How content humanizes your company—and why that matters
- Brands want to sound “human” in both their external and internal communications, which is why content marketing has become such an important investment: it’s a better way to speak to your target audience.
- This need for content also applies to the war for talent. The pieces you publish can educate your own workforce, while attracting new talent. It can even make for a more streamlined and enjoyable onboarding process.
- When done right, content can provide an accessible, human voice, empowering your company’s experts and executives to communicate your brand values and weigh in on timely topics.
- Along with thought leadership, you can encourage your team to become employee advocates, promoting your brand on their personal channels. This social selling will enable you to broaden your customer base.
Every company has its own unique branding and marketing manifesto, but the same word turns up in each one. Human.
This is especially crucial for tech companies, who have to sell potential clients on products that they may never have heard of, to address needs they may not know they have. When you’re doing this, you don’t want to sound like a company. You want to sound like a real person. Your content shapes your prospective customers’ first impressions and these first connections.
According to research commissioned by Slack, four out of every five employees want a clearer line of sight into the inner workings of their companies and their leadership, and 87 percent hope to work for a transparent company in the future.*
And while content is table stakes for effective customer engagement, it can also nurture employee recruitment and engagement. Take a marketing approach to your corporate communications strategy, and sell your vision, values, and goals to your team through great storytelling. Employees want their companies to be more inclusive and transparent; content is how you start a conversation that everyone can join, and that keeps your entire team in the know.
Turn human capital trends into engaging content
Tech companies trade in human and intellectual capital, regardless of what they’re selling. Create articles, videos, infographics, and even photo galleries to keep your employees in the know about important things: initiatives, policies, best practices, your mission statement, and corporate values. You might think it’s good enough to have a one-liner on your website about “Our business model” or “What we stand for”. But think bigger. There are several ways you can tell that story to your audience. How can content showcase your brand to customers while also engaging your employees?
Many companies have different blog categories to speak to a range of target audience—things like “company,” “culture,” and “product”—but consider creating a separate blog dedicated entirely to software developers. What about starting an open Slack channel related to your product, services, or even corporate values to build awareness, community, and engagement with your brand.
Keeping your team informed can help your company grow
There’s a lot of talk of talent in tech. Every company faces the challenge of upskilling and empowering employees so they can keep up with fast-paced change. And then there’s the competition for good people to fill your talent gaps. Content can help you achieve both these business goals.
On one hand, content can make for great educational materials. Want to alert your team to the next innovation disrupting the industry, or a new solution you’ll be implementing company-wide? Work with your internal comms team to publish a level-setting piece on it. Then it can be shared with the wider community to promote your company’s best practices, or it can be circulated internally.
Content is the HR department’s best friend.
On the other, you can also design content dedicated to bringing in the brightest new stars in the business. Content is the HR department’s best friend.
Take Okta, for instance. The San Francisco–based company is a world leader in identity and access management, and it maintains three different blogs for corporate, security, and developer audiences. Many of its corporate blog stories highlight what it’s like to work at Okta, and call out the company’s core values and commitment to various causes. It’s great marketing—but it’s not only about engaging customers. It’s about getting the best talent.
Your content doesn’t stop working for you once new hires walk through the door: your stories continue to engage and educate them as part of the onboarding process. When you do it right, your content can be all the things—from a fantastic recruitment tool to the best employee handbook you’ve ever read.
It also helps your team become brand advocates and spread the word
Executive thought leadership is another valuable tool. By having your leadership team and in-house experts weigh in on your content, you can affirm your company’s reputation as an authority in your space while connecting with readers from the perspective of a real person.
This relates back to transparency: what better way for employees to stay informed about their company and industry than to hear from their own executives? Outside your company, thought leadership helps you stand out in the competitive landscape by publishing the unique perspectives of your team, which is an advantage in the never-ending effort to win talent and customers. This is the time to take a position and defend it well.
People don’t follow companies on Linkedin, they follow the people who work at those companies.
All team members can and should be encouraged to participate on social media as employee advocates, helping to build awareness of your brand and broaden your customer base. They can promote your content on their personal channels, as well as publish their own. Studies show that people are more likely to trust the opinion of an average employee than an executive with a large stake in the business.
That means equipping your employees with the skills needed to be effective marketers. Create a playbook or a set of guiding principles so that your team knows how, when, and where to engage with customers. Taking advantage of employee advocacy is a great strategy, but you’ve got to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Having your team promote your company’s content and thought leadership on their social channels can also help you build awareness of your brand. According to LinkedIn, 78 percent of social sellers outperform peers who don’t market on social media, and they also benefit from 45 percent more sales opportunities.
You don’t need huge ad spends if you know how to make the most of owned and earned media. All you need is the content you create and the conversations that it starts as it’s liked and shared. Create playbooks or guides for your team so they understand how to share content effectively, build up their own following, and evangelize your brand. After all, people don’t follow companies on Linkedin, they follow the people who work at those companies.
Here’s the bottom line: Content drives your business, and for most tech companies, that means a lot of external comms—awareness, growth marketing, demand gen. But it’s also great for recruiting and retaining the talent you need to execute your roadmap. Giving a platform to your company’s experts and executives also helps you build credibility, expand your customer base, and connect on a personal level with your customers, prospects, and employees.
*The Slack Future of Work Study is conducted by Kelton Global, and includes over 1,400 knowledge workers from organizations across the US.