As companies move to engage more employees in their brand storytelling a major phase of this transition is encouraging and enabling employees to feel confident about having a voice. In part, this can be achieved “by example” using the right tools.
Overcoming the “what will I write about” block
The shift occurring in content strategy among brands and organisations is driven by the need to cut through the clutter of social media marketing.
Typically it is driven by Marketing’s need to:
- Drive brand awareness;
- Change brand perception;
- Educate clients and prospective clients;
- Provide insights;
- Influence buying decisions; and,
- Fill the sales pipeline.
The most common initial challenge as organisations move towards brand storytelling and employee advocacy is the “content block” – “what could I write about?”.
Of course a plan to move towards engaging employees in participatory storytelling includes a careful selection process of the initial employee participants and how to activate them, e.g.
- Activating selected employees with strategic “calls to action”;
- Ensuring that employee content aligns (either directly or indirectly) with the broader brand story, industry topic discussion, event or initiative;
- Building an editorial calendar so that content can be planned in advance and aligned with other initiatives in market.; and,
- Training to ensure that content is anchored in one or more of the following core values – utility, education, entertainment, access, emotion, exclusivity, information and promotions.; and finally,
- Enabling participation through smart technology deployments (make it easy for employees to participate).
Despite this planning, and the value of each of these activities, the development of actual content by each individual is often the biggest inhibitor to employees getting started and in continuing to generate good content.
Using a tool to enable collaborative content development
The deployment of smart technology should not only include flexible content curation, calendaring, workflow, approval paths, and posting but also content performance metrics.
We’ve found that having simple and fast access to content statistics makes a very effective tool to boost employee confidence and content production. (The example above is from Sysomos Expion, a tool we use most often for this purpose because of its collaborative content development and approval capabilities.)
Best versus worst content
In particular just the comparison alone of “best content” versus “worst content” on the relevant company blog (where there is more than one) creates the insight and spark that gives employees confidence to write something with the theme of the best content.
Competitor’s best versus worst content
The next simple and effective step is to compare content on competitors blogs and social sites to see what is performing the best and worst. Copying a competitor’s theme which is working for them can produce fast results and it can capitalise on buzz being created by the competitor.
These simple insights of best and worst content, on owned and competitors online properties, in our experience has very successfully unblocked the creative juices of employee advocates.
What other ways have you found to stimulate employee content production?
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