Successful marketers know that building employee advocacy is the first step to content marketing glory. Our Chief Content Officer Martin Wanless shares the steps you need to transform your fellow staffers from unenthused naysayers into eager evangelists.
For people who don’t LOVE writing, receiving an email asking them to contribute to the company blog often elicits a great response.
But here’s the thing. Many of the people you work with are all experts in something. And by engaging these people internally, you’ll be able to create content to include in your content marketing strategy that’s unique to you, fosters engagement with your valuable staff and demonstrates your expertise, too. What’s not to love, right?
So, harness the power of your people with our 5 step guide to
stopping the bods in the office freaking out helping your experts fuel your content marketing efforts.
Step 1: Put on your journalist’s hat
Firstly, you need an idea. Rocking up to someone’s desk and saying, “So, I… kinda need a blog post from you.. by Friday,” isn’t going to go down well. These are all busy people. Mostly.
But how often are you in company meetings? Or do you read something on your intranet or internal comms system? Probably pretty frequently.
Handily, these forums are goldmines when it comes to sniffing out story opportunities. That new software that’s just been implemented? That’s a story about successful software implementation, change management, or lessons learnt. A difficult customer? A how-to piece on using negotiation to ensure a mutually positive outcome. A chat with the person who’s merchandising the new storefront? The inside track on in-store psychology.
Whatever your sector, whether it’s fashion or financial planning, your customers will be interested in the skills you have internally – as long as you talk about them in a way that engages and is useful to them.
Step 2: Grab the magnifying glass
So often, we take people for granted. Their skills, their experience, their know-how. But what do they know, what do they do, that your customers may be interested in? Scrutinise their job. If they’re willing to share, their job description (if it, a) exists and, b) is any good) is a great source of content ideas that they can specialise in. Write a list of 10 people within your organisation, and identify five things each that they do. It may not be immediately obvious what the angle could be. But keeping asking ‘so what?’. What does that enable? How does that affect the customer? You’ll get to the story.
Step 3: Lock ‘em in
Once you’ve identified who and what, now’s the time to figure out when. Lock them in. Put them in your calendar, give them a deadline. But don’t leave it till the day before it’s due to remind them. They’ve got a job to do! Instead give them a few gentle reminders, prod carefully, and move on to the next step.
Step 4: Help them create
If you want to stop people all across the office dreading the sound of your footsteps or ignoring emails from you, you need them to enjoy creating content. If they get pleasure from writing, let them do it. Give them a brief about what the blog should be about. Tell them who the audience will be. Send them some questions to answer. Give them a structure and word counts to work within. Don’t leave them with a blank piece of paper.
If the prospect of answering written questions sends cold chills down their back, then interview them. Book in 30 minutes. Bring coffee. And maybe even chocolate. But most of all, make it fun and enjoyable. Let them show off a bit. Be interested, genuinely. Probe and find out everything you need to. Record the interview so you’re not interrupting the natural flow of conversation, and remember to be extremely grateful.
Step 5: Share their success
Once you’ve written a brilliant, insightful piece (and, VERY IMPORTANTLY, once the subject has approved it) and published it, make sure you shout about it. Thank them in front of people for their help. Share it on social. Update them on how many people have engaged with the piece, how many clicks. Hopefully, how many comments or phone calls. But make sure they’re fully aware that their 30-minute chat over coffee is so insanely valuable for you and the business that they’ll be approaching you asking to do it again.
Even if you’re a one-man-band, fear not. Apply the same principles to the mirror. You’ll be amazed at what stares back at you.