By John Bottom published June 19, 2014

12 Ways to Tap Into the Content Creators Within Your Organization

gas well illustrationYou likely have a handful of willing content creators inside the organization: the image-conscious CEO, the social media-savvy sales guy, the product evangelist. But they are finite resources.

In fact, I was having a conversation with some folks from CMI and they told me that in their recent talks with marketing leaders (more on that soon), one of the biggest challenges facing teams is figuring out a way to use all of the internal knowledge and turn it into useful content.

This is tough to do — and there is no simple solution — but there is a way to tap into the vast seam of knowledge hidden away elsewhere in the company and get it up to the surface. I started referring to this as “content fracking.”

“Fracking,” as a general term, is most widely used in the oil industry, where it refers to a technique that enables oil companies to extract otherwise inaccessible shale oil from the ground. It enables them to tap into valuable new seams of oil; the parallel of content fracking, therefore, refers to the techniques we might employ to access the valuable content that lies deep within our organizations.

Rooted in social media

Unearthing knowledge and participation from people inside the company is nothing new, but the best-documented case studies usually focus on the use of social media, rather than the pure production of content. For example, companies like Southwest Airlines, IBM, Adobe, and Cisco are feted in Cheryl Burgess’ book The Social Employee for having given their employees both the encouragement and the guidelines for becoming social ambassadors.

But while the principle behind content fracking is similar, its focus isn’t on using each employee’s network (valuable though this can be) but, rather, on the knowledge that each employee has and how marketers turn it into content.

An example of mining employees for content

Examples of content fracking might be found in those companies who find content in unexpected places. A well-documented example is that of electronics materials manufacturer Indium Corporation. Compared to the aforementioned companies, Indium is small, but it has been getting employees to participate in useful content creation for some time. Indium has encouraged technical staff and sales to share their thoughts and expertise with customers via blogs, which has not only enabled the company to better connect with customers but has also greatly reduced the amount of money it spent on trade shows.

example-indium blog post

Indium engineers were reluctant bloggers to begin with, but the marketing department helped them first to understand the principles of blogging and why they felt it was the right way to go. Thus encouraged, the engineers warmed to their task and soon embraced the idea, and Indium therefore benefited from a new seam of rich content from deep within the organization.

Stop ignoring your biggest (hidden) asset

All I ask is that next time you sit down to plan upcoming content, simply consider the 12 points below. The danger is that you could be ignoring your biggest asset — the expertise and the sheer content potential of the employees in your company.

Content Fracking Infographic

Want to share this image on your site? Please include attribution to http://www.baseone.co.uk.

Ask yourself if any of the tips might help you to unearth content that would breathe new life into your content plans — whilst also motivating and rewarding the people who work around you.

I’d love to get your thoughts: what are your challenges and successes when it comes to getting employees to participate in content creation? Are there companies which are doing this well?

Want more instruction on how to manage today’s biggest content marketing challenges? Sign up for the Content Marketing Institute Online Training and Certification program. Access over 35 courses, taught by experts from Google, Mashable, SAP, and more.

Author: John Bottom

After River Phoenix's dad, the second most significant John Bottom on the web. (check it out if you don't believe me.) That's not counting John Bottom, the insolvency lawyer in British Columbia. Or John Bottom of Lincoln who, according to judicial records, was indicted in 1767 for the theft of 32 pounds weight of raisins. We're a distinguished bunch, we Bottoms, and I just happen to be the side of the family that works in B2B marketing. I do it because I like it and have been fairly successful in helping clients plan and implement content marketing strategies that brings them results. And it pays better than stealing raisins. You can follow me on Twitter @basebot.

Other posts by John Bottom

Join Over 150,000 of your Peers!

Get daily articles and news delivered to your email inbox and get CMI’s exclusive e-book Launch Your Own Content Marketing Program FREE!

  • Dave Link

    Great tips, John! I’ve often found that some of the richest content veins don’t come from the marketing department, but from the front-line sales and customer service pros at any given company. For some reason – with the customer services folks specifically – these employees seem to be forgotten when it comes to finding new and useful content avenues.

    • http://www.baseonegroup.co.uk/beyond John Bottom

      Thanks Dave – pleased it was useful. I think content marketers are starting to do this more and more. I guess this is because content is becoming more of a commodity – and real, internally-sourced authenticity is one way to differentiate against the other guys…

  • http://todaymade.com/blog Garrett Moon

    Getting people in a organization to “do” content marketing or blogging is really hard work, but it can certainly pay off. Sometimes I think we spend so much time explaining WHAT we want them to do, we miss explaining WHY they should do it in the first place. It is always a lot easier to get buy in when participates understand why it matters. Good post!

  • Lindyzars

    Great article. The B2B organization I work for is a bit new to this arena. Last year we began sprinkling in the concept to everyone that we must sell together – it’s not just sales and marketing – but the expertise within this place – that solves problems for our prospects and customers. We are just rolling out a corporate blog plan and while we’ve tried to make sure we deliver the “why,” your post has given extra nuggets to effectively start fracking for rich content!

  • Arnie Kuenn

    Thanks for the mention John.