By Michael Brenner published July 24, 2019

Want to Scale Your Content Marketing? Get the Employees Involved

Every person has a story to tell. And if you are a smart content marketer, you know that every employee has a story that can sell your brand.

As I write this, I think about the picture of Sir Richard Branson posing with an employee caught sleeping on the job. While other leaders would have been miffed or looked away, the flamboyant Virgin boss wove a wonderful story, keeping all of his active as well as not-so-active employees in the spotlight.

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Every employee has a story that can sell your brand, says @BrennerMichael. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Marketers can learn a thing or two from this natural art of employee engagement.

Give your employees wings

Employees are natural advocates of your company. Instead of paying thousands to influencers and brand ambassadors, empower your employees in a way that helps them gain influence in the market. Give them the resources, tools, and leeway to develop their expertise in the niche. Make them feel at the forefront of any developments in the industry by helping them develop connections and a way to show their skills beyond their everyday role. One of the best ways to do this is to send your employees to industry conventions – not only will they learn, network, and grow at a good event, they will bring back weeks’ worth of content you can integrate into your content marketing strategy.

Empower your employees to gain influence in the market, says @BrennerMichael. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

For example, the team at SEO PowerSuite attended BrightonSEO, one of the biggest conferences in the SEO world. Inessa Bokhan, who managed the company’s booth, wrote a great post summarizing the presentations, panel discussions, and quotes; she also threw in links to the slide decks and videos for the benefit of those who didn’t attend.

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No wonder the post got over 100 shares on Facebook.

Here’s how to get the best content ideas and material from conferences

  • Send at least two employees, one who can network and another who can take care of taking notes, photos, and creating content instantly.
  • Tweet and share on Facebook about the event days ahead of time. Encourage employees who are going to do the same.
  • Tweet updates about the speakers, sessions, etc., live blog on your website, and go live on Facebook between sessions.

Give employees a voice

Audio visual content is the best way to create rich and engaging content while engaging your employees. Give your employees a face and voice, quite literally, with a mic and cam. Plan monthly webinars putting your employees in the spotlight and build your brand thought leadership by showcasing their expertise online.

HubSpot, SEMrush, and Brandwatch are only a few of the marketing companies routinely conducting webinars featuring their employees, as well as other experts in their industry niche.

While bringing in special guests or industry experts can attract more participation, including at least one of your employees in customer-facing webinars can give you more power to create a brand narrative and positively impact multiple marketing goals.

Including an employee in customer-facing webinars helps create the brand narrative, says @BrennerMichael. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Here’s how to involve employees in creating webinars and podcasts great for business

  • Ensure that they understand the webinar’s goal, from customer acquisition to customer retention.
  • Involve related departments (based on the goal) to come up with interesting webinar topics or series.
  • Create panel discussions from time to time, inviting industry experts and customers familiar with the ins and outs of your product.

Perk them up

Happy employees are the best brand advocates, sales agents, and customer service reps. Happy employees are good for business. Reward them, recognize milestones, celebrate professional as well as personal achievements, and give them perks above and beyond industry standards.

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When drug firm Novartis introduced 26-week, gender-neutral parental leave (which also included surrogacy and adoption) in India, it not only rewarded employees’ needs, but also generated a lot of positive PR in the mainstream media. On the other hand, JPMorgan Chase went utterly wrong in the same matter and ended up settling a class-action lawsuit.

Here’s what you can do to keep the mood up at the workplace

  • Make sure your HR team is active and records employees’ personal milestones. Send personalized emailers and wishes on days that are important to them.
  • Plan cultural events and experiences according to the region and geography.
  • Be transparent on policies.
  • Spotlight employees and highlight their achievements on your blog and social media.

Recognize (and reward) employee ambassadors

A crisis of engagement in companies today led me to write my next book, Mean Suck, where I will talk about how empathy can help get engagement and the business growth that we all want.

Consider this: Nearly 70% of all U.S. workers don’t like their job. This affects customer satisfaction by 10% and profitability by more than 20%.

Let these numbers sink in.

Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, with data collected from more than 195,600 U.S. employees from leading Fortune 1000 companies, revealed these startling numbers.

While these numbers can be disheartening, they also provide a way ahead. Focus on the 30% active and engaged employees who are your potential advocates and empower them to motivate the underperforming employees to perform like them.

Think of this as a large-scale experiment of the Pygmalion effect, where your employees act like leaders and significantly contribute to your company’s culture and bottom line.

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Hardworking employees have a greater need for recognition and affirmation that they are positively contributing to the company’s success, and that their work is important and appreciated. This need stems from the need for esteem. Knowing they are doing well and gaining recognition and a good reputation (and other employees knowing it) can push these employees to perform better and drive their colleagues as well as subordinates to perform better too.

Here’s how to make the Pygmalion effect work for you while creating a rewarding environment in the company

  • Understand the recognition gap. It is a widespread endemic in all companies across the United State. While shortcomings are brought to light and extensively discussed, achievements are hardly or never recognized. To avoid falling prey, appreciate an employee for a well performed task instantly. Even a simple “good job” will do the trick.
  • Do reviews quarterly instead of annually to give timely and grassroots feedback.
  • Go beyond employee of the month and other unoriginal ideas that sometimes do more harm than help.
  • Provide financial incentives along with social recognition.
  • Offer financial support during pregnancy, personal emergencies, or other life events that often put otherwise committed employees in a bind and affect their performance.

Culture breeds content

HubSpot famously proclaimed, “Culture is to recruiting as product is to marketing.” From cogs in the wheel to precious assets, employees have been bestowed with many corporate epithets. But one visit to Glassdoor, and all such misconceptions are shattered. Your employees can either make or break your company’s image in so many words or no words at all.

Understanding that employees are humans and full of stories can open a new vista of content. That is why I frequently argue that marketing should own organizational culture. Employee engagement might sound like a buzzword, but marketers understand how much customers value authenticity. Smart marketing leaders can be instrumental in motivating employees to create content that improves brand awareness, educates customers, increases search engine visibility, and shores up the bottom line.

Do employees feel free to speak their mind in your organization? Do their values align with those of the company? How do you inspire them to create and share content? Let’s discuss in the comments.

Get more actionable and practical tips on activating your employees and transforming them into content creators for your brand at Content Marketing World Sept. 3-6. Register today and use code CMIBLOG100 to save $100. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner has been recognized as a Forbes top CMO influencer, a Top Business Keynote Speaker by the Huffington Post, and a Top Motivational Speaker by Entrepreneur Magazine. He is CEO of Marketing Insider Group, where he has worked with more nearly 100 brands in building effective content marketing and employee activation programs. Michael is the co-author of 2 books including The Content Formula, and Digital Marketing Growth Hacks. And is currently working on his 3rd book on the power of Empathy in business, marketing, and life. Michael enjoys sharing his experiences and client stories to inspire leaders like you into action that creates impact. Follow Michael on Twitter @BrennerMichael.

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