One overlooked and valuable resource for content marketing is a business's own employees. Here's how to harness employee generated content (EGC).
With people spending more and more time on the Internet and consuming content in all its rich and varying forms, the message is clear - content marketing is here to stay.
While many brands look to their agencies or external parties to help develop this content, one overlooked resource for content marketing are the employees sitting within your company's four walls.
Employees are extremely valuable in publishing and distributing content on behalf of a brand because they understand the needs of your customers, they are experts at what they do and they already understand the company's goals and challenges.
Their human touch can provide a more authentic voice than the official word of the company, or the word even, of the chief executive officer (CEO).
A large or even medium-sized organisation needs a social media policy for its employees, yet, many large organisations have done the opposite, by creating policies that are quite heavy-handed prohibiting or discouraging their employees from engaging in social media, let alone representing the company.
If large organisations are discouraging this, or turning a blind eye, this suggests that there is an opportunity for other brands to focus on it as a point of difference and leverage off it.
But, how does a company harness the value of its employees as content publishers? Here are a few tips:
Start With the Employees Already Doing it
It is likely that there are already employees within an organisation that are regularly publishing content through their available channels, whether it is through a blog, a post on (Read more...) or some other forum.
- Do you know who they are?
- Do you know what they stand for?
Look to enrol these people by finding the points of intersection between the company's communication objectives and their own. Don’t mandate any specific messaging or formats. Instead, work with the employee on the formats and messages that fit their brand and style – all within the guidelines of the social media policy of course.
Give Them Praise
Promote the good work of employees the same way you would with external people who create great content or talk about the brand.
- Tag them in status updates
- Favorite their Tweets
Your employees will notice, as will others – including stakeholders – and take note of your support for your staff.
Offer Opportunities for Others to Enrol
Make it clear how other employees can join the effort.
Through analytics, you can likely suggest topics that your audience is engaging with, and even the formats that would be most effective. Share these out with a simple process for your employees to respond.
Make it Easy to Spread the Word
While the voice of employees in developing content is an asset, their ability to distribute content is also excellent.
Their distribution capability can extend to audiences that normal marketing and media likely wouldn’t reach. Therefore:
- Provide wide access to company stories through company servers and Intranets
- Ensure that it is clear that this content is not confidential and meant to be shared
- Provide the content in a variety of formats
- Promote content internally that your employees are publishing
- Make sure your social media policy is clear and easy to find
Measure, Get Feedback and Refine Over Time
Align this stream of work with your overall content marketing or digital marketing strategy.
Develop hypothesis relating to the content that you feel will maximise reach and engagement and lead to specific actions.
Ensure you have the proper tagging in place to connect your business objectives and hypothesis to the reporting and analysis. You can measure the reach and engagement your employees have in publishing through various platforms. You can even measure this impact on your overall business and efforts.
LinkedIn for example, offers a content marketing score that can be used to measure their effectiveness versus the competition. Two out of four of these factors are related to employee creation and distribution of content. A brand can introduce tracking between LinkedIn and their website to measure platform engagement and what content and actions are linked back to your website.
Content marketing opportunities extend well beyond the traditional boundaries of the marketing team and their agencies. Enrol your employees in the process of developing compelling content, and sharing and curating content through their platforms and networks. It is a great way to keep content fresh and relevant to the audiences you are looking to reach, and beyond.
*Image via Shutterstock
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