Tilly-Jayne Kidman drew my attention, this week, to a good article on Search Engine Journal on how your staff can be an untapped resource for content creation in your business. It's not a new idea by any means but we sometimes need to be reminded of the wealth of knowledge and customer empathy that exists in areas outside of those traditionally involved in marketing.
Sergio Aicardi summarises the unquestionable: "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."
Whilst that may seem obvious, many of us aren't always the best at garnering this wisdom and creating valuable resource from it.
Aicardi and Dan Steiner, writing below for the Content Marketing Institute, are here to help; both offering six ways to involve your staff in your content production efforts.
These include the apparently easy to achieve, such as simply getting your employees to share company content with their social networks - remember they may benefit from guidance here on "rules of engagement"; how, when and why to post and, most importantly, advice on what not to do.
There's ideas on how to involve staff at the content planning stage: asking for the topics or issues that customers are talking to them about; any feedback that they can offer on the latest content piece before publication; any specific customer experiences that they feel might be worthy of writing about.
And then, both authors also highlight the more direct ways that colleagues can be utilised in content creation. There will be those happy to start writing their own posts about their area of expertise, be it production, technology, customer relationships, etc. For those less comfortable with writing themselves, you might consider interviewing them, either for a blog post or a video, to glean and share their expertise that way.
Steiner highlights some great examples of companies who have let their employees' creativity have free rein; in the case of the Johnsonville Sausage Company, this has transformed their content marketing, by producing work that embodies the brand whilst giving it a more human face through the people that work there. Check out Jeff, Melissa and Brett's excellent efforts here.
The constant need for new and inspired content ideas is a burden that businesses often wrangle with. But, it's clear that the answer may well be just under your nose... or at least sitting in the desk opposite!
...imagine if other teams in the company were involved in content? How could that increase effectiveness? One of the most inspiring examples of a company using the creative power of employees outside of the content team is Johnsonville, the Wisconsin-based sausage maker. The company asked its employees to help tell the brand story, and more than 100 employees responded to an open call. One of the results: Several awesome commercials were created, such as “Regular Speed Chase” by Brett and “Jeff and His Forest Friends” by Jeff. Each spot is still making waves on social media. The company also shared the process, its executives’ reaction, and more through its blog. Just think of the creativity, fresh perspectives, and advocates you could have if everyone in your company were an unofficial member of your content marketing team.