6 Ways Employees Can Help Your Business’s Content Marketing Efforts
Employees are ambassadors for your brand; they are the ones who know the product the best, and who interact with customers on a daily basis. Thus, they are the most in-tune with your customers’ wants and needs. With that said, this should translate accordingly with your content marketing efforts. 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 have lasting relationships with your customers—your employees.
Employees are the ones who will be responding to customer questions and concerns, as well as posting company information online, and so you want to make sure they’re kept up-to-date with the most recent content. Below are some ways to involve employees in content marketing so that they’re always on the cutting edge of your brand.
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 logistics of content marketing, you can discuss 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. Then, go into 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 the 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 with your efforts. Go into detail about demographics, and make sure to elicit employee feedback since they are most familiar with your customers.
Finally, explain your expectations of your employees, but make sure to be flexible. 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 used to help promote your business. But why should they spend the 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 that is being produced. By eliciting their opinions, you’re both keeping them up to date on what’s new as well as showing employees that you value their opinion. Not to mention, this strategy is great for business because again, employees are the ones who are most in tune with the customers’ wants and needs. Encourage them to talk to customers and share real-life, authentic customer service experiences. They can offer advice, tips, potential topics to discuss and encourage creativity and idea-sharing.
Have Employees Review Old Content and Suggest Revisions
Another way to ease employees into content marketing is to have them review old content that’s already been published. This may seem like a waste of time, but the content is constantly growing and evolving, and employees are the ones who are most in tune with these trends due to their close relationships with the customer. 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 on the Company Blog, with Their Own Byline
For those who have become really comfortable with content marketing, give them the option to create content and guest posts on the company blog, with their own byline of course. Not everyone will want to do this, but some will surely recognize the personal benefits and jump at the chance to publish content under their own name. Make sure they know that they don’t have to be a writer; tell them not to worry about grammar and editing, 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 to 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. Nowadays 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 place of contact if they get stuck.