Everyone can create content

Everyone in your organisation should be creating content. Why? Because content forms the backbone of the entire user experience says Kristina Halvorson (CEO from Brain Traffic) to Ann Handley in her new book, Everybody Writes. Therefore the content shouldn’t just have one voice, it should have many. Great online content should mimic the way we interact face to face.

Take a successful café as an example – what makes it a success? The great coffee they serve? The menu of delicious treats?  The environment,  its décor or the comfy chairs? Yes, it’s all of the aforementioned. But it’s more than that, it’s the staff - the ones doing the serving, the talking, laughing that really set it apart. They’re the ones creating the vibe, atmosphere and who have the raport with their customers. It’s not the owners, it’s not the accountants or the people behind the scenes. The reputation and success of the business is down to its public facing staff and how they treat their customers. The customers love coming back because they’re made to feel welcome, special. They have their views heard and they like having someone to chat to, a laugh with. They’re given a place that meets more than their need to quench their thirst or satiate their hunger. The point is, the staff are given the freedom within boundaries, to be themselves. This makes them natural, approachable and ultimately more customer friendly.

Great content and social media marketing should emulate this café scenario. Contact with customers on social should be real, genuine and suit the audience’s style. The UK’s supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s, does this well on its Twitter feed. When one customer, back in 2012, Tweeted: “Dear Sainsbury’s. The chicken in my sandwich tastes like it was beaten to death by Hulk Hogan. Was it?” Its customer service representative replied: “Really sorry it wasn’t up to scratch. We will replace Mr Hogan with Ultimate Warrior on our production line immediately.” This witty retort showed the human face behind the brand and nipped the complaint in the bud.

The British health food brand, Innocent, is a great example of how content can be used to build relationships with customers. Every product’s packaging reaches out to its customers – whether it’s the playful suggestions of what to do when your food is being heated up in the microwave, the nugget of information they give about the fruit they’ve selected to put in one of their drinks or the open invitation to chat with them at Fruit Towers (its London headquarters) or call them on the Banana phones – the content and communication is all about showing the fun personalities of the people behind the brand.

Therefore content should not just be crafted in the marketing department. Yes, marketers should control the output and keep an eye on the objectives, but this team should not dominate the creation of it. Everybody in the organisation should be encouraged to contribute from sales, development to services. Shared content creation brings with it fresh eyes and different perspectives – along with differing expertise. This makes the content more varied, objective and covers all angles.

Employees should also be encouraged to create content that best suits their talents and style from cartoons, mini videos, Slideshare decks or publishing the written blog. Clever marketers that are adept at harnessing the talents of their colleagues are outshining their competitors. Don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what the global content marketing experts are saying about who should create content:

Everybody who works in your company has knowledge that your customers can benefit from. One of the best ways to do content marketing is to set that knowledge free. Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert and author New York Times bestseller, Youtility. @jaybaer

Fostering strong writers internally improves all your content in the way a great conductor improves an orchestra. Ann Handley, founder of MarketingProf and author of Everybody Writes. @annhandley

Encourage employees to create and distribute your content to expand your reach and reduce redundant activity within your organisation. Heidi Cohen content marketer and author of the blog, Heidi Cohen Actionable Marketing Guide. @heidicohen

Play to each person’s strengths. Non-writers won’t become writers overnight, but they might give a great interview. Others might be more visual than verbal. Others might be better for working the social media channels instead of creating contentDoug Kessler Co-Founder and Creative Director of Velocity Partners.  @dougkessler

Everyone in your business should feel like marketing is part of their job. Joe Pulizzi, Founder of The Content Marketing Institute. @JoePulizzi

8 reasons why you should let your colleagues create & share content

  1. Shares the burden of content creation
  2. Opens up a different perspective
  3. Taps into people’s creative side
  4. Reveals talented writers, communicators that would otherwise be undiscovered
  5. Makes the content genuine
  6. Gives everyone a stake in what you’re doing
  7. Uncovers new methods of creating and content
  8. Engenders a culture of brand ambassadors

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