You want your customers to be your brand ambassadors, but truth be known – your employees already are. And on a side note – if you aren’t confident that they are ambassadors for your business, why are they working for you?
Your employees have superior knowledge of the products or services that you offer and have the most interaction with clients, meaning that they are attuned to the demands, expectations and concerns of the customers.
All of the content that a business creates, should provide value to the customer base and target audience. With your employees having first-hand access to the questions and concerns voiced by customers, it makes good sense for them to be involved, or be kept up to date with the creation of the content.
Involve Them in The Vision
Of course, in order to be fully invested, it’s critical that you explain to them what ‘content marketing’ is along with its value and impact. Once you have defined what it is, inform the employees of your current strategy, how you currently create your content and the ways that it is distributed and promoted.
Be sure to include the strategy used for your social media platforms too , along with the different ways that they are used; for example, is Twitter used to share company and industry information and as a customer service gateway while Instagram is used as a ‘behind the scenes’ platform to showcase your team and workplace culture?
Richard LeCount from USBMakers shares his experience, “Many brands focus all of their marketing efforts on campaigns, yet employees are one of the most powerful brand assets – regardless of the industry. When employees feel connected to the business and its brand and understand how they are influencing its growth, they will feel more motivated to become involved and add their input.”
Communicate the short term and long term visions for the business, the evolution of your content marketing and the role that you see your employees playing in this. It’s important that everyone is clear on how they can contribute and that expectations and guidelines are created for everyone to follow to ensure consistency.
Discuss the demographics of your target audience and encourage input from employees about your current customers to gain a deeper insight.
Ask for Their Input
Now that your employees feel confident in their knowledge of content marketing and that they can become involved, it’s time to ask for their input with regards to the creation of new content.
This strategy works extremely well; you are actively engaging employees in the content marketing and keeping them up to date by asking for them to use the feedback they have gained in order to create valuable and relevant content. Using real customer experiences, and discussing common areas where advice and tips are needed, encourages creativity and collaboration.
You are also demonstrating to the team that you value their opinion, doing wonders for confidence and morale.
Give Them Authorship
Sometimes you come across staff who are not only great at their job, but after a little encouragement, can make a fantastic written contribution to the content marketing.
Giving team members the option to write their own contributions to the company blog; make this easy by giving them a masterclass and plenty of time to get to grips with the admin area of your website so that they can both write and post.
It’s good practice to have a ‘go-to’ tech person that is familiar with your system that is available to answer any questions, this could be someone in-house, a freelance developer or a marketing agency.
Amanda Maksymiw from Lattice Engines states that sharing the results of the blogs on a regular basis is key to driving this engagement. “Continually remind everyone of the impact and progress of your corporate blogging program. A regular report can keep the importance of blogging top of minds and hold everyone accountable. OpenView has set up its corporate blogging program so that almost every blogger is required to submit a blog post each week. As a result, we send an email every Friday that shares the following information: Page views, unique visitors, click-through rates, number of page views per blogger to see the authors that are doing well (and not so well), update on ranking of targeted keywords and the number of new leads and converted leads.
Make It Part of The Culture
In a perfect world, your employees would be sharing your content anyway, in reality – not so much. It may be that they don’t want their work life to intrude on their personal life and social profiles; the way to combat this is for them to set up individual ‘business’ profiles. If they are writing content for your blog or industry journals, of course, they will be more inclined to share their work.
If they still need some encouragement as to why they should spend time doing this, it’s time to shed some light on how this could potentially benefit them and their careers. Through sharing company and industry content, they are increasing their exposure; this leads to increased leads and sales, and likely – a monetary reward via a raise or bonus. Surely, this will get their attention?
The increased exposure also lifts their personal profile, and they will become an expert in their field, which in turn, raises further opportunities.
It’s natural for the popularity of sharing content to wane after a few months, so it needs to be ingrained into the business culture. Content calendars are handy; containing all the information with regards to posts, authors and deadlines clearly stated. This can be a physical document, and tasks can also be set into the company CRM system. This helps to solidify the message that this isn’t an option – it’s part of the role.