Employees are ambassadors for your brand. Because they know the product best and interact with customers on a daily basis, they are the most in-tune with your customers’ wants and needs. Every business owner wants their content to be valuable for their customers, so what better way to ensure this happens than to involve the people who know them best — your employees.
Employees respond to customer questions and concerns. They post company information online. You want to make sure your team is kept up-to-date with the most recent content. Below are some ways to involve employees to make the most effective content marketing campaigns.
Share Your Vision and Goals
You’ll first want to explain what content marketing is, its value, and how it affects your business. Once employees have a handle on the basics of content marketing, explain what you’re currently doing to create and promote company content. Share your specific efforts, what goes into creating content, and how you attract followers to social media sites and the company blog.
Give an overview of your vision and goals for the company. Where do you see your business in the short- and long-term future? How would you like your content marketing to evolve, and how do you see employees contributing to these efforts?
Make sure to also define and discuss your target audience so that everyone is on the same page about who exactly you’re trying to reach. Go into detail about demographics. Elicit employee feedback since they are most familiar with your customers. (They may surprise you with better data!)
Finally, explain your expectations of your employees. Discuss as a team how they can contribute, and together create reasonable but clear expectations for them to follow.
Encourage Employees to Share Blog Posts and Social Media Content
A good way to ease employees into content marketing is to first ask them to share the content that’s already been produced. Most likely they all have individual Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages that they can be using to help promote your business. But why should they spend extra time doing this, when they’re probably already short on time?
First, explain how this will benefit them as individuals. Sharing content will lead to increased exposure, which will most likely lead to increased sales, which will be rewarded with bonuses and raises. And who doesn’t respond to an increase in pay? This extra exposure will also apply to their personal profiles, thus expanding their own networks (which is especially beneficial for those employees who have their own business on the side). You can also encourage them to link to your business content through their own personal blogs and websites, which will increase traffic for both parties.
Content sharing might be popular in the beginning but then start to wane over time, so you want to make sure you monitor the progress. If you see things start to slow down, offer more incentives for participation. You could also create a calendar or schedule for posting content in an effort to keep everyone on track.
Ask for Employee Input on Content
Once employees have become more comfortable with what content marketing is and sharing content online, the next step would be to ask for their input on new content. By asking for their feedback and ideas, you’re both keeping them up to date as well as showing your staff that you value their opinion.
Not to mention, this strategy is great for business because again, employees are most in tune with the customers’ wants and needs. Encourage them to talk to customers and to share real life, authentic customer service experiences. They can offer advice, tips, and potential topics to discuss. Encourage creativity and idea sharing.
Have Employees Review Old Content and Suggest Revisions
Another way to engage employees in content marketing is to have them review old content that’s already been published. Have them go back through old blog and Facebook posts and try to identify any topics that might be relevant today. Perhaps an app has added new elements and the initial blog post introducing it can be updated to include the new features. Or maybe a fresh pair of eyes can think of new ways to expand on a previously written topic in order to make it more relevant.
This strategy encourages employees to be creative, keeps them up to date with what’s trending, but doesn’t put too much pressure on them to create completely new content. It’s always easier to work with an idea that’s been given to you than to have to come up with a completely new one on your own.
Allow Employees to Guest Post, with Their Own Byline
For those who have become really comfortable with content marketing, give them the option to create their own content on the company blog with their own byline. Not everyone will want to do this, but some will recognize the personal benefits and jump at the chance to publish content under their own name.
Make it clear that you don’t expect them to be a 100% polished writer with perfect spelling, that you’ll have people to clean it up if necessary. They just need to focus on the valuable message they have to offer. Give them examples, and maybe even provide some topics in the beginning until they get more familiar with the process. You can also give them the option to collaborate on content as a team so they don’t feel like they have to figure everything out on their own.
Make It Easy to Contribute
Finally, make it easy for employees to contribute revisions, feedback, and new content. If they’re already tentative about contributing, requiring them to go through a complex process of submitting work with unfamiliar software is a good way to turn them off the idea completely. There are plenty of easy-to-use websites that make collaboration and contribution a breeze. Consider setting up a WordPress blog, a Dropbox account, or utilizing Google Docs. Make sure you give employees a tutorial on whatever mode you choose to use, and give them plenty of time to learn the system and ask questions. Make someone available as tech support permanently so they have a contact if they get stuck.
Do you feel like it’s valuable to include your employees as part of your content marketing strategy? How do you keep them up to date with the latest content? Share your thoughts with us on social media!