The biggest pushback I’ve heard from marketers I’ve worked with on inbound was quite simple: “It’s just me, and this takes a lot of content.” A true statement and trust me, as a sole marketer responsible for all content creation among many other things, I feel your pain. But there’s hope…
I’ve been very lucky that the co-founders of Cesanta in their capacity of CTO and CEO respectively didn’t go out to hire a marketer. They went out to hire an inbound marketer, clearly recognising the importance of inbound and need for content.
Their commitment doesn’t stop there. Even before I started, they have made it very clear that as a growing organisation everyone needs to take part in content creation. Especially our engineers who have the insight as well as the ability to tell the story of how our software was developed.
Finally, they don’t just talk, they write. And it is my role to edit copy. Both are active in content creation from blog posts to LinkedIn posts and sections of downloadable content. This sends the right message to the rest of the team.
Getting the team involved
I was extremely open during my interviews: I am not a techie. To me, flashing is either very naughty or someone imitating Flash Dance moves. I’ve since learned that you also flash hard drives. So yeah, a lot of our content I can’t even attempt to create.
Our engineers are a busy tight team. They are driving our Smart.js product (IoT software platform about to go into Beta) and maintaining the popular Mongoose web server. They understand of course that content drives leads and leads drives product adoption. But just as developing software isn’t my core competency, content writing isn’t theirs.
I was worried from day one that the motivation for creating content is likely to dwindle as other things take priority in the engineering world. So what to do?
The first thing I did was share a very brief presentation in our weekly meeting about inbound and what it can do. Surely, they want to be marketed to in an inbound way when they make a purchase, so we should do the same to attract customers.
The second thing I do is share success. If a particular post was popular or led to a strong lead or conversion, you bet, the team knows about it.
The third thing is a little more fun. A content competition. The more you write, the more points you gather. The more intricate the content, the more points (small vs long blog post, graphic, ebook participation etc). As these grow, your content writer level goes up and you’ll get a custom t-shirt to show off with. The whole thing is wrapped in a Star Wars theme. You go from R2D2 level right up to content Yoda. Now, you may think this is all very childish and your team would never be motivated by something like this. Remember, this is not the sole motivator, the sharing of success and top-down support play big parts. However, this little competition adds a level of fun and lightness to a task that frankly to many is a real pain in the a$$.
Making it easy
I try to make content writing for everyone in the business as easy as possible.
The first thing I created here was a simple doc with a list of the main keywords we want to rank for. Using my own inspiration and tools like the HubSpot Blog Topic Generator I jotted down 5-6 different blog titles for each keyword. Oftentimes coming up with a title (aka a starting point) is the hardest thing. So the doc is some inspiration ready in a sheet.
I edit every piece of content before it goes out. On the one hand, this makes sure that the content is fully SEO optimised, we have anchor texts and the all important call-to-action. But on the other hand, it takes the pressure off for those writing. The piece you send to marketing doesn’t have to be pitch perfect.
This is something I’ve offered, but the guys haven’t taken me up on yet. Things are incredibly busy. Writing a full blog post takes up more time and it’s hard. My offer here is, write up some strong bullet points. Don’t worry about the ‘in between’ words. I can then take the bullets, flesh it out and return it for proofing (technical accuracy) to them.
Tips as you start a new role
I have heard from so many marketers that I consulted with how hard it is to motivate a business to write content. They joined a new business, all bright eyed and bushy tailed to get inbound going and then there was no support.
Here is my advice before you decide to accept a role:
- Be clear in the interview of what you can and cannot do
- Secure top-down support for content which means that the top gets their hands dirty, too
- Be clear on the ramping process behind inbound - it takes a lot of content to get going and to see success
As you are in the role;
- Think about your teams and what would motivate them to write content
- Share success especially when you can tie it back to a particular piece of content
- Share what the competition publishes - surely, we won’t be outdone by them?!
- Continuously be excited about content
I could not do my role without the support of the entire team and I’m grateful that they are open to content creation and understand inbound marketing. I know, I’m very lucky. Hopefully, you’ve found some tips here that help you motivate your team.