We get a lot of compliments on our blog. It’s good. It’s insightful. It’s thoughtful. It’s informative. We’re proud of it. Our goal is to publish regular, authentic content that is a real reflection of who we are and the work we do. How do we do it? Read on!
More than once I’ve been asked how we do it. How do we motivate the team to provide content on a regular basis, year after year? Our secret? We do it all at once. Twice a year we complete what is know internally at PortMA as our “10 in 10.” That’s where every employee writes 10 blog posts in 10 days. The 10 in 10 creates a content library that keeps us going for a little while.
All employees are to provide 10 blog posts over a 10-day period. A blog post is any piece of “new” writing completed by the employee about his or her job of at least 400 words (but not more than 700 words). The posts are due daily at 5:30 PM EST and then each subsequent business day at the same time for 10 consecutive days. Posts are sent to our office manager (who also participates) as an MS Word attachment to with a copy to the rest of the team. The time stamp on the email will represent when it was sent (no exceptions or special circumstances).
What do we write about? We talk about what we did that day. We’re specific or general. We write about our job, research findings, or how we go about doing a particular aspect of our work. We write about a Client’s questions, our thoughts on the industry, or what analysis we just used. We write about our processes, our systems, our methods. Write about theory or a “How to” guide. We just write. The only “don’t” is don’t compromise our Client confidentiality. We run all finished blog posts by our editor before publishing so he can give it all a common voice and clean things up. So we just burn through it. We don’t over think it. Above all else, we are authentic in our writing.
During the company’s bi-annual meetings we will have a number of PortMA Auctions where we auction off envelopes. The envelopes have a variety of things in them, most of which has direct monetary value. There are at least 10 auctions and the net value is usually $300 or more.
Everyone starts with $20 in one dollar bills to be used at the auction (or kept as they see fit). This amount can go up or down based on how the employee does with his or her blog writing:
• Deliver all blog posts on or before the daily deadline and receive an extra $10
• Miss one deadline but make it up the next day and receive $5
• Miss two deadlines and make them up before 5:30 PM on the last day and you’re good at $20
• Miss three or more deadlines and make them up before 5:30 on the last day and you lose $10
• Fail to get all blog posts in before 5:30 PM on the last day and the auction is canceled
That’s right. It’s an all or nothing kind of thing. We all write 10 posts in 10 days or no auction. So that employees don’t run the risk of getting drawn and quartered by their peers, they participate. A classic carrot and stick approach. Go with what works.
We encourage folks to write like they’ve never written before. Send them early, send them late, just make sure you send them before the final date (see what I did there?). Just write.