When you think of content marketing you probably have these in mind:
- Owned media. Content you own and have complete control over its creation and use, such as your website and brochures.
- Paid media. This refers to content that’s created and distributed, because you paid for it. These include advertisements and advertorials.
- Earned media. Media interviews, news coverage of your product or company, and blog mentions are examples of earned content. You earn them by being interesting and newsworthy, and by reaching out to media gatekeepers at opportune times.
What about employed media? Are you using them at all?
Employed Media: A Definition
Employed media refers to content your employees use and share within their own personal networks.
Your employees are using social media for their personal purposes.
Your staff have their own followers, connections, friends in social media. They have their own audiences and circles of influence.
The content they create and share with these circles is media you can leverage for your own marketing and PR.
Why Should You Care About Employed Media?
With companies banning the use of social media at work, you may wonder why we’re talking about employed media at all.
There are 6 reasons you should care about employed media:
1. Employees are brand advocates
Your employees are your brand’s advocates, whether you like it or not. The public will judge your company based on the employee they’re interfacing with.
According to the Great Place to Work Institute:
“The making of a company’s brand is moving from the marketing department into the hands of its employees.”
You might as well equip and harness these brand advocates. You’re already paying them.
2. Your employees are more trustworthy than you.
Did you know? According to the Edelman Trust Barometer in 2013, regular employees are trusted twice as much as executives?
This is significant, because 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a product when they hear about it from someone they trust (Nielsen, 2013).
3. Employees allow you to reach a wider audience.
Your staff may not be social media superstars with millions of audiences on their social media platforms. But they do have audiences, including people you may never reach if you relied only on owned, earned, and paid media.
In fact, you can consider your employees as channels in themselves. “In social media, people – not brands – are the channel,” say Chris Boudreaux and Susan Emerick in their book, The Most Powerful Brand on Earth.
4. Employees can create content you don’t have to pay for.
Your employees are in the best position to create honest, authentic, and raw content around your product or organization – just by talking about their jobs. This means more content for you, without additional cost.
5. Employees can help with recruitment.
Employees can help you attract more talented people who are like them. Assuming, you’re happy with your current hires, then this is a great thing!
6. Employees improve your branding.
Employees give your company a human face. Their social activity increases your organization’s transparency with stakeholders. This has the benefit of enabling your publics to know, like, and trust you more. And we all know these are the foundation for creating customers.
To Be Continued…
Now you know what employee media is, and why it’s an important aspect of your marketing and PR.
Employed media is so important that large companies like Dell, Hitachi, and Zappos have employee brand advocacy programs in place.
In the next post, I’m going to talk about how you, too, can purposefully turn your employees into effective brand advocates. Watch out for it!
Meantime, let me know what you think of employed media. Is it an opportunity for better PR and marketing? Or is it potential for a PR disaster?
Share your thoughts in the comments below, or send me a tweet. Looking forward to it!
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies, which she's also using for her own bling flip flop company.
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