In the past few months I have talked with a lot of people about business blogging. Looking back at those conversations, a couple common questions continually came up:
How Do I Get People Within My Organization To Blog?
Blogging Takes A Lot of Time. How Do I Make It Easier For My Staff?
Like it or not, from my experience, the solution to these questions comes down to two things: work flow and pride. Work flow is the easier of the two to fix and should be the first issue to address. When I talk about work flow, I really mean making something so incredibly easy to do that there are no excuses, and there is a low barrier of entry.
Using Posterous To Fix Internal Blogging Work Flow
Traditionally, one major hurdle in getting someone to adopt a new behavior online was training them to use the software. This seems to be a major delay for companies working to get bloggers from departments outside of corporate communications. The solution is to let people blog using software they already know how to use: e-mail.
Colleagues and I have been using a service called Posterous for a while now. Essentially the goal of Posterous’ creators was to make blogging as simple as sending an e-mail. The platform does much more than facilitate blogging via e-mail. People use it for all types of purposes. I actually use it as a mobile food blog. In experimenting with the platform I realized that it had a lot of potential to solve work flow problems for B2B companies trying to blog.
Here is my step by step solution to corporate blogging work flow:
Step 1: Set up a Posterous Account for your company.
Step 2: Go to your blog settings and make your Posterous blog a private blog so that only those logged-in with permission can see it.
Step 3: In settings, add e-mail addresses for each member of your team that you want to contribute to your corporate blog.
Step 4: Create a Vcard with the post@Posterous.com e-mail address. Send it to every member of your blogging team and ask that they add it to their address book.
Step 5: Instruct team members to e-mail any articles, photos, links or video that they would like published on the Corporate blog to the Posterous address.
Step 6: Have a dedicated person that manages your corporate blog take the content from Posterous and add it into WordPress or whatever corporate blogging platform your organization is using and format and add links as needed.
These six steps create a private hub that allows everyone to contribute to the corporate blog via e-mail and then allows someone with expertise to post it on the official corporate blog.
So why not have everyone e-mail the blog editor with their posts? Posterous keeps everything in one place and allows for multiple people to manage the content. It also makes handling vacations and employee transitions easier. Also, Posterous is a very powerful content distribution platform and using RSS, the content could be syndicate for other uses which will appeal to advanced users.
Fostering Pride and Competition
Providing the opportunity for staff to blog in an easy way is only part of the solution. I would imagine most companies will tell you it is important, but motivating staff is harder. People are busy. Resources are in short supply. The last thing someone in R & D, sales, customer service wants is another item on their to-do list.
The solution to getting them to contribute to a blog, regardless of these challenges, comes down to fostering a sense of pride and competition internally.
Show Blog Posts Translate To Business Results
Kyle Flaherty from BreakingPoint Systems gave a brilliant example of engaging internal staff to blog during the Social Media B2B Panel at Blog World Expo. He said that he would sit down with his engineers and show them how a blog post they wrote translated directly to a sale. He educated them about the organizations sales funnel and helped them feel proud that they directly impacted the bottom line of the business.
By showing a blog post that led to a sale, generated a lead or had another positive business impact, creates an amazing level of adoption from staff. People want to be a part of something cool. People will start bragging about their blog posts and it will turn being a corporate blogger into something cool.
Make It A Competition
This tactic has long been the center of many internal motivation campaigns. Doing internal contests to create competition is another way to help bring a group together and works very well with sales teams who are already used to participating in contests. Any type of contest incentive can work and you can do them for all types of things: most posts published in a month, most read post of the month, or even most comments generated.
Blogging is hard, really hard. If you can make it easy to do and inspire people to do it, you are well on your way to all of the marketing and communication benefits blogging provides.
What is your biggest problem related to corporate blogging?