While big media companies have online newsrooms staffed with full-time and freelance journalists to fuel their content feed with important information and breaking news, enterprise companies, educational institutions, and consumer packaged goods companies usually have to rely on insourcing content to fill their editorial calendars and sustain their blogs. That means they are dependent upon their internal team members, most of whom were not initially hired for content creation, to write articles for their company blog.
Insourcing content is not an off-the-wall notion nor an act of desperation. It’s a common practice that has been a part of everyone’s marketing strategy since the beginning of, well, online content. Yet, insourcing content continues to be a challenge for most businesses. I think it’s due to some myths.
Myths Getting in the Way of Insourcing Content
- Employees beyond content creators can’t write.
- Staff members who are not part of the executive team have nothing worthy to contribute.
- No one has the time to blog.
These myths are about as valid as the story of Medusa. I have never been able to figure out where they came from other than, maybe, impostor syndrome. One, anyone can write. You don’t need to have a degree in communications to achieve that. Two, any person well-versed or experienced in their field has knowledge and expertise to contribute. Lastly, if blogging is treated no differently than any other work task, supervisors and project managers can easily schedule time for it.
There! Those myths have been busted. Now, let’s move on to the strategy of insourcing content.
How to Insource Content
Once you approach the strategy of insourcing content with the beliefs that everyone on your team can write, they each have something valuable to say and contribute, and time can be scheduled for blogging, sourcing content internally will be less arduous and frustrating. Here’s how you do it.
Support and Encourage Contribution
Your organization needs to be set up to support and encourage your team to contribute to your company’s blog. In some cases, you may want to make blogging mandatory. This depends on how you operate.
In other cases, you may want to set up a policy that clearly outlines:
- Whether or not blogging is mandatory
- What is expected of those blogging
- The process for submitting a blog post for publication
- Any style guidelines your company may have
Regardless of whether or not you set up a policy for content creation, you definitely want to communicate to your staff members that you have faith in them that they can write, that they have something important to contribute, and that you will help them schedule time to blog. Address that impostor syndrome head-on and make your team feel supported and encouraged to blog.
Make It Easy
The easier it is for your team members to blog for your company, the more likely and often they will do it.
While WordPress is designed to achieve more than being a blogging platform, it’s the software’s content management system setup that makes it so easy for insourcing content. Create User profiles for your various staff members, set their roles to Author, and any one of them can log in and create a Draft blog post.
Also, by utilizing the Enable Public Preview feature, your team can easily share their articles with colleagues and peers for review prior to publishing. WordPress is super easy to use. If your employees are able to create Microsoft Word and/or Google documents, they can definitely learn how to use WordPress.
Again, you’re going to have people on your team who don’t think they have anything essential to say. So, have a list of topics in mind that you know you need to cover on your company’s blog. For example, let’s say you run an eCommerce shop that sells beauty products and you know your customers are dealing with ‘maskne,’ which is acne caused by the constant wearing of a face mask. A product buyer on your team could very well craft a blog post listing five products from your eCommerce website that are perfect for combating this dreaded skin issue. Being a buyer, this staff member probably would never think they could write for your company blog, but who better to recommend your products and sell their benefits in a blog post other than the person who is buying these products for your company to sell to consumers? When you already have a list of subjects you want written and present them to your team, various employees will realize they are the perfect experts to tackle these topics.
Write an Outline
Once you’ve assigned a topic to your employee, it would help them out a lot if you organized the structure of the blog post for them. As you are insourcing content, you will find that not all of your staff will need outlines, but for the ones who do, having an outline will help them keep their thoughts organized. An outline simply makes writing for your company’s blog easier. Here are some elements to cover in your outline:
- Publish date
- Blog post title
- Keyword/key phrase (On the outline, note that the keyword or key phrase needs to be used within the first paragraph of the article for SEO purposes.)
- The structure of the blog post (Example: introduction, key points you want addressed within the body of the article, closing.)
Schedule Blogging Time
If your team member knows that they have four hours on Monday reserved for blogging, it adds to the ease of their task. Even if your employees are not hourly employees, just verbalizing a mutual understanding that they are being given time to write as opposed to performing their usual duties will put them at ease and help them feel supported.
Make It Rewarding
The real purpose of the engineers, project managers, project strategists, and support technicians at WebDevStudios (WDS) is to serve our clients. So when these teammates carve out time during their hectic days to contribute to the WDS blog, I make a HUGE deal out of it.
First and foremost, I edit and proof and do all I can to make my already-smart coworkers sound smart. Look, typos happen; and sometimes, communications aren’t as clear as they could be, especially when a very technically-oriented person is trying to write a piece that someone who isn’t so technically-oriented can understand. My goal is to take all the knowledge and expertise they have poured into a blog post and clean it up so that it reads like an award-winning piece. In the end, our authors are appreciative of that effort.
Each contributor also gets a byline so it’s clear who wrote it. There are far too many company blogs out there with no author byline. That has to stop. When insourcing content, don’t let your brand or company take complete credit for the articles on your blog. Give credit where credit is due.
Additionally, we share our content all over social media, and when possible, we even tag the writer. Last but not least, because our WordPress agency utilizes Hey Taco! as a part of our company culture, I always give a taco to whomever wrote the blog post published that day. By making blogging a fun, rewarding activity for your staff, insourcing content will be fun and rewarding for you, too.
Insourcing Content Don’ts
What you really need from your internal contributors is their knowledge and expertise displayed on your company blog. Do not place all of the responsibilities that come with content marketing on their shoulders.
- Don’t ask them to handle the SEO of their blog post. It’s one thing to ask your contributors to place your desired keyword or phrase within the first paragraph of their article, but the overall SEO of the piece needs to be someone else’s job, such as a corporate editor or marketer who is experienced with this strategy.
- Don’t expect contributors to add images. Some of your authors might feel comfortable sourcing images and adding them to their blog posts, but some may not. If a team member leaves a Draft post sans images or any kind of media, just take care of that aspect for them. Remember, you want to make blog contribution easy.
- Don’t edit out their voice. The moment a staff member publishes a blog post on your company’s website, that person is going to feel really proud. However, if you remove their voice and tone from the article, they’ll probably end up feeling deflated. Let their personality shine, so long as it doesn’t clash with your brand messaging or image. I, myself, have been known to edit out cuss words and emojis from our company blog posts, but I always keep the cheeky jokes and humorous GIFs!
One More Tip…
Has it occurred to you that when you are insourcing content, you are also recruiting your team members to act as brand ambassadors? Just a moment ago, I mentioned that when your employees publish a blog post, it gives them a sense of pride. That feeling will translate into action when these authors go about sharing their published articles all over their social media. That’s a boon for you and your brand.
So, don’t despair if your organization can’t afford to hire content creators or freelancers to maintain a lively blog for your website. Rely on insourcing content from within your company. Follow these tips and watch your blog and web traffic grow.