Where does your site’s best content come from? If you don’t know or if you’re producing it, there could be a problem. Diversifying your content’s sources is key to providing content that represents different perspectives about relevant topics. As well, by diversifying sources you can help facilitate a collaborative workflow.
But how can you begin to get others to create and share content? If your company already has an intranet or uses social collaboration tools such as Yammer for communicating, that’s a great start. You can simply put out an All Points Bulletin for specific content. However, if your company has a culture that isn’t yet conducive to sharing information with others, you might have to start with basic strategies.
Why Diversifying Content is Important
First, it takes the pressure off of you or whoever is your primary source. Casting a wide net to attract a variety of content sources means you have more information to push out to your readers.
Second, it provides different perspectives. From your marketing desk, the world looks different from the way it does if viewed from an engineering cubicle or C-level corner office. By being able to provide multiple points of view, your users receive a holistic picture so they can make an informed decision.
Finally, by diversifying your content’s sources, you can begin to cultivate a culture of knowledge sharing and collaboration, which in turn breeds transparency and trust. When an employee’s story is valued, their contributions will flow much more freely.
Ways to Help You Diversify Your Content
Presumably, the people who work to develop your organization’s products and services, as well as those who make key decisions, have stories to tell. (If they don’t, please read When You Have No Story to Tell).
Start from the Beginning
- Identify where your content comes from.
- What perspective does it share?
- What points of view are missing?
- Who else can provide what’s missing?
Once you can answer the previous questions, you can begin to approach the appropriate office to ask for contributions.
What If They Don’t Want to Contribute?
If someone has never been asked to share their perspective, it might not be obvious to them why what they have to say is worth sharing with others. They might not feel empowered or confident to share without suspicions. You need to assure them that their story is not only valuable to the user, but it helps the company promote itself.
Create a Meaningful, Unobtrusive Workflow
Even when people want to help, they don’t want it to get in the way of their primary responsibilities. Additionally, it’s better for everyone if knowledge sharing is efficient and not time-consuming. Create a workflow where willing parties are scheduled to submit their contributions. Knowing in advance can help contributors plan better and work it into their existing daily schedule. Send out triggered email reminders one day ahead of when content is due.
Give Your Contributors a Voice, Recognition
If it’s appropriate, include a byline on contributions when publishing content. Not only does this help employees develop a portfolio, it provides your users with the sense that your organization values its employees’ contributions. If you can’t use a byline, recognize the employee through internal channels. When employees see the work of others highlighted publicly or internally, it may inspire them to contribute.
Your Best Content May Not Be Words
Not everyone is a writer. Engineers, for example, may not know how to best provide a summary that helps laypeople relate. However, photos, sketches or video can. Give contributors the flexibility to submit content in various forms — you might just be surprised by what you’ll get.
Create a Content Waterfall: When it Rains, It Pours
Initiating collaborative content practices can seem daunting, but taking the first step can help provide options, which can open up and diversify your content stream. Most important, collaboration doesn’t start overnight. It takes oversight, enthusiasm and lots of support. As soon as it becomes a part of work culture, knowledge sharing can begin to facilitate your content strategy and engage users.