Your content must not only attract visitors, but also convert them.
If the content for your website, newsletter, landing pages or email campaigns isn’t producing the results you want, consider shifting some of the marketing team’s power to employees in other departments. The change could boost your ROI.
Here are 10 ways to get employees to create effective content:
1. Ask for and share compelling client or customer stories.
Many people ask family, friends and business associates to refer products and services. If you knew about a Web design firm that created a responsive website with a 47 percent return on investment, wouldn’t you want to work with that company?
Start asking your support teams to get videos and written testimonials from customers, and turn them into great stories. You can create a couple of blog posts from just one testimonial.
You could also feature a customer in your monthly or weekly newsletter. Send out emails showing a customer who did something significant with your product, such as reaching $1 million in sales.
The key here is to make it an initiative. By involving other teams in content creation early on, you’ll create a system of great content-generating opportunities.
2. Show employees what’s in it for them.
Employees won’t ask for more work. It’s up to you to show them how content creation benefits them:
- Encourage salespeople to search for themselves online. Most customers research companies before calling or sending an email, because they want to know whether you and your staff are trustworthy. Online reputation management can present your company in a positive light, and delivering content that adds value is a great way to look good.
- Offer employee incentives. Some prefer money, so give them a bonus when their content reaches a certain number of shares or “likes.” Others are driven by status, so give them a certificate or plaque, and take their picture and feature it the company newsletter. You might consider giving them a prime parking spot for the month.
- Employ the power of personal branding. Helping your employees improve their personal brands by making them industry experts will provide a huge boost in their career potential. (It can be quite an ego boost, as well). More on this in point No. 6.
3. Include content creation in job descriptions.
When did you last review your business’s job descriptions? If it’s been a few years, you might want to rewrite some and include content creation.
If you need to hire an account executive, developer, etc., include writing blog posts in the job description. Consider giving incentive pay so you can tie it into the compensation package. Your employees will work harder to get bonuses for submitting content that converts.
Implementing content creation into employees’ daily workflow can increase your Internet marketing success and lead to more sales. It’s a great way to boost traffic (through SEO), conservation and engagement.
4. Accept different forms of content.
Forcing employees to create specific content formats, such as infographics, when their strength is writing blog posts is a recipe for disaster.
Some people are better at creating white papers than writing articles. Some are skilled at creating images with text overlay, videos or SlideShare presentations, while others prefer to write social media content.
Allow employees to create content that plays to their strengths, or else your content won’t be authentic. Customers can sense inauthenticity.
5. Make the submission process easy.
Even though some employees can write strong content, they might not be tech savvy. To streamline the submission process, create easy-to-follow policies and procedures. Consider using the following platforms:
- WordPress. Create multiple admin logins for employees, and set them to Editor status.
- Email. Create an email address for submitting content, for example, firstname.lastname@example.org. You might consider setting up parameters for subject lines (e.g., January 2016: Social Media Content) to ensure that content is forwarded to the right person.
- Dropbox. Create a folder for content. You might want to create subfolders, e.g., podcasts and case studies. The pro account will cost around $100 per year.
- Google Drive. If you use Google Docs, you might want to use Drive. You get 5GB of free storage. After that, it’s $1.99 a month for 100GB and $9.99 a month for 1TB.
- Think tanks. Encourage brainstorming sessions. Not only are employees working with customers, but they see each other every day and can pitch and discuss content ideas.
6. Support and encourage personal brands.
Many employees use social media to share personal and company information. However, you want to ensure they’re not risking the organization’s reputation by sharing the wrong types of information.
To combat damaging posts, help employees build their personal brands. For example, encourage them to start a blog and write articles on Medium. Then, share their content through your social media channels. Reimburse employees monthly for their hosting expenses.
If you hold an event, take photos of employees behind the scenes. Allow staffers to create collages and to share stories about the event on their social networks and the organization’s platforms.
Employees are assets, so handle them wisely. Provide guidance and resources for establishing strong personal brands, and encourage them to share great—and appropriate—content. Do this, and you won’t risk your company’s reputation.
7. Track and analyze and share results.
Once employees begin to publish content, you’ll want to track and analyze results. Use HootSuite, CrazyEgg and other platforms that give you targeted data. Set up goals, and define key metrics. Share information with employees to keep them focused, committed and enthusiastic. When they meet content conversion goals, it will reinforce their vested interest in the company’s success. If goals aren’t met, review the numbers to find out why; then adjust your content strategy.
Giving employees the chance to represent your company can boost engagement and conversions. It also fosters collaboration and friendly competition. Furthermore, it solidifies that top experts are delivering great customer experiences.
8. Reward conversions.
Most companies have rewards programs for customers, so why can’t yours have one for employees? Create a program, maybe based on points and/or reviews (mainly for your sales team), to motivate your staff to create the best possible content. Perhaps you can give away electronics, extra time off or cash and gift cards.
Just as you reward those who receive positive mentions, find out why your company or employees were mentioned in negative reviews, social media comments or posts (if you allow customers to post to your pages) or blog post comments. Address these issues immediately, and create a plan to reduce the amount of negative chatter about your company.
Reinforce the “what’s in it for me” concept. Offer coaching to employees who aren’t performing well. Consider implementing a peer-to-peer program so star content creators can mentor those who need help.
9. Add key employees to your social media team.
How many employees are on your social media team? If you restrict administrative access to only those in your marketing department, you’re missing out on converting content at a higher rate. Why?
Because employees in other departments have valuable insights that can help increase the bottom line. If customers post questions regarding billing, who better to answer their questions than billing support? For SaaS (Software as a Service) companies, this could be an easy way to combat churn.
Getting employees involved in the discussion around the monthly calendar can boost conversions, too. Plus, other employees might have ideas that could result in a higher ROI. You won’t know unless you ask and open your social networks to other employees.
10. Provide ongoing education and training.
To ensure your employees create exceptional content, hold education and training seminars and conferences at least twice per quarter. Introduce the latest strategies and technologies for content creation. Get into groups, and brainstorm for new ideas and/or review content that did not convert in order to help employees understand why it didn’t work.
Consider launching an intranet or a company group on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google or some other platform for employees. Allow them to engage with one another by asking questions, sharing content and more.
The more training you provide employees, the better. Not only does your content strategy need the right mix of content, but it also requires collaboration, cooperation and creativity.
Amandah Blackwell is a professional content writer, copywriter and speaker. A version of this article originally appeared on The Daily Egg.