Meaty, high-quality content is a vital asset for your organization. Google is not going to find or rank you without it. And your audiences need compelling information to inform their decision regarding your product or service.
But where does that meaty content come from? It comes from the subject matter expertise of you and your staff. Here’s the problem though… In many cases, your subject matter experts (SMEs) have other responsibilities. How do you incentivize those folks to take time away from their normal role to create content?
Today, let’s dig into ways in which we can encourage your staff and SMEs to contribute more to your content marketing efforts and maximize the value that those contributions provide for your company.
Start With the Big Picture
Unless you’re in an industry where revenue and growth is largely driven by relationships or word-of-mouth, your need to regularly develop high quality content assets cannot be understated. But when we step outside of our marketing and sales team bubbles, you’ll quickly recognize that most other employees in your company probably have very little understanding of the important role that content plays.
So you need to tell them. Content creation is not a frivolous exercise. Each piece of content that is created has a purpose. Sometimes that purpose is to educate. Sometimes it’s designed to entertain and demonstrate our brand personality. Other times its purpose is to build trust and drive prospects to buy from us.
Each asset becomes part of a bigger endeavor that is helping your company grow. If you’re not creating new content assets, your brand’s bank account may be dwindling in the market for attention.
So if your wish is to encourage your staff and SMEs to contribute more to this effort, you need to clearly communicate the role that content plays in serving your customers and the long and short term success of the organization.
Tailor Your Approach
Assuming you’ve painted the big picture, the incentive ideas discussed below will probably need to be tailored to the individuals or teams you’re trying to incentivize. Just because your staff is all fighting for the same team (your company), they are still individuals with unique positions, values and motivations. You may need to offer a diverse array of incentives to meet the wide-ranging motivations of your staff.
For example: Let’s say you head up marketing for an engineering firm. You have two engineers who continually impress you with their knowledge and stories. You’d love to get them to contribute regular articles for your blog, but they are busy and their time is very valuable. Although both are engineers for your company, one may simply appreciate the exposure and outlet that writing articles provides. The other may respond to a free lunch.
Take the time to consider these different needs, and then devise a variety of incentives that you can have at the ready. This, in and of itself, demonstrates that you are an employer who understands and cares about their team.
5 Incentives to Consider
1. Simple Recognition
Recognition is the easiest to give, but it’s arguably the most valuable incentive on this list. A recent study found that 82% of employees prefer praise over a gift. Show your staff that you are grateful for their contribution and that you recognize the quality of their work. Kind words and considered compliments show that you are happy with the content they have created, and foster a more engaged and collaborative atmosphere within the workplace.
2. Cash Rewards
Each piece of content is an asset. Assets have value. Do not ignore this. Can you define precisely what this value is and provide a monetary incentive to reflect this? This could come in the form of a per article bonus or a pay raise for regular contributions.
The important factor here is that your staff are working hard to generate direct value for your organization, so they should receive a share of this value in return. This is a means of showing your staff that their efforts are appreciated, and demonstrating to others that hard work does indeed reap rewards.
3. Non-Cash Rewards
To step it up a notch, consider introducing a “Content Producer of the Month” award to provide recognition and FREE STUFF for high quality work delivered on time. Provide prizes that staff members will actively engage with like gift vouchers for popular retail chains, or discounted rates for hotels, spas, or other attractions.
4. Give the Gift of Time
This one may be the hardest incentive to offer (or get approved), but we all know the value of time. An effective work/life balance is of great importance to your team, and you will find that your employees are happy to put in the extra effort in exchange for time off work. While you may be concerned about the potential of losing valuable staff working hours, there is significant evidence that providing this kind of additional time off has very real benefits for companies.
You may decide to call a half day on a Friday for your staff in return for excellent production of content. Alternatively, you may choose to offer longer lunch breaks if your content objectives are met. It is up to you to assess the specific needs of your business and your staff, as you work towards a solution that meets all of these criteria.
5. Support the Creative Process
Not all incentives have to be rewards after-the-fact. Consider this… You can ask your staff to produce content, or you can inspire the organic flow of content from them. This latter approach is far more effective, as it lends itself to the creation of content that is honest, insightful, and genuinely useful to the audience. Creative inspiration often comes from the environment in which they are working and the tools with which they are provided.
The physical environment your employees operate in is key to their levels of engagement. This is why companies are advised to pay as much attention to the break room and other recreational areas within your organization’s building as to the office itself. Providing technology such as iPads and computers, or leisure facilities such as a pool table, are effective incentives as you seek to create an enlivening and enriching atmosphere in which to create content.
Equipping your staff with creative tools that inspire can also be a great incentive strategy. A few ideas here… Give your staff a new prototype product to road test and ask them to report back. Or provide a camera and ask staff to document the development process of a new service. Encourage experimentation with software or apps that facilitate creative expression (think Shakr, Canva, or Omm Writer).
Lastly, nothing will disincentivize your content producers faster than inefficient processes and being forced to use clunky tools. Oh hey, we happen to offer a content planning and production tool that is specifically designed to keep things simple! You can try it FREE for 14 days.