You’ve heard the phrase time and time again, “People are your most valuable asset.”
Logistically speaking, this is an absolute truth. However, the ballgame is different when leveraging the talent in your company to bolster your content strategy. It takes loyalty, commitment, a well-defined culture and plenty of buy-in to effectively fit your people into your content strategy.
Here’s the good news: It’s more than worth the effort. Here’s the scary news: It’s going to take a bit of work.
Start With Culture
Take a moment to reflect on what your company or brand means to you as an employee or business owner. Write down four or five words you feel best describes your business on a human level. Make sure to avoid describing how your services work. Instead, focus on how your team collaborates to finish projects and ease pain-points.
Finished? Perfect. Let’s look at this list side-by-side with any current cultural material you already have written for your company. This can be anything from an established company mission statement to an all-encompassing general boilerplate.
Do the words you came up with match any of the goals and descriptors your company currently uses? Make note of which ones you’ve hit and any you feel need to be added.
Now it’s time to get your employees into the mix. Have everyone in your company go through the same process. If you’re part of a large organization, have managers run this exercise with their employees and report back to you with general themes and descriptions that pop up most often.
For instance, employees in a plumbing company might unanimously describe their culture with words and phrases like, “focused on integrity, highly-talented, education oriented and fraternal.”
Take your results and use the four or five words that come up most often as the basis for your company culture statement. This should contain no more than one sentence per theme. Avoid fancy verbiage and get to the point of each cultural characteristic.
Leverage Your Cultural Themes
Now that you have a solid understanding of how your employees view your internal company culture, what’s next? You need to use your newly minted culture statement to drive the content you produce. How do you do that?
The answer again is people.
If you’re the person responsible for content development for your organization, you can get a lot of mileage out of your human resources by playing to your cultural themes. Go through each of your themes and identify employees who best exemplify each message. If the employees you choose aren’t comfortable writing content pieces for you, be prepared to schedule interviews based around your cultural theme.
For example, if a logistics software company has identified “thought leadership” as one of their themes, it’s a smart idea for their content developer to interview a top-level programmer and ask about the latest trends in software development for the shipping industry.
Capitalize On Your Talent
Some companies take this concept one step further. Instead of developing content through writers and marketers, some organizations hold open submissions and contests for all employees who want to write about their career experience.
Tasty Catering in Chicago is an excellent example of a business who lives by their cultural code, and all of their content reflects this commitment. They go as far as to put each and every employee’s face and name in their About Us section. They include video and personal bios with each employee highlight, offering potential customers a content rich way to experience their business.
Content That’s Right For You
It’s always acceptable to write about yourself. Never be afraid to write about your people, your wins and losses or how your employees feel about different types of projects. Customers in the digital age are looking for a deeper connection to who you are and what you represent. They want to know your company is run by living, breathing human beings with feelings, emotions, wants and needs.
If your company’s cultural themes run alongside the sort of content your clients are looking for, you’ve got a recipe for success. Chances are, if you are crystal clear about your cultural guidelines and goals and a client still isn’t on board, they probably aren’t a good fit for you. Use your cultural themes to set expectations for everything from content development and project work to new hires. You won’t regret it.