Getting people to write for you

It’s really hard, as a marketing manager, to get your colleagues to put pen to paper/ finger to keyboard / mouth to microphone. It’s one of the longest battles I’ve fought in my professional career, aside from getting people to think of you as more than the tea maid just because you’re a female under 30. More on that elsewhere.

I think there’s a few reasons why they are so bad at it:

  1. Fear
  2. Laziness
  3. Busyness
  4. Bloodymindedness

Fear

  • I can’t write well
  • Imposter syndrome
  • I’ll be laughed at by peers/ seniors for having an opinion that differs from theirs
  • It’ll come back to haunt me

Overcoming fear

  • I asked you because I think of you as a subject-matter expert
  • I’ve asked you to write about something that you’ve already done the majority of the work for
  • I will help you
  • As the editor, I am a professional and I wouldn’t let you write something bad or wrong

Laziness

  • It’s too hard
  • I don’t have anything to say
  • I’ll do it in my spare time
  • I don’t have time today/ this week/ ever

Overcoming laziness

  • I’ll help you/ sit here until you’ve done it
  • Call them out

Busyness

  • I have other more pressing priorities
  • It takes too long
  • It’s not important enough for me to make time

Overcoming busyness

  • I’ll help you (are you beginning to see a theme?)
  • Change perceptions of why it’s important
  • Get buy-in from resource management
  • Make fuss of those who do make time

Bloodymindedness

  • I’m too important
  • When you say “everyone”, that doesn’t include me
  • I said I would and now I’m having a hissy fit
  • I don’t want you to change a word I’ve written

Overcoming bloodymindedness

  • Talk about subject-matter expertise, and how there’s no one else who knows what that person knows. Make them the star.
  • Make doing it rewarding (little things like sharing internally)
  • Build a clear sense of why it’s being asked
  • Provide help (again)
  • Have a well-publicised style guide, which is adhered to by everyone else
  • Make clear the difference between writing for the firm and writing as yourself
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