Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-part series on content and the workforce, focusing on creating brand advocates through content. For the full series, subscribe to our emails and we’ll make sure you get notified.
Your new employee’s story begins when they are hired (after you have caught them in your content-rich applicant net). They are excited, a tiny bit nervous, and overwhelmingly eager to take on the future. They have agreed to join your team.
This new hire, however, isn’t the beginning of your company’s story. There have been a lot of chapters—a lot of narrative, maybe a prequel or three—between your company’s opening page and where the “new employee character” is introduced.
Employee engagement with content can take your new hire from “newbie” to “hard-core brand advocate” in no time.
You have a very short time to get all this narrative information into the head of the new employee before they start their chapter two (read: first day) at your company. It’s a lot of content, but never fear: Your company has awesome content marketing skills.
Content marketing can turn your onboarding process into something special and, more importantly, something your employees will talk about in chapter three of their story at your company. Plus, companies with an onboarding process have reported 54% more productivity and 50% better retention of new hires.
Connect with content before day one
The best onboarding programs begin during the recruitment and hiring process. As prospective employees research your company and read your job postings, they are already beginning to learn about you. They see the messages about your company which you have selected and promoted through all your content channels.
Once they have the job, your content marketing must continue. The goal is simple: give your new employee the best chance to succeed from day one. From a “paperwork” standpoint, get their forms and documents to them before their first day and set up their desk/computer in advance. Let them start their first day running.
If you can welcome employees with quality content before their start date, they’ll be 72% more likely to gush about your company and support you on social media and additional referrals. Try a welcome letter or a “swag bag,” especially with remote employees. Even better, give your new hire pictures and info about their coworkers, more information about the company and their place in it, and a communication channel for questions. It may be information overload at first, but by providing this enthusiastic outreach, they will already start feeling like one of the team before even sitting down at their desk.
Educate through onboarding
Always remember that onboarding doesn’t stop the day or week after a new employee starts. It’s an ongoing education process to make sure work becomes more than something they do and somewhere they go, but is something they feel and belong to.
Chapter Two is when your new employee will get used to your internal content marketing. They will get the company newsletter (hopefully featuring their new hire announcement), participate in company social media activities, and begin to dip their feet into the energizing waters of your company culture. Again, they will feel more attached to your company and less likely to be one of the 75% of employees who, in a Mindshare survey, reported feeling like they’re missing company information.
Support and empower your new employee, helping them shake off the “new” feeling as quickly as possible. This works to gently remove the “new employee” sash from them and replace it with the one every employee wears: “brand advocate.”
Turn new employees into brand advocates
It’s time to turn the page to chapter three of your new employee’s story. Now that your new employee is in the final steps of onboarding and sees themselves no longer as “new,” it’s time to make sure they (and all your employees, of course) are primed and able to become brand advocates for your company.
The first step is to align your internal and external marketing messages. The (mostly) timeless article Selling the Brand points out the consequences of mismatched internal and external marketing. Not only can it cause confusion in your employees, but it can also sow mistrust as they question why one story is being told to them and another to the public.
The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer shows that 75% of employees trust their employer to do what’s right, and you don’t want to risk damaging that trust. Because when your employees trust your company, they will share its message. And that’s where the true magic happens.
Let’s get snacking
When you realize the exact message you want to put out to the world inside and outside your company, create snackables. Snackables are “appetizers of information” which tempt your audience to want to learn more. Use your snackables to focus on company values and features of your company (33% of all brand mentions showcase features of a product or company).
Encourage your employees to contribute to your social media or blog content. Maybe get them to write an entry for your corporate blog about their experiences. Or periodically produce content that highlights team commonalities like National Book Lover’s Day or Bring Your Dog to Work Day.
Now that you great cultural content, ask (but don’t command) your employees to share them online. According to LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, the collective social media reach of employees is ten times the reach of your company. Plus, employee-shared posts have double the click-through-rate of corporate shares. Your little content nugget will blossom into a veritable kaleidoscope of exponentially multiplying, content marketing deliciousness (that is, a lot of people will organically see it).
Looking for advice to make your new employee onboarding spectacular? Want some help aligning your internal and external content marketing? Need to turn complex company processes into delicious snackable (and sharable) material?