I was planning on writing a different post this evening but I was so moved by a telephone conversation I had today with a business owner that I just had to address this incredibly important subject, which is a growing problem for more and more businesses around the globe. Here is the conversation (For the sake of ease, we’ll call the business owner ‘John’):
Me: OK John, so you’re getting on board with this whole idea of inbound marketing. Great. That’s exciting. Tell me, do you already have a blog?
John: No, but that is something we’re looking in to.
Me: Once you start blogging, who do you see as the people that are going to be producing content?
John: What do you mean by producing content?
Me: I mean any person that produces any text,video, photos, etc that says anything about your product or services.
John: Well, I guess that would be my head of marketing….and myself….and maybe another person. That being said, we are a little worried about blogging because we only have about 5 hours a week to dedicate to this.
Me: Exactly how many employees do you have working for you John?
John: About 400
Me: (doing a double flinch on my end) 400??
John: Yes, 400, spread around the globe.
Me: (short pause as I slap my forehead in disbelief) John, you’re going about this all the wrong.
John: What do you mean Marcus?
Me: Well, tell me this, how many people work in your sales department?
John: About 16 or so.
Me: OK, and let me ask you one other question, and this is the important one—How many people in your company have ever answered any question at all about your product or services?
John: (thinking for a second) Well, I guess all 400 have.
Me: John, don’t you see where I’m going with this? What would happen if you asked every employee in your company to write just one blog article a year?
John: Wow, I never looked at it like that…
Creating a Culture of Education
Here’s the thing folks—John is a very, very smart guy. Just talking with him on the phone I could tell that I’d never want to compete against him in Jeopardy. Notwithstanding, John has yet to grasp the concept of creating a culture of education within a company.
One of the biggest problems businesses have is that they are way too reliant on a very, very small percentage of their employees to actually produce content. This, my friends, is bonkers. It makes no sense.
A guy like John, who is already equipped with 400 employees (a small army), was worried that he simply didn’t have enough time to produce content. Are you kidding me?!! In reality, the biggest problem John should have is managing the river of content that flows into him (or his marketing dept.) from the mountain of employees who are all excited to be a part of the company’s content marketing revolution.
Big or Small, the Same Rules Apply
I hope you’re catching the vision with me here. Let me give you another example on a smaller scale. My swimming pool company has about 15 employees. This year, we’ve given every person that works in the field a digital camera so that they can take pics of the various stages of every pool install we do. I also have my service guys equipped with flip cameras so they can record simple ‘how to’ videos on basic pool maintenance. Yes, I’m still producing content as I’ve always done but now that I’ve got so many others on my ‘team’ the idea of new ‘stuff’ has gotten much, much easier.
Also, another huge benefit of involving as many employees as possible is the fact the employees get excited and take more of an ‘ownership’ approach to their job because they are making a difference by teaching others(literally around the world) about what it is they do. Simply put, most employees throughout the world are just dying to share their talents and knowledge with others, and there is no better means to support and facilitate this than by allowing them to produce content—in any form that may provide value to consumers.
So that’s my challenge to you folks. If you own a business, the time has come to start leveraging the power and skills of your employees. Embrace a culture of education from top to bottom. Let every member of the team carry the ball. By so doing, I can assure you that not only will your workload go down while employee moral goes up, but you’re company will also turn into a content producing machine, putting yourself in position to dominate your niche for many years to come.
I’m curious to know your thoughts in this matter. Why are so many business owners reluctant to leverage the power of their employees and staff so as to produce incredible amounts of content? Are you more inclined toward an individual voice or a whole voice? As always, your comments are not only appreciated, but will be rewarded with big smiles coming from my end of the screen.