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The Other Audience That Your Content Strategy Is Overlooking

Chances are your company’s content strategy is missing a chance to connect with your own employees.

The Other Audience That Your Content Strategy Is Overlooking
[Photo: Flickr user -Salvaje-]

It’s well understood by now that most brands need content strategies in order to build relationships with customers. It’s even been said that all companies are media companies in some form or another, in addition to their core business.

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But there’s a second audience your company’s content marketing has the potential to reach that’s no less critical to your success: your own employees.

Content already allows companies to influence how people perceive their brands, while also opening up a two-way dialogue with consumers. A content strategy can become a useful management tool for much the same reason, helping companies define their values and forge strong, productive relationships with employees.

If consumers want companies to talk to them like human beings, so do the people who work for them. They’d rather decide for themselves why they care about a brand than endure being sold to all the time. Likewise, employees want to work for smart, engaging employers and resent being treated like cogs in a machine. Here are a few ways that a powerful content strategy can help your company build stronger relationships with employees.

1. It Humanizes The Leadership

People want to work for leaders they know and believe in–millennials, especially. By one recent measure, 79% of this demographic want bosses who are also mentors, and the interpersonal connection that content provides can be a great first step toward delivering it.

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C-suite executives can feel remote to front-line employees, a situation that tends to get worse the bigger your company becomes. Content can bridge that gap, offering leaders a direct, unfiltered means for sharing their ideas and experiences with employees in a meaningful, authentic way.

2. It Promotes Transparency

Any content strategy that takes employees into account has to prize transparency–otherwise there’s little point to it. Writing content that forthrightly shares your company’s point of view lets you explain decisions and changes better than any briefing or all-staff memo ever could. In addition to being an effective communication tool, it helps inspire trust and purpose throughout your staff.

Target’s EVP and CMO Jeff Jones exemplified this in a post he wrote called “The Truth Hurts,” about the retailer’s 2014 data breach and leadership shake-up. Jones wrote candidly about what had gone wrong in the company and explained the need for change. The piece is a model of the type of frank communication–with employees and customers alike–for which no official jargon-laden statement is any substitute.

A content strategy based around transparency can also benefit your hiring process. The more information you provide up front, the better. If a candidate is strong but isn’t the best fit for your culture, it’s best to let her decide that early, based on what you’ve written about your business, instead of determining after a few months on the job that it isn’t going to work out.

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3. It Cultivates Dialogue—Inside And Out

Not long after my own team asked me to get involved in our content marketing plan, several employees approached me to talk further about something I’d written that they had read. I don’t always have time to meet individually with my employees, but those occasions give us a chance to trade ideas in a way that wouldn’t be possible if I weren’t regularly sharing my thoughts.

That also helps employees talk to others about the company they work for. Whether it’s a presentation from a conference keynote, a webinar, or an article or blog post, content generated by company leaders can help everyone on staff talk effectively (yet in their own words) about what the business is all about–its mission, goals, and culture.

As a result, employees can become true advocates and expand your brand’s reach, sometimes even sharing the company’s content voluntarily within their own social networks. In short, great content can simply make it easier for your teams to do their jobs better.

Most companies recognize that content drives consumer relationships, but few understand how transformative it can be within their own ranks.

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John Hall is the CEO of Influence & Co., a company that specializes in expertise extraction and knowledge management to fuel marketing efforts.

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