As more companies warm to the notion of becoming their own publishers, here are a few pitfalls to avoid before launching an employee brand journalism strategy.
Just because someone else wrote it…
How many times have you endured: “In today’s challenging, global economy…” – or something just as banal? Maybe you’ve used it yourself? I know I have. Guess what? Just as water will always be wet, the global economy will always be challenging. And social media will hyper-connect us like never before. And mobile devices will proliferate. And millennials will disrupt the workforce (ok, you get the picture). Unless you’re looking to boost your bounce rate, avoid the same trite phrases that a bazillion other writers have used before you.
Think twice about thought leadership
Before letting colleagues, business associates and LinkedIn followers know all about the fantastic new “thought leadership” platform you launched or amazing piece of thought leadership content (that might be ghost-written), take a step back and ask yourself if what you are creating and/or sharing is something truly visionary that supports your brand, or simply a regurgitation of the status quo. In short: Let your readers determine if your content qualifies as thought leadership before you do.
Don’t hide from your brand
Quality brand journalism is all about balance. On one hand, you want to ensure your company’s modus operandi is well represented. On the other, you want to appear credible. While it’s never a good idea to bombard your audience with company marketing jargon, it might be worse to conceal or disassociate yourself from your brand in an effort to appear “fresh” or “anti-establishment.” Don’t confuse your audience. Be proud of who you work for and make sure that pride comes out in your writing and broader content strategy – especially when covering company press events, product announcements, conferences and other safe havens where it’s perfectly fine to talk more directly about your brand.
Step off the third party scale
I’ve weighed in on the quality vs. quantity debate and still maintain that quality wins. Not because I’m a content snob (ok, maybe just a little) but because I’ve witnessed too many people fall prey to the false hope content farms and other third parties promise with delusions of “scaling” to meet content needs. Should scaling and quantity come before quality, authenticity and engagement? Why offload a critical part of your company’s content strategy to someone you don’t know very well? No one is better suited to tell the company’s story more accurately or passionately (that produces real results) than its very own employees.