Devon McDonald is a Partner at OpenView, where she sits on the firm’s investment committee and oversees OpenView’s Growth team, a group of Research, Sales and Marketing Strategists responsible for helping its portfolio companies acquire more customers and scale at...
How to Engage Your Bloggers
How to Engage Your Bloggers
This is a part of a series that was created to help you get the practice of corporate blogging built into your company. This series will walk through the process, necessary roles, in addition to guides for each role to help your company get started quickly. The following several posts make up a quick start guide for the blogging administrator.
In order to keep the output and quality high, it’s important to keep your bloggers engaged with the blogging initiative. Without engagement your program will fail. That said, you have to keep looking for new ways to spark interest firm-wide, and prove to the bloggers that their efforts are paying off.
The key requirements for obtaining employee buy-in are as follow:
- Commitment from the top
- Overcome employee objections to blogging
- Have contests and incentives in place
- Show employees the results of their efforts
Commitment from the top
Getting employees to blog – and to blog well – on a regular basis is one of the biggest challenges of corporate blogging.
Most employees won’t get excited about blogging unless there is buy-in on the part of the CEO. If the CEO isn’t convinced of the benefits of blogging and explaining “why we’re doing this,” it will be difficult to get employees fully on-board.
If the CEO is committed to the process and has appointed an administrator to manage the blogging program, the next challenge is engaging employees. The jury is out on whether a corporation should actually mandate blogging, but some firms do. Those that do have requirements such as:
- Blogging is a requirement for everyone who works here
- Everyone must submit at least 1 blog post per week
- Blog posts must range in length from 100 to 300 words and contain at least 3 to 5 keywords
Common objections from employees include:
- It takes too much time. Yes, it takes time to research the topic and articulate your thoughts. Ask for a commitment of 1 hour per week. With more practice, your employees will get faster.
- Insecurity. The employee may be intimidated. They may communicate better verbally than in writing. They may fear they’ll be judged. Encourage them to focus on their area of expertise and to just be themselves – the writing doesn’t have to be perfect.
- I don’t know how to market my blog. Encourage the employee to go back over the tips you’ve provided for helping them market their individual blogs. Assure them that a corporate effort is also underway to promote the company blog as a whole.
Contents and incentives
Contests/blogging competitions and other incentives (some companies provide bonuses for blogging) help employees get excited about blogging. Consider prizes for achievements such as:
- Highest number of blog posts this month
- Highest number of page views this week
- Top blogger of the month, etc.
Bloggers can be teamed up to compete or compete for big-ticket items (e.g., to win an iPad). But you don’t have to have a big budget to be successful — prizes can include gift cards, a day off of work, or something as inexpensive as a basket of homemade cookies.
Share the results
People get discouraged if you don’t show them the fruits of their labor. If you get 25 new leads as the result of a blog post, let everyone know! If a thought leader retweeted one of your employee’s posts, let everyone know!
Ideas for communicating results with the team include:
- Issue weekly emails that show all your numbers (bloggers with the most page views, unique visitors, click-through rates to your website, search engine rankings, etc.)
- Use your collaborative online workspace to set up an area to store all blogging materials and announcements and to share ideas, tips, and tricks
- Hold monthly meetings to share results, provide recognition to standout bloggers, announce upcoming new goals and contests, etc.
- Where possible, provide exact numbers of leads converted – and what that corresponds to in actual sales figures (“we made $20,000 in sales this month that can be directly attributed to our blogging efforts”)
Sample Internal Blogging Contest
Duration – Monday through Friday. Create teams within your company (could be different departments) and categories. Categories might include:
- Team (department) with the highest average number of blog posts
- Team (department) with the highest average of page views
- Team (department) with the greatest collective use of keywords
For the team that wins 2 or more of these categories, each member of the team will receive an iPad (16 GB).
If 3 separate teams win each category, each member of the 3 teams will receive a $50 Visa card or an additional vacation day.
- Minimum of 7 blogs per person for the team to qualify for the awards
- Minimum of 6 sentences per blog post
- Gift certificates or AMEX or Visa cards
- Extra vacation day
- Free lunch for the week
How To Hold A Successful Blog Contest by Fransiska Ike
6 Great Tips for Hosting a Blogging Contest by Matthew Henrickson
Next week I’ll post how to monitor results and report back to blogger.