It’s the cliché that you’re probably tired of hearing.
Content is king.
But here’s what you need to know. It’s also true. Content may not exactly be royalty, but it will drive a successful employee communication and engagement program. You can have the best, most innovative technology platform that enables you to reach all of your employees, wherever they are.
But it’s still just a tool.
Relevant content that keeps employees is critical to providing value for your workforce. It’s the heart of your program. Ultimately, that’s what will keep employees engaged over the long haul. If your content isn’t interesting, employees will ignore it. Boring and dull simply won’t cut it.
What we’ve seen at Dynamic Signal is that platform content can generally be separated into three main buckets.
- Things to read or watch
- Things to do
- Things to share externally
These categories, when done correctly, are the raw fuel that powers a smooth-running platform machine and draws in your employees. Let’s take a closer look at each one with some best practices to help you get the most value from your investment.
Things to read and watch
These are typically the most common types of content you’ll include in your communication or advocacy strategy. This is what communicators, marketers, and HR professionals want to get in front of employees, who typically aren’t visiting the company Intranet or looking at their email.
This content is likely comprised of various pieces of company news, announcements, and updates, along with industry or competitive information. These are articles that are being pulled in from your newsroom and company blog. You’re making it easy for employees to read everything in one place. You’ll also want to be adding some content that covers anything from leadership announcements to company successes and departmental news to organizational changes.
Another suggestion is to include employee spotlight pieces. These can be day-in-the-life stories to introduce employees who are doing cool, exciting things to the rest of the company. They can be as simple as a photo with a caption, too. This kind of content goes a long way to helping connect everyone across an organization.
Now, this type of content might include the most exciting news of the year. But if it’s only presented as long-form written stories, you’re going to have a hard time genuinely capturing the attention of your employees. Let’s face it: People are pressed for time. It’s hard to get anyone to read lengthy articles – at least on a regular basis.
So, to move the needle and get your message out to employees in a way that’s easy to digest, think about short-form video. It’s a great way to share company news, announcements, organizational changes, company successes, employee spotlights, and leadership updates. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy with high-production value. In fact, there’s an authenticity conveyed when a video doesn’t look perfect and polished. With the quality of today’s cell phone cameras, you can easily create quality videos, anywhere and at any time.
Fifty-nine percent of senior executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they are more likely to choose video. Why would employees be any different? Also, 55 percent of people are watching videos every day online. The way we communicate with employees and share important company news, information, and stories needs to mimic what we are experiencing in our everyday lives.
Things to Do
What your employees read and watch – whether they are internal or sharable – will be the bulk of your content strategy. But also consider all of the things that employees could do within the platform to keep them coming back for more.
Start simple with the tools and portals employees need to access daily such as their pay stubs, time trackers, expense reporting system, or benefits portal. You might also include evergreen resources like company policies, forms or templates, and any regulatory information or guidelines employees need to do their jobs more efficiently and with less frustration. Whether these live in a document repository right within your platform or are linked out to existing sources, it’s important these resources can be accessed in one place.
Once you’ve built an awesome content strategy and have the perfect mix of readable posts and video stories, how do you know if it’s hitting the mark? Do employees like your latest leadership video series? Are they engaging with the monthly product release notes? Do they have additional questions about the company’s upcoming acquisition?
Here’s a thought: Ask them.
Create quick polls and pulse surveys to collect feedback consistently. Make employees feel like they have a voice – and that the company is truly interested in what they think. Whether you want to give your employees an open forum to provide feedback or make it more structured through questions, feedback should be a regular part of your content strategy.
Another way to keep employees engaged is to encourage them to contribute their own content. This will help create a feeling of ownership with the platform. This is for them. They’re having a say in the content that they are their colleagues are reading and seeing.
Things to share externally
With all of the content that you’re producing, much of it is likely suitable for people outside of the company. In fact, it’s an excellent way for your employees to help share your company’s story in their own voices. That extends the reach of marketing and branding efforts.
When employees stay informed and know what’s happening at the company, they are more likely to talk about work with friends, family, and peers. And the way we communicate today is online through social media. The value of a sophisticated platform is that you can provide employees with internal-only information and approved content that you would like employees to share with their personal networks to highlight your company’s good news.
Provide compelling content that employees would think their networks might want to read and see. Sharable content should go beyond the company’s news and press releases. Include thought-leadership and stories that will help your employees to stand out on social media. Provide employees with the power to be subject-matter experts. Give them rich information with a well-packaged design to share on LinkedIn or Facebook in just a few clicks.
You can also take sharable content to the next level by including job openings. Mobilize your employees to tap into their networks to expand your search and help find the best potential candidates. A LinkedIn study found that candidates have three times greater trust in the company’s employees than the organization to provide credible information on what it’s like to work there. Motivated employees want to work with like-minded colleagues. So, they’re naturally incentivized to help with recruiting – and have credibility with prospects.
You can do this!
Creating continuously exciting and engaging content might seem like a juggling act. And, yes, there can be a lot of moving parts. Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed. It’s normal.
But start with a plan. It can be modest. Maybe consider just five new pieces of content a week. It could be a video, an article from your pressroom, a note from the CEO, or pieces you’ve written. Think about a weekly newsletter that’s a wrap-up of the most important information your employees may have missed that week.
The important thing is for employees to know that they will always find something new and interesting whenever they visit.
And the best part? You may already have most of the content needed to seed your platform. That way, employees will find engaging information on Day One. Look for the second part of this content series where my colleague, the fabulous Becky Graebe, will show you how to conduct a content audit to get a better sense of what you have – and what you’ll need.