By Rachel Moore
Let’s cut straight to the chase: when it comes to inbound marketing, content is a big deal. While content isn’t your entire inbound strategy in itself, it is the fuel that strategy runs on. Great content is what you optimize to attract the right traffic to your site, and what entices visitors to submit forms to download. It’s what you share via social media and include links to in your emails and lead nurturing campaigns. Without content, your website – and the Internet as a whole – would be empty.
Companies that are able to create targeted, educational content on a regular basis see greater success than those that don’t. For instance, companies that blog on a regular basis have 97% more links to their website (a key search engine ranking factor) than those that do not. Not only that, but content marketing produces leads at a lower cost than other channels: a study by Demand Metric found that content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62% less.
But if you’ve spent more than a few minutes reading up on inbound strategies in the last five years, the value of content shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The real challenge when it comes to creating inbound-optimized content isn’t whether to do it in the first place, it’s how to do it on a regular basis.
Creating mountains (or even molehills) of content on an ongoing basis can be tough for smaller marketing teams, who may not have a dedicated content creator on staff and waiting in the wings whenever a new piece needs to be created.
Case in point: during my time at HubSpot, one of the most common reasons I heard for why customers hadn’t, couldn’t, or wouldn’t create content was the “no time, too hard” argument: they didn’t have time to dedicate to creating a comprehensive and persona-focused piece of content and/or doing so was too much of a challenge.
If you’ve ever set out to create a website’s worth of content by yourself, you know the “no time, too hard” argument is an incredibly valid one. Creating content all on your own, without the support of a team of writers, editors, designers, or even just moral supporters can be a daunting task!
To help combat a case of the “no time, too hard”’’s and turn your organization into a content creation machine that produces relevant articles and offers on a regular, renewable basis, it’s helpful to spread responsibility for content creation throughout your organization.
Here are some of our favorite tips and strategies for building a culture of content in your organization:
1. Make content creation everyone’s job.
One of the easiest ways to integrate content creation into the fabric of your company’s culture is to make it everyone’s responsibility. Assign content quotas: for example, every employee is responsible for one post a month, or each team is responsible for creating a certain number of assets per quarter. Even consider tying content creation to job role, compensation, or bonus schedules.
2. Reward prolific, successful, or otherwise kick-butt content creators.
Did someone’s blog post generate a whole boatload of new traffic or leads? Kudos to them! Give them a shout-out at the next team meeting, in your company’s internal newsletter, via a group email, candygram, or otherwise.
3. Make it a game.
While internal recognition is great, companies with already competitive cultures can play to their strengths and set up a bona fide competition around content creation. For instance, you could hold a monthly blogging competition to see whose blog post gets the most visits. Whoever wins gets free lunch, an afternoon off, a gift card, or otherwise.
4. Make it easy to contribute.
While requiring employees to contribute is a sure-fire way to generate content on an ongoing basis, sometimes just setting clear guidelines for how to submit content is enough to inspire your more creative employees to contribute.
If you want to encourage your employees to create blog content, make sure your blogging guidelines are clear, your style guide is readily available, and even consider providing some dedicated time to interested employees on a weekly or monthly basis. Want to make it even easier to contribute? Give employees access to your content calendar, where they can find blog ideas ready and waiting to be written about.
5. Make it valuable & relevant for their job role.
Trying to convince your sales reps its worth their while to write a blog post instead of making another cold call? Help reps choose topics that answer some of their prospects’ most commonly asked questions, then once it’s published, encourage them to include those posts in their email templates. Not only did you just get fresh pieces of content, but your sales reps gained valuable documents that will help move prospects through the sales cycle.
6. Make it a passion project.
Allow people to write about what they love - and challenge them to apply their passions for, say, football, to your business.
7. Don’t overthink it.
Encourage employees who may be reluctant to get started or suffering from writer’s block to “write first, edit later.” Sometimes the hardest part can just be getting started: write like you speak, then go back and clean it up later if you need to.
8. Remember that not all content is written.
While we’ve mainly been discussing content like blog posts, remember that content comes in all shapes and sizes: from videos, to infographics, to memes, to coded tools and templates. Encouraging a culture of content at your organization doesn’t just mean assigning your employees to write a novel’s worth of blog posts – it means fostering a culture where they can create whatever form of content most interests them and is relevant and interesting for your persona. Let people do what they love: Chances are, the end result will be much higher quality than if you forced someone’s idea into a particular format.
Does your organization foster a culture of content creation? What are some of the ways you’ve encouraged employees to contribute to your content needs?