You can provide your employees with an easy-to-use blogging platform, but it doesn’t mean they will become expert copywriters overnight.
Many factors can hold someone back from posting a blog; a lack of confidence in writing skills, a fear that the post won’t be read… the potential culprits are vast! Today I’m focusing on writer’s block – what happens when your employees don’t know where to start? This is something that affects ALL employees, from front-line staff to your senior team (access some great tips to win over your SMT), even the marketing team.
Giving employees a gentle push in the right direction is important to encourage participation, and to create a culture that becomes more open and transparent. Ultimately, building a happier and more engaged team. That push can come in the form of ready-to-write blog topic ideas, alleviating any shyness or writer’s block standing in the way of great content.
Encourage a social workplace, and don’t be afraid of your employees posting content of a personal nature. In fact, doing so will encourage relationship building company-wide, increase knowledge sharing and boost engagement.
Offer new starters one or two of the following blog ideas as part of the on-boarding process. This will introduce them to the company and make them feel welcome as their new colleagues engage with their posts.
Try these suggestions to get everyone involved:
- A personal introduction, for example; What attracted you to the company? Where were you previously? What are your goals?
- 9 things people don’t know about you
- How-to guide on a product feature
- A frequent question answered
- Your interests outside of work
- Volunteering or charity events you are involved in
- An overview of your typical day
- Description of your team, its function and the people in it
- Personal profiles with fun facts (this is a great one for your senior team)
- A video tour of your office or workspace (this will do wonders for a disparate team)
- Video profiles of your colleagues or team (this can be done on your phone)
- A photo gallery of people or activities in your workplace
- Description of a colleague who helped you achieve a task
- Jargon busting (really useful for new starters)
- An overview of the company’s mission, values and culture, and what they mean to you
- Seasonal or holiday news for international teams (for example, an overview of Martin Luther King Day or Guy Fawkes Day)
- An overview of company social events (create a photo gallery or even embed a SlideShare)
- Suggestions for new company events (encourage people to share their views)
- Present voting options for a project or task you’re working on, perhaps you’re looking for a new name for the newsletter or meeting rooms
Imagine how wonderful it would be if internal communications were delivered by the employees themselves, alongside the formal comms channels. Messages delivered from peers are much better received; a recent survey found that only 19% of Millennials and 40% of Baby Boomers say people can be trusted.
Encourage employees to share their successes and challenges. You’ll be amazed by how many people get involved. This motivates content authors, and it inspires anyone reading the post and comments. Plus, it’s a great way to get company news from the bottom up. Give these suggestions a try:
- The company history (a great post to come from your senior team)
- What’s in store for the future
- Highlight a new customer
- Share press coverage of the company
- A new customer case study or testimonial
- A success story, perhaps related to a customer, a supplier or even a new process that’s proven successful
- Introduce a new strategy
- A review of industry news and best practices
- Team activity; planned, current and previous (including results)
- Highlight a new product or service
- A look back at the previous year in your industry or target market
- Predictions for the year ahead
- Customer stats in your area (encourage employees to create infographics – there are some great free tools out there, check out tip 6 on this blog post for ideas)
- Awards given to the company, your team or a customer
- Any news events that can be related to your values, goals, product or service, such as this post by our Head of Professional Services, Tim Gough, who was clearly inspired by Tim Peake’s adventure to the International Space Station
Uncovering hidden knowledge within the company saves employees’ time, effort and frustrations – a great way to enhance productivity and boost morale.
Encourage knowledge sharing and requests for knowledge. People love being asked for their expertise. Richard Millington of Feverbee explains how people find the time to contribute when you create status-boosting opportunities – his talk at Interaction is summarised at the beginning of this blog post.
These blog post ideas will provide a good starting point for anyone (after all, everyone has expertise they can share):
- A competitor review
- Key influencers in the industry
- An interview with someone outside of the company
- A customer profile
- The best resources, external blogs, newsletters or updates peers can subscribe to
- Any useful events or seminars you have attended or any that are upcoming
- New trend discoveries (a great subject to encourage discussion)
- The top tools that help you in your role
- Your knowledge and expertise to help with previous blog posts
- What are the top blogs you’ve read this month
- Who you follow on Twitter to get the most relevant industry updates and tools
- Which LinkedIn groups you get most value out of
- The top tips and ideas you have learnt from the past week or month
- A challenge you face (you will be surprised by how many offers of help and comments you receive from people who have had similar experiences)
- An innovative approach that you have discovered
- New industry stats you have uncovered (again, this would be great as an infographic)