With nearly 4 million business customers around the world, AT&T knew that taking advantage of online and social media channels to stay engaged wtih its audience was a no-brainer—so in 2011, it launched the Networking Exchange Blog.
Knowing the voice needed to be authentic and the insights real, we dove head first into recruiting bloggers directly from the ranks of our own IT savants. To date, nearly 150 employees have signed up to be online thought leaders, not only posting to the blog but also contributing their knowledge to other social media sites and online forums.
So how do we manage all that brainpower? Through the Networking Leaders Academy, our official blogger program. New bloggers (most of whom have never blogged before) complete an initial training session focused on blog writing and social networking, and receive an official welcome kit and playbook to make sure they can hit the ground running.
But we didn’t stop there; we provide bloggers with continuing social media education opportunities, contests and incentives, and ongoing support. The company also developed editorial processes to manage content, making it as easy and “hands off” for the bloggers as possible so they can focus on the important stuff: creating great posts!
The program’s impact was immediate. In the three months following the launch of the Networking Leaders Academy, average monthly visits to AT&T’s Networking Exchange Blog increased 55 percent, page views increased 45 percent, and social referrers increased 93 percent. Today, the Networking Leaders Academy continues to grow as word of mouth within the company spreads about the benefits of blogging. Many bloggers have begun to contribute guest posts on other blogs as they nurture their own thought leadership (huzzah!).
While the numbers speak for themselves, our ultimate goal is enabling bloggers to connect and influence. At the end of the day, it’s the bloggers who define success—by continuing to raise the bar for themselves and the organization.
To learn more about how you can involve your entire team into your content marketing strategy, listen to this clip from our How To Build And Operate A Content Marketing Machine webinar.