How to develop employees as creators of strategic content

Try these four approaches to help your colleagues cultivate the desire and requisite skills for delivering organizational intelligence to your internal and external audiences.

At a time of transient competitive advantage, the rewarding and engagement of employees is shifting from monetary and functional recognition to the recognition of capabilities and experience.

The result is an increase in organizational intelligence—the unique approaches, solutions, management philosophies and practices within an organization.

Although organizational intelligence was once considered confidential or secret, it’s now much more open because of our culture of extensive digital thought-sharing.

In today’s business world, it’s vital to share organizational intelligence and content to increase brand awareness and foster expertise and creative thinking, which can be crucial in determining other aspects of business strategy, such as pricing, process and product/service offerings.

Employees are among the most effective channels for disseminating organizational intelligence.

A structured content creation framework can help employees across departments and industries gain recognition as subject experts, helping the company achieve business development and strategic marketing objectives.

1. Identify and develop content creation skills.

Many employees do not have the right mix of storytelling skills to convert their experience and knowledge into compelling content that drives business objectives.

Marketers should identify colleagues who are willing and able to contribute to a content strategy, and they should help them foster the appropriate skills to be successful. To start, your organization can:

  • Offer soft skills training on writing, grammar, visual storytelling and story structuring based on the channel used.
  • Hire writing coaches or consultants to work with content creators to fine-tune skills specific to their expertise. Some one-on-one training may be needed, depending on current skill level and comfort in content creation.
  • Create a defined process for providing content creators with regular feedback on improving storytelling and content-creation skills. Do not simply revise content and publish. Use the revision process as a learning opportunity for each content creator.

2. Establish a content creation and management strategy.

Strategic decisions within organizations should include content creation and management. Though many organizations encourage employees to create content only as needed, a clearly defined strategy can bring more focus, direction and results. To start:

  • Create a content team. Determine who in the organization is a content contributor, editor, distributor/publisher or manager.
  • Align content topics, distribution/publication methods and channels with current marketing and business development efforts. Use an annual or semiannual content calendar that links each piece of content to timely events or initiatives. Calendars should include employee assignments and deadlines for each stage of the process.
  • Create a realistic timeline to accomplish all the tasks on the content calendar. Take established priorities, staffing and budgets into account.
  • Create metrics to assess the effectiveness of the content that employees create. Measurement tools and results will vary by channel and target audience. Consider your overall goal, and then brainstorm the methods available to achieve that goal.

Download the free white paper, “Creating a Consistent Message,” to discover how to keep your organization’s message and voice on track across all your internal communications platforms.

3. Establish a dynamic knowledge management system.

Knowledge management systems, which store organizational intelligence as well as the flow of knowledge, are no longer linear and static. Interdepartmental transfer of knowledge is essential to an effective content strategy, as various perspectives on a technical subject can spark concepts and articles that uniquely support marketing and business development goals.

To establish a structured and dynamic knowledge management system, start with the following:

  • Create a central repository where organizational intelligence is stored and accessed according to controls set by department heads. Work with the IT department to assess technological resources, identify a portal and conduct internal training with all contributors who must have access to the repository.
  • Classroom exchanges and discussions, though “old school,” are effective methods of communicating and disseminating institutional knowledge. Strategically sharing presentations and technical reports helps employees across multiple departments understand various approaches the company is employing to solve a business problem, as well as how each approach meshes with others.

4. Acknowledge the contributions of content creators.

Content creation must be projected to employees as an exercise and opportunity to improve the organization’s and the individual’s visibility within the industry, as opposed to an added task in which the employee doesn’t see present-day value, rewards or recognition.

Organizations can score content creation as a vital component of achieving business goals and objectives, recognizing contributors for their efforts.

Simply knowing their contributions will be recognized motivates employees to build content and examine their assignments from a process improvement point of view. Opportunities to acknowledge contributions include:

  • Showcasing selected content in internal employee communications, such as newsletters, social media groups and town hall presentations.
  • Creating an internal awards program publicly recognizing the hard work and output of content producers (also consider tangible rewards or experiences).

Organizations that empower their employees to create compelling content can enhance individual and companywide expertise and public awareness. Content creation systems, processes and strategies provide direction and help ensure the content relates to key business goals.

A version of this article originally appeared on MarketingProfs.

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