Use Employees to Improve Your Company's Online Presence : Under30CEO Use Employees to Improve Your Company's Online Presence : Under30CEO
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Use Employees to Improve Your Company’s Online Presence

| August 11, 2013 | 4 Comments

Online Presence

There’s an unfortunate truth about business websites in general. Actually, two of them: (1) usually the only person who realizes the power of being online is the CEO himself/herself, and (2) it’s actually difficult for them to convey this point of view onto other employees in an effective way.

In other words, you can always force someone to help you with the company’s website, but how can you actually make them truly care about it?

There obviously are many methods to achieve this, and I’m sure you can find a whole section in your local bookstore devoted to workforce management and motivation topics. So today, I just want to show you one of the possible approaches that if applied correctly, can bring long term results for everybody (that includes you – the CEO, as well as your employees).

Announce a “Content Creation Race”

Essentially, a race is a very similar thing to a contest. But in a contest, there’s only one winner whereas a race is usually completed by every participant who starts it.

For instance, when was the last time you saw the remaining participants of a 100-meter dash not finish after the first person crossed the line? Never. Everyone finishes a race (provided they didn’t injure themselves along the way). Anyway, I digress, here’s what our race is going to be about:

The rules of the race

Every employee who wants to take part has to write one or more pieces of content for the company website (an article, a blog post, or whatever other content your company publishes). That person has to get the piece approved and published by the person in charge of the website, and then gather as many social shares and comments as possible.

In other words, they have to spread the word about their content as widely as possible. Also, each participant can write multiple pieces of content.

At the end of the month (or after a two-month period) the person with the most shares wins the race.

The benefits for you – the CEO

I’m going to explain how to motivate your team in a minute, but first let’s focus on why such a race is beneficial to you.

First of all, after just a couple of weeks, you will have a nice set of articles that are on-topic, quality and worthy of being published on your website. This is good news for your online presence, your Google rankings, your social media popularity and so on. Content really is king in today’s age of inbound marketing.

You can use such content as a tool to convey your company’s expertise in its niche. Really, nothing says “expert” like some genuine expert advice instead of the traditional marketing promise like “we are the experts, check us out!” Content is an immediate proof that you indeed are.

Another benefit for you is that the person who wins the race is likely the best candidate to be appointed as the new person in charge of the website’s content. In other words, the race is your way of finding the best content manager among your employees.

The benefits for your team

The thing that’s going to motivate them to take part in the race is actually pretty simple … there must be prizes.

Now, what you’ll end up offering as the prize is up to you, but I do have some suggestions.

Firstly, don’t offer money. Even though money sounds like a great motivator, it actually isn’t. As it turns out, the research done by professor Dan Ariely (published in a great book titled “Predictably Irrational”) proves that people can be highly motivated by almost any non-monetary incentive.

However, once some money is brought into the picture, the mindset of the person changes. And instead of thinking about “winning something and getting a prize,” they switch to a business mindset and try to evaluate whether the time spent on the race will be rewarded well enough should they win.

In some situations, such mindset can result in the person not taking part in the race at all.

So, here’s what I would offer:

  • One (two, three?) additional vacation days.
  • An entry to one of the industry conferences.
  • Prime parking spot (why not?).
  • Subscription to a popular niche magazine.
  • Premium training course entry.

I’m sure you can come up with even more great ideas. Essentially, there’s just one rule – to make the prize something unattainable in any other way except through the race. For example, an additional vacation day is a great prize because no money can buy it in an everyday situation.

Also, award different prizes for places 1-5 (or 1-3), so even if one person gains an early advantage, the remaining participants won’t get discouraged to still take part.

Introducing a Leaderboard

The best way to conduct a race is to publish an accessible leaderboard – a board where every participant can check how well they’re doing and how much more social activity they need to advance in the race. It’s important to keep the board updated daily. You can send the leaderboard out via email or even make it a physical board and hang it in a visible place.

The technical aspect of monitoring the race is quite simple. If your website runs on WordPress then you only need a plugin like Flare, which provides a number of social media share buttons and combines the metrics into one overall measure called “flares.” Essentially, more flares a given piece of content has, the higher on the leaderboard it is.

When the race ends

When the time is up there’s nothing more for you to do than to announce the winners, award the prizes and enjoy all the publicity that your site got along the way.

As I said earlier, the winner is also probably the best candidate to be appointed as the person in charge of the site’s content so think about promoting them. Giving such a person some new responsibility can improve and boost their performance even more.

That’s basically it for my idea of a content creation race. What do you think about it? How about giving it a shot for your next online content marketing campaign?

Ayodeji is an expert marketer who specializes in inbound marketing, you should hire him to handle your marketing by visiting him at EffectiveInboundMarketing.com

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

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  • http://www.softship.com/ Ava Cristi

    I can attest to this, Ayodeji. This is actually a productive practice, I’ve known companies that do these races for higher motivation and competitiveness. The incentive is not supposed to be financially beneficial but for the employee’s perspective it serves as a “trophy” for their achievement and a proof that they can do something more than what they think.

  • cesar romero

    Ayodeji, I think this is a great way to get everyone engaged and foster some good competition within the company. Having an online presence has never been so crucial and it requires the participation of everyone in the company, including CEO. People also stay in companies where they feel they are making a difference by creating and building things.

  • Ayodeji Onibalusi

    Exactly, you just need to get everyone involved in the process of bringing your company online.

  • Ayodeji Onibalusi

    You’re right on point, Ava! Of course, the best incentives don’t usually come in monetary form :). An encouragement/acknowledgement from the CEO can serve as a strong motivator.