We live in a day and age of unprecedented competition. Recent research by the U.S. Small Business Administration found that over 400,000 businesses are opened each year in the United States alone. With such a large amount of companies being founded every day, the amount of chatter and noise in the market is also at an all time high. The Content Marketing Institute estimates that 91% of B2B marketers utilize content marketing to get the word out about their products or services.
At Smarp, many of our customers use content marketing to drive their inbound marketing efforts. However, after exhausting all of their direct channels (such as website and social media) as well as their paid ads budgets, they still aren’t quite there with their targets. That’s where we come in with a platform and strategy to help you get the organic reach and ROI your content deserves. The key ingredient that many companies overlook in their content marketing efforts is something they had internally all along ‒ their employees. Let's take a closer look at how we help businesses around the world unleash the ever more important influence and power of their employees.
Engage and Inform Your Employees Through Relevant Communication
It all starts with engaging and informing your employees. If your employees aren’t engaged, they are less likely to believe in your company or its organizational goals. Employee engagement is an issue across the world. Gallup reports that 85% of employees are not engaged at the workplace, which equates to roughly $7 trillion in lost productivity each year. The trick to engaging your employees is to provide them with information that is relevant to them. This is best done through a channel that helps combine your content marketing efforts with internal company news and updates. At Smarp, we’ve seen time and time again that when external and internal communications are combined, the boost in employee engagement is significant.
When communications are relevant and engaging, employees are also more likely to stay informed with what’s going on internally with their company and externally with their industry. Any good communication strategy should include informing employees not only based on their role, but also consider attributes such as location, interests and language. With this in mind, we’ve recently launched our Language Detection feature that helps multilingual organizations reduce noise in the enterprise. Being able to provide a continuous stream of relevant information translates to not only an engaged workforce, but an informed workforce as well. This has benefits for both sides of the equation. Employees are able to be more productive and build their thought leadership. By doing this, companies see clear benefits in vital areas such as customer retention and profitability.
Engaged and Informed Employees Are More Likely to Advocate
An engaged and informed workforce that understands and feels committed to the company and its goals is more likely to advocate and share company related news and updates in their personal networks. As you can imagine, that’s a good thing. A really good thing, in fact ‒ research suggests that employee shared content reaches 561% further than content shared by the company. A big reason for this is that people simply trust people. According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from their peers over any other form of advertising. Specifically, people trust the everyday employee as an honest source of information and embodiment of the company, and are thus three times more trusted than CEOs. All these factors ensure that you get your content in front of a bigger, more engaged audience.
The benefits don’t stop with simply reaching this broader audience. When external networks view and engage with content shared by their peers, they are more likely to develop into meaningful interactions. These interactions, while benefiting the employees that shared the content and initiated the conversation, also have tangible benefits for the employer. For example, leads generated through these interactions are 7 times more likely to convert than other forms of leads.
Drive Continuous Improvements Through Data
Of course, once your communications are engaging and brand advocacy has taken off, it’s time to start optimizing. In a data first world, the best way to do this is by looking at the data to see what’s working and what’s not. For this, you need to make sure that you are tracking the right data points both internally and externally.
Internally, you need to measure what kind of content is resonating with your employees. Understanding what type of content is being read, reacted to and engaged with helps develop your content and communications strategies even further. For example, you may notice that your workforce enjoys getting updates in smaller, microblog fashion rather than lengthy documents. Similarly, being able to go more granular and view analytics on a group or team basis helps you plan future content tailored specifically for them.
Externally, it’s crucial to figure out what content works best with external audiences. Being able to track clicks and reactions across social channels helps you start to form an understanding of what works and what doesn’t. However, clicks and reactions will only get you so far. What you really want to be following is conversions. Using UTM tracking here is the way to go, as most if not all marketing automation platforms incorporate it within their offering. The way we approach it at Smarp is simple: All the content we share out of our platform gets tagged with UTM parameters indicating who it was shared by and what piece of content it is. When someone converts through a link with these parameters, it gets automatically tagged in our marketing automation tool, HubSpot, which then generates reports telling us what content drove the most registrations, signups or demo requests.
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that over 400,000 businesses are opened each year in the United States alone. Well, that same piece of research from the U.S. Small Business Administration also found that the United States also sees 360,000 - 490,000 businesses close every year. So not only is cutting through the noise of a competitive market more important than ever before, it’s also necessary in order to keep your business afloat. To do this, you need the correct tools in place to
- Get your content in front of your employees
- Empower them to share the content with their networks
- Track your effectiveness and conversions
If you’re interested in how to maximize your marketing impact and greatly boost the efforts of your content marketing, as well as to tackle the three points listed above, check out our webinar: How to Maximise Marketing Impact with Employee Advocacy. In this recording, we team up with HubSpot to co-host a session during which we explain how to get the most out of your content hub and marketing automation tools to produce results that speak for themselves. To get the recording, just register below!