Every office has them. People who cannot, for the life of them, write — or write well. And if it’s your job to shepherd content out of them – God bless you. However, there are a few things you can do to actually get the content you need — and ensure that content is publishable in a way that won’t embarrass your brand.
Here we’d like to offer a few tips on how to get content that is well above marginal from staff who are not natural born scribblers.
Don’t Push People Into Writing
This may seem counterintuitive, considering how I just introduced things, but the best way to get good content to get content from people who absolutely, positively want to create it. Some people hate writing and find it a chore. You’re likely to get lackluster content from these folks all the time, so don’t bother with them. Find and identify potential contributors who at least want to give content creation a shot. By not forcing the issue on people who have zero interest, you’ll save yourself hours of editing crap and have more time to help those want to contribute.
Make Content Production a Game
What might work, especially in a competitive corporate culture, is turning writing into a bit of a game. Identify what you want to accomplish, set some rules and then offer a reward to the first person who successfully does what you want them to do. Having an incentive is key, but sometimes a bit of personal recognition from the boss is all someone really craves.
Don’t Forget That There Are Different Kinds of Content
Content is not just writing. It can be slideshows or podcasts or infographics or a host of other things. Find out who the experts are in these various things around your office, and let them go at it. This is simply an honest admission that you won’t be able to convert everyone on your staff into a blog writer. But you can use different skill sets that people have to create various kinds of content to compliment the written work.
Don’t Ask for Complete Work
When it comes to writing, if you really need content from someone who is not a natural writer, don’t ask them to hand in a complete assignment that is barely passable. Instead, ask them to turn in a few bullet points or notes that a real writer can then flesh out. Send the completed version of the article or blog post back to the subject matter expert and ask them to review the work and approve it. This might be a good way to get more content on a regular basis, and it shouldn’t affect the end result of the work.
Provide Opportunities for Training and Feedback
Sometimes, all a person needs is a little bit of coaching in content creation. If you can provide this, you may find that people are more enthusiastic about contributing content and you won’t have to edit material as much. Also provide a chance to give transparent feedback — especially when it comes to what you’re looking for in terms of metrics and web analytics. Being transparent may encourage some competition, and this may provide an opportunity for colleagues to really kick things up a notch and turn in their best work.
Do you have any other tactics or strategies for working with difficult colleagues who may not be great writers and content creators? Share them in the comments section below. We’d love to hear them.