have a fully-formed team of your own, you should turn to your staff first. You may be met with hesitance, but it’s more than possible to overcome this hurdle. Here are a few ways you can achieve this:
There’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned reward. Writing is no easy job, and with a little incentivizing, you can help get the creative ideas flowing. There are different ways you can do this, depending on your budget. Sometimes, though, positive reinforcement is really all it takes. Platforms like 7Geese make it easy to track shares and views of every post. Set up reminders for when posts exceed a goal, and give that person recognition for the achievement. This will help them see that their work isn’t just doing well, but helping the company reach their goals and bettering the brand’s long-term reputation.You can also offer gift cards to people whose posts successfully reach important milestones, or offer writers the ability to work from home as they craft their blog posts. Little incentives go a long way, but they really depend on your office culture and specific business. For example, as a clothing store, you might offer store credit/free items, but as a service-based business, you might want to offer monetary or office perks. In a nutshell, here are a few ideas:
- Remote work day option
- Take a half day when blog is published
- Gift cards
- Free or discounted merchandise
- Offer a byline (put their name as the author of the post, rather than having them produce a ghostwritten piece)
- Name a product or participate directly in the production process
Make It Easy For Them
Half the difficulty of writing blog posts is coming up with ideas. Even if a team member is happy to write a blog post, they might not be confident in their ability to come up with ideas that would pass approval, and the idea generating process alone can be very time-consuming.
For this reason, you should start a list of blog post ideas that your team can work off of. Preferably, you’ll keep this list in a collaborative folder via a program like Google Sheets. This way, you can arrange your Blog Opportunities any way you see fit: perhaps you’d use different tabs for various categories, or keep seperate tabs for blogs that have already been published or blog posts you draw inspiration from.
You can take this a step further by creating bullet points for each title, which can keep organized in your Sheet under a “description” column. These bullet points create a foundation with which your staff can work off of. When they feel guided in their writing, they’re able to create copy that’s much more confident.
To help you come up with some blog ideas, you can use some free and paid tools. These include Hubspot’s Blog Idea Generator, BuzzSumo, and Portent’s Content Idea Generator. As a human resources blog, there are tons of different types of content HR Zone can leverage for our readers. To give you an example of the blog posts ideas these tools might generate, here are some titles we received when we received with Hubspot’s Blog Idea Generator. The tool allows you to begin your topic search with three nouns. We used “human resources,” “office,” and “company culture.” Here are the results:
- “How To Solve The Biggest Problems With Human Resources”
- “What Will Your Office Be Like In 100 Years?”
- “Think You’re Cut Out For Building Company Culture? Take This Quiz”
- “10 Quick Tips About Office Etiquette”
- “Why We Love Human Resources (And You Should, Too!)”
The grammar in the results isn’t always the best, and sometimes the generator can get confused by different nouns, but it’s still a great place to start your search. As another example, when we typed in “workplace culture” in the Potent Idea Generator, we were given the headline, “The Only Workplace Culture Resources You Will Ever Need.”
Play Onto Their Strengths
Every team member has various strengths, and these might be ideal for the department they’re in. Instead of asking them to be a writer overnight, play onto their strengths. You can always edit completed work yourself, or hire a freelance editor to polish the work of employees who don’t have the best writing skills. What’s important is that you don’t confine them to a rigid set of editorial guidelines.
If your graphic designer wants to give writing a go, let them dress up their piece with a visually-appealing infographic. Or, if you’ve got a developer who wants to create a calculator to help visitors see how much money they could save by using your product, let them do so. This might make it easier for them to tell the story they want to tell. You’d also be surprised at how easy it is to allow your team to write copy that deals with not only their personal strengths, but their personal interests, too.