EGC is the Key Content Marketing Trend

January 19th, 2015

EGC employee generated content

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EGC is 2015’s most powerful marketing abbreviation.

We’ve talked for years about UGC – user generated content – but now we find that perhaps the best source of great content is instead EGC – employee generated content.

After all, your employees understand the company and (should) understand what customers need and want to know about the company. Further, content from employees is often more trusted than content from the organization itself. Nielsen says that advertising from companies is trusted by 47% of global citizens. Edelman’s trust barometer research found that company experts are trusted 66% of the time.

Consider your own experiences in the wild. If you go to Lowe’s and ask the guy in the blue vest how to work on a project, you listen and believe it more than if you just read something on their website. The personal (and personality) layer inherent in EGC matters.

Companies are continuing to struggle with making enough relevant content. According to Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs research, 50% of B2B content marketers say they struggle to create content consistently. 44% of B2C content marketers say the same. But, you have the solution to that problem sitting all around you. EGC (and UGC) will – when adopted correctly – grow your content marketing opportunities geometrically. (At Convince & Convert we refer to the combination of EGC and UGC as “cooperative content“)

4 Tips for Harnessing EGC In Your Company

One of the challenges that some organizations have with harnessing UGC is that the in-house subject matter experts don’t want to create content, and don’t feel like it’s part of their job.
So here are a few tips to get more EGC for your organization:

1. You are Simon Cowell. Make Them the American Idol
The best way to rollout EGC is to make somebody in your organization the star, instead of trying to work with everybody in the department, all of whom have varying degrees of enthusiasm for the concept. Find ONE person who has an aptitude and interest in content creation and work with them extensively to showcase how EGC can work, and how it can build personal brands.

2. Build the WIIFM case
All EGC participants already have jobs and roles and tasks and duties. Typically, they’re not just sitting around hoping you give them more work. Ultimately, they have to understand and embrace how EGC will help THEM, not you. They are going to ask you “What’s in it for me?” so you better build that case early and often. Yes, they want to help you and the company, but ultimately self-interest is going to be a fulcrum for how much EGC participation someone will offer.

3. They pick the format, not you
Typically, we think of content creation from employees as writing; as a blog post, or a white paper, or as an e-book, but sometimes it’s much easier for team members to create content in a different format that’s easier and more comfortable for them. For example, you could have employees just leave themselves a voicemail about something that they’re interested in, and then transcribe that voicemail and create many pieces of content based on it. (see an example of a similar program here)

4. Add subtle competition cues with reporting
Once you’ve moved beyond your initial star, and have several (or many) participants, you should begin using data and reports to stoke competitive instincts. When multiple colleagues are participating, it’s only natural that they want to know how they stack up against one another. Coincidentally, the strongest team members (often the best EGC creators when they set into motion), are also the most driven by competition. This can work for you.

Nearly 20 years ago I was the head of interactive at a media company that owned multiple television stations. I was in charge of the website and other online operations, and one of our tactical goals was to get the TV news anchors to mention the website more frequently within the broadcasts. This effort was not particularly successful until I changed two dynamics:

First, I recruited a very small number of newscasters to write columns for the website. They were already TV stars, but this gave them a whole new platform (and a way to interact with their fans that was previously missing).

Second, I added competition. My office was in the newsroom, right next to the bathrooms (oh, the glories of being the Internet Guy in the early days). Every Monday I started taping three charts to my door:

  1. Total website traffic, graphed by time of day, showing spikes when the site was mentioned on-air, and by whom
  2. Total page views for each columnist
  3. Total views of the website biographies of EVERY person on-air

 

That third chart looked an awful lot like a ranking of most Twitter followers (in today’s world) and it triggered a substantial increase in mentions of the website on television. This dramatically boosted traffic, and subsequently ad sales and revenue. Fast-forward 20 years, and I’m writing this blog post for you.

You see, EGC isn’t new. But it’s simultaneously easier yet more critical than ever to find a way to get the real experts in your company to cooperate in your content marketing initiatives.

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