How do you motivate experts across the business to write content on top of busy day jobs?
Content is the new connection between customers and your company. If you’re on this website you’ll recognise the power of content such as blogs, videos and helpful guides in the drive to market your services and build your business.
Effective content marketing isn’t the sum of individual acts of brilliance; it’s takes a sustained team effort. And here lies the challenge. It’s very hard to motivate busy professionals in the business to create the content you need to keep the marketing engine firing.
So the content generation task ends up with marketing, perhaps with the help of one or two valiant, over-loaded experts and it can feel like a lonely old slog.
How do you motivate more people to go the extra mile and share the content load?
Here’s a company getting it right.
ecosurety’s teams go the extra mile
Bristol-based ecosurety is one of the UK’s fastest growing compliance scheme and resource efficiency specialists. With more than 1000 customers including The Co-operative Group, Innocent and BSkyB, their team of over 40 specialists are leading change in approaches to compliance throughout the UK.
Who creates content at ecosurety? Pretty much everyone! From their compliance and relationship specialists to the HR and business development teams.
Experts from across the business are enthusiastically contributing blogs and other content on top of their usual busy workloads, and what’s more, they say they are enjoying it.
Far from trying to drag content out of the team, marketing’s biggest challenge is keeping up with the flow of content to publish! All this fabulous content is bringing the business great results in terms of leads and sales.
Marketing’s challenge is to keep up with all the content coming from the team!
How have they generated this level of collaboration and enthusiasm?
We caught up with Ben Luger, ecosurety’s marketing communication specialist to find out how they’ve managed to get so many of their team involved.
How has ecosurety harnessed the talent and enthusiasm of the wider team?
Ben: “My role at ecosurety is a Marketing Communication Specialist. I help run social media channels, create monthly newsletter emails and maintain our website, publishing regular content from our team.
I also help shape the content and flow, if required. If someone has something worth sharing then we help develop it if needed, but usually they simply get on with it now. Our challenge is to keep up with all the content coming from the team!
In the past a small amount of content was written by a few people, usually those with a marketing interest to some degree. With so much out there that we could have been covering, it was clear that we should harness the talent and enthusiasm within the wider team.
We were very interested in enabling the wide variety of expertise and different voices within our company to shine through, after all they were the specialists in all the fields we were covering, plus so much more that we wanted to be talking about! This was particularly important with our core business of environmental compliance which can be very technical and is often changing.
Our aim was to produce a steady flow of varied content including news, blogs, video etc, and not only around our services, but also the wider environmental issues, CSR activities and wellbeing initiatives that our team inherently care about. The plan was to raise the profile of our website, our services and the company, but importantly also that of our individual team members.”
Workshops to inspire not force
“We ran a number of workshops with the whole team to kick it off. This included explaining why content mattered, what content can be, and how it could benefit the company, our stakeholders and the team as individuals. Of course we also covered how the process would work, from forming the initial idea to publishing and sharing.
Our primary aim was to enthuse and not to present another required task on top of busy workloads. That was a hurdle as the team already worked really hard with fantastic results in their existing roles, we did not want to distract from that.
We ran workshops with the team in the beginning to get them up to speed, but to be honest we are blessed with a team that is very enthusiastic and proactive, and they are always finding ideas for content.”
What do you talk about in your content?
“ecosurety is one of the fastest growing compliance schemes in the UK and we always endeavour to go beyond basic compliance, to bring added value to our clients.
As such we share a whole variety of content from regulation updates, industry news, blogs around new services, awards, staff wellbeing and CSR activities, videos about our sustainable team initiatives such as commuting challenges and even veg growing workshops:
- ISO 14001 update – are you ready to ‘think lifecycle’?
- Hazardous Waste Regulations – changes affecting your site from 1 April 2016
- Sustainable commuting – are you up for the challenge?
- Investors In People Gold Award – what it means for you as a member
- Germany’s WEEE regulations 2016 deadlines affecting UK companies and distance sellers
>> More valuable content from the ecosurety team on their content portal: https://www.ecosurety.com/news/.
The team then shares the content on LinkedIn with their contacts, so their efforts are very visible. Utilising LinkedIn and Twitter is really productive, targeting the niche audience we are connected to.”
Content creation has become an accepted part of the job
“When I started with ecosurety I was really surprised to see that the wider team were writing blogs on top of their usual busy workloads. It was really refreshing to see how they were able to go the extra mile to inform our clients as best as possible. None of them were experts in marketing or comms previously and it’s inspiring to see they have accepted the challenge, and it is fantastic to see that they enjoy doing it so much.”
