An advocacy program is nothing without content. Here at DSMN8, we believe three main types of content should be a part of your advocacy program. Different types of content have different goals, as well as varying levels of effectiveness. This can range from how engaging the content might be when shared by an employee, to how likely employees are to share content with their peers and networks.
There is no perfect formula for your advocacy content strategy; every company is different, with different types and levels of content available for brands. Some will have reviews, press coverage and 3rd party articles regularly available, and others may have a wealth of research papers and case studies. Many companies will have blog posts, and advocacy may highlight that your company needs to be doing more to further its content output. Perhaps by writing more blogs or finding more suitable imagery (If this is the case, do check out our products Author & Lens).
Finding the content strategy that works for you will become evident quickly, and utilizing reporting in DSMN8, or your other advocacy platform will allow you to understand what content proves most effective for your employees and your brand. This strategy will also align with your goals. There are several reasons your company may be entering into an advocacy program, and defining your objectives will undoubtedly be a factor in your content decisions. Whether you are trying to drive website traffic, increase brand awareness, highlight your company culture, or you’re simply encouraging your employees to have more of a voice in the social landscape, there will be a content strategy for you.
At DSMN8, we believe content can be divided into three main categories; Company-Centred Content, 3rd Party & Educational Content, and Employee-Centred Content.
Company-centered content will usually take up the majority of the content shared in an advocacy program. The reason being, this is the content that is often most readily available. Company-centred content, put simply, is an article, blog post, or even site page that has an ultimate benefit for the company if shared and engaged with. These typically come in the form of press announcements, such as acquisitions or C-suite announcements, but can also revolve around new products and services too. This content has direct value for the company and is focally centered on what the company is currently doing.
While this content is beneficial for the company, it is not necessarily the most authentic for employees to share. When shared, it proves useful for the company but provides less value for employees unless they were personally involved in what happened. With this in mind, company-centered content will be most effectively shared by Senior leadership, PR teams, and the C-suite as the news will be more relevant to them. As an example, sharing an earnings report to LinkedIn as a CEO or senior director would be an effective and customary act that would generate attention in their network. However, if a Junior Account Executive were to share an earnings report on LinkedIn, it may look out of place and not directly relevant to their network.
Who Shares it Best?
Senior Leadership, PR Teams, C-Suite
Third-Party & Educational Content
Educational and third-party content is, in many ways, the most valuable material in your advocacy arsenal but usually has the smallest availability. With the likes of company-centered announcements and employee-centered content, generally coming from an internal source to the direct benefit of the company. Third-party & educational content has a different purpose, to gain trust with readers and establish the sharer as an industry expert and thought leader.
Reviews and news articles about your company, products, or services from a third-party source will naturally be more authentic and garner a different type of attention. The focus has been drawn away from something the marketing department has pushed out and is now an independent piece of news. This is a very effective form of content to share through your advocacy plan, we notice across the majority of our clients, third party content will perform significantly better than company-owned content. However, many companies have limited control over this type of content, and if you are not mentioned often in news articles, it can be difficult to source. An alternative can be educational content such as best practice guides, or even industry news articles that are relevant to your company.
The purpose of this is not to directly promote your company but to help educate those that will be reading as your employees share onto social. Although, if you can do both, then great! Naturally, people are distrustful of company-owned content in the same way we are wary of advertising. Third-party and educational content help to build a digital rapport with readers. If you are regularly sharing content with your LinkedIn network, there needs to be value for them, something they will be inclined to read even if they have no immediate interest in your company, product, or service. Building this trust is imperative for the likes of social selling, allowing your network to warm to the idea of your expertise and services will regularly result in starting conversations and contact with prospective customers and clients.
Who Shares it Best?
Sales, Marketing, Support/Service Teams
Employee-centered content is the third pillar of an advocacy program. The main goals of an advocacy program are to increase the awareness of the company name and brand, generate website traffic and leads, and amplify the reach of marketing content. But beyond that, Employee Advocacy programs are a great way to bring your company together and develop a more profound sense of company culture. Employee-centered content can do just this. Anything from employee projects, team away days, to employee education content is focused on helping employees develop their personal brands on social.
Having employee-centered content is vital to encouraging employees to become a crucial part of your advocacy program. It gives them the ability to share content that may not be so “work-focused”, and more about the culture of the company. This has the knock-on effect of increasing the transparency of your company, lifting the lid on what it’s like to work there. Acting as a porthole for your company culture, advocacy will have significant effects on hiring practices, with more referrals from people interested in working with you and less requirement to spend on recruiters.
Large enterprise companies can often feel fragmented; this sort of content can also be educational to the employee, letting them catch up on recent news, projects, and events. Helping employees feel more a part of the company itself, rather than just the department or building they work in. However, employee-centered content doesn’t always have to be externally shareable. With DSMN8, the advocacy platform can be used to share internal posts, that are for internal eyes only. Acting as an employee communications tool, news and updates can be published to help educate employees, and generally disseminate new information to employees. Finding employee-centered content is an excellent way to bolster your advocacy program and encourage greater involvement from the broader company.
Who Shares it Best?
HR, Marketing, New Hires, Graduates
Content for an employee advocacy program is never as simple as laid out here, and there is also no right or wrong amount to be adding to your platform. Bear in mind that having a mix of content is the most important aspect, and providing employees access to cherry-pick what they feel is most appropriate and relevant for their networks/personal brand is key. Enabling employees to grow into influencers for your company and brand in a way that isn’t forced, giving them the most value at every opportunity.
As always, we are open to discussion. So, if you have any thoughts, just leave a comment below! If you’d like to find out more employee advocacy, or if you’re thinking of starting your own program, simply click here to get in contact.