“We wrote our first blog post before we wrote our first line of code.”
- Jon Miller, founder, Marketo

Blogging is important for every business. So we don’t just offer ghostwriting services for others. We blog for ourselves. Why? To discuss big issues such as content strategy, commissioning and ROI, as well as tactics for effective copy creation or editing, not to mention news about Collective Content.

Remember, over a third of marketers say blogs are the most valuable content type. Let us know what you’d like to read about here.

Tag: ghostwriting

Forget why your business wanted ‘a culture of content’?

For a time it was very fashionable to talk about a ‘culture of content’. This meant embracing content marketing to such an extent that the whole organisation not only understands its benefits but is eager to make it happen. The era of employee-as-content-creator had arrived. Or so we had all hoped.

Scrabble BuzzBut this is rarely the case. We usually deal with marketing departments and other agencies employed by large companies. Most people we speak to are savvy about content, if not outright experts. What happened to the customer service agent or engineer contributing?

We still think there’s a lot to be said for including them. We’ve written about why your staff can be your secret weapon, as well as some of the reasons why employees don’t participate in content creation. But aside from producing better, more diverse content, what are some of the other benefits of being inclusive? Why, in other words, should you still pursue a culture of content?

  1. Learn about the company. This might not be a priority for the person running a content programme or your average CMO, even. But from our experience, this is vital for CEOs and boards. The views from the shop floor – or manufacturing facility or sales team or wherever – sometimes never reach the top brass. Content is a great communication medium internally.
  2. Content informs strategy. This might seem like the wrong way around but your employees’ ideas around content are also a diverse source of ideas for the wider business. The key here is to have marketing plugged in properly to the wider business. No silos, please. You don’t have to go public with the best ideas – but do feed them to appropriate departments or even up to the C-suite.
  3. Create heroes – and keep them. The best content creators should be celebrated. Content can be shared on internal platforms, as not all your people will see what goes out externally to customers, targets and others. We even know those who make this approach competitive and give out awards. While that might not always work, the act of creating good content should engage and help retain key employees.

This post has been about the ‘why’ of employee content and the culture that fosters it, rather than the ‘how’. But we would like to make one ‘how’ point: Getting this right isn’t easy and it isn’t for every organisation. If nothing else, you need to carefully plan how you will enable employees to do all this, remembering they still have a day job and might not know much about marketing.

How you communicate what’s going to happen, who gets a chance to take part and how they will be helped (coaching, examples, ghostwriting, working out the best medium for each person and so on) is crucial. You might not have more than one chance to get this right.

But knowing the benefits of employees’ contributions to your content marketing can help get programmes signed off or expanded. Good luck.

photo credit: Buzz via photopin (license)

This post was first published 1 June 2016.

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Need a corporate blog but don’t have the time or editorial expertise? Try Speech-to-blog, a corporate blogging service from Collective Content.

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11 best content marketing links (Q2 16)

  1. What is the difference between content and content marketing? Answer: It’s all in the destination…
  1. 11A time when PR and content marketing work together… Our annual research looks at how brand journalists and PRs will interact – if at all. The results may surprise you.
  1. Six ways high-performing CMOs outpace their competitors The CMO usually gets a mention in our quarterly round-ups. Makes sense. Many drive content marketing throughout their organisations. Others are less gung-ho. Not this lot.
  1. Who said long form was dead? Hey, certainly not us. We’ve long talked about the advantages of long form content, when done well. Note: when done well.
  1. Content marketing outsourcing: The agency vs freelancer question This is close to our heart, as seen by how often we talk about in-house or agency. We’re glad to see Jeff give another honest look at the pros and cons of each outsourced approach here.
  1. Will brands fund the next ‘Spotlight’? Our own Tony Hallett was quoted in this piece from the Content Strategist. The prognosis for brand pubs getting pally with Pulitzers…? Don’t hold your breath. But quality work will become more common.
  1. To combat image issues, Walmart bets big on its own newsroom We love a good case study. This one from Digiday shows brand newsrooms – even if not for every brand – are very much on the up, in this case for Walmart.
  1. 7 tips to write the most effective calls to action OK, time for some down and dirty tips, a couple from lesser-known sources. To start, how do you get the humble CTA right?
  1. Buyer personas you want to use: The 9 essential parts Buyer personas are an important part of planning your content. Here’s the breakdown.
  1. The most popular day for B2B webinars and other best practices And 3 of 3, what’s the secret to good B2B webinars?
  1. Why content marketing needs ghostwriters Another subject that is controversial but important to us. Ghostwriting gets a bad rap from some, in this age of authenticity, but content marketing needs it.

OK, enough for now. We hope you enjoy this round-up. These are some of the links that have left the biggest impression on us recently. Why 11?  It’s the best times table. Until next time.

*photo credit: 11 via photopin (license)

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Download our exclusive research and report ‘PR’s acceptance of brand content uneven’.

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The one sure-fire method to start any blog post

The rise of content marketing has seen many non-professional writers getting involved in writing. That’s a good thing, for lots of reasons. But it can be hard. For example they talk to me about writer’s block or what their high school English teachers told them.

CitySlickers(1)front.jpgI’m a firm believer that journalists and most professional writers – top novelists and fiction writers aside – don’t get writer’s block. Or it’s an exceptional thing. But I get the problem millions face today. They literally freeze – especially when someone in marketing or an external agency asks them for a certain number of words by a certain deadline.

So here’s the fix. And if it sounds like the same fix given to procrastinators or those who can’t begin a simple household chore, there’s a good reason for that – it is the same technique.

There’s a saying that all writing is editing. So first of all don’t worry about formalities and your old English teacher. Don’t worry about trying to craft great sentences. That can come later and with the help of others.

With those shackles off, what do you do? You need one thing. One thing, you ask? Unlike Jack Palance’s Curly character with Billy Crystal in “City Slickers” I’m going to tell you what that one thing is: It’s the key point you want to convey. It’s no more than a sentence. Ideally it’s original or at least framed in a way you haven’t seen anywhere else.

As an old editor of mine used to say to leader article writers: “Tell me something I don’t know.” And really by ‘me’ and ‘I’ he meant, ‘You tell the readers’. That was enough.

So the secret is not a secret. Good colleagues and external agencies will help you tease out that blog post, article or grand treatise from that one rough diamond of an idea. The idea is the hardest part.

*photo credit: “City Slickers” movie poster, © 1991 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Follow us on Twitter – @ColContent

Need a corporate blog but don’t have the time or editorial expertise? Try Speech-to-blog, a corporate blogging service from Collective Content.

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Contact us

Contact us to find out how we can help you:

Email:  tony.hallett@collectivecontent.co.uk

Twitter:  @ColContent

Facebook: facebook.com/CollectiveContent

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/collective-content

Phone:  0800 086 9333