In business, it’s standard practice for people to stick to their carefully defined roles and single-handedly complete the projects assigned to them. This generally makes sense, of course, but it isn’t always the best way to approach content.
With the internet keeping us all connected, it’s easier than ever to let different people pitch in on a project, and there are some huge advantages to adding to your website with some high-quality collaborative content.
[attention-lead-magnet] Before You Design, Before You Build, Before You Spend… Design Sprint [/attention-lead-magnet]
Let’s take a look at some of those advantages, and consider what your options are for identifying opportunities for collaboration:
Expertise gaps get covered
Even the greatest expert on a given topic doesn’t know everything about it. One-person projects generally run the risk of giving short shrift to particular elements by glossing over them or even getting the facts incorrect, which ends up reducing user confidence and making the website (and the person or company running it) look worse.
By having multiple people work on the same project, you can mitigate this problem, especially if you choose participants with very different sets of skills. If you were putting together a comprehensive study with illustrations and in-depth copy, for instance, you’d benefit hugely from having a writer work on the writing and an illustrator work on the illustrations.
While it may not be viable to have people working on a project in a room together, consider how many powerful project collaboration tools are available now— through technology, it is easy, routine even, to plan and deliver a project remotely.
Furthermore, if you can get everyone involved on a project to follow it very closely, you’ll probably find that each person ends up expanding their skills very slightly, perhaps even taking away the impetus to do some relevant training as a follow-up.
People value multiple perspectives
We rely heavily on social proof for everything from the opinions we form to the retail choices we make. The more people stand behind a particular idea, product or service, the more likely we are to believe that it’s valuable enough to warrant our time and consideration.
Because of this, being able to offer a piece of content explicitly stated to be the product of numerous creators will stop readers from wondering if what they’re reading is nothing more than one person’s confused ramblings.
You can get additional benefit from a project containing authored comments and discussions, as it will show that some consideration went into the final conclusions reached, as well as make it possible for the reader to identify specific contributors as being experts on specific topics (very useful for driving social media follows, as well as conversational commerce).
User contributions boost engagement
One option that we have yet to touch upon is that of inviting users to participate in creating content. User-generated content from setups like polls or submission contests can easily be worked into website content, making it easier to produce and making the users feel more involved with the day-to-day dealings of the brand.
Considering you get valuable user feedback in the process, this is one of the most cost-effective approaches to content a company active on social media can take. It’s a win-win.
External authority lends credibility
Content collaboration doesn’t have to be limited to your business, as there’s no reason you shouldn’t make good use of industry experts. By inviting influencers in your field to participate in group projects, you can not only boost your credibility by association but also build a valuable contact in the process.
You might think it would be difficult to get that kind of input, but you’ll generally find that thought leaders are perfectly willing to pitch in with some comments on their areas of expertise because it costs them next to nothing and gets them some extra exposure. Take advantage of that to for a quick and powerful boost to the authority of your website.
Cooperation brings people together
There’s a reason why companies invest heavily in team-building exercises, even if they’re not always that effective. It’s because teams that can work together well are significantly happier, get things done faster, make fewer mistakes, and are less likely to quit.
In larger businesses, it’s quite common to find employees and employers working together on joint ventures (JVs) which are essentially profit-sharing partnerships. Through the use of free online resources on a wide range of topics and easy ways to create sites, JV sites can be set up during work hours, mollifying discontented employees eager to take some initiative.
If you currently have various people in your company making different types of content for your website, bringing them together on a project could help them become more familiar with one another, resulting in a better working environment and higher productivity. And if you can think of a project that different employee tiers can work on together, you’ll find that everyone benefits from expanding their perspective.
Types of collaborative content
So with all of those advantages established, what kinds of project work best for collaboration? Here are some of the most popular options:
- Podcasts are easy and fairly cheap to produce and can be handled over VoIP if necessary. They’re also fun to make, and very versatile. You can show that your business has some personality, interview guests, and provide analysis that might interest your users.
- Topical Roundups
- This is a fantastic way to get input (and possibly links) from industry experts. By doing a comprehensive roundup on a particular topic (‘The Top 100 eCommerce Lessons of 2018’ or similar) you can put together a huge piece of content without having to write all that much of it.
- Case Studies
- Companies and entrepreneurs like to talk about themselves, so take advantage of that to create in-depth case studies about their operations. You can also learn some of their tricks as you do.
- Being able to offer detailed downloadable resources is a great strength for a website. By leveraging input from a lot of people, you can write a high-quality ebook in relatively little time.
These are perfect for collaboration, but as long as you break up the tasks sensibly, you can make almost any project collaborative— so if you have a great content idea, give it a try.
Ultimately, through adding to your content calendar with multi-person projects, you can add valuable variety, authority, and expertise, all while building great contacts and forging a stronger team. There’s really no reason not to work it into your content strategy!
Kayleigh Alexandra is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site dedicated to spreading the word about startups and small businesses of all shapes and sizes. Visit the blog for the latest micro biz news and inspiring entrepreneurial stories. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted