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How to Motivate Employees to Blog

by David Spark on July 23, 2013


Every company knows they should be blogging, but so few actually do it. In 2013, 62% of marketers say they blog or plan to blog, but only 9% of US marketing companies employ a full-time blogger (source: factbrowser.com 1 and 2). This is not as damning as it sounds as employing a full-time blogger is not a requirement to be blogging. At Spark Media Solutions, we all blog and it’s just one part of our job. Saying you have a blog and having an “active” blog are two very different things. An abandoned blog speaks volumes of a company. Do they follow through on what they say they’re going to do? Are they focused on maintaining their own brand presence? Will they do the same for you? This fear of not being able to accomplish the task themselves is probably why a lot of companies are reticent to start a blog. They don’t feel they can keep it up. A blog is not like an advertising campaign. There is no end date. It’s ongoing.

We’re already communicating through phone, in-person conversations, email, and social media. I argue that blogging is just an extension of that type of conversation and it’s far more efficient. For more, read “Blogging Advice for People Who ‘Have No Time to Blog.’”

Blogging is also not just for your lowest level employees. The CEO should also be blogging. When Paul Levy became CEO of the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston he began blogging on a non-company-owned site called “Running a Hospital.” Even though it was a free and poorly designed blog, that didn’t matter. What mattered is Levy posted one to two blog posts every single day. When I asked him how he had the time to actually do all this blogging given his CEO duties he responded:

“If one of your jobs as CEO of an organization is to represent that organization before the public. With traditional venues being newspapers, speeches, lectures, and the like. Then use of social media is a logical extension of that corporate responsibility of the CEO. The outreach potential is excellent plus you can express your point of view not being filtered by reporters, or editors, or whatever.”

Levy is no longer the CEO of the hospital, but he still actively blogs on the newly renamed site, “Not Running a Hospital.” For more on the importance of corporate blogging, read “Why Corporate Blogging is Like Selling Uncut Cocaine.”

Internal gamification

It’s really hard to get people excited and focused on blogging early on when there’s so little response and acknowledgement of your work. To get people to participate and maintain their interest you need to build in some internal incentives and challenges for people to achieve. These should be small blogging and social media goals for company bloggers to focus their efforts.

Create a really long list of those challenges and have everyone aim to achieve as many as possible. Depending on your internal culture, it may be enough to create this list and let the internal competition and pressure guide people to participate. You may also need to throw out a prize for winners to achieve a certain number of these goals. Whatever the prize, it will definitely be worth it because your employees will be doing some serious word-of-mouth marketing efforts for you.

Next step is to make this ongoing competition very visible to the entire company. This requires a very visible internal document on a wiki, Google spreadsheet, or if you’re a huge enterprise, using a gamification program such as Bunchball to get employees to participate and see how each other are doing. Don’t let this document be hidden. It should be front and center on your Intranet and I would go so far as to have a monitor in your lunchroom or other public internal space that shows who’s at the top of the leader board and who has achieved what goal. Even though it’s competitive, you need to also include supporting colleagues’ posts through social media as part of the competition. Surprisingly, getting your own employees to share and comment on stories can prove to be rather difficult.

To start you out, I’ve created a list of 100 challenges to entice participation. Note, this list only includes sharing through the big social networks. Please adapt this list and include any social networks, discussion boards, or user groups that are specific to your industry. It’s a long list, but it’s purposely that long so there will always be another small achievement for colleagues to complete. If your employees tackle this list they will become expert bloggers and social sharers. I’ve also created a free Google Spreadsheet document with this entire list for you to copy and use within your own company. You won’t be able to edit it, just select “File” and then “Save a Copy” and you’ll have a version of your own to edit and adapt to your needs. If you do choose to use this list, please let us know how the competition goes.

