As the marketing prophecies for 2015 begin to die down and you’ve read your final year-end listicle, the stark reality begins to set in: “To achieve my goals, my team and I have to step it up this year.”
Your first content meeting in January sounded something like this..
“Maybe another infographic? That seemed to get some retweets last year.”
“Oh, we can pay for social engagement. That might help.”
“Video! A game! A quiz! A silver bullet!”
We all know it’s not that easy. In 2015, hustle and volume simply aren’t enough to hit goals and create great customer experiences… it takes vision, strategy, brand power, and a team effort.
Culture is a filter that humanizes and generates authentic content ideas when used effectively. This doesn’t mean saying no to infographics, it means harnessing the voice of potential thought leaders to slather your content with your delicious secret brand sauce.
Create a Culture Calendar
Implementing a culture calendar can be an easy win to boost team engagement and interaction. Think of it as a series of events, or institutions, that reflect the values and vibe of the organization, which can in many cases even be “run” by the entire team itself (as opposed to the office manager or HR).
This can include cultural activities that occur on a weekly, monthly or annual basis such as team meetings and Beer Friday, monthly lunch & learn events for customers, volunteering days and company outings.
Once a comprehensive list has been created in calendar format, you can tap the team to engage by sharing behind the scenes stories such as team learning points, personal stories of growth and the moments when work is truly fun for your team.
Try one on for size with this free Culture Calendar template.
Half the battle of publishing fresh content is finding inspiration. Sending a company-wide monthly prompt via email can help uncover great stories from across the organization that go missing or get swept up in a flurry of busy activity.
Add these stories to your editorial calendar and help team members develop their own articles to establish a more authentic voice and ultimately “humanize” the brand. Use this employee thought leadership to, in turn, populate your community blog.
Organizational culture is as much informed by employees as it is by customers. Solicit customer feedback and create a word cloud to find forgotten stories from the customer vantage point.
A simple way to do this is to ask customers for 5 words to describe their experience working with your organization. Then, use a free tool like Tagxedo to create a word cloud. This has a dual purpose, as it can help gauge brand perception, but also showcases what is most important to customers, which can then be prioritized in editorial calendars.
Most people love talking and reading about themselves. When stories written by or featuring team members are published, share them internally within the organization. Don’t skimp on the kudos or high-fives.
Encourage the team to outwardly promote this content and, suddenly, you’ve doubled down on content promotion: Not only is it being shared through brand channels on social media and email lists, but your team is sharing it on their personal channels.
For culture-powered marketing to work, you have to invest in your organization’s culture. While facilitating fun events and creating a culture calendar is a great first step, it also requires a regular pulse check through employee and customer satisfaction surveys. Incorporating internal and external feedback demonstrates humility, which ultimately inspires the creation of that humanized content you’ve been searching for.