Your people are your secret weapon to great content
Making content creation part of your DNA
Content marketing. We all know we should do it regularly, but often we let it slip. Either we’re too busy or too time-precious. We might remember to do it now and again… and may even give ourselves a pat on the back when we do – but deep down we know if it’s to be effective in the long-term it should become a routine habit.
Last week we went along to a great event hosted by the Marketing Network: Bath, Bristol & Cardiff where Marcomm specialist Ben Luger, from Ecosurety – (an environmental compliance specialist company) – shared his experience of the content marketing conundrum and how his business went from content zero to hero.
The good news? You don’t need huge budgets or specialist content writers.
What brands all strive for
Great content marketing boosts brand reputation, builds customer/reader relationships, bumps up your ranking in search engines and gives your site a hike in traffic – not to mention it being a rich source of content for your social channels and a prime opportunity to give your staff a voice.
What they’re sceptical of
But of course there are logistics to consider, senior leaders to convince, budgets to analyse and writers to rally. When people’s day jobs take precedence over content creation, it quickly fizzles out. Scepticism can also be common among senior leaders due to intangible ROI - relationship building is a slow and steady process and content marketing efforts can’t always be wrapped up into neat stats.
So, how do you get people on board?
1) Make content creation part of the day job
Start by positioning content writing as a key part of everyone’s job. Yes, everyone. Not an ad-hoc “when you have time” favour, but something people will actually be assessed on as a part of their performance management process. Establish a realistic schedule in line with current tasks (Ben cited that submitting 1 blog per month was appropriate for staff at Ecosurety - but this could flex depending on the busiest times of the year for certain teams). This makes content a priority and gives people the chance to apply themselves in order to hit targets and gain recognition for great work.
2) Outline expectations and keep people on track
The prospect of writing will daunt some people. Ben faced questions like, “Where do I start?” Clear brand guidelines are handy in order to lay the foundation for expectations – think tone of voice, register and the types of categories content should cover. Using digital tools such as Trello to clearly list categories, content ideas, assign authors to content and prioritise projects is great for transparency and project management. Ben prefers not to specify word count, to avoid receiving waffley content, instead he tells people to “make it as long as it needs to be”.
3) Encourage individual voices and give constructive feedback
Content is most authentic when the author’s voice comes through. Ben arms employees with basic guidelines and the freedom to write. He claims that this method helps put a face to the name of people in the business and clearly communicates their personal style. This is particularly useful for client-facing roles and helps to build relationships and gain expertise from different areas of the business. Constructive feedback whereby the writer has the chance to ‘rewrite’ sections themselves is the most effective, and sees people learn faster than simply receiving a revised, polished article.
4) Know your audience
Content is not produced for content’s sake. Each article has a clear purpose and a clear awareness of audience – whether this be very niche or more general. Knowing who you’re writing for is essential to gage whether content will be engaging. Will it offer new insight? Thought-leadership? Pose pertinent questions or simply be an entertaining read?
5) Celebrate great work
Gage how well articles perform and make a fuss about the people who’ve done a stellar job. Communicate why their content did so well in order for others to learn and adapt. Ecosurety use Google Analytics to understand how ‘sticky’ their content is – combining page views and time on page to build a fair picture of engagement.
Thanks to Ben from Ecosurety from sharing these great insights at a very interesting event!