Forget why your business wanted ‘a culture of content’?

Forget why your business wanted ‘a culture of content’?





Forget why your business wanted ‘a culture of content’?


Tony Hallett
Managing director

Tony set up Collective Content in 2011 so brands can more easily become publishers and tell stories. This built on 15 years in media, from reporter to publishing director at Silicon Media Group, CNET Networks and CBS Interactive.

For a time it was very fashionable to talk about a ‘culture of content’. This meant embracing content marketing to such an extent that the whole organisation not only understands its benefits but is eager to make it happen. The era of employee-as-content-creator had arrived. Or so we had all hoped.

But this is rarely the case. We usually deal with marketing departments and other agencies employed by large companies. Most people we speak to are savvy about content, if not outright experts. What happened to the customer service agent or engineer contributing?

We still think there’s a lot to be said for including them. We’ve written about why your staff can be your secret weapon, as well as some of the reasons why employees don’t participate in content creation. But aside from producing better, more diverse content, what are some of the other benefits of being inclusive? Why, in other words, should you still pursue a culture of content?

  1. Learn about the company. This might not be a priority for the person running a content programme or your average CMO, even. But from our experience, this is vital for CEOs and boards. The views from the shop floor – or manufacturing facility or sales team or wherever – sometimes never reach the top brass. Content is a great communication medium internally.
  2. Content informs strategy. This might seem like the wrong way around but your employees’ ideas around content are also a diverse source of ideas for the wider business. The key here is to have marketing plugged in properly to the wider business. No silos, please. You don’t have to go public with the best ideas – but do feed them to appropriate departments or even up to the C-suite.
  3. Create heroes – and keep them. The best content creators should be celebrated. Content can be shared on internal platforms, as not all your people will see what goes out externally to customers, targets and others. We even know those who make this approach competitive and give out awards. While that might not always work, the act of creating good content should engage and help retain key employees.

This post has been about the ‘why’ of employee content and the culture that fosters it, rather than the ‘how’. But we would like to make one ‘how’ point: Getting this right isn’t easy and it isn’t for every organisation. If nothing else, you need to carefully plan how you will enable employees to do all this, remembering they still have a day job and might not know much about marketing.

How you communicate what’s going to happen, who gets a chance to take part and how they will be helped (coaching, examples, ghostwriting, working out the best medium for each person and so on) is crucial. You might not have more than one chance to get this right.
But knowing the benefits of employees’ contributions to your content marketing can help get programmes signed off or expanded. Good luck.
photo credit: Buzz via photopin (license)

This post was first published 1 June 2016.

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