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Oct 22, 2014
Case Study

Content Marketing: Engaging internal resources helps grow organic traffic 380%

SUMMARY: Every company has potentially untapped resources in its employees. This MarketingSherpa case study takes a look at how one B2B business was able to leverage its internal resources and grow its organic website traffic and social audience, and generate new leads. Read on to find out how the director of marketing of YouEarnedIt was able to engage this internal audience.
by David Kirkpatrick, Manager of Editorial Content

CHALLENGE

Internal resources can provide you with some of your most powerful content marketing. Almost any company has people with great information to share. The trick is getting those people to share that knowledge in a blog post, video interview or some other content piece.

YouEarnedIt is an employee recognition and reward software company that took steps to get its own employees contributing to the content marketing strategy.

Tim Ryan, Director of Marketing, YouEarnedIt, said, "We work in a startup environment where fiscal responsibility is paired with bold and innovative thinking. Rather than outsourcing our marketing to an agency, we manage it all in-house and are challenged with affordable ways to produce great content but also broaden our reach, build awareness and generate new leads."

CAMPAIGN

Ryan explained that the objective in this campaign was to tap into employee talent to participate in content production, including the company blog, newsletters, videos, website, outbound emails and social media.

"This campaign resulted in authentic marketing coming from a diverse, yet unified, YouEarnedIt voice," he said.

Step #1. Trust your employees to share

An important aspect of asking your employees to share on their own social media accounts is trusting them with the company brand and messaging.

"I was concerned about opening up our social media to all employees," Ryan said. "However, these days most employees just get it. They have spent time building and engaging their own social networks, and they understand if we can collectively boost overall reach, we'll see more eyeballs, leads, press and, ultimately, customers."

Step #2. Encourage employees to share

To get YouEarnedIt employees to start helping create content and begin this transformation, Ryan simply asked them to share on social media, comment on or just "Like" new blog posts.

He said this led to asking those same employees to share how-to guides, white papers, videos and other pieces of content.

"You'd be surprised how many people will help get the word out if you make it easy for them," Ryan said, explaining that he would "provide a link to the content as well as some sample tweets or posts for them to customize."

Step #3. Turn sharing employees into contributors

Once YouEarnedIt employees were actively sharing various content pieces, Ryan began asking them to become part of the content creation process.

"After realizing employees enjoyed sharing our content, we started asking them if they would participate in stock photography shoots as well as serve as 'voice over' and 'extras' talent for our videos.

View the Creative Sample


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We also asked them to feel free to write a guest blog on their specialty, he said.

View the Creative Sample


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All of this effort makes for an inclusive environment, "where everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate in the conversation," he added.

To further explain the process, Ryan said, "I gently nudge everyone and then give a bunch of positive reinforcement to those that actively participate."

View the Creative Sample


Click here to see the full version of this creative sample



"In terms of training, when new people start with us, I encourage them from day one to participate in our social media outreach and blog content. I advise them to use their best judgment and to realize that they are representing our brand," Ryan said. "We're less formal than many companies, so our overall tone is more playful and happy. Many of our employees are Millennials, so this kind of stuff comes second nature to them. They're really savvy and authentic and come to me with amazing ideas."

As an example of the success of this effort, Ryan highlighted one member of the sales team who is very active in writing blog posts, posting to social media and has even created a work-related Twitter following. He added that this employee regularly suggests ideas for new content.

Step #4. Recognize your internal contributors

"I try to mention who's recently participated in a video, photo shoot, blog post or interview when announcing a new piece to the team via email," Ryan said. "I also give a public shout-out via YouEarnedIt's social recognition feed. Finally, I try to give a reward back to the participants in the form of a fully edited photo, a fun bloopers take-away or a 'Like' or share of their own content."

Examples of YouEarnedIt employee brand ambassadors in action

"It happens nearly every day. Someone from my company will forward, retweet, comment, share, 'Like' or otherwise engage with the content we produce. Or, they'll distribute their own media in support of our company," Ryan said.

Here are some of the ways YouEarnedIt's employees are active across a variety of social media platforms and in content marketing tactics:

LinkedIn

  • Sharing blog posts to LinkedIn groups

  • Engaging conversations about our company within LinkedIn groups

Facebook, Twitter, Google+

  • Many employees "Like" posts, share them with their friends and leave comments

  • Employees create their own posts about the company

  • Use images of employees in social media posts

Videos

Employees served as:
  • Interview subjects

  • Extras

  • Voice over talent or narration for demo videos

Photography

  • Stock photos featuring employees using the company's product

  • Behind-the-scenes photos

Blogs

Employees often either write a blog or participate in the blogs via their quotes, interviews, photos or video.

Third-party article comment

Employees are encouraged to leave their own comments on articles or simply "Like" a comment that has already been shared. This helps boost the influence of comments leading to additional referral traffic.



RESULTS

By tapping internal resources at YouEarnedIt, Ryan has seen these results:
  • Organic website traffic has grown 380% in one year

  • Social audience has grown 96% in one year

  • 33% of new leads come from social media channels, referral traffic and the company blog

"We're getting many more visits, leads and customers through referral sources where we've left a comment on an article including a link back to a blog on our site," he added.

"A small marketing team can accomplish so much more with the assistance of an entire company. Without asking too much of them, the members of our company help us maintain a healthy volume of great content and save us tens of thousands in marketing expenses," Ryan concluded.

Source

YouEarnedIt

Creative Samples

  1. Video

  2. Blog post

  3. Example of positive reinforcement

  4. Tweet

Related Resources

Content Marketing: Tips from your peers on making use of internal resources

Content Marketing: Interviewing internal resources

Public Relations: Getting corporate data out of subject matter experts heads and into quarterly trend reports increased media coverage 261%

Content Marketing: Come in with an idea, leave with a blog post



See Also:

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