Last week, I threw cold water on the notion that every business can turn their employees into bloggers.
The bottom line is that most businesses should shift their focus to getting ideas instead of complete posts from employees.
To do this you’ll need to set up a system for getting these ideas out of your employee’s heads and into your inbox. The key is to make the process as easy and “non-interruptive”. Ideally you want to automate the process so one simple step can turn your employees into blog idea champs.
Today, we’ll review one technique for getting quality blog ideas from your team into your inbox.
Hat Tip to Marcus Sheridan
Marcus is preaching a “revolutionary” concept. Don't blink or you'll miss it - find customer questions and answer them. That’s right, I'll repeat it for you - look for the questions your readers are asking and answer them. You might shake your head and say "that's obvious!" but almost every business ignores this powerful tactic.
Marcus goes on to offer a brilliantly simple way of doing this:
Tell your customer service, front office, and marketing team to :bcc (blind copy) a copy customer questions with their answers to you.
No step 2 needed. Just do Step #1.
For the first couple of weeks you’ll need to remind your team to send every question major or minor to you but once they get into the hang of it I’m sure that you’ll get have all the blog post ideas that you need.
Let’s Take the Q&A One Step Further…
I’m advising my client with busy employees to hire a freelance writer to convert ideas into draft posts for you to review and publish. One issue is you can become a bottleneck in the process as your freelancer waits for you to send along ideas.
Here’s a solution:
Step #1: Sign-up for Trello
Trello is a simple task organizing application. Use it to set-up an online Board that contain Lists.
Here’s how I’ve set-up my Post Ideas board:
I keep track of “Ideas”, “Drafts” - posts that I’m currently working on, and “Published”
I put new blog post ideas on the Idea board.
Step #2: Sign-up for Emello
Emello is a single purpose application that creates a special email address that receives items and adds them to a Trello list.
See below how I’ve configured Emello to take anything sent to the @emelloapp.com email address and add it to my “Idea” list on the Trello Post Ideas board.
Step #3: Distribute the Emello email address To Your Team
Tell your team to add the Emello email to their email applications contacts list. From here they can easily :bcc their emails directly to the Idea list on Trello.
Step #4: Add Collaborators to Trello to Manage and Harvest the Ideas
Add your freelancer as a collaborator on your Trello Account and give them access to the Idea board you’ve set up. Here’s a tutorial on how to create an organization and add members for collaboration.
Instruct your freelancer to check the Ideas list weekly and turn the best ones into an outline for your review and approval.
You can also assign a VA to regularly review and clean up the ideas added to the list to make it easier for your quickly review and grab snippets for their outline.
This process will prime the blog ideas pump and make it easier for you to pump out quality content on a regular schedule.
Go to it.
(P.S. I see the irony of using Rube Goldberg Machines to illustrate a post about a simple and essential process. Oh well...)