It is well known in B2B marketing, and particularly within professional services, that producing engaging thought leadership pieces is an effective way of promoting your brand and generating leads. There are a great deal of benefits in sharing your expertise and insights with a wider audience. Writing the content and posting it is, however, only the first stage in the process of getting engagement. To have any impact your well-crafted content needs an audience. Yet many professionals are reluctant to share their colleague’s articles and posts.
For those in larger firms, you may be thinking this is the job of your well-paid central marketing machine. Certainly, they can post it, optimize it for SEO, and share across your social media platforms. However, if your colleagues don’t help promote your content, and you don’t help promote theirs, you really are making it much harder for that content to reach a wider audience. It may then require your marketing team to invest in online sponsorship or other clever methods to get your firm’s content out there.
Putting aside the myriad of additional benefits to your own personal brand in promoting well-written and educational content, lets start by first understanding the reasons why people in B2B organisations, and particularly within professional service firms, don’t share their colleague’s articles.
The 4 reasons why people don’t share their colleagues’ articles and posts.
1. A practice/silo focus
Many people within firms are only interested in their own practice or department’s area of expertise. They see little benefit to them in promoting the services or content of those within the same building.
2. Overly competitive nature
Some people are highly competitive in nature, and for them, winning is everything. Sometimes within an organisation this need to win, and be seen as the best, can prevent them from helping others succeed. After all, they don’t want their colleague in the adjoining office doing better than them.
3. They don’t see at as their job
This is what Marketing and BD should be doing, not me. While it is healthy to put trust in the experts you pay, when it comes to supporting their initiatives, it is certainly helpful if everyone within that organisation is onboard, and supports those marketing initiatives as best they can.
4. They don’t ‘rate’ their colleague
Quite an uncomfortable subject this one. However, it does occur. Some people don’t feel that their colleagues write well, or that they are actually experts in their field. They don’t trust the content they produce, and quite likely, the work they do. As an aside, this is also a main reason that lots of cross-selling initiatives fail. This is only overcome by conversations between the two people and a process of them working on projects together.
Why you should share your colleagues’ articles and posts.
1. It’s less self-promotional
If you send someone your article or comment on your own article, it is really difficult for it not to come across as self-promotional. However, if you send one of your colleague’s articles to a client or someone in your network, saying I think this may be of interest to you, it is more likely to be well received. It’s actually an easy way of starting the soft-process of introducing a colleague and doing some cross-selling. Commenting on someone’s article or the company/firm’s post on LinkedIn, will also help to give it a wider audience and credibility.
2. It helps boost your own personal brand
If you are seen as commenting and sharing highly relevant content to your connections, it will mark you out as a good person to be connected with. Of course, make sure that you also share content from third party sources, as too many firm branded posts will also start to fall into that self-promotional category.
3. It boosts your company’s brand
If you all comment and support each other’s work, it creates an impression that you do actually collaborate with each other. Those marketing statements of being ‘one firm’ etc. are actually being demonstrated in your actions when you share your colleagues articles and posts.
4. Organic engagement beats paid engagement
If you can ideally start a conversation on your company’s and colleagues’ LinkedIn feeds, then those posts will be seen by more people. Social Media rewards what the algorithms see as conversations. LinkedIn, although business focused, is still a social media platform, so once the conversation starts the post automatically appears in more feeds, and people are more likely to engage with it for two simple reasons.
The first is that many people are reluctant to start a conversation, but many are happy to join in once it is underway. The second is that if your content is sponsored, i.e. paid for by your organisation, it will appear in the feed saying that this is “sponsored content”. People are far less likely to interact with paid promotions. However, as mentioned above, by commenting on your colleagues’ and firm’s posts, you will help get them seen by more people organically, which is a far more credible and engaging way to do it.
5. Your size is your strength, use it
It baffles small business owners and consultants like myself, when we see firms not supporting their own great content. As we have few or no employees, we have to work very hard on getting online engagement. Whereas, you have an army of advocates ready to go, so I suggest you don’t delay and start supporting your colleagues’ articles and posts.
6. The more your colleagues’ article is read, the more yours will be
I love reading articles by McKinsey and in the HBR. Most people have ‘go to’ websites for information on various topics. The more your firm starts to be seen as one of these got to places for information, the better. It means your website will get more organic traffic. This also means you are more likely to get conversions, i.e. people will contact you, and make enquiries for your services.
While you may not have shared your colleague’s articles and posts up to this point, hopefully, the above will have convinced you that you really ought to.
If you’re still reluctant, think what those reasons are, as to why you are reluctant, and then think about all the benefits you and your business will receive from you actively joining the conversation.
Now’s the time for you to begin actively start sharing your colleague’s articles and posts.