As part of an ongoing effort to create a company culture of blogging, our first step was educating our team on why as a company it was important for us to do so. Our next step was to get everyone writing, which was not an easy task by any means. We had a few people that had been blogging already, but our goal was to make this a company wide effort, giving everyone a voice to contribute and share their expertise.
What to Write About?
Sometimes the most difficult part of writing is deciding what to write on. It’s also important to make sure that the person writing cares (and knows!) about the topic. You don’t want to make a marketing person write about coding tips for a particular content management system or a network engineer write about social media metric analytics. So how did we solve the problem of content ideas and make sure everyone was excited about a topic? With an event we called Blogapalooza.
100 Ideas in 20 Minutes
The cliché of “there are no dumb ideas” holds true when encouraging your team to come up with ideas for blogs. The first part of Blogapalooza involved a company wide brainstorming session. We divided up in 5 groups of people and with a 20-minute time limit, some markers, and art paper on the walls around the office, we focused our creative efforts on thinking of topics to write about.
We encouraged the brainstorming teams to think about:
- What questions do you hear from clients regarding our services?
- What questions do you hear from clients regarding our processes?
- What questions do you hear from potential clients during the sales process?
- What questions typically come up during discovery?
- What technical questions come up during projects?
- What questions do people have about hosting?
- What topics are you interested in writing about related to our industry?
We challenged the teams to come up with 20 topics each. The end result? 100 blog topics. Boom. One of the biggest challenges of blogging solved.
Sharpen those Pencils; It’s Time to Write
Blogapalooza continued the following week with a 90-minute company-wide writing effort. With the support of our senior management, we dedicated company time for everyone to write a blog. This was important, as we did not want blogging to be seen as something “else” to do as part of their job. It was also important that everyone was doing it – from the CEO and CFO to our developers. With some food, a fun company conversation on Skype, motivational quotes from famous writers, music, and lots of coffee, our entire office spent time writing about one of the topics they picked from our content brainstorming session. Boom. 30 blogs in 90 minutes, on topics our clients and potential clients find valuable.
WSOL Company Skype from Blogapalooza 1
Did everyone enjoy writing? Not really? But everyone had very interesting things to say and there were other benefits of Blogapalooza. First, it was a fun event, great for company bonding. Our company wide Skype conversation helped our remote employees be a part of the day (and the conversation was hilarious –we have very clever employees with a future in stand up comedy). Second, by brainstorming topics as a group and sharing those ideas company wide, we all gained a better understanding of relevant topics, client questions, and even industry ideas that our employees are passionate about.
The Fun Continues
So, ironically, I’m writing this blog during WSOL’s Blogapalooza II, the Sequel. Lots of coffee, some muffins, streaming music via Pandora, and a hysterical company-wide Skype chat. Who knew it could be this easy to create content!
WSOL Company Skype from Blogapalooza 2
What ideas have been successful for your company to generate content for blogs? Have you tried something like Blogapalooza? If not, give it a try! You can even borrow the name. Let us know how it turns out.