Coming up with content for your company’s blog and inbound marketing efforts can seem like a daunting, unending burden. And for most of the companies, we work with this responsibility falls to one person — a marketer who’s over-committed and under-resourced. At least, that’s what we see with the local companies we work with here in Cleveland, Akron & Canton.
The problem is not with the work itself, it’s in maintaining an objective perspective. Successful marketing is successful because it resonates with prospective buyers. As a rule, these are people outside your company with little or no knowledge of your product, service or industry.
So what’s the best way to gain an outsider’s perspective about your company? Ask a new employee.
Unfortunately, new hires are often treated as blank slates to be whitewashed of bad habits and molded into the corporate mindset of ‘how things are done.’ That can be a mistake.
A Window of Opportunity
Think of your first job. The first few months probably felt like someone turned on a fire hose. Information is coming in faster than you can take it all in. You have tons of questions but don’t know where to start and maybe are afraid to ask. You’re also anxious to prove yourself and wish someone would give you a meaty assignment that both helps you acclimate to the environment and solidify your role in the organization.
Engaging a new employee in your content marketing efforts yields (at least) four benefits:
- It lets you revisit your marketing efforts from the perspective of someone looking for reasons to buy your product.
- It engages an eager employee in an activity that they can provide unique and immediate value
- It serves as a tool for training and education in your company and its culture
- It demonstrates respect for the employee and what they have to bring to the organization which, in my humble opinion, is a great way to start any business relationship.
While you could (and should) gain insight and learn from potential customers, by the time you are getting feedback from them it could be because you have lost them as a customer. Instead of waiting until it is too late, it is crucial to get insight before you lose a prospective client. This could help in so many ways including your marketing efforts and blog content.
Getting an outside perspective can help your inbound marketing efforts in ways you may not even realize. Want to truly understand how your content marketing looks? Ask someone. While it is easy for you to get caught up thinking you have an idea of how others see your blog and content marketing effort, the truth is you really can’t. This is where a new employee can help as soon as they walk through the door.
What Your Employee & Potential Client Share
The thing to realize is that anyone new to your business or your site will see things in the same manner. Without having a behind-the-scenes view of things or an understanding of what it is you are really trying to say with your blog, you may feel your inbound marketing campaign efforts are already paying off. But it could always be better. If you are already disappointed with your content marketing results then it is time to find out what is wrong with it and how it could be improved.
One of the most important things a new employee has to offer you is a view to understanding how others see your business, site, or blog content. Get feedback from these new staff members. In fact, asking them questions they may have about any of these things during the initial interview will help you gain some insight.
Sure, you know what you are trying to convey as a message in your inbound marketing efforts but do others? Ask them for direct feedback. Once you have hired someone, have them review your site and your blog and see if they have any questions. This will help you see where a prospective customer could also get confused.
How To Get Started
This is the easy part. It’s very simple and easy to get started. With our newest employee, Ashley, we asked her to start by reviewing our blog and our marketing emails. We asked for her honest opinion and to jot every single question she had as she read the materials.
The result? We got questions that we thought were ‘old hat’ and basics we had covered eons ago. Questions we’d never dare ask ourselves but which probably occupy the mind of every visitor to our website. ‘What is inbound marketing?’, ‘What is internet marketing?’, ‘How does search engine optimization work?’, ‘What’s the difference?’, ‘Why do we use WordPress?’, and on and on. And there you’ve got a ton of blog content ideas that you’ll start to see published on our site in the coming weeks and months.
While not entirely surprising, it can be disheartening. Because the truth of the matter is that this has more to say about the failings of our marketing communications than it does about the employee. This a fact that should be reinforced with the employee over and over again. NO question is a stupid question. Encourage them to explain any confusion that may exist in areas you may have left unclear to someone not already involved in your business. Move from finding out what those questions may be that a new employee or prospective customer could have and let this new person explain away any confusion.
After all, if an employee reading your content still doesn’t ‘get’ what you do, then neither will a prospective buyer.
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