by Jennifer Lumba   | March 08, 2015
Content marketing is the new watchword in 2015. What is it? Simply, it's blogging but with a more deliberate emphasis on getting your message out to the right people at the right time. In this case, your employees. Here are 10 tips for doing it well:

1. Write customer stories. Your workers are just as curious about your business as you are. Satisfy their need to know by blogging customer stories. What's working? What isn't? Develop case studies that answer these questions and offer lessons learned, digging in as deeply as disclosure rules will permit.

2. Create a shared platform. Monolithic, single-source blogs are boring. Don't get caught in this trap. Instead, seek to diversify your voice by allowing others to contribute. Or better still, have multiple blogs that allow for tackling several themes that matter to your employees.

3. Find common threads. Your employees have documented ideas and concerns floating about in their social media feeds. Take note, and then use the blog to address the most common threads and watch your blog become a destination for the inquisitive.

4. Embrace Q&As. Hot topics can be a good starting point for new content but your employees are also going to want to hear from management. Use that. Ask employees to submit questions and then publish the answers in a succinct Q&A format. Revisit regularly with fresh topics.

5. Enlist senior managers. You can also go further by getting executives in on the content marketing game. Enlist a handful to write for the blog on the topics they care about most. Don't worry if they aren't writers; get a member of your marketing team to tape and interview them and then turn the transcribed conversation into a post.

6. Develop an opt-in mechanism. If history proves anything it's that employees don't want to be spoon-fed. Give them direct access to your blog's best via an opt-in email offer and then distribute new content like a newsletter.

7. Create exclusivity. Rather than close off the blog to employees who don't opt-in, add special content to the newsletter so that those who do sign up get a little extra for making the leap. Something as simple as a letter from the CEO or updated business data should be more than enough.

8. Hold an engagement contest. Over time, your blog's content is going to have to stand on its own. You can still offer a little boost in the beginning. Create a contest where employees who offer the most creative or thoughtful responses to that month's posts get a small reward.

9. Publicly recognize influential ideas. Your blog needs to be more than a soapbox. Encourage engagement by turning the best comments into posts. Note who and where every idea came from and then add a few follow-up comments direct from the contributors. You may also see a surge in participation from those who'd like to see their name in print.

10. Interview your most-engaged readers. Longer-term, you may want to specifically highlight those who are highly engaged readers with the goal of turning them into contributors. Think of it as a virtuous cycle: engaged workers engaging others.

Jennifer Lumba is the chief marketing officer of Rideau Recognition Solutions. Built on state-of-the-art technology, Rideau's employee recognition and customer loyalty programs change the way companies recognize employee service and achievement, reward individual and team performance, strengthen customer relationships, and create brand loyalty. Lumba can be reached at [email protected]