Your team can create terrific, newsworthy content if you allow them to use your products as your customers would. For example, Shopify’s have a full-time resident entrepreneur, Jane Lee as part of the staff team.

And she has set up a Shopify store, using Shopify software to sell Shopify products – and it has proved to be a rich source of video material to help and educate customers.

In this video, Kristina and Ken take a closer look. (Full transcript below)

This initiative from Shopify has now developed into having its own YouTube channel – and Jane Lee has added a team member. We both think this is a great inspiration for any company developing a video marketing strategy. Check out the channel at Shopify Stockroom.

This video has attracted a lot of attention including media coverage – it’s a great example of how your team can create fantastic content. You can read more about this, and 3 other sources of compelling stories for any business in Ken’s latest post for a new sister company for Citation Labs, Audiential – here’s the link Where to find compelling stories for any client.

Have you any examples of how staff have created content? If so, we’d love to hear about them, please share the link in the comments below.


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Here’s the full transcript:

Duration: 6 minutes and 25 seconds

Ken McGaffin:  Staff can be a really great source of stories and it’s not always obvious. One of the things that I love here is the story from The Globe and Mail about Shopify that I looked into and I thought this was terrific because they actually took a member of staff or got a member of staff to use their product on an ongoing basis and then blog about their experience. This was just wonderful. I thought it was a great concept. But I think particularly, there is something great about the way that they implemented that. What did you like about that Kristina?

Kristina Welch: Well, first of all, she was just very likeable, Jane, the staff member that they profiled while she was launching this new company, an e-commerce site. She was very likeable; she was very enjoyable to watch but she was also very vulnerable at times and was very thoughtful in how she talked about some of the challenges she faced and what she did to overcome them. Not just for the success of her business but for her personal growth as an Entrepreneur.

Ken McGaffin:   And one little thing there, because I think it’s really important. Because, I think you have actually honed into what made it great.  And one of the things I would think from a strategic point of view is Shopify allowed that to happen. So they let her have the real experience, they allowed her to make mistakes and they allowed her to show the emotion of what she was going through. And that comes back to something tremendously authentic.  

Kristina Welch: Absolutely. It really didn’t look that she was getting any kind of special help. It was a very real, genuine experience that anybody that wants to use those services will probably go through. So it was really wonderful that Shopify took that approach to it without holding her hands to get her to the end result. They really let her experience it and work those things out for herself and I think that that is something that anybody who is watching those videos, especially people that are interested in doing the same kind of business that Jane was doing, are really going to appreciate that honesty.

Ken McGaffin:  Yes, because things don’t always go right.

Kristina Welch: No, most of the time they don’t.

Ken McGaffin:  In fact, they never do. We all must make mistakes, we all have to cope with mistakes and it was wonderful to see that being addressed in a very real way. Now there’s a company that I would trust and I think that is absolutely fantastic. But it was also the thinking that went into it. When she was appointed, they then took a weekly episode which was great. Right up until the point that the product was launched. So I think that that was in the ninth or 10th week. So you went through all of that build up, which I think was terrific, and then at the end of it they had a Shopify staff member running a Shopify site, selling Shopify products which was great. That’s not only giving great insight, and great video content. That allowed staff within Shopify to see the whole process from their customers’ point of view. So not only did they give them great content, it also educated their staff. And that’s terrific.

Kristina Welch: And I think that that is something that people will also appreciate about the company, that they took the time to allow their staff to be a customer, to be an actual consumer of this service. And I think a lot of times when we as consumers deal with businesses, if there is an issue, part of the reason that we get so frustrated is because a lot of times we think, “Well it’s not your problem. You have no idea how this feels to me because you don’t interact with your company the same way that I do with the consumer level.”  And she did. How often do you get to see that and see her still be a fan of the service even after all of the challenges that it presented. It was just a really cool experience that she had and shared with us and it made me really want to know more about the company.

Ken McGaffin:  Yes, and I think that’s right. For many companies, they could look at this and say “Gosh that is really interesting” “How could we adapt that approach to our own company?” And I think of course, that is wonderful. Just to watch these things and to see it and as we saw from the newspaper cutting, they have gotten newspaper coverage because of this. And they’ve got links because of this. All in all, a fantastic effort from Shopify. And I think it is really inspirational.

Kristina Welch: I agree. I really, thoroughly enjoyed watching them. And the only thing that I would have changed about my experience in viewing them is I wish that I had watched them week to week as you discussed. Because there was that build up, there was that excitement. I watched them all together but by the end of it I was really rooting for her and really excited to see what she had come up with and I wish I had been a part of that suspense over the periods of weeks when she was doing this.

Ken McGaffin:  That is a good thing to point out. Because again as the suspense builds up you want to know what has happened. And so, it’s a tremendous way to get your customers investing in what it is that you are doing and understanding what you are doing. So top marks to Shopify for that.

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