“Writing content has very much become part of their day to day work now – we’d rather they share their expertise directly than have a marketing department produce all our content.
Once the team were on board they saw that creating quality content would help raise their own profiles as specialists in their field; it was not only about raising the profile of our website.
“They saw that creating content would help raise their own profiles as specialists.”
Personal development is very central to ecosurety, indeed we were thrilled to win an Investors in People Gold award recently that I think nicely sums up our approach to team development.
The teams now have clear objectives to produce a certain amount of content per person. We are pleased to say that it has become very much an accepted part of their job role.
We also run a monthly competition for the best performing content using a complex, uncrackable algorithm using Google Analytics data. The winner gets a prize that is presented in our monthly team meeting to great applause. We try to make it like a mini Oscars ceremony – Blogs mean prizes!!”
What results are you seeing for the business?
“On many occasions enquiries have come into the business off the back of a blog found via Google, so we know they are reaching the right audience! That is amazing feedback for the team too.
Of course we have key KPIs around the performance of our website that we use, and we focus specifically on the news and blogs content so we can feed back to the team what has performed the best via our monthly award.
Our monthly newsletter is also a great opportunity to see which content is the most attractive when it is presented to our subscribers.
Not only have enquiries have come through directly from blogs around new services, but our website visits have more than doubled since we harnessed our team to produce content. Industry news channels now contact us more for comment too which all helps to spread the message wider.”
Why do you think your approach works so well?
“By harnessing the experts in our team to produce the content we ensure a steady flow of quality output that helps the company and them as individuals.
We are very lucky to have an enthused and passionate workforce, many of whom are graduates who genuinely care about their work and the wider issues that influence our business. It also makes it easy to keep our finger on the pulse and efficiently output content that is topical and relevant.
If you can harness the knowledge, skills and passion within your wider team then do it – it is so much better than content that has obviously been churned out by a marketing department.”
What have ecosurety’s experts learned from the content-writing challenge?
“I’ve really enjoyed sharing my experience and views and leaning to make this relevant and interesting to different audiences beyond just our existing customers. I’ve started to see positive responses to the stories and marked improvement in the website hits which must mean I’m hitting the right note somewhere.
I’m involved with a lot of the policy and green shoots of legislation and market change, so I love to dip into the hot topics, controversial issues and big stories that are going to matter to our readers. Bringing a clear and balanced story is important to me because regulation can be so confusing; it makes a nice change to present this complex market in a clear light.
My three biggest learnings? Publish regularly, take on board feedback and respond to comments, and stick to a common theme.”
“My content focuses on sustainability and decreasing environmental impact which is a big interest of mine, in and out of work. It’s really refreshing to spend some time on website content and away from the day-to-day job, I’d recommend it to anyone.
I think the most important thing is to write about subjects which interest you, that will allow you to get inspiration and ideas for content.”
Ideas to take away from ecosurety’s collaborative team approach
- Recognise that trusted content comes from experts in the field – content is not just the responsibility of the marketing department.
- Motivate don’t force. We’ve heard of companies that use punitive measures to force people to produce the content they need. The ecosurety approach is far more effective. Creativity is hard to pull out of the bag if coerced!
- Explain to your experts what’s in it for them. Take time to explain why content matters to your customers, to the business, and most importantly, to your experts as individuals. Creating content keeps them sharp, make that expertise visible to the world and helps them deliver more value to the customers they work with – as a starter for ten.
- “Hire enthusiastic maniacs” – as Rick Short of Indium so rightly urges in a past Valuable Content Award post. The best content comes from people who love what they do. Recruit the kind of people who are consumed with the topics that matter to your customers, who CAN’T STOP solving customers’ challenges – these are just the kind of people who make natural content creators too.
- Make it fun. Happy people create the best content. Introduce fun and recognition into the process. We love ecosurety’s Oscar ceremony idea.
- Support your content creators. Make it as easy as possible for the team to honour this new commitment. This is where marketing has such an important role to play. What can you do to make creating content easier for you team?
A well-deserved Valuable Content Award for the ecosurety team
ecosurety has successfully created a solid team of content creators across the business – a culture of content creation and sharing. We’re hugely impressed by their collaborative approach. A few very well deserved Valuable Content Award badges are on the way.
Congratulations team ecosurety! And thanks so much for the low down Ben.
Keep up the great work and we’ll watch with admiration as your brilliant business continues to fly.