Voices

The Most Important Audience for Your Content Marketing: Your Own Employees

By Brett Lofgren June 30th, 2015

When we talk about what fuels content marketing today, the typical buzzwords always crop up: engagement, brand awareness, audience building and retention. We talk about the content we create—social, blogs, white papers, videos, etc. We talk about budget, and how we wish we had more of it.

But we typically don’t talk about our most important audience: our employees.

Make no mistake, evangelism for any business starts with your employees. If you truly want to succeed, you need to educate your employees about the meaningful work you’re doing across your organization. More importantly, you need to get them excited about it.

This is important for any business that wants to succeed, but it’s also crucial when it comes to the big challenge that every content marketer on earth is facing right now: evangelizing content within your company. When making the case for why you need an enterprise solution that will allow you to create, distribute, and optimize content at scale, it isn’t enough to scream at the top of your lungs that, as Rebecca Lieb brilliantly puts it, “Content marketing is the atomic particle for all marketing.” You have to show how content marketing makes your company stronger and smarter from the inside out, enriching damn near every internal and external communication channel.

But Brett, you might argue, employee engagement? I have an HR department for that. I’m not talking about the old-school intranet of the ’90s that provided benefits details and updates on the company picnic. I’m advocating for a system that the smartest companies in the world are already mastering: an internal content destination (whether blog, wiki, or new-school internal social network) that allows employees to learn from experts and each other in a personal way that encourages participation.

I’ll give you an example: One of Contently’s clients is a global technology company with thousands of employees. The company was great at building innovative products but struggled to engage employees with relevant daily issues. The goal for Contently was to help organize its internal communication and create original, relatable content that could be shared across departments.

When this mission came up, a light bulb went off for us. We had been solely focused on creating consumer-facing content, and as a result, we realized we had missed a huge opportunity to deliver value to our clients by helping them create content that would engage and educate their employees. Every department has an interesting story to share, and it’s important to create an outlet that allows those stories to reach the people who need to hear them.

The ROI potential here is huge. Inevitably, this knowledge filters to your external communication channels—particularly through accounts and sales. Simply put, more insightful salespeople and account managers are more helpful and effective representatives of your business. At Contently, our sales growth and customer retention has wildly exceeded industry benchmarks, and that’s in no small part due to the dozens of smart articles, interactive stories, and e-books we create every week, which itself is buoyed by our constant effort to share and discuss that content through Hipchat, email, presentations at our weekly company meetings, and other outlets.

We’ve seen this formula become the catalyst for success with some of our smartest clients as well. We spend a lot of time working with financial, technological, and B2B institutions to develop compelling inward-focused content: sales collateral, webinars, competitive intel, product videos, industry research, infographics, and more. Like any content effort worth doing, it takes a significant investment, but it’s made them all better at what they do.

Creating better, smarter employees is priceless, but make no mistake—you’ll see the impact of this investment on your bottom line.

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