Employees and content marketing: Minefield or major opportunity?

There’s a lot of discussion going on right now in nearly every company about whether to encourage employee participation in social media and . It’s a fact that employees and content marketing can be a minefield without certain components in place. However, I wouldn’t want you to miss a major opportunity to leverage your most valuable asset and bring in more leads and sales.

Each year this global credibility and trust study delivers juicy information on the important marketing trends and behaviors happening in the world based on trust.

The Trust Index component is the average of a population’s trust in institutions, business and media. The U.S. general population is in the “Distruster” column (no surprise there, eh?). However, employees are now essential advocates – they are the most trusted “spokespeople” for a company. 

Consider the following stats on how peers recommend companies and influence purchases:

  • Actions taken in the last 12 months based on trust: 59% recommended companies to a friend or colleague.
  • Impact of peer conversations about brands: 75% make decisions/overcome concerns/warn me about risks.
  • Peers and employees are more credible than leaders:
    • 63% say a “Person Like Yourself” is more credible than CEO
    • 52% say an employee is more credible than CEO

Employees are essential advocates.

Employees are the most-trusted resource in communicating treatment of employees and customers. Employees are trusted more than the CEO, a senior executive, an activist consumer, an academic and a media spokesperson (advertising).

What this means for your business is that employees who receive thoughtful training about how to communicate their brand along with the company’s brand online, and are encouraged to participate in content marketing, can essentially improve your online reputation and increase sales.

However, without training and establishment of “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM), this can in fact be a minefield. But you’re smarter than that. With the numbers coming out of this study, it’s clear you have a major opportunity here.

Leverage employees’ expertise by allowing them to become thought leaders within their own network and throughout your market.

With your most-trusted ‘spokespeople’ on the job, your company develops and solidifies credibility and trust.

Once you’ve made the decision to enhance your content marketing with employee participation and contributions, your next steps will either bring you to the next level or cause you to crash and burn. Here are 5 questions to answer that will make your efforts stick:

1. What are our first steps in getting employees to participate in content marketing?

  • Show them the value. Customers are Googling salespeople. Be ready! 
  • Alleviate fears with information and training.
  • Make it fun! Gamify your goals wherever possible.

2. How do we motivate employees to participate?

  • Compensation always helps. The companies who’ll win in this new sales paradigm will offer rewards to employees who share their expertise.
  • Check in at sales meetings. Recognize the wins and learn from your missteps.

3. Should employee participation in content be mandatory?

  • Yes, but it must not be perceived so. It’s all in the delivery of your requirements and how well employees can assimilate content creation into their job duties. 
  • Everyone has something they can contribute. You make other things mandatory, right?
  • It’s a delicate balance because you’re introducing something very new and weird for most.
  • Recognize and reward for ‘superstar’ participation.

4. What tools can we use to make it super simple for employees to contribute?

  • Dropbox is always a good option for small business. 
  • Shared Google Docs are also a good option, depending on the technological aptitude of your team.
  • For enterprise: ,  and .

5. Should employees be compensated for their contributions?

  • YES.
  • Hey, don’t expect quality content if you’re not willing to pay for it.
  • Don’t expect employees to support the company for free. It’s a task like any other and that needs to be compensated. Adding more work without recognition or compensation will produce the opposite effect you’re looking for.
  • A solid plan and process includes compensating your most-trusted ‘spokespeople.’

I realize that this concept of trusting employees with your brand can be very off putting for some managers and owners. I find some who bristle at the idea have not fully considered these processes or explored them at any great length.

Get some help to bridge you to the other side. We at Kruse Control consult with companies regularly about their content marketing and employee engagement strategies. With someone to light the way, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Truly engaged workplaces are rare but there are companies who buck this trend. Leaders of  understand that employee engagement drives real business results.

The only question now is…will you be one of them?

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