Employee expertise is crucial for the creation of compelling content that engages and converts website visitors.
Content marketing is a important tool in attracting visitors to your company and engaging prospective customers it the sales process. But quality content is the most important feature of your content marketing. What better way to get great content than to tap the best resources at your disposal… your employees!
But how do you turn your employees into content producers?
We’ve heard every excuse in the book for why employees can’t be produce content:
- We are too busy
- We are not writers
- We don’t know what to write about
- What’s the point of all this?
The reality is that your employees’ contributions to your blog can be the most important thing they do to drive lead generation for your business. You just need to figure out how to get their conversations with customers into your company’s content.
6 ways to transform your employees into lead-generating content producers
1. Get buy-in
In order for your employees to shift their valuable time away from their pressing priorities, they need to understand why writing a blog is so important. Leadership and support at the executive level is the first place to start. When upper management values content marketing as a strategy to drive lead generation, employees will start to see the importance of content creation to the company.
An important step to get employee buy-in is to demonstrate the importance of content marketing and what it means to the company’s success. Telling employees why what you are asking them to do is important and what it means in terms of value to the business is the best way to get employees on board with your content marketing plan. Present data to show employees how a strong content marketing plan can improve conversions, quality of visitors to the website, reputation of the business and ultimately, increase sales. To help support this initiative, check out some content marketing industry reports like B2B Small Business Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends North America, by the Content Marketing Institute.
2. Make everyone part of the brainstorming process
Collaborate with your key personnel in many different business areas to brainstorm ideas for blog content. Not only will this help build your editorial calendar, but employees will be excited and invested in their ideas and want to make sure the blog communicates important concepts for your customers. This is also a great time to start to identify individuals or teams who can fill the content funnel. Employees will be more likely to write a blog two months from now than if you try to assign a topic down the road.
3. Use work they’ve already done and let them toot their own horn
Your employees spend a lot of time dedicated to your business. They all have existing work they have done that can be re-purposed into a blog post, a case study or step-by-step guide. A great place to start is presentations they have created, client reporting, or project plans.
Another thing to consider is that people like to toot their own horn. Leveraging your employees’ pride in their accomplishments can be a great way to pull a blog out of them. For example: “Jim, remember that client you had where you found XXXX and implemented XXXX and they saw a XX% increase is profit? You should write about that!”
4. Give them time to plan
By creating an editorial calendar and schedule, you are giving your employees a “heads-up” well in advance of when they will need to begin the writing process. Encourage them to use that time to jot down some notes, gather internal data, consult with other internal resources and do a little research that will help them when they need to sit down and write their content piece. Make the due date clear and send them a reminder in advance so they have time to fit writing into their schedules.
5. Make it easy
Many of your employees will will stand behind the fact that they are not writers. They do not need to be. What they contribute is “the meat” of the blog and you should have someone in place (either an internal content marketing person or an external agency) to transform the content they provide into a cohesive and compelling blog post.
So, you will want to make it easy for your content providers. There are many ways to do this:
- Provide them with an initial outline
- Set up interviews with them
- Have them simply record their thoughts on the topic in question
The crucial thing to realize is that different techniques work for different people. Talk to your content providers and ask them: “How can I help make this easier for you?”
6. Offer incentives
Good content doesn’t come free. Your employees may want to focus their efforts on what they perceive as being the core components of their job – and blogging isn’t one of them. By putting in place a reward system, employees may be more apt to jump on the bandwagon. It can be as small as a $10 coffee gift card or you could set up a friendly competition with an end of year reward for the most successful blog post. Or in the absolute extreme, you could offer a commission plan for content that results in a qualified lead for your business. Good content = sales.
A successful content marketing plan relies on good content producers: your employees
The fact is that the content your company produces needs to be engaging and relevant for your customers and prospects. The key to delivering the best content is to source content at the source: the interaction of customers with your company. Intuitively, your employees know better than anyone else what matters to your customers and prospects. They may not be completely on board at first, but by following these six pointers, you can turn your employees into the best possible content marketing machine for your business. To find out more about creating a content marketing plan for your business, check out our upcoming content marketing workshop.