Monday, October 6, 2008

5 secret ways to trick your colleagues into becoming content creators for your website.

Shh, don't share the following with ANYONE! Keep it to yourself and trick your colleagues at work into becoming the content creators that you know they can be.

One of the biggest complaints I have heard over and over again is that it is hard to get staff at organizations to contribute to content to the website. The IT or tech team should not be the ones writing the content of the website. Nor should it only be the marketing staff, who wants a web site full of marketing pizazz.

But our staff are so busy that they just dont have time to contribute solid content to populate the site. Well here is my list:

Top 5 Ways to trick your colleagues into becoming content creators for your website.

6. Job description. This may seem like you are forcing people, but you have to look at this as just part of their job. Work with supervisors, HR, "C" level staff, etc. to get web site content into all of the appropraite job descriptions. Even if you cant get it into existing ones, there are always those new hires. Now granted, this wont automatically make the content good or even make it happen, but at least their is a small awareness.

5. Three ring binders. Look around for things and pieces of information that people have thought is important enough to keep in a written format like a three ring binder. YMCAs are famous for having a whole shelf of these at the front desk and in every YMCA program directors office. Find what is most useful and repopulate that content into your intranet or web site.

4. Ease it in. Start with an intranet, instead of a public website. Get people involved in our intranet. Get them used to using the web to submit content. Do simple things like a discussion board, a book club, transferring manuals from paper to web, write stories about their background, etc. Get people to start a wiki, start with a small group, then brag about how cool the project is. Then others will want to join.

3. Competition. Pick a couple people that you know are ready to give content, then get that published on your site. Then go overboard in recognizing those staff within your org. A few others will want to join in based on that. Then continue to publicize the people that are contributing. Maybe even create a quarterly award for best content, include a free day off and a cool tshirt. But the most important key is to get those people not contributing wondering why they arent involved.

2. Bribery. Bribe them with food and hold an in-person meeting. Schedule a meeting focused on a topic that you need content for on your site. Then invite the people that have knowledge on that topic to a meeting and serve some pizza, ice cream or something. Get them talking and have someone take notes. Take a quick break. Have someone fast and furious rewrite those notes into some sample content for site. When people return, show them the content and have them react and help rewrite. Then publish and be sure to give all the credit to those people.

1. Steal it. Ask your colleagues a question in an email and dont tell them you plan to reuse it on the web. Just ask a question. Take their reply and rework it as content. Then send it back to them with this quote, "WOW, I was so impressed with your answer that I would love to have this content on the org web site. I attached what it could look like. Could I get your permission to post this?" But dont stop with stealing emails. Look for content to "steal" from discussion boards, memos, handwritten notes, brochures, presentations and more!

See what I did! I tricked you also! I said there were five and I wrote six. OK, I only did that because a top 5 sounds cooler than top 6.

Any Hoot. I would suggest by first trying to figure out what the biggest barriers are at your org. Is it a fear of tech? A feeling they arent the expert? A lack of time or resources? Unsure of what to write? The key is to get them to write that first peice, get permission and show that person how smart and great they truly are (BUT BE GENIUNE!), then next time maybe they submit it more willingly.

I am not claiming to be an expert on any of this, but obviously I was smart enough to trick you into reading this. Maybe now I can trick you into writing a comment?


Rebekah Hickey said...

I'm working on increasing the communication among several programs in my agency and I'm running into the same kind of problems. I think easing them into using the intranet for communicating is a good way to start and I'm hoping it will work! We're thinking of starting an internal blog to introduce blogging and show them how easy and potentially useful it could be for us. Maybe my trickery will be as effective as yours.

Steve Heye said...

Yes an intranet is a brilliant way to start in my opinion. Now that my YMCA is beginning to implement the web presence strategy, we are also beginning an intranet. Step one of our intranet will be all about communication across the organization. We are planning to implement blogging (probably Wordpress) and hope that introduces web writing to people and eases the fear of posting.

Good luck and thanks for the comment, it is a great one.