If you build it, they will not come. Successfully executing on a content marketing strategy involves more than content production — it also involves content distribution. Creating a great piece of content doesn’t help your organization much if nobody sees it, so it’s crucial that it gets distributed to your target audience through several avenues to ensure the best possible reach.
As content marketers, we have more than a few tricks up our sleeves to extend the reach of our content:
- We optimize our posts for search engines
- We share our content through owned social channels
- We extend the reach of our social posts with paid ads
- We email our lists
- We build relationships with influencers in hope that we will get backlinks and social shares
These are all fantastic opportunities to extend our content’s reach, but we’re missing one huge, largely untapped, opportunity: employee advocacy.
Why employee advocacy matters
Your employees are natural advocates for your brand. Most of your employees are in the trenches, day after day, talking to your customers and prospective customers. They believe in your company and what you sell and have the knowledge to articulate why to your customers and prospects, as well as to their friends and family.
This represents an enormous opportunity to get your message out because 92% of people trust recommendations from their friends and family, while only 47% trust advertising from brands. Your employees put a face and a personality behind your brand, and can connect with your target audience in a way that you can’t.
Your employees can also extend your reach and may, collectively, even have a bigger reach than your brand. Whether they’re active on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter or any combination of social networks, your employees can reach people that your brand can’t.
For these reasons, your employees represent an enormous opportunity to drive real results for your brand — and for your content distribution strategy, in particular. By sharing your content, your employees are backing up what you say, introducing a human element and extending your reach simultaneously.
8 ways to supercharge your content distribution with employee advocacy
The first step to getting employees involved in content distribution is to make it easy for them to find your content. This can be as simple as asking them to subscribe to your blog and follow your social media accounts, or as sophisticated as using a powerful software platform, like Thismoment, or an employee advocacy platform, like SocialChorus.
Once employees have easy access to your content, you’ll find that most employees are happy to help you distribute it, but simply don’t know how. Here are a few ideas for your employees to get started:
- Share corporate social posts: See what your company is posting on social networks, and engage with it. This could be in the form of a retweet, share, like, or comment — whichever they are most comfortable. This is particularly useful if the employee is connected with your company’s prospects and leads, but can also be helpful if their friends and family members are in your target market (i.e. if you have a consumer product or if many of their friends work in your industry).
- Post corporate content on your social accounts: Different employees will be on different accounts, so don’t force where they share. Instead, allow each employee to participate in the networks they’re most interested in – whether it is Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, or Instagram (or any other number of social networks).
- Add links to your profiles: Update personal social media profiles to include links to company information. For instance, LinkedIn allows up to three links in the contact section of every profile, so employees could add links to your company’s homepage, blog, and/or a marketing resource.
- Join industry groups: Participate in LinkedIn and/or Facebook groups related to your industry. This should include participating in current discussions, as well as starting new discussions. Just be careful not to be overly promotional, and to add value to the group members, to make the biggest impact. Social media is meant to be social, after all.
- Participate in Twitter chats related to your industry: Twitter chats are when a group of people gets together at a predetermined time, usually weekly, and use a hashtag to hold conversations about a specific topic. For instance, the Content Marketing Institute hosts a chat every Tuesday to discuss topics related to content marketing. These chats are a great opportunity to engage with people who may not already be in your network.
- Reach out to prospects and customers with relevant content: This works particularly well for salespeople who have regular conversations with your prospects and customers and know exactly what kinds of content they would find most interesting. For instance, if a sales rep knows that a particular lead wants to know how they can measure the ROI of a product like yours, they can share a piece of content that speaks to the person’s interest.
- Answer Quora questions related to your industry: Quora is a question and answer site that people use to share knowledge with one another. Employees can subscribe to the topics that interest them, and answer questions that your prospects are asking. When appropriate, they can even link to more information on your company website or blog.
- Write content for your company: Your employees are on the front lines every day, talking to customers and answering questions — imagine all the content that could produce! Don’t worry if your employees are not “bloggers” — just get their ideas down on paper and polish it, if need be.
How to know if your employee advocacy program is working
As a smart content marketer, I assume you’re already tracking your success — which gives you a good baseline to understand if your employee advocacy program is working. If you’re not doing this on a regular basis — it’s never too late to start! Some good things to track are traffic, reach, share of voice, company social connections, leads and sales.
If you want to get a clear picture of your program’s success, your employees should be using tracking URLs on content they share so you can attribute success correctly. If you’re not familiar with this, learn about what they are and how to create them on this Google help article. From there, you can see exactly which employees are contributing to your success, as well as look at the program as a whole. However, you can still get a good idea of success, even without this extra step, by measuring net improvements.
Do your employees help you promote content? If so, how?