Once a company grows beyond its initial team, it almost always hires a dedicated writer to handle various responsibilities. For example, technical writers specialize in writing manuals and other technical documents to be read and understood by non-experts, while copywriters focus on producing taglines and advertising material, and content writers produce blog posts and other marketing collateral. In any case, writers are often individual specialists who have mastered some form of communication, while your other team members can focus exclusively on their own fields of expertise.
But this might be an inefficient approach. Instead, it might be better to encourage everyone on your team to become a writer in their own right.
The benefits of writing skills
Let’s take a look at some of the immediate benefits that come with having a fleet of employees all capable of proficient writing individually:
- More efficient email. Believe it or not, email is one of the biggest sources of consistent productivity loss within an organization. In part because of the sheer volume of sent and received emails, and in part because of irresponsible or underinformed employee usage, poorly written emails can cost your company hundreds of hours a week in lost time. Improving your employees’ writing skills means they’ll be able to write emails more efficiently, improving communication dynamics across the organization and cutting down the time it takes to read, write, and send messages.
- Precise communication. Learning how to write also encourages employees to think critically about their word choices and sentence structures—both on the page and in verbal communication. Over time, that means your employees will be able to speak more precisely and concisely—cutting down the length of your meetings, and maximizing productive conversations between individuals and within groups. Every communication-based interaction will become more efficient, and less prone to misinterpretation.
- Note taking and documentation. Don’t underestimate the impact that writing skills can have on other, less intensive tasks, such as taking notes and preparing formal documentation. Employees who take descriptive, eloquent notes during meetings can share those notes with others easily, and those who prepare better-crafted documents like proposals and creative briefs will ultimately usher in more successful, profitable projects.
A pool of contributors
If you’re involved in content marketing, you’ll see even more benefits. Assuming you’re managing a blog with multiple weekly entries, you could feasibly call upon any member of your team to submit a blog post at any time.
This can bolster your campaign in multiple ways:
- Guest author profiles. Each employee who contributes to your blog can create their own personal profile, lending itself to the development of separate personal brands. This segmentation will help you cultivate niche expertise within the group, and will likely add a perception of greater influence to your brand overall. On top of that, your employees can leverage their personal brands to share more content from your company, increasing your overall reach and building their individual spheres of influence.
- Work dispersion. Having 20 employees each write one blog post is easier than having 1 employee write 20 by him/herself. Influencing the development of writing skills among your entire crew allows you to curate more content than you could before, and with far fewer costs and less strain. It may be harder to keep track of incoming and outgoing assignments, but the dollar and effort reduction will likely be worth it.
- Voice diversity. You’ll also get a diversity of different voices contributing to the blog and the direction of your content strategy. In poor executions, this can lead to a paralyzing “design by committee” approach, but with the right oversight and safeguards in place, this can lead to the creation of a smarter, better-rounded content strategy.
How to train non-writers
Dedicated writers will have English or Communications backgrounds to establish the foundation of their skills. So how can you improve the writing skills of your other employees without investing in extended education?
- Host a workshop. For starters, you can pull the team away for half a day and host a workshop (or do this multiple times for different segments). You can focus on fundamental skills, such as mastering the art of concise communication, or focus on mediums, such as email or blog writing. In any case, you can focus on specific goals and directives for each workshop, and ensure each employee walks away with new knowledge and new skills.
- Set formatting requirements. It’s also a good idea to set firm formatting requirements for your emails, blog posts, and other mediums moving forward. Formally documenting these requirements, and holding your employees to them, will force people to get on board with your new writing-centric directives. It may take time for adjustment, but these will set the standard for writing within your company in the future.
- Call out specific examples. Cite specific examples of writing done well or poorly, and point out what went right or wrong with them. Depending on the employee, and the nature of the work, it may be best to do this publicly (to help everyone understand the principles for successful writing) or privately (to respect individual employees’ feelings).
- Encourage daily practice. As with most skills, the best path for development is simply practice. Encourage your employees to hone their skills over time by dedicating more time to writing. You can have your employees draft a new blog post every week, picking the best candidates for publication, or give feedback on hypothetical email drafts to guide employees in their future writing endeavors.
- Offer rewards. Finally, offer rewards to the employees most committed to improving their writing skills. You can give a cash bonus to employees who contribute the best blog posts to your content marketing strategy, or hold a special lunch for the biggest improvers in the group.
Writing skills aren’t just for writers; if you can train all your staff members to improve their writing abilities, and have them produce some of your blog content while they’re at it, you can greatly improve both the efficiency and profitability of your organization. Most people can’t become talented writers overnight, but the more you reward this skill development, and the more resources and opportunities you give your employees, the faster and more completely they’ll be able to achieve this rewarding proficiency.
And if you’d like to know how you can start blogging consistently in 30 minutes a day or less, read our eBook!