One of the biggest marketing challenges for companies today is coming up with enough relevant content that clients need and want to engage with. Taking a company-wide, collaborative approach to these challenges often produces outstanding results. You’ll increase your performance with a process to engage employees in content creation.
The question is: Why wouldn’t you do it?
You’ve got your best “brand experts” at your fingertips. Employees possess the knowledge and information your customers need and their seasoned expertise fosters more trust than any ad you’ll ever run.
Employee generated content is mega-powerful because there’s a personality layer inherent in each piece. It allows your business to provide varied, expert information that matters to your customers.
Consider your own experiences as a consumer.
If you go to Lowe’s and ask the guy in the blue vest how to work on a project, you listen and believe it more than if you just read something on their website.
Developing an environment to engage employees in content creation is no easy task. Your challenge doesn’t end with simply recognizing the rewards.
There are specific components that must be present in your organization in order to be successful at capturing your employees’ knowledge and expertise.
- Culture must be part of your marketing toolbox. A happy, healthy work environment cultivates happy, healthy employees. Happy employees deliver outstanding customer experiences.
- New media marketing buy-in must come from the top and permeate throughout management and team members.
- Communication channels must be open to exchanging information no matter who’s involved – from the CEO to part-timers.
When you’re ready to engage employees in content creation, you’ll need a strategy plan to be successful. Here’s Kruse Control’s 7-step formula to get you well on your way:
1. Always begin with a real-life, amazing customer experiences.
Describing and illustrating real-life customer experiences greatly improves social media and content performance. Customer stories are the cornerstone of your content strategy.
Build a culture that supports and rewards your employees to deliver the kind of experiences you want your customers to have.
2. Establish and communicate WIIFM (What’s In It For Me).
Employees are not just sitting around waiting for you to give them more work to do. Ultimately, they’ll need to understand and embrace how providing content helps THEM, not you.
- Have employees Google themselves. More and more, customers are Googling employees. Do your employees know what’s out there? Do you? Presenting a positive persona is key and contributing content is a great way to look good.
- Provide incentives. The right mix of incentives gets employees eager to share their ideas. Many people are motivated by money, so give them a spiff for every piece of content published. Other people relish status, so a month of parking by the front door might be cool.
3. Encourage growth of employees’ personal brand.
Great brands start from within. Your company’s brand is only as strong as the people who represent it.
A personal brand is how one appears to the world. Each employee has a personal brand, whether they know it or not. If they’re not proactively managing it, they’re allowing others to define it for them.
Don’t risk your reputation by ignoring this valuable company asset. Instead of letting your employees’ brand be dictated by others, make a commitment to provide resources and guidance to help them build a strong personal brand.
4. Weave content participation into employees’ job description and pay plan.
Incentives are one way to reward employees for content they create. Taking it a step further by incorporating content creation into their daily activities boosts your marketing success and paves the way to more sales.
Some companies bristle at this step but when managed well, it can take your marketing to a whole other level.
When you make a process “mandatory” and attach compensation to it, there is a required management process to go along with it.
- Tell them what you expect.
- Analyze results each month.
- Hold people accountable for their results.
Positive exposure through content drives conversations… for the company and the employee.
5. Recognize and reward authentic 4-5 star reviews.
Online reputation management is a component of social media and content strategy. Reviews tell the stories of your customers’ experience and salespeople often see even more sales because they’re mentioned in a positive review.
- In sales meetings, acknowledge employees named in 4 and 5 star reviews.
- Recognize and reward those who’ve received positive mentions.
- Look for training opportunities by discovering and discussing why someone was mentioned in a negative review.
- Reiterate the “WIIFM” component for those employees who aren’t participating yet.
6. Make content submission easy.
It’s nice to imagine that old saying, “If you build it, they will come” applies in your efforts to engage employees in content creation, but it’s hazardous to your company’s marketing results to believe it. Today, if you build it, you must make it easy for employees to deliver it.
Not everyone is tech savvy so keeping it as simple as possible works best. Here are some cost-effective solutions that are working for Kruse Control clients:
- Dropbox. Simply create a folder in Dropbox for content and share it with each employee/content creator. They can submit pictures, video, audio and written docs. Cost: approx. $100/year for Dropbox Pro account.
- WordPress. If your blog or website is on WordPress, create individual user accounts for each employee and designate them “Editor” status. They log into WordPress and add their content as a draft. Cost: nearly zero if you’re already using WordPress.
- Email submission. Create a specific email address (ie: email@example.com) for submitting content. This makes it one place for your marketing team to access great content.
- Weekly Brainstorm. I have a client who’s got a team of very creative salespeople. They work in the same office together everyday and come up with new ideas for content.
7. Track and analyze to provide evidence and reinforce the value of content.
Once you begin to publish employees’ content, you’ll need to track and analyze the results of your program. Set up your goals and define the key metrics that represent success to you. Reaching your goals will reinforce value and help provide more evidence that you have real experts delivering the greatest customer experience.
When you engage employees in content creation they have a vested interest in your success. They will be your most committed and enthusiastic ambassadors. Providing them the opportunity and support to be visible spokespeople on behalf of your brand drives employee engagement, inspires collaboration and improves customer experiences.