Meet Wayne. He's our VP of Sales. He's kind of old school, having worked in sales for the last 10 years or so.
He's also our company's most prolific blogger, which is kind of weird because he's in sales - typically the hardest department to generate content from.
It didn't happen by accident and it took a lot of work. But anyone can make it happen!
Here are my steps to getting even the most old school sales person or non-marketer in your organization blogging on a regular basis:
1. Prove the benefits of blogging and get buy-in
One of the worst things you can do is to approach your sales team and say "Hey, you need to start blogging." Guess what? They won't blog.
You must first make a strong business case for doing so. There is plenty of data out there on the impact blogging has on search engine rankings, traffic, conversions and lead generation.
Hopefully you're already blogging for the company or organization, so share specific examples of how your existing blog is helping fill the sales pipeline. The closer you can tie the efforts to lead generation, the more likely your sales people will get on board.
2. Set them up for success
Even after getting buy-in, your budding writers need to be trained. Don't cut your sales team loose without sharing blogging best practices on things like:
- format (structure, length)
There may be an expectation of length or a predisposition towards a more rigid and formal style that can be detrimental to your efforts. Share real examples of blog posts you think are effective to give them an idea of what their posts should look and sound like.
It's also important that they understand that blog posts need to be educational, not promotional. This might be the most difficult shift in mindset to make, but it's possible if you...
3. Make it fun and easy for them
Take, for example, my VP of Sales. Once I explained that we weren't going to write blogs that simply promote our product, he wasn't sure what else there was to write about.
I reminded him that he has spent 20 years in the nonprofit sector, as a vendor and as a fundraiser, and that he should write about his experiences and lessons learned. He quickly got hooked. Now, I don't even have to ask for posts - they just arrive in my inbox.
Even after being thorougly trained and finding the best angle, sitting down to a blank document can be daunting, especially to non-marketers.
If original content is still a burden, try repurposing. Email is a great place to start. It's likely that your sales people answer prospect and customer questions on a daily basis. Their email sent box is probably filled with blog posts - they just don't know it yet.
If they give presentations or webinars, that content can also be easily repurposed into one, if not several, blog posts.
The easier you can make it for them, the more content you will receive!
4. Look for quick wins and instant gratification
If your blog doesn't get a ton of traffic, discouragement can set in quickly, especially if your social share buttons have low counts. You don't want your team to feel like their blogs aren't getting read.
Look for opportunities for them to guest post on widely-read blogs. They'll get excited when they see lots of views and shares, especially on their first few posts. You'll quickly find that they get addicted to the publicity.
5. Maintain editorial guidelines and quality standards
It's great to get excited about a volume of content, but don't let it jeopardize quality. Be sure you're editing any posts you get, whether interally or externally. The more you make it a collaborative process between the editor and writer, the less time you'll spend editing and rewriting.
What strategies do you employee to encourage internally-produced content? Let me know in the comments below!