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An Easy Way to Generate In-House Copy From Non-Writers

June 20, 2011  

A successful search strategy relies on strong content marketing—and that means recruiting your company's experts to write articles, blog posts and white papers.

"For some of us writerly types, content comes easy," writes Ari McKee-Sexton in an article at Marketingprofs. "For other types of folks, extracting copy is like pulling bad teeth." So how do you convince non-writers to sit down and commit their insights to the page?

McKee-Sexton found that dangling carrots on sticks simply didn't work:

  • Tempting incentives weren't very tempting. "To solicit copy, we first tried carrots in the form of a $500 bonus to article authors," she says. "That resulted in two things: utter disinterest on the part of most of our staff; a jump in submissions from the two guys who were already writing all the articles."
  • Threats of enforcement weren't very threatening. "We built article and webinar quotas directly into job descriptions, tucked them snugly into marketing plans, and generally dropped them like content cluster bombs into planning meetings," she explains. Perhaps predictably, all this produced was a plethora of excuses and zero content.

Then she had a brainstorm.

"I wrote whatever the hell I vaguely thought needed writing about in the manner of a professional liberal arts major with just enough knowledge to be dangerous—exactly what I am—and it was like putting fire ants in their lab coats," she notes. "Within hours, they returned marked-up Word documents with added pages and comments like 'Ha!' and 'WTF?'"

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