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Banish the blog writer's block - How to mine blog ideas from your team

Posted: 04 May 2016

A great blog is a delicate thing. They don't happen by accident, are rarely the work of a solo visionary and are hell hard to maintain. With all that said, nothing can match the value and loyalty you can build through a killer blog. If you're willing and able to put in the hours, a great blog can be yours but so many start blogging only to give up a few months down the line. Why? The most common reason tends to be the idea well has run dry.

Yep, the toughest aspect of keeping a blog relevant and engaging is getting your hands on a steady stream of quality blog ideas. And of course you need to combine that with the content rulebook – ‘killer content to win over regular readers’. Ask any thought leader and they’ll admit that the same goes for them, topics can be troublesome. But there is always a solution in those moments of uninspiration - tapping into your team. Your employees are brimming with stories, experiences and expertise. So if you’re running low on blog ideas or just looking for some extra insight, how can you mine ideas from your team?

Be a blog gold miner extraordinaire - Digging tips & techniques.

  • Build a content culture.

You need to empower your team when it comes to content. If you just ask for ideas, they won’t fully engage with opportunity they have. If you can show them the difference great content can make to them and your brand (via a blog), they may be more receptive to being involved. Transform your blog into more than a weekly to-do. If you can train your team to value content then they will look at a blog in a different light. Really create and showcase this content culture before you start requesting ideas, it will create a life-long relationship with content that could do amazing things for your business.

  • Change your wording.

Instead of asking for a blog topic, ask them what’s happened in their week. It’s not just a case of rephrasing how you talk about blogs, it about approaching their creation from a more meaningful angle. The best topics are relevant and relatable. What happened in your team’s week is key to what you should be writing about. Fire round a weekly roundup sheet that asks them to touch on any challenges they faced, triumphs they experienced or new things they learnt. This is solid gold insight - the very thing all good blogs are born from.

  • Create a system for easily collecting ideas.

If you put your team on the spot at a weekly blog idea brainstorm, you could end up alienating them more. Ideas come when ideas come so facilitate and support that by having a 24/7 space and place where they can pop in any ideas that arise. Create a shared Slack group where ideas can be added and chatted about or set up a Trello board for collecting those random thoughts. Don’t try and mine perfect ideas from your team, you need to first encourage them to share all ideas and then pick out the gold.

  • Turn your team into subject matter experts.

That’s a powerful title and it will inspire engagement. If you can convince your team that they are subject matter experts, not just employees, they will be more inclined to share their knowledge. Everyone wants to feel they are of value and a simple re-terming can inspire this.

  • Collaborate on developing ideas.

You could come up with a cool title or nice idea but transforming it into a full post is the tricky bit. Don’t expect your team to tackle that task alone, instead encourage them to share any and all ideas and then bring ones with promise to the wider group for fleshing out. There’s less pressure on one person and it can create a culture of sharing and openness that benefits any blog.

  • Allow them to pen their own posts.

This would be the ultimate goal really. These types of posts always do well on a blog and do wonders for your bigger brand image as an employer and thought leader. This is the long-term goal so don’t jump in with this straight away. Carve out a culture and system for how blog ideas are created, shared and valued first.

Having an idea or seeing potential for one is only half the battle, mining and developing it into a full formed blog is another matter altogether. If you say to your team “Give me some blog ideas please”, chances are they’ll respond with enthusiasm but never quite get round to putting pen to paper. The best blogs are slow, bright burners that are rooted in authenticity and passion, pace yourself and see your blog challenge as a journey. Your patience will be rewarded.

Do you like this stuff? Then join over 21,000 other awesome people who get tips on improving their employer brand, recruitment, marketing and the odd spot of career advice delivered directly to their inbox from me! @markbevans