Recently, David Ward asked in the IoIC LinkedIn Group ‘Which UK comms agency best understands how to apply content marketing to the IC context?’ A good, tough question – and this is what we wrote in response.
This is an interesting question – in part because how could or should content marketing be used in the Internal Comms space? It would be easy to suggest that simply the sharing of content – e.g. blogs, e-zines, newsletters etc – is content marketing, and therefore any agency worth their salt is a good exponent.
I would tend to disagree. The definition of content marketing is different, depending what content you read (!), but in essence comes down to the ‘curating of relevant and valuable content to acquire customers’. It is focused on influencing stakeholders, building reputation and developing a stronger relationship with potential customers through the use of content.
In many ways, a soft sell.
So, yes, in the internal comms space we use content to inform and inspire colleagues – be it coming from a leader in the business or to promote a particular programme or simply to share important news.
So how is content marketing any different? For me, content marketing is about using content to create a position – as a (thought) leader in a particular field. It isn’t simply about sharing content; it is about shifting opinion, creating a position, defining something. So I think content marketing has a very specific place in internal comms, such as:
Leadership communications – a chance for a leader to communicate the positioning of the organisation
Culture and purpose – content marketing can help to shift opinion and influence behaviour
Advocacy – a way of engaging colleagues and building advocacy to help shift organisation reputation
Of course, there are other applications. But I would contend that content marketing is something more than simply sharing content with colleagues…it is a specialist skill for specific purposes…
Who’s doing it well? Mmmm….