Too many brands produce a lot of content but only make it visible externally. There are so many opportunities to leverage internal knowledge of content assets’ existence.
Content creation is an important component of any successful brand strategy, but it’s only part of the battle. If your content isn’t seen and heard, then even the most beautifully crafted narrative or thoughtful analysis won’t reach its intended audience. That’s why it’s essential to spend just as much time and effort (if not more!) on content distribution, amplification, and publication as you did in creating the original asset.
There are a variety of ways to spread your message far and wide. You, of course, publish it and make it available organically on your owned platforms. You can use paid promotion opportunities such as sponsored posts or targeted digital advertising campaigns to ensure that more people see your content. You can also leverage influencer relationships to amplify your message through organic social media posts or press releases that include quotes from industry experts.
But what about internally?
Who knows your content actually exists beyond the marketing or content teams?
This is where the content merchandising part of content operations (ContentOps) really takes shape.
Content team leaders, be ready to get your work known internally.
Why you need an internal content distribution strategy
An internal distribution strategy is an essential part of any successful content team.
An internal distribution strategy helps create visibility within your organization for the work that content teams produce. By leveraging colleagues and other stakeholders, such as customer service employees (who are often overlooked but extremely revealing as your organization’s frontline contacts), partners and even suppliers, relevant content can be quickly and effectively disseminated to a wider audience. It also helps ensure that everyone in the company knows about what your internal team is producing and how it could benefit from them.
The main advantage of having an internal distribution strategy is that it expands external reach while providing a better understanding of the content’s purpose, value, and impact on internal stakeholders. This provides more opportunities to connect with outside audiences and also boosts engagement internally by reinforcing why specific topics or pieces of content matter to them on a professional level.
That being said, an effective internal distribution strategy not only increases website sessions and marketing-qualified leads but also encourages colleagues to share new sources of knowledge among existing networks both inside and outside the organization.
In short, merchandising content internally has a lot of benefits. To name a few:
- Increase distribution potential;
- Raise awareness about the value of content creation in the customer and user journeys of your organization;
- Engage with other departments and teams to gather feedback on content and create new opportunities through content gaps, overlaps and needs they mention;
- Make sure content can live longer than initial social and platform distribution through the inclusion of assets in sales teams’ (for example) toolboxes;
- Avoid duplication in content creation, as when people know about the existence of content, they are that much less likely to have it produced again!
How to distribute your content internally
Content merchandising is not simply posting on a social platform and hoping all employees and stakeholders will see it.
There are multiple tactics that you can put in place internally to increase visibility and use of content assets:
- Send a regular, internal email newsletter that not only promotes recent content that can be used by stakeholders, but resurfaces older assets that are still very much useful and that could have been forgotten;
- Create a content repository where anyone can browse and find useful references to articles and blog posts, podcasts, videos, PDFs that can be sent to clients, leads and external stakeholders;
- Activate and moderate a Slack channel that allows team members to post new content and enable internal engagement and discussion, inviting (for example) colleagues to share how they recently had success when using a content asset externally;
- Organize a regular Lunch and Learn to showcase content uses, content assets and train colleagues on how to use content in the best ways possible;
- Increase the number of quotes from employees and SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) in content, as this will usually increase awareness because the people that are quoted will actually talk about the content they were featured in.
There are so many other ways to promote content internally. Do not limit yourself to the list above. Go beyond the usual, but make sure that you make your content known to as many relevant people as possible on other teams.
And make sure they use it.
The importance of doing internal research and benchmarking… and recognition
As a content team promotes content internally more and more, it is important to find ways to monitor use and adoption.
This might sound like a complex new tech stack that would need to be implemented, but oftentimes, a simple internal survey about how engaged are sales reps and frontline support teams with existing content can shed light on how well the initiatives above are working.
You can even implement some form of recognition or incentives for best use cases in content usage!
Three things to consider for your internal content merchandising
As outlined in a Content Marketing Institute article on the subject, you need to consider three important things when crafting your internal content distribution strategy.
So before you get started, decide on three key elements: cadence, audience, and feedback.
Cadence refers to the frequency in which content will be delivered. The ideal frequency depends on the brand’s culture and employee preferences. You should explore and find a sweet spot that resonates with your organization. Some may prefer weekly tips and announcements from the content team, while others may find that frequency overwhelming. It is important to ensure that employees are not overloaded with too much material at once, but have just enough to stay engaged without being overwhelmed with details.
Audience is another critical component of any internal content strategy. Amongst an organization different personas may exist: salespeople, service representatives, product managers, leaders etc., and their needs can vary substantially from one persona to the next. Therefore it’s essential that you create personalized content catered to every segment within your company in order to ensure successful delivery of your message throughout the entire organization.
Feedback happens throughout the process. After launching the internal distribution program, survey employees a few weeks or months later. Another key element to consider is to entice employees to use internal channels to spread content internally, too often we see WhatsApp groups or Instagram DMs used by employees for corporate conversations and this reduces visibility on how content is used and disseminated throughout the organization. Ask if it has been helpful and if there are any ways to improve it. Use their feedback to update the internal strategy.
By taking into consideration cadence, audience, and feedback when formulating an internal content strategy you are well on your way towards narrowing down what information should be shared across your organization and how.
A successful brand strategy not only requires content creation but also effective internal distribution.
By making content visible within an organization, brands can boost its reach and impact. Strategies to enhance internal distribution include sending regular newsletters, creating a content repository, engaging in team discussions, organizing training sessions, and including more employee quotes in content. Monitoring content usage, offering incentives for engagement, and continually collecting feedback are also crucial. The frequency of content delivery (cadence), internal target audience segmentation, and feedback are key considerations for an effective internal content distribution strategy, which ultimately leads to wider reach and better understanding of the content’s value.
This means that the questions can be asked: what is your first step to improve your internal content distribution strategy?