What comes to mind when you think of content strategy?
If you’re like most businesses embracing a content marketing mindset, you understand the value of creating relevant and valuable content for your buyers through every stage of the purchase funnel. You may have a strategy to incentivize referrals and cross-selling opportunities through post-sale content.
The more savvy organizations may even be thinking beyond the marketing silo in their content creation efforts.
All of this is external storytelling. It’s designed as a way to bring your prospects and customers back to your business whenever they need what you’re selling. But, it’s only one side of the equation.
If your company is writing its own story, each department should have a chapter. Every team within your organization should believe in your narrative and feel as though they have an active voice in telling it to the world.
But, how do you build a culture behind your content marketing efforts? How do you get your entire team, across every department, to buy into the content strategy you’re building?
Internal storytelling is all about how you market your brand to your internal team. Through communication, education and collaboration, you can encourage a culture of content marketing internally, to drive your business goals.
It’s not as easy as it sounds, though. Managers might assume that just because your employees are working for you, they should be obligated to contribute to your marketing and customer service efforts.
That is simply not the case. Most employees don’t care about the broader goals of the company, especially if they have a lower-level part of the larger process. If they have a very specific role or work under a mid-level manager, they may care most about doing their own job well, and simply making their boss happy. They won’t be excited about having more work added to their plate, especially if it doesn’t relate to their specific role.
But, with a streamlined process and a compelling story, even the most stubborn team members will eventually come around.
Before you start thinking about incentives or accountability for your team, take some time to understand their point of view.
There are probably several different kinds of personalities working for you. Some are looking to advance to a higher position. Some are looking for ways to specialize and build experience within a specific skillset. Others are just looking for a solid 9-5 that they can forget about when they go home.
Whatever the motivations of your employees are, it’s important to realize that you have to appeal to both their head and their heart in order to gain their cooperation and trust.
Does this sound familiar to you? It should.
In a lot of ways, this is what you’re doing with your customers, too. Create employee personas like you would create your buyer personas, and approach your strategy to appeal to their unique wants and needs.
Why is this important? To get buy-in from every part of your organization. It will empower them with a voice of their own, so they feel like more than an employee number. It will motivate them to proactively contribute to the goals of your company as a whole, rather than feel obligated to participate in something that has little or nothing to do with them.
Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
Give your team the tools they need to succeed by sharing your company values, your brand story and your existing strategy with them. Newsletters, trainings, and even something like a podcast for your company can equip them with the information they need to find their own place within your story.
These communications can be a great way to recognize achievements, analyze your opportunities and brainstorm new ideas in a collaborative environment.
Everyone wants to be heard. They want to feel like the work they’re doing for you matters in some way. By allowing your team members to contribute their own ideas to your strategy and actually be heard, you’ll keep them engaged and motivated.
No one wants to feel like their ideas don’t matter. Make sure you have the infrastructure in place to support creativity and nurture the innovation that your team is driving.
A big reason why employee personas are so valuable is they give you direct insight into what motivates your team members on a deeper level.
Whether it’s a stepping stone to a new career or a step toward advancement in the company, every one of your employees is working for you for different reasons. Giving them a voice and supporting their efforts means an opportunity for them to be heard, to make a difference and to build their personal brand.
It’s up to you to sell them on the benefits of contributing to your content strategy through internal storytelling. But once you do, you’ll have a strong culture of content creation.
Your employees will feel empowered by their contributions, and your customers will gain valuable insight into the organization’s culture and commitment to its people.
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