The volume of content is increasing exponentially. Reportedly, 73% of B2B marketers are producing more content than they did a year ago (Content Marketing Institute). With over 2 million blog posts published every day (MarketingProfs), standing out from the crowd is getting more and more difficult.
As the information overload today is absolutely massive, it is no wonder traditional marketing messages do not stand out from the crowd as they used to. As a consequence, people are increasingly demanding authenticity from the content they consume. Ad blockers were invented for a reason. Think about it. When you are planning your next holiday and searching for information about hotels, restaurants and attractions at the destination, you probably check what other people say on TripAdvisor rather than just believe what tour operators’ advertising brochures say.
We now live in a knowledge-based economy where people prefer human-to-human communication and peer reviews, and where companies need to be proactive in adapting to this change.
Setting the Scene for Advocacy and Employee-generated Content
It has been established several times that Employee Advocacy is a great addition to the marketing mix when it comes to content distribution, as messages from employees are considered more trustworthy than messages from brands (Edelman Trust Barometer). However, too often people focus on the content distribution aspect of Employee Advocacy topic and largely ignore content production.
Employee-generated content should not be overlooked. A social share from an employee is trustworthy, but a piece of content written and shared by an employee is even more trustworthy. In my opinion, whether or not a company is actively implementing Employee Advocacy, professional content production should be widely and proactively supported by the employer, and it should extend beyond job descriptions.
At this point, some may argue that employee-generated content is great but it is too challenging to use it in the company's marketing on a strategic level because it doesn’t, for example, always align with the company’s brand guidelines, or it can’t be shared through the company’s official channels.
This is a management-level issue that implies a lack of imagination. Two years ago, when talking about Employee Advocacy, some organizations were still wondering that how they can trust their employees to share company-related content to their personal social networks. If sharing employee-generated content through a company’s official channels is an issue, not part of the content strategy or in some way against the company’s policies, perhaps it is time to revisit these questions.
How to Get More People On Board Content Creation?
There are plenty of options available. For example, set up a separate blog or website just for employees, encourage employees to do this on their own, or consider starting to use an Employee Advocacy platform or some form of guerrilla marketing. Encouraging and motivating employees to produce professional content is valuable and a great way to drive content authenticity and trustworthiness - whether to benefit their own personal brand or the brand(s) of their employer.
Some professionals blog on LinkedIn Pulse, while others host their content on their own website or some other blogging service. However, there’s a large number of professionals who don’t write and blog their views, opinions and insights anywhere – even though almost every written professional branding self-help guide on the planet highlights the importance of blogging and content creation for one’s career. This is a shame, with a lot of potential and good opportunities wasted.
This is where a good Employee Advocacy tool comes in handy. Employee Advocacy platforms and apps that have built-in content publishing and blogging features have the potential to activate inactive employees to start producing content.
Common Challenges of Employees’ Content Creation
Now, let’s look at some of the challenges that might prevent people from producing professional content and how an Employee Advocacy platform can help in overcoming these challenges.
1. Lack of technical skills
Believe it or not, there are many professionals among us who are not all that familiar with the latest technological advancements. These are people who don’t necessarily have the know-how to set up a blog or website, or even have a LinkedIn account. Nevertheless, these people might be interested in blogging about their views and sharing their insights to others.
A simple, easy-to-use Employee Advocacy platform could be the key to help these people get on board the content production bandwagon. If your people can start blogging professionally through a solution they already use and are familiar with, it might be easier for them to take that first step.
2. Lack of confidence
It is often the case that people are not creating professional content because they don’t know what to write about, or they lack the confidence for giving it a shot. They might think that their content is not good enough, or that by publishing their views they are hurting their career.
In order to help these people get started with blogging, it’s not enough to just communicate that “blogging is a virtue, your efforts are much appreciated, now, get on with it”. These people need more support. Helping inactive employees to get started with content production always requires resources, but with an Employee Advocacy platform equipped with blogging features, this job is made much easier.
All content published through Employee Advocacy platforms needs to be approved by an administrator before publishing. When people know that their content will be reviewed and approved before posting, they may feel more secure about writing. For example, a content specialist could help with proofreading and provide feedback on the copy. With an Employee Advocacy tool, it is also very easy to share tips and guides about content production best practices or a list of blog topics to give people ideas on what to write about.
3. Lack of recognition and not seeing the benefits
The most common reason why people are not sharing their professional views in written format is most likely that they are too busy with their day-to-day work. They might say “I don’t have time for this, this is not part of my job description, I am not getting paid for doing this”. The underlying reason for this is that these people can’t or won’t see the benefits of spending time on blogging.
When content production and publishing take place through an Employee Advocacy platform, employees have the possibility to get immediate feedback and recognition from other members of their organization. In addition, Employee Advocacy platforms provide an easy and convenient solution for employees to get more visibility for their content when the content is available for sharing throughout the entire organization.
Benefits of Content Creation Are Felt Across Departments
By communicating to employees why it’s worth investing in content production, brands can support their individuals’ personal branding, while boosting the employer brand. It’s also a win-win for better internal communication, when employees are trusted to share insights through a shared platform and the company can get insights from the results.