Viqtory's Guide to Employee-Generated Content
By David Dobson, Senior B2B Marketing Manager
For many companies, employee-generated content, or EGC, is an afterthought – if it’s even considered at all. Marketing departments worldwide are so busy crafting their messaging for inbound and outbound marketing campaigns that they forget that they’re sitting on a potential goldmine when it comes to developing content.
From staff-authored blog posts to shared selfies on bring-your-dog-to-work day, employee-generated content is being leveraged by savvy brands who understand it’s value. If you’ve been in the dark on this burgeoning marketing trend, don’t worry, you’re not the first to have glossed over it.
This guide will quickly bring you up to speed on what Employee-Generated Content is, what the benefits are, and how to implement an Employee-Generated Content campaign for your brand.
What is Employee-Generated Content?
Employee-Generated Content is precisely as it sounds – content used for marketing purposes generated by the employees of your company. You probably encounter it all the time. Articles authored by your CEO counts as EGC, as does the Facebook Live stream of your head brewer pouring the first pint from a new batch at your craft brewing company.
Some of our Employee Generated Content:
No matter your industry, Employee-Generated Content shouldn’t be hard to find or foster if it’s something you’ve not yet tried. Blog posts, social media posts, YouTube videos, and even podcasts can all be produced and disseminated by your fellow employees.
Better yet, there are a myriad of benefits associated with doing so.
Benefits of Employee-Generated Content
There are several big benefits gained from implementing a solid EGC marketing strategy. First of all, by enlisting your employees’ help you can amplify your reach in a way you’ve not yet experienced by your brand.
Your coworkers and employees are the trusted insiders. They have fresh perspectives and they can help boost your company’s credibility as a thought leader. Scott Stratton, author of The Book of Business Awesome, says that “every employee is your brand ambassador, your marketer, and the face of your company”.
Tap into their knowledge as subject matter experts and invite them to share their expertise. That expertise will help beef up your blog and social media platforms while simultaneously building their personal brand and showcasing them as thought leaders.
• Increased Brand Reach
When it comes to Employee-Generated Content and reach, the stats speak for themselves.
As opposed to your official marketing channels, brand messages are re-shared up to 24 times more when distributed by your employees. Furthermore, employee-shared content receives eight times the engagement of official brand content. Lastly, employees may have up to ten times the amount of followers than a company’s corporate account and are likely to have significantly higher levels of organic social engagement.
Reach aside; other undeniable benefits need to be mentioned, the first of which is cost.
• Lower Costs
Are you growing increasingly frustrated with the amount you have to pay to receive your fans’ engagement on social media? We all are! Not to mention the increasingly costly world of Pay-Per-Click (PPC). That’s why so many brands are shifting to influencer marketing which currently makes companies $6.50 for every dollar spent.
Who better to become influencers than your employees? Sometimes employees only require the smallest of incentives to begin producing content worthy of your brand. Better still, when they see you feature their content they’re likely to tell their friends in-person and online, allowing you to benefit from the reach advantages mentioned above.
• Increase in Authenticity
Two of the most important marketing metrics today are authenticity and authority. No less than 86% of people say that authenticity matters when choosing which brands to support. EGC, along with other user-generated content (UGC), is one of the best methods for boosting your perceived authenticity and authority.
The 2018 Google algorithm update (aka “the medic update”), was their way of protecting searchers from low-quality content that had the potential to be detrimental to users. Google wants to be as certain as possible that they are recommending sites that display a high level of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T).
No one can give better behind the scenes access to your company than an employee. By lifting the hood of your company, employees can confirm that you don’t just speak the values communicated in marketing messages, but instead, you can prove that you live and die by them.
Sure, there may be some inkling that an employee will show some favor to your company, but overall, consumers tend to give employees the benefit of the doubt. Employee Generated Content (EGC) is said to help an organization be perceived as more influential and authentic, and a staggering 93% of customers believe user-generated content is very helpful when making a purchasing decision. In fact, 70% of audiences trust their peers’ thoughts and insights more than the C-Suite, ads, or other generic forms of marketing.
But how should you go about implementing an EGC campaign if you’ve never tried one before?
Employee-Generated Content Best Practices
While there’s no doubt that EGC can be a powerful marketing tool, it can go horribly wrong if not supervised correctly. That’s why it’s essential to implement a series of guidelines and policies to help shape your strategy.
• Social Media Training
Even today, not everyone understands social media. Many employees won’t realize the potential ramifications that one poorly-worded tweet could have for a company. Therefore, it’s wise to create clear and easy-to-understand training materials to ensure everyone is on the same page. Make them interactive and frequent to keep the rules of your social media policies front of mind.
• Find Employees That Lead by Example
As is the case with many new initiatives, there are always some employees who just ‘get it’ right off the bat. When that happens, roll with it and let them lead by example. Limit EGC participation to these individuals initially, until colleagues and peers have had ample time to follow and understand the standards they have set.
If your employees are not up for writing blog content but have topic ideas for new posts, infographics, or videos, invite them to share their ideas.
• Write for People, Not Search Engines
While SEO might be the most misunderstood topic online, you can reassure your employees that SEO content isn’t complicated once you understand that people come first, even before search algorithms.
“Don’t think about keywords. Don’t think about outbound links. Don’t think about anything regarding SEO. Just write”, says Sean Si, CEO of SEO Hacker. “Think about the people who’s gonna read it. In the end, it’s them who will matter”.
If you find that your employees are hesitant about contributing because they don’t know how to create compelling content that ranks well in search engines, remind them that it ultimately comes down to this – “for search engines to be happy…they need happy searchers, and content that creates happy searchers will be content that makes Google look smart for finding it”.
While writing for SEO shouldn’t be their main goal, it’s certainly worth following SEO best practices as much as possible. You’ll most likely need to tweak some of your employee-generated content before it hits the blog, but that’s another discussion. At first, simply focus on increasing the voices and diversity of relevant content you’re publishing on a regular basis.
• Reward Good Content
Sometimes there’s nothing better than good old-fashioned positive reinforcement to get your Employee-Generated Content campaign off the ground. By rewarding employees for nailing their content game, you’ll quickly have others lining up to follow suit. When our sales team sends out the company-wide “Closed/Won” emails, our marketing team likes to jump on board and give proper credit to the Employee-Generated Content that contributed to the sale.
• Leverage Technology
Once the ball is rolling, you’ll have a lot of engagement to sift through as you act as the gatekeeper for content that makes it onto your official accounts. That’s why it makes sense to use social media management and scheduling tools to automate some of the posting schedules and replies to your highest-performing Employee-Generated Content posts.
Employee-generated content can be a content marketer’s secret weapon if used correctly. Within a few short months, a well-executed campaign can explode your brand’s reach, authenticity, and therefore sales, for a fraction of the cost of hiring another content writer.
Surge Your Employee-Generated Content with VIQTORY
VIQTORY specializes in full-funnel recruitment and consumer marketing solutions. Whether you represent a company looking to hire military veterans, reach military consumers, or a school interested in increasing military veteran applications, VIQTORY’s solutions deliver the ROI you’ve been after.
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