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From the Trenches

5 Ways to Get Your Non-Marketing Employees to Create Content

Mike Sweeney | May 11, 2011

9 out of 10 marketing execs tell you how difficult it is to get employees, particularly non-marketing employees, to create content for a content marketing and social media effort. The excuses offered by these employees come in many flavors, such as:

“I don’t have the time to write.”

“I am not in marketing; why should I be writing?”

“I don’t have anything to write about.”

“I can try to put something together once things settle down with my workload.”

“My writing style isn’t geared towards [insert content type].”

Whether these excuses are delivered in a gentle or harsh manner, they all stink. That being said, you have a choice if you are one the aforementioned marketing execs. You can either crawl into a corner and make your own excuses for why your content marketing effort is not working, or you can make it your mission to turn your non-marketing employees into content marketing believers and participants.

During your content marketing planning phase, consider these 5 ways to turn not only your marketing team, but your product, sales and operations team, into content contributors.

1. Create a clear strategy and plan for content marketing, and secure buy-in from other departments.

During our recent content marketing webinar, someone asked a question about the three most important things that a startup should consider when implementing a content marketing program. My answer revolved around planning, which should come as no surprise to those of you understand what separates Right Source Marketing from the average marketing firm.

In this case, though, the planning isn’t just critical to get your marketing department on the same page, but also to secure buy-in from other departments. Since you will be asking other departments for contributions to the effort, the heads of those departments and potential contributors need to see a plan that includes a clear path to success.

2. Make it part of job descriptions throughout the organization.

Leave most individuals to their own devices, and they will do the work that is required to keep their jobs and make a bit of progress every year. That means that creating content will never – ever – make it on to their priority list. TPS reports, yes. Blog posts and white papers, no.

As part of securing buy-in from other departments, department heads need to make the selected content creators aware that this function is part of their job, will be included as part of their annual evaluation, and will impact any compensation increases.

I know – it sounds a bit far-fetched, but until you offer either a significant carrot or stick, you will not get the average employee to participate.

3. Make it easy to participate.

There are so many ways to make content creation easier for your non-marketing employees. The first step is providing a clear plan. The second step is creating a simple process to follow, along with appropriate support from inside the marketing department. The third step is hosting an editorial brainstorming session that results in dozens of topics to be covered.

Last but not least, set clear expectations regarding what each author needs to produce, and when they need to produce it. An editorial calendar is not just window dressing for the next board meeting; it should serve as a guide for all content creators.

4. Provide everyone with an editor.

Especially when it comes to writing, and writing in the public domain, the fear of failure is very, very strong. While most people think they can write a little, very few think they can write polished material that anyone outside of their immediate family will care about.

Give them an editor, and let them know that this editor will not let them fail. That’s what editors are for, after all. They serve as the first line of defense against a poorly-conceived initial idea, and the last line of defense against a poorly-written idea.

5. Show the data, the impact and the popularity.

If you follow some of the tips above, you will certainly get some non-marketing employees to create engaging content, perhaps as many as 3-4 pieces over 1-2 months. This participation will eventually fade, however, if participants are not shown the impact this effort is having on the company.

In particular, show these content creators the type of traffic and readership their material is generating. Show them the leads that have come directly or indirectly through their material. Show them how popular their content is in social media channels. Show them how they match up against other contributors inside the organization.

The most impactful content marketing and social media programs come from companies that use these 5 methods to mobilize content creators and keep them motivated. In this case, more is more. More content creators turns into more engaging content. More engaging content turns into more traffic. More traffic turns into more leads and customers. More leads and customers leads to more marketing budget.

Related Resources

About Mike Sweeney:

As Right Source’s co-founder and CEO, Mike Sweeney creates, plans, and implements our vision, mission, culture, and strategic direction as well as serving as an advisor to our clients. Mike received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in marketing from the University of Notre Dame and has more than 20 years of experience in B2B marketing strategy, including digital, content, and marketing technology. You can find Mike on LinkedIn.