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Employee-generated content: How to translate employee happiness into scalable content

Jul 13, 2020

Employee advocacy can be a powerful tool for marketing, sales, talent acquisition and HR. It is the practice of happy employees promoting their workplace as private people, instead of from a corporate channel like the brand’s social media account, for example. Would you like to find out more about how you can convert your employees into brand advocates? Check out this post on employee brand advocacy.

Once you have a winning company culture and you’ve identified employees that are happy with your organization, you have an opportunity to channel this positive energy to content. There are several fantastic outcomes if you open your marketing, sales and communications pieces for willing employees to contribute.

Scaling content creation is the top challenge for marketing

Creating more high-quality content with less resources continues to be a key challenge for marketing teams. Consumers are fast and demand topical community engagement from their preferred brands. Every brand wants to be recognized and top-of-mind. Including your competitors.

Most companies can’t scale their content marketer staff without limits. The relief to this bottleneck could come from a surprising source: colleagues from other teams creating content for your brand’s channels. If many people contribute just a bit, you can quickly build up hundreds of content pieces and scale rapidly.

People trust other people

Another reason to utilize your employees in creating new content is that your stakeholders, like all people, are more likely to trust personal stories. If you let employees create stories where they share their own views and experiences, it can come off as more authentic than the strategic content pieces your writing staff publishes.

Access to employees’ networks

Let’s say you’ve just published an article on your corporate blog that was written by one of the customer support agents. You should encourage them (and the rest of their team) to share their content piece on personal social media. That gives them a chance to show off their writing and you the organic access to their network. Win-win!

Diversify content

Another top concern for marketers is the quality and engagement rate of their content. Sometimes it can be challenging for the same team to continue pumping out fresh ideas since their knowledge and experience are limited. It can help to bring in some people who have different views and different ideas for topics.

How you can get started with employee-generated content

 The benefits are almost endless as long as you get started in a way that sets both your brand and the new content contributors up for success. You don’t want to end up with wasted time and effort from the content team and the employees writing content just to end up with badly written, off-brand articles that take more than they give. Good preparation and planning is the key to success here, as with most initiatives.

Training

Make sure to give your volunteer writers the support and tools they need to get started. While you don’t want to dictate and restrict their creative process too much, it’s a good idea to provide trainings to unleash the team’s creativity.

Collect ideas from employees

Having un-trained writers put together entire articles or blog posts might be too big a first step for your company. If that is the case, you can get started by just collecting ideas or topics from different teams that the content writers can then turn into finished pieces.

It might be a fun idea to share a high-level topic or value that applies to your company (sustainability or lifelong learning, for example) and ask colleagues to share their thoughts on that. The results could then be curated into a story series where your readers can get to know your people better.

Interviewing employees

Another way to involve your colleagues without needing to train them is doing interviews. A popular form of interviewing is using video, or screen recording Zoom calls, for example. This is a great format if you are doing a personal interview where people share their own story. The purpose here is to promote the talent in your company, as well as to familiarize your followers with the team’s work.

You could also choose to interview experts of your organization about other topics, ones that the marketing team is not so familiar with. This could be updates on the product or HR policies that could be transformed into interesting articles internally, or externally.

Providing templates for easy content creation

If you decide to request copy from voluntary writers, which has great potential to bring different views and scalability to your content, provide guidelines and templates. A basic blog post outline includes:

  • Introduction to the topic, key concepts, and the writer
  • Why the topic is important and who is the audience
  • Insights into the topic and the core idea
  • Conclusion and a summary

Additionally, some example copy will help the contributor to get inspired. Also, if you have any restrictions or an optimal word count for content, add them to the template.

Incentives

Providing some benefits or bonuses for volunteering employees might be beneficial, especially if you are asking a lot for them (trainings, social media sharing, research-driven articles). Since employee-driven content is a great push for your organization, it should also give something back to your people.

Sharing organic employee content

Provide company hashtags and tagging for your people and encourage them to use those when posting on social media from company events or topics close to your organization. Keep tabs on the content and re-share some golden nuggets on corporate channels.

Examples of employee-generated content

Go big

Johnsonville sausages created a fun-filled marketing ad campaign from their employee-generated topics. These ads combine the technical knowledge of a professional advertising agency and the out-of-the-box topics of different employees and the result is just great.

Go small

If you are looking to start a bit smaller and aren’t planning on commissioning a top-notch agency to create some content, here’s an example for you from our own team. We are recording and employee interview series with the aim to bring the people behind our solution closer to our customers and other stakeholders. The purpose of these interviews is also for ourselves to learn more about what our people like about Lytho and how we can improve as a company.

Streamlined marketing operations enable success

I hope this gives you some inspiration and ideas of what the activities and possibilities could be with employee-generated content. Finally, there are a couple more operational aspects to keep in check to create a successful strategy.

Brand consistency

It is crucial to your company image that all your content follows your brand guidelines. This means that logos, images, banners, presentations, logos, colors and the tone of voice of employee-generated content needs to be uniform across platforms and writers.

If these guidelines are not clear because of contradicting or non-existent brand guide versions, or the guest writer can’t access or find the images or information they are looking for, you risk delays, wasted time and inconsistent output.

Connect colleagues and digital assets

The surest and easiest way to ensure that efficiency or consistency issues stay at bay is to work with a Digital Asset Management system (DAM). A Digital Asset Management solution or a DAM is a central location that helps in storing, organizing, managing, creating, sharing, and publishing digital content.

This includes images, videos, presentations, templates, gifs, logos, white papers, reports, illustrations and everything else your new content contributors might need for their message. Using a DAM system for managing your digital content has many benefits, which can be roughly grouped into these four categories:

  • Brand consistency: Making sure everything that comes out of your company is on-brand
  • Marketing efficiency: Scaling content creation and saving time in marketing operations
  • Improved collaboration: Helping all colleagues work on up-to-date versions and share work
  • Maximized talent: Take away mundane tasks and allow your team to truly contribute

If you’d like to hear more about how a DAM could improve your marketing performance, have a look at this free white paper on the topic.

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