The Rev. Edward Stone's letter to England's Royal Society in 1763 eventually earned billions for a German dye manufacturing company, the result of an unintended consequence.
It seems that Rev. Stone, seeking relief from various "agues" caused by "miasma" (bad air) from wet or swampy areas, happened to peel off and gnaw on a piece of willow bark as he wandered around the wetlands of Chipping Norton. In his mind was the common belief of the time that Divine Providence should supply a cure alongside the source of human ailments.
As he chewed, he was reminded of the bitter taste of "Peruvian Bark" a remedy that was credited with curing Malaria in tropical areas. After feeling some relief from his symptoms and experimenting on a few friends, Our hero sent his findings to the Royal Society, and willow bark became the latest panacea to sweep the nation.
By the late 1890's a tiny German drug and dye factory called Bayer isolated willow bark's active ingredient, called it Aspirin and entered it into market competition with the leading pain reliever of the time, Heroin
In time, Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Naproxen and their cousins eclipsed Aspirin as the anti-inflammatory drug of choice. Bayer struggled until the aforementioned unintended but happy side effect was discovered in the 1970's. Aspirin was proven to repel not only headache, fever and "Ague," but also the onset of a couple of additional killers: cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancers.
What does any of that have to do with blogging for your business?
You've been informed that publishing fresh content for your website is great for internet marketing, lead generation, branding and customer service. To stay competitive, your company would do well to blog.
Like aspirin, blogging is good for your company's health.
You have a problem, however. In order to blog effectively, you need content… original content, that is focused, relevant, and optimized for search returns. But you have neither the time nor the insight to do it all yourself.
Should you look at your salespeople and other staff and ask them to take their medicine? Before you do, consider this: robust internet marketing-focused content goes way beyond lead generation. Perhaps sharing the happy side effects of blogging would help:
It helps your reps build credibility. Think about having a prospect click on an impressive in-house blog about your product or service, written by their sales contact. Good PR! If a prospect has a question, your rep is empowered to refer them to a blog they wrote with an extensive answer.
It gives sales and marketing some common ground on which to become a better team, combining sales field experience with marketing muscle.
It can lead to a more thorough exposure to all of your website. What if each blog included an offer, a coupon or a Call-to-Action?
It helps customer service address customer questions and concerns. Once you have a library of blogs out there, you can refer to them as additional information. And once you have prospects reading your blogs, they feel as if they know you better.
It helps everyone stop and think about your business, its past, present and future. Blogging can be a revealing source of self-discovery and personal ownership for your people and your business.
Now, how can we help your people? What might they need to succeed? Read on for some ideas:
Establish an Idea BankYou know there's the occasional recluse with no ideas, but most of your people are overflowing with possible blog topics. Fashion a space on your internal website or CRS, or a simple bulletin board. Ask for topics periodically in meetings.
Text OnlyGraphic design and editing should be taken out of the equation. Simple text with errors and less-than-perfect syntax is encouraged. Just make sure you have good editor to clean up and dress up the raw material.
Make a ScheduleDeadlines are necessary for good blogs. You know how those unscheduled "I'll-get-to-it-laters" never seem to happen. It's up to you how often, but make sure everyone knows when blogs are due
Outline a process
Some writers will need details about the steps from blank screen to published blog. Others not so much, but let your bloggers know what the basic expectations are. For example:
- Pick a topic
- Email the blog boss 3) ten-minute meeting to settle on a deadline and brainstorm if needed 4) write it on company time 5)submit by email before deadline 6) editor does magic to make it SEO friendly, great looking and easily readable 7) published on our website, linked to Social media and emailed newsletter, etc.
Give some help to the non-bloggersSome of your sales reps don't even like writing. Their emails are terse, they always do the minimum on reports. That's OK! Help them out:
- Interview them on their topic and use voice recognition software or transcription to reduce it to writing.
- Have them create a PowerPoint presentation-type outline. Then outsource the basics to a content-writing company like textbroker or scripted
- Develop a set of themes, outlines, interview questions- anything that would provide more structure than a blank screen
- Use multiple media for blogs. Try using "vlogs" with video instead of written content. Add a transcript to go along with it for SEO purposes.
- Do a little research for them. Check out our article: 5 Essential Questions for Killer Blog Content
Start a little friendly competition
Share the analytics that show the hard data like total number of hits, overall number of blogs produced, social shares, leads and opportunities gained, and comments made. Give small prizes for each category.
Most of the time unintended consequences are inconveniently weird. Just ask the kids at East Fallowfield Elementary School
Who knows? Maybe you are the Rev. Edward Stone, or the Bayer chemist of your company. Blogging for your company's internet presence could bring down some very happy unintended, unimagined consequences!