Employee-Driven Content: A 4-step Framework on How to Get Started
I think of it a little bit like taking a road trip
This is the B2B Bite - your portal into a realm where marketing helps solution providers win new business instead of just making decks look pretty.
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You’ve got to invest in more content.
“Damn Jason, what is this - 2005? We’ve been creating content for years!”
…to which my response would be…
“Sure. But when did you last create good content?”
If the recent phenomenon that is ChatGPT has taught us anything, it’s that we are on the precipice of a huge acceleration in the publication of mediocre marketing collateral.
Particularly on blogs.
Volume is no longer the aim of the game. Dialling in on doing less that says more must become the new normal. And a great way to do this is by investing in employee-driven content.
Here’s a stat from the Edelman B2B Thought Leadership Study for you:
B2B decision-makers use thought leadership to vet a company’s capabilities. 59% agree that an organization’s thought leadership is a more trustworthy source for assessing a company’s capabilities than the company’s marketing material.
Yet many organisations totally fail to invest in putting their people front and centre of their marketing efforts. And this is harming their ability to acquire and nurture new leads.
Because people buy from people. Cheesy, but true. Especially across the enterprise buying cycle.
One company that does this extremely well is Sweet Fish Media. They invest a ton of time and money in helping their employees develop thought leadership content for their own personal social media channels.
And it’s not just a vanity project. It’s helped them net $311,000 in annual revenue directly attributed to LinkedIn - plus secure a bunch of invites to speak at shows, and grow their collective following to 80,000+
(this isn’t a paid post btw - just really admire their approach)
What if I told you that you can find super-talented marketers at an affordable price to join your business in the next 100 days?
While hiring US-based marketers gets more expensive and difficult, you still need to grow your business by getting highly qualified workers onboard quickly and affordably.
CXL Talent finds, vets, and trains candidates from lower-cost living countries in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa for a minimum starting salary of $40k USD. All candidates go through 12 weeks of world-class education - at zero cost to you - to ensure they’re qualified to grow your company.
In less time than it takes to request budget for a new in-house hire, you could have a highly qualified marketer working with you on a contract basis.
Ready to get started?
So - how do you start building out an employee-driven content programme?
Keep it simple with this four-step framework I liken to going on a road trip.
Destination. Where do you want to get to? You need to understand what success looks like and how you want to measure the collective efforts of your team. Keep them SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely) and split across short-term/long-term thinking. For instance, using Sweet Fish as an example, immediate milestones to look out for would be comments and shares (indicative positive signals) while pipeline and revenue will likely take longer to manifest.
Vehicle. How are you going to get there? This is your strategy. What questions keep our prospective clients up at night and where are they looking for answers when they wake up? What is our unique belief (or set of them) about the market we operate in and how does this translate thought leadership? Work backwards from these prompts to begin to identify content pillars and the right channels to activate. Remember - the most successful programmes provide a framework employees can operate freely within. Any content written by a brand will reek of it.
Fuel. What is going to propel us forward? Think of this as the resources you can create to facilitate more effective thought leadership. This can be as straightforward as providing prompts - e.g. “consider posting a personal story about how you overcame an obstacle in your career today” - to internal training resources or workshops on how to be an effective content creator. Depending on resources, you may also consider what operational levers you can pull to help scale production - like a dedicated design or video resource set aside to help employees create content.
Passengers. Who are we bringing along for the journey? You can only go so far working solo. Build a structure that encourages employees to engage with one another’s content. This could be a shared Slack Channel where each new post is shared to encourage replies or weekly post-mortems to analyse what worked and what didn’t. Ultimately, the aim is to foster a culture of encouragement and belonging - where each individual is celebrated and supported on their journey to become a content creator - in turn creating habits that stick.
❤️ Some content I’ve recently consumed and loved:
🚨 NEW PODCAST EPISODE 🚨
In this very first episode of a new LinkedIn Live series-turned-audio-podcast, I talk to Josh Krakauer, CEO of Sculpt.
We dive into everything you need to know about social selling - what it is, why it matters, and how marketers can help BDRs excel at it.
Plus, we give away some actionable tips on how to start using social media to bring in new business right away.
You can listen on any other podcast directory too.
I’ve started a strategic marketing consultancy firm called B2B Better.
Want to book a free, no-strings-attached strategy call? Just click this link.
Good stuff, Jason. Just found your Substack and subscribed, so I'm catching up on your content :)
Including employees in the bigger content marketing picture is an overlooked and undervalued approach to this B2H (business-to-human) game.