When companies think about content marketing, much of their focus rightly revolves around how it can influence customer engagement, brand awareness, or overall brand perception.
And while content marketing exists to improve each of those things, companies don’t often think to use it to engage an altogether different — but incredibly important — subset of people: their own employees.
After all, employees contribute to the company’s overall corporate content development. So, with no employees (or unhappy, unproductive ones), there may be no quality content to deliver in the first place. In that way, content marketing and employee engagement may be more interconnected than most marketers think.
Take customer service as a quick example. Your employees in that department interact with your customers every day, so that team possesses incredible insight into your customer’s true pain points. If those employees are actively engaged in the corporate content marketing strategy, they’ll be able to help create compelling content that more specifically addresses the questions that customers are asking.
Steve Patrizi, LinkedIn’s VP of Marketing Solutions, wrote an article in August speaking to that point, addressing social media in particular. In the article, Patrizi suggests that companies should actually encourage their employees to use social media at work, rather than blacklist the use of those sites.
The reason is simple. By embracing the influence of social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, companies can encourage their employees to be one of the company’s voices. It gives customers another source of information and engagement, while encouraging employees to take initiative and participate. Patrizi recommends following these guidelines:
- Make it easy: You may notice inconsistencies across various social media platforms in how various employees describe the company or their role in it. That means customers are getting equally inconsistent messaging. Provide standardized text that describes your company and encourage your employees to use it. Also create content that employees can use that might preemptively encourage customer inquiries. But don’t overdo it. While you want to unify the company’s basic description and purpose, it’s important to allow your employees to speak for themselves and set their own tone.
- Be suggestive: Don’t make contributing to the company’s social media efforts a strict requirement. That might turn the practice into just another mundane task. Instead, show them that by sharing company information and content they’re helping the business attract more customers and improve its overall place in the market.
But let’s be honest, sometimes increasing employee engagement requires a little incentive.
Recently, I’ve looked in to a few specific methods for encouraging employee participation with OpenView’s content marketing initiative. Here are two quick tips that I think will help almost any business trying to boost employee engagement:
Hold a Blogging Competition
The rules can be simple. First, create teams of three to five employees. In order to qualify, each employee has to submit at least seven standard blog posts during the week of the competition. The winning team should receive a prize (i.e. a $100 gift card) based on their performance in these three categories:
- Average number of posts per person within the team
- Average number of page views per person within the team
- A third-party person selects the top 10 blog posts. The team with the most blog posts on that list wins that category.
Communicate Successes and Failures
At least once a quarter, it’s important to share the results of the company’s content marketing efforts. Present the number of visitors, page views, and comments, comparing those numbers to previous statistics. Also, be sure to share any feedback you received from your target audience — good and bad. Good feedback, of course, will help show the value of content marketing to the skeptics within your organization. By reporting successes and failures, though, you’ll also help resolve any accountability issues you’re facing.
Reaping the Rewards
Like customer engagement, boosting employee engagement has its tangible rewards. Your company will benefit from a consistently updated blog, a healthy network promoting your brand’s content, and a bevy of new ideas from the people that the possess the deepest knowledge of your customers’ needs.
If customer engagement for content marketing boils down to the value customers receive when consuming your content, employee engagement refers to how your employees connect with your company’s content development efforts. Taking time to be sure that they feel involved and motivated to help will be well worth the effort in the end.