Employee Generated Content: The Big Daddy of All Content Creation Techniques

stats on the future of marketing
stats on the future of marketing

Have a seat. Prepare for a shock. It’s not your meticulously researched blog posts that get all the online love. It’s employee-generated content (EGC) – the secret sauce that can transform your content marketing strategy beyond your wildest dreams.

I know. You spend hours researching, and then you shine up your grammar so well that you’d make your high school English teacher proud. You even use visuals to break up your text, just as all the top digital marketing gurus say to do it.

“How in the world can those goofy social posts by Jill in Engineering get more traction than mine?” you protest.

Sorry to break it to you, but statistics don’t lie. According to Gartner’s Marc Brown, leads that come from employee-shared content are seven times more likely to close than from your textbook-perfect blog posts and white papers.

And, this little nugget from Social Media Today’s Paul Dunay: Readers are eight times more likely to engage with – yes, it’s true – Jill’s posts than with yours. Even if she can’t seem to break the habit of writing in the (horrors!) passive voice.

And, there are plenty more numbers just like those.

At Insider Marketing Group, we believe in the power of employee-shared content. In fact, some of our best posts don’t come from me – but from our multi-talented staff.

We’re so passionate about ESC that we travel around the country, holding employee activation workshops for companies that want to teach their own employees how to create and share content.

Quick Takeaways:

  • The numbers are in: employee-generated content generates more than goodwill.
  • Skeptical Gen Z and millennial consumers have lost trust in official messages.
  • With the social nature of the digital space, employee content feels more trustworthy to consumers.

Ignore the importance of EGC at your own peril. As the Influencer Marketing Hub team points out, the secret to its success is the very nature of the Internet: it’s “a highly social place.”

Employee-Generated Content Builds Trust

Employee-generated content comes from real people, not the suits in the C-suite. People feel comfortable engaging with employees in conversations about the content. Furthermore, if the content helps them solve a problem, they’ll likely share that wisdom with their friends and colleagues.

Your carefully written blog posts won’t have that kind of traction. Unless, of course, an employee shares them – adding her two cents’ worth to your wisdom.

It goes to the issue of trust.

As a content marketer, you’re paid to write those posts. Jill in Engineering isn’t.

Readers know that. When you write a post, they know that it’s just the corporate message, all wrapped up in the guise of an objective piece of content.

But, when Jill posts something on social media, say, about how to get the most use out of one of the gadgets she and her team created, audiences sit up and take notice because:

  • She’s sharing her actual expertise as one of the gadget’s creators.
  • She doesn’t receive a paycheck for creating social media posts.

It’s authentic. Count on that post to get a lot of shares.

Create an EGC Program to Encourage Employees to Share

So, should you just close up shop and turn the marketing over to your engineers and developers? Take early retirement?

Of course not.

Keep writing those blog posts and white papers. Only get your employees involved in the process.

Share some of that writing wisdom you learned at the hands of Ms. Fussbutton with your employees. Empower them to create content – and encourage them to share “official” branded content as well.

When you get your employees involved in the content creation process, magic happens. They take ownership of the company messaging simply because you’ve empowered them to become a part of your messaging.

And, those blog posts you’ve worked so hard on? Now, because you’ve given your employees the opportunity to collaborate on your content, they’ll share those content masterpieces of yours with their friends and colleagues.

In fact, with the American public becoming jaded by the celebrity influencer trend (Forget the infamous Pepsi Protest ad for a minute. Does anybody actually believe that Kendall Jenner preferred to sip on Pepsi when she can afford Dom Perignon?), the marketing pendulum has swung to a more organic source of testimonials: customers and employees, points out Forbes’ Cheryl Conner.

We couldn’t agree more. With the rise in buying power of Gen Z and millennials, glitzy celebrity endorsements won’t stand the smell test that these two skeptical generations subject every marketing message to.

That’s why we work so hard to spread the word about employee advocacy. Employee-created and -shared content is about as organic as you can get.

Just think: No one knows all your company’s warts like your staff. If they’re willing to go on the record in support of your goods and services, the odds are pretty good that what you’re selling will perform as well as you claim.

It’s not only the statistics about higher levels of engagement and sharing that indicate that employee-generated content is a winning strategy. Companies that have taken the leap into employee activation number among the world’s most successful.

  • Reebok: An athletic footwear company with a keen grasp on marketing trends, Reebok got in on the EGC trend early on. In 2015, the company noticed that its youthful employees were posting content featuring their workout routines – wearing Reeboks, of course. Instead of ignoring those posts, the company capitalized on these posts with its #FitAssCompany campaign. Its official imprimatur on its employees’ spontaneous shares catapulted their social shares into the stratosphere. As the campaign took flight between 2015 and 2017, the company’s market share grew steadily.
  • EA Arts: With this video game publisher’s intrinsic appeal to Gen Z and millennials, most of whom grew up playing EA’s legendary games, it needed to build trust in its highly skeptical customer base. That trust increased through its EA Insiders program, a content-sharing strategy that empowered its employees to share content on social media. With tens of thousands of monthly social media shares, Everyone Social’s Cameron Brain points out, the program has expanded its social network to well over a million fans.
  • IBM: A legacy tech company with an edge on tomorrow, IBM leads the tech pack with employee-generated content. Employee-created content appears not only on their official blog but also all over its LinkedIn profile and on its employees’ LinkedIn profiles. With cutting-edge thought leadership pieces appearing practically every day on its branded assets, the company has taken the worldwide lead in AI market share.

Follow the Lead

In the coming years, employee-generated content looks to grow in importance as Generation Z and the millennials continue to gain more buying power both as consumers and as business leaders. Those companies that hop on the EGC train early will likely take the lead in their fields, just as the business leaders we mentioned above.

If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content that’s consistently published, check out our Content Builder Service. Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today and generate more traffic and leads for your business.

Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.