Turn Your Company’s Scattered Expertise Into An Expert Internal Marketing Team

Published April 18, 2013
Expert Internal Marketing Team Chalkboard Drawing
"Everyone’s on board with the new content strategy except my contributors. Is that a problem?"

So you just told Karl over in Production that he gets the privilege of contributing to the company website every month in addition to all the work he normally does. How’d that go? Did his face go pale, or red with creative rage?

For some companies, hiring freelance contributors makes sense, but for many of us, the expert voice can only come from inside the company. After all, who knows what you do better? Being an expert in what you do may not be new to you. The new part may be sharing your expertise and encouraging your cohort to do the same.

So if you are new to managing the content strategy within your company, you may find yourself climbing what I like to call “The Wall of Reluctance”.

Oh, I assure you that this wall is quite real and can be constructed quicker than you can say, "I have a big favor to ask of you, Karl." I often find myself building a little reluctance wall whenever anyone hands me another thing to do without also adding, “You’ll be handsomely rewarded for you extra efforts!”

I’m sure you have no idea what I’m talking about, but just in case you do, here are some things you can do get more buy-in from your contributors/co-workers and turn those sometimes reluctant experts at your company into an expert internal marketing team. Scale the Wall of Reluctance today!

Getting Your Reluctant Internal Experts On Board The Content Train

1. Share The Vision…And The Responsibility
Communicate to your contributing team what it is that you want to accomplish and why it's so important to produce engaging, helpful content. Be open to their feedback, delegate some responsibility so they can take some ownership of the process and lead by example. Remember to encourage participation in the process. Let your contributors take an idea and run with it, so long as it's in line with your marketing goals.

2. Establish A Content Schedule
The best way to make sure all your contributors are producing timely content that is in line with your marketing goals is to create and follow a content schedule. Your contributors can organize around an effective content schedule and know what's expected of them and when.

Download Original Content Schedule Templates »
UPDATE: Get The Updated Content Schedule Template for 2014 »

3. Strike A Balance
The trick is to strike a balance with your contributors somewhere between creativity and responsibility. Be flexible when it comes to their ideas, as long as they align with your primary goals, but be firm when it comes to deadlines.

4. Creative Passion Thermometer
Not as juicy as it might at first sound, yet handy nonetheless. You’ll find that content will flow more easily from the people who are passionate about their work. If you have a large pool of potential contributors at your company - those who are experts in what they do - go around and ask if they'd be willing to write regularly about their area of expertise. Gauge the responses that you get. You may want to stick with the folks that light up when ask them to be a contributor. They may be the more naturally prolific at churning quality content.

5. If No One Lights Up When You Ask
Smaller companies will often have higher and more hastily constructed Walls of Reluctance. You may have to gently knock them down by incentivizing the content creation process. Perhaps this means negotiating their busy schedule to allow more time for them to devote to content marketing. Or maybe you offer a monetary incentive to any contributor who’s content brings in a certain amount of visitors or goal conversions within the span of a month. You’ll know what works best for your contributors, if you don’t…you can always just ask them.

6. Support Each Other’s Content
Here at Edge we recently published an article about our favorite charities and places to volunteer. Until I read it, I didn’t realize how much we were doing as a team within the community. My point is encourage your team to read each other’s content, Like it, share it and give each other constructive feedback. You may learn a lot more than you think about the folks in your own company, while generating better ideas and sharing content within your collective spheres of influence.

7. Put A Name And A Picture On It
Make sure that the content you’re publishing on your website doesn’t look generic. Generic looking content is equally unappealing to search engines, humans and possibly even hyper-intelligent dolphins, who knows!? One way to avoid this is by making sure the human contributor’s name and photo is posted along side their content. This also helps build better content. When your contributors know that their name will be pinned next to their content, they tend to give that extra 10%. You should also set your site and contributors up for Google’s Author Rich Snippets.

Google's Author Rich Snippets Example - Zack Stack
Google's Author Rich Snippets example with and without an author image. An author's image is a must. The stately beard is optional.

8. Share Results With Your Contributors
Show them how their content faired out there in the real world. Warning: the real world, as seen through the cold hard facts in a Google Analytics chart, can be a brutal place. But it can also be a good place to start a dialogue on how you can make the content even better next time.

9. Don’t Be Afraid To Fail
Because it’s going to happen. Love your failures. Learn from them and share them! Failures make great content.

Do you daily climb the Wall of Reluctance? What do you do to motivate your contributors? Leave a comment below!

This article is the third in Edge's ongoing 2013 series on Content Marketing and Strategy.
1) Establishing A Content Schedule »
2) Content Gap Analysis: Filling The Holes In Your Content Schedule »
3) Turn Your Company's Scattered Expertise Into An Expert Internal Marketing Team
4) eBlasters of the Universe: Crafting Inbox-Pleasing, Engaging Email Campaigns