100 achievements for corporate blogging and social media engagement

Blogging content

  • Write your first blog post
  • Write three blog posts in one week
  • Write ten blog posts in one month
  • Write a blog post 1,000+ words long
  • Write a top 10 tip article
  • Write top 10 things to avoid article
  • Use three quotes from influencers in one article
  • Use three images or more in a single blog post
  • Write a guest post for a another blog in your industry
  • Create multimedia content for a blog post, such as a video, slideshow, or audio file
  • Write a “how-to” piece
  • Write a blog post reporting on an industry event
  • Write 20 blog posts
  • Write 30 blog posts
  • Write 50 blog posts

Self-promotion of post

  • Tweet out your blog post
  • Share your blog post on Facebook
  • Share your blog post on LinkedIn
  • Share your blog post on a relevant group on LinkedIn
  • Share your blog post on Google+
  • Use five distinctly different tweets to promote your blog post

First shares from colleagues

  • Get one Twitter retweet from a fellow employee
  • Get one Twitter comment on post from a fellow employee
  • Get one Facebook share from a fellow employee
  • Get one Facebook “Like” from a fellow employee
  • Get one Facebook comment from a fellow employee
  • Get one LinkedIn share from a fellow employee
  • Get one LinkedIn comment from a fellow employee
  • Get one Google+ share from a fellow employee
  • Get one Google+ comment from a fellow employee
  • Get a link to your post from a fellow employee’s blog post

First shares outside the company

  • Get one Twitter retweet from someone outside the company
  • Get one Twitter comment on post from someone outside the company
  • Get one Facebook share from someone outside the company
  • Get one Facebook “Like” from someone outside the company
  • Get one Facebook comment from someone outside the company
  • Get one LinkedIn share from someone outside the company
  • Get one LinkedIn comment from someone outside the company
  • Get one Google+ share from someone outside the company
  • Get one Google+ comment from someone outside the company
  • Get a link to your post from a blog post outside the company

Lots of shares from colleagues

  • Get five Twitter retweets from fellow employees
  • Get five Twitter comments on post from your fellow coworkers
  • Get five Facebook shares from your fellow coworkers
  • Get five Facebook “Likes” from your fellow coworkers
  • Get five Facebook comments from your fellow coworkers
  • Get five LinkedIn shares from your fellow coworkers
  • Get five LinkedIn comments from your fellow coworkers
  • Get five Google+ shares from your fellow coworkers
  • Get five Google+ comments from your fellow coworkers
  • Get five links to your posts from fellow employees’ blog posts

Lots of shares outside the company

  • Get five Twitter retweets from people outside the company
  • Get five Twitter comments on post from people outside the company
  • Get five Facebook shares from people outside the company
  • Get five Facebook “Likes” from people outside the company
  • Get five Facebook comments from people outside the company
  • Get five LinkedIn shares from people outside the company
  • Get five LinkedIn comments from people outside the company
  • Get five Google+ shares from people outside the company
  • Get five Google+ comments from people outside the company
  • Get five links to your posts from blog posts outside the company

Help out colleagues

  • Leave a comment on a colleague’s blog post
  • Tweet out a colleague’s post on Twitter
  • “Like” a colleague’s post on Facebook
  • Share a colleague’s post on Facebook
  • Comment on a colleague’s post on Twitter
  • Share a colleague’s post on LinkedIn
  • Share a colleague’s post in a relevant group on LinkedIn
  • Comment on a colleague’s post on LinkedIn
  • Share a colleague’s post on Google+
  • Comment on a colleague’s post on Google+
  • Leave five comments on colleagues’ posts in one week
  • Post five shares across any social network of colleagues’ posts in one week
  • Post ten shares across any social network of colleagues’ posts in one week

Share industry content

  • Tweet out a relevant industry post
  • “Like” a relevant industry post on Facebook
  • Share a relevant industry post on the company’s Facebook page
  • Share a relevant industry post on the company’s LinkedIn page
  • Share a relevant industry post on a LinkedIn group
  • Share a relevant industry post on Google+
  • Comment on a relevant industry post on Facebook
  • Comment on a relevant industry post on LinkedIn
  • Comment on a relevant industry post on Google+
  • Leave a comment on another blog post
  • Leave a comment on another blog that points back to your blog post

Traffic for your post (requires a visible counter on each post or access to the stats page)

  • 100 views of your blog post
  • 200 views of your blog post
  • 300 views of your blog post
  • 400 views of your blog post
  • 500 views of your blog post
  • 1,000 views of your blog post
  • Have one of the top-five most trafficked blog posts of the month
  • Have one of the top-ten most-shared blog posts on the site

Blog comments

  • Get a comment from a fellow employee
  • Get a comment from someone outside the company
  • Get five comments on a blog post from people outside the company
  • Respond to a blog post comment with your own comment
  • Respond to five blog post comments with your own comments
  • Get an angry or “you don’t know what you’re talking about” comment on your blog post
  • Get twenty comments on a blog post from people outside the company

 

Creative Commons photo credit to nightthree.

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