Your content marketing strategy most likely focuses on your external audience – your customers or followers. This makes sense, after all these people are the ones who’ll spend their money and help your business generate income.
However, there is another group of people who can be reached with content marketing that you probably haven’t considered – your own employees.
Developing an internal content marketing strategy means thinking about how you can best communicate with your employees and foster a culture of knowledge and information sharing in the workplace.
- You need to “activate” employees and encourage them to create and share content.
- Employees should agree with your brand voice and be keen to share this content.
- All content should be in line with business goals.
What Is Internal Content Marketing?
Internal Content Marketing is the process of activating your employees for content creation and external social media sharing in support of your company marketing and sales goals.
Developing an internal content strategy produces content that your employees actually want to read and shares and that aligns with your business goals.
You undoubtedly already have some form of internal communications within your business. This may be something as simple as emails, or you might have a company intranet with staff training and information or a weekly staff newsletter.
All of these internal communications are also internal content. And therefore, it’s also an opportunity for content marketing.
But why would you need to market your business to the employees who already work there? They already know your company better than anyone, and if your products or services are a good fit for them, they’re probably already using them.
The answer is that marketing is not simply a way to make more sales. Content marketing also increases awareness, strengthens trust and relationships, and helps to build your brand.
These things are all important to boost employee engagement and to make sure that every employee really understands your brand values and your business goals.
Your internal content plays an important part in your overall company culture and branding. This content not only informs employees of news, opportunities, and changes within the business, but it also acts as a reminder of the voice and values of the brand.
Why Do You Need an Internal Content Strategy?
Internal content marketing is not just a fancy term for your normal internal communications. A well thought out strategy has several benefits, which make it well worth the effort that goes into putting together your strategy and implementing it.
Here are just a few ideas of what you could do with internal content:
- Inform your employees of industry-relevant news
- Share staff and company achievements to boost morale
- Reminders of upcoming important dates
- Gathering employee feedback and opinions
- Highlighting the roles of different employees so your team learns more about each other and how they fit into the business as a whole
- Educate and train employees on policies, procedures, software, and other important aspects of their jobs
- Reference mentions of the company in the media and on other websites
- Link to the content that’s been published on the company blog and other distribution channels (your employees might like to read it just as much as your customers)
- Build better relationships with your employees
- Reinforce your brand message and values
How to Develop an Internal Content Marketing Strategy
1. Decide on your marketing goals
Just as when you were creating your overall marketing strategy, you need to think about what you want to achieve from your internal content marketing strategy.
Do you want to increase employee engagement? Improve communication? Create a culture of information sharing and storytelling? Getting your goals down on paper will help you out when it comes to actually creating your content.
2. Choose your distribution channels
How will you get content out to your employees? In the form of a newsletter? On your company intranet? On your corporate blog or a company Facebook group?
It’s a good idea to stick to what you’re used to here, especially if your time and resources are limited. There’s no need to replace a weekly email newsletter with a specially designed staff blog. However, it’s also worth thinking about whether you want some of your internal content to be available to the outside world too. If so, you’ll need to distribute it in a public-facing way.
There’s no need for content to be presented in a formal way if your current communication channels are working for you. If your employees are hanging out in Slack and actually using it to communicate, that’s great – put your content up there. Go to the communication channels that your employees are actually using, rather than hiding it away on your corporate intranet, where it will probably never be read.
3. Develop a schedule
Inconsistent communications are likely to be ignored, or simply won’t have the impact of regular content. Develop an achievable schedule for publishing new content and stick to it.
Internal content doesn’t have to go through the same lengthy editorial process as your external content, but if you’re particularly time-poor, consider focusing on building a repository of content that’s not time sensitive so employees can refer to in the future.
Thought leadership pieces and educational content work well for this purpose, and they can be particularly useful as part of the onboarding process for new employees. If you need to give someone an overview of your company culture and procedures, simply direct them to your internal content and let them start reading.
4. Encourage two-way communications
Don’t fall into the trap of throwing content at your employees and asking for nothing in turn. Your internal marketing communications should be two-way and interactive. This helps to improve employee engagement as your employees feel that they are being listened to, and it enables you to gather feedback and opinions to improve the way you run your business.
5. Be honest and transparent in your internal content
Just as your customers value honesty and transparency in your external marketing communications, so too do your employees when it comes to your internal communications.
If you have bad news about company performance or need to deliver feedback that’s less than positive, don’t gloss over it. Your employees will respect your honesty, which helps to increase trust and improve employee relationships at all levels.