Laura Petrolino

Successful Team Involvement in Content Creation

By: Laura Petrolino | November 16, 2015 | 

Successful Team Involvement in Content CreationBy Laura Petrolino

If you are in charge of content marketing for your organization, continued quality content creation can often seem like a daunting task.

You might face a few scenarios:

  1. You solely are responsible for content creation—whether that be blog content, longer form content, promotional content, gated content, newsletter content….the list of content creation tasks can go on, and on, and on, um….and on.
  2. You manage team content creation, but struggle to get all the different voices and writing styles focused, engaged, and organized into a solid and effective content creation and marketing program.
  3. You attempt to engage others from your organization in content creation only to get blank stares and snarky comments that “content belongs to marketing,” or that they “have more important things to focus on.”
  4. You made a deal with a fairy and they create all of your content for you flawlessly and ride a unicorn to deliver it to your desk weekly along with a bag of glitter and rainbows.

If one or more of the above scenarios happen to you, then listen closely (cue cheesy infomercial music and fake and over-the-top audience laughter and applause). 

It Takes a Village to Create Content

Many of the best organizational blogs are able to bring different voices and perspectives into the fold. Of course this can come from guest bloggers, but having a variety of team members serve as thought leaders on important topics helps bring increased credibility and personality to the organization and its team.

Unfortunately, even the smartest, most cooperative teams can often struggle to produce quality content. Especially if you want all parts of the organization to take part in content creation (beyond just marketing and communications).

As professional communicators we hear the word “blog post” and we think:

and so on…

When our non-communications colleagues hear “blog post” they think:

  • Write something.

Obviously there is quite a divide between these two understandings.

The things lost in translation are important—both for the quality of the post itself and to help keep edit and rewrite time to a manageable level. Not to mention to continue to encourage team content creation you ultimately want the experience to be rewarding for all sides.

So how do you translate our content creation needs to our colleagues without overwhelming or scaring them away from contributing at all?

Team Content Creation: Tactics that Work

In trying to help clients deal with this problem we’ve found a variety of tactics work best to engage a team in content creation.

Ownership: First and foremost, your entire team needs to understand the purpose of content creation and content marketing and why their involvement matters. Content shouldn’t just be seen as an extra task. The best content teams all take ownership in content creation. They understand the value of telling the organization’s and customers’ story from their vantage point.

This isn’t something that comes naturally or organically and the onus is on you as the communications pro to explain the importance of content in a way that resonates in their particular focus area or sector of the company (hint: think ROI and real business results).

If you have analytics and actual data to back up your claims, even the better (hint, hint, hint you need to have it).

Voice and Specialities: It’s best to not just say, “you need to write a blog post.” Instead (and this comes back to encouraging a sense of ownership), work with each team member to find an area of speciality they can focus their content creation around. Likewise you want to encourage them to find their own voice.

Take Gini Dietrich’s posts vs. mine. We bring different voices and general topics to the blog, but all of our posts are built upon the same broad foundation.

This is what you want to encourage. Make sure everyone is on the same page as to the purpose and goals of the blog, but encourage them to carve out their own niche within that larger purpose. 

Topics: You’ll probably want to start by assigning blog post topics or ideas for team members to tackle. Sometimes the hardest part of getting started is just knowing what to write about. The more structure you can give to the vision of the post, the better.

As team members become more comfortable blogging you can and should let them have more freedom, but remember—you are the one directing overall strategy, you are going to have a far better understanding of the content which fits best into that strategy.

A Real-Life Example

One of our awesome clients, Amy Bailey recently sent an email to some of the leaders of her organization.

In it, she re-presented the goals and needs of the blog and content creation. Then she broke out speciality focus for each leader. Next she provided the following examples of some key topic areas for them to focus on:

One topic we are talking about is Migrating to Skype for Business. We wrote one blog already and are looking for the following:

  • Financial implications to migrating to Skype for Business 
  • Gotchas with migrating to Skype for Business
  • Unknown advantages of migrating to Skype for Business
  • Business Benefits in migrating to Skype for Business

Another topic we have written on is Telemedicine. We wrote one blog already and are looking for the following:

  • What is telemedicine?
  • The affect on the network of Telemedicine Technology (in this case the keyword is Telemedicine Technology)
  • Telemedicine software
  • Benefits of Telemedicine
  • Healthcare IT Solutions
  • Advantages of Telemedicine in Remote Communities. Here we can talk about how Exede can help with service. Use this for reference:

Here is a blog we could reference:

A third topic we are talking about is Hosted PBX:

  • Financial implications to migrating to hosted voice
  • Gotchas with migrating to hosted PBX service
  • Unknown advantages of migrating to hosted voice
  • Business Benefits in migrating to hosted PBX
  • Hosted VoIP PBX
  • Hosted PBX Providers
  • What is Hosted PBX?
  • Top three things to know about hosted voice

The bolded words are the keywords we researched on each topic and found work best for their site based on key topics, questions, and pain points for their target readership and phrases they can be competitive for based on their current domain authority (everyone in the Modern Blogging Masterclass is rolling their eyes at me in horror and exasperation right now).

As you see she’s provided a really clear outline and direction for blog post ideas within each of these three targeted topics.

Content Creation Strategies for Your Team

Your team is as individual as your content marketing strategies, so you need to find the best content creation system for you and your organization’s needs. Putting the extra effort into providing all responsible team members a sense of ownership and a roadmap for action when it comes to content creation will go far in executing an effective content marketing strategy.

The most effective communications plans don’t just live within the communications or marketing team, they extend company wide and work symbiotically within all parts of the organization. Content creation is just one example of that process.

How do you engage team members in content creation?

Image from Pixabay

About Laura Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is the chief client officer at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She also is a weekly contributor to the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks. Join the Spin Sucks   community.