I love the topic of culture, and over the years I’ve been intrigued by all the vastly different ways people talk about it, express it and use it to drive their businesses forward. But I’m not here to talk about things like casual Fridays, beer-o-clock and free food. Today we’re going to get our hands dirty and talk about what company culture really is (in my opinion) and why your amazing culture is the perfect fuel for content marketing.
Culture has certainly been a hot discussion topic in the realm of HR when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. But my favorite definition of culture doesn’t have anything to do with how cool or fun your company may be—it’s about how you get things done and why.
I tend to gravitate toward Rand Fishkin’s definition of culture and how that relates to how you hire and how you work. Rand likes to say company culture is three big things:
All three of these things may be hard to define on paper for your own company, but if you take a look around and observe how people talk, react and make decisions, you can see these things in practice. Here’s my interpretation of what that looks like:
When one or all of these things are happening, it can be pretty obvious from the outside—employees are happy, customers are happy and the work is stellar. Who wouldn’t want to work with a company like that?
Culture and content marketing can go together in many ways.
It can be creating a culture of content marketing, in which employees have shared values for the content marketing process and goals.
It can be creating and distributing valuable content about your culture as a company people want to work for.
It can be creating and distributing content in a way that naturally showcases your culture—through voice, tone and perspective—as a company people want to work with. Along with creating content that’s relevant, compelling and targeted, this is one of the keys to attracting buyers and turning them into brand fanatics.
You may already have a pretty good sense of your company culture from a hiring, recruiting and employee satisfaction perspective. But what about customers and potential buyers? Your content must evoke the same values, mission and beliefs that define your culture internally. More importantly, it must be authentic, accurate and something your employees can wholeheartedly support.
“When your audience reads and listens to the content you produce, they’re not only hearing your message, they’re hearing the voice of your company—your tone, language and delivery (i.e., formal vs. conversational),” says Debbie Hemley in Social Media Examiner.
“Each time they hear your brand voice, it’s a good bet they’re subconsciously sizing you up. They’re deciding whether you’re a company they can rely on, and more importantly, do business with.”
This is the kind of content I’m talking about:
Last week Impact featured six “boring” companies with remarkable marketing strategies, and Moz was one of them. Moz has found a way to sell the company using its culture and without pushing the benefits of its inbound marketing software. The company has humanized the brand by showcasing people, pets, parties and other random happenings on Pinterest, giving buyers a peek inside the relatable culture of a fun software company.
I’m also a huge fan of the customer support platform Zendesk. I came across this recruiting video a few years ago and immediately got a sense of the company’s personality, voice and what it must be like to work there. I was happy to see the same personality shine through the rest of Zendesk’s content and website. To get a profound sense of the company’s culture (its values, what they do and why they do it), just visit the About page. Here’s another example of how Zendesk applies culture to content:
If your company has a culture to be proud of, how does that culture shine through your content? How do you communicate you’re a company people want to work for and people want to do business with? As a wise futurist once told me, your culture is the motivation and the voice that drives both.