Content needs to be a first priority when planning your Employee Advocacy program.
Can you convincingly promote a product or vouch for a company that you have no belief in?
That’s exactly the dilemma your employees face when you enroll them in an Employee Advocacy program, and ask them to promote your brand, without investing in quality content.
Without publishing useful and well-researched content on your company blog and other online assets, you make it hard for your employees to initiate positive conversations about your brand with your target audience.
On the contrary, brands that invest in a well-rounded content marketing strategy benefit in several ways. For example, research indicates that more than 60% of consumers feel positive about a brand after reading its blog.
When you consistently produce high quality content, it makes your employees confident about the information they’re sharing and allows them to transfer that knowledge to your target audience, resulting in greater brand awareness.
So how exactly do you create such content?
Let me break this down for you.
1. Understand the Real Problems of Your Audience
Millions of new blog posts and articles are published every day. Most of them, however, never get more than a few dozen page views.
If you create content without knowing the real problems of your audience, you’ll only add to the junk on the web that nobody cares about.
Research is the key to creating memorable, targeted, and high quality content. In marketing terms, you need to create the right buyer profile or persona before actually creating content.
A buyer persona is a sample profile of your ideal target audience. It lists down the likes/dislikes, interests, purchase power, career stage, professional challenges, demographics and any other information that helps you identify your audience better. Here’s an example of a buyer persona created using HubSpot’s Buyer Persona Template.
You can make it as brief or as detailed you want. But the idea is to create a profile that you can target when creating new content.
You can start with an assumed persona created by your own team or go directly to your customers for research.
For additional research, you can use platforms like Quora, Facebook Audience Insights, Google Trends or analyze the most popular content of your competitors.
2. Create In-Depth and Actionable Content
The thing that separates great content marketers from the ordinary ones, is their attention to detail and their willingness to help readers take action.
If you want people to keep coming back to you for more, you need to create content that’s highly actionable and shares practical tips that can help readers move forward. Forget the word count and keep writing until you’re satisfied with the value of your content.
A 2016 study by DemandGen shows that 90% of consumers prefer reading content that is actionable and shares practical tips to move forward.
In-depth content not only engages your readers better, but also increase your chances of making it to the top of Google’s search results on your target keywords (as apparent by the average length of the top 10 results in Google Search).
Creating in-depth and actionable content takes a lot of time and effort but, unlike thin or poorly researched content, it leaves a mark on the readers’ minds and helps you establish your brand as an authority on your topic.
3. Be Consistent in Everything Your Brand Does
Consistency is one of the key traits of any successful brand. Whether it’s the quality of your products/services, the standard of your after sales support, the appearance of your brand assets, or the quality of your content, everything needs to follow set standards that remain constant wherever your brand goes.
In content marketing, that consistency needs to reflect in your publishing frequency, the quality and the depth of your content, and the types of content you create.
Publishing content consistently on a fixed schedule, in particular, is one of the main drivers of growth when it comes to content marketing. A study shows that more than 85% of marketers consider this as the number factor behind their growth.
These stats aren’t surprising.
When you keep publishing great content and follow a fixed schedule, your audience knows exactly when to expect your next post. This not only creates a certain bond between you and your readers, but also strengthens your image as a reliable and consistent brand.
4. Use Visuals and Multimedia To Keep Readers Longer
The human mind processes images and visuals almost 60 thousand times faster than text content. According to the Social Science Research Center, 65% of people are primarily visual learners. Which means they consume visual content more effectively as compared to plain text.
Adding images to your content and explaining your points with snapshots and illustrations makes your content more understandable.
So, what kind of visuals can you add to your content to make it more engaging?
- Videos – It’s great if you can create your own original videos. If not, find relevant videos on YouTube and embed them in your posts
- Slideshows – Create slides of your content, upload to Slideshare and embed the slideshow in your post
- Images – You can create custom images using tools like Canva or PicMonkey.
- GIFs – Find funny GIFs for your content or create your own using Giphy.
Personally, one of my favorite methods is to use small clippings from relevant infographics (after mentioning the source of course).
5. Back Your Arguments With Data and Facts
If you’ve read this article carefully, I think you already know that I love throwing around stats all over my content.
I do this for a few reasons.
Firstly, it makes me look intelligent : )
Secondly, it turns my opinions into proven facts that are much easier to believe.
For example, which one of these statements looks more credible to you?
“Most small businesses plan to increase their digital marketing budgets in 2017”
“A study by Content Marketing Institute shows that more than 63% of small businesses plan to double their digital marketing budgets in 2017”
I think I know your answer.
When you cite credible sources to back your claims, you’re actually borrowing their credibility to make yourself look trustworthy.
So how do you find relevant stats from credible sources?
Here are a few ways.
-Use the following search queries on Google
[your keyword/niche/topic] + stats
[your keyword/niche/topic] + infographics
[your keyword/niche/topic] + research
[your keyword/niche/topic] + study
-Look for relevant stats on Pew or Statista
-Find relevant stats and studies by any trade bodies or associations in your industry
In my experience, you can find loads of stats on any subject in just a few searches on Google. Using them from time to time will make your content more effective.
The success of your Employee Advocacy programs depends heavily on the quality of your content. If you can consistently feed your employees with high quality, well-researched and actionable content, they’ll be able to confidently spread the word about your brand and engage your target audience in more meaningful and positive conversations. The tips I’ve shared in this post will help you move exactly in that direction.
How do you ensure your content complements your Employee Advocacy program? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.