If you are working with content contributors as part of your marketing efforts with an intentional action plan of delivering content on a predetermined schedule - congratulations, you are already doing content marketing.
Many of us are inclined to work with professional content producers, such as agencies, freelance writers, ex-journalists or even your own corporate communications team. One important source of expertise that is often overlooked and yet possesses great untapped potential to help a company amplify their brand stories is its people.
The way we do B2B marketing has changed. Google addresses this in a recent post debunking myths of B2B business decision making. Gone are the days where only management executives make the call; millennials in the workplace are making the B2B research, employees of different levels are influencing purchase decisions - how are you engaging them on their terms and at their pace?
The rise of evangelists
Evangelists in businesses are commonly associated customers who “freely try to convince others to buy or try a product”, because they strongly believe in it.
More recently, the term has allowed us to push the boundaries of working only with high-level, C-suite executives on media-focused brand stories to your in-house individuals with their passion-driven narratives.
In an ideal world, all of our evangelists would be trained to be proficient writers, with the ability to tweak their posts according to the target personas and platforms. Heck, they would be trained in SEO tactics and can track each post effectively, providing the marketing team with a monthly overview of traffic insights, impressions and conversions.
In our world, there are steps to take to help initiate evangelists into the world of B2B content marketing, and to have them feel valued and empowered as your company’s virtual mouthpiece.
Start, engage and grow
Here are some ways to initiate your evangelists into content marketing.
1. Start a conversation
Start a conversation with candidates you’ve identified. Let them know how they can contribute to the voice of your company and set expectations. More importantly, keep your doors and discussions open. There will be questions and doubts, but like any good marriage, communication and transparency are reminders you’d want to keep on top of your checklist.
2. Engage them from the start
Are you running out of ideas for your editorial calendar? Start talking to your content contributors! Work with them concurrently as you plan the calendar, so that they feel involved and have a good view of what other topics you have in your pipeline, based on your various content resources (See point 1). They may have an idea or two from their daily interactions with customers, business partners and colleagues.
3. Grow your “inner circle” of influencers
Great content is lost without a good network behind it. (sidenote: see FireFly and Constantine /insert sad face ). Start planning a ‘growth’ campaign with your evangelists to reach out to a wider audience. This can be done through professional one-to-one connections, industry networking or even interest groups on social platforms. Get them familiarized with ‘hot topics’ and to keep an eye out on how tips to make their content more shareable and relatable.
Finally, with great power comes great responsibilities. The golden rules of corporate communications should always remain as a guiding beacon to what an employee should or should not say, even in a personal capacity. It will vary from one organization to another, so always ensure that you have your support from corporate communications, marketing (or even legal). Just to be sure.