The community of Ghent University employees: content marketing brings ‘UGent’ employees closer together
“I set up a collaboration with someone who read the article and contacted me to do research together. Top!” The message from Ghent University researcher Shari De Baets landed in our mailbox only two weeks after the launch of the staff magazine for Ghent University.
The article in question is about Shari and her research. In that order. To increase the community spirit, the stories are not based on the university, but on the viewpoint of all the different employees: the Ghent University staff members themselves. From cooks and technical staff to academics and administrative employees, spread across eleven different faculties: it’s they who play the leading role in the content of the staff magazine and are the real ambassadors of Ghent University.
Employee magazine with stories only about employees
Witness Kaat Teerlinck, who is not only on the cover of the new staff magazine, but also gives an insight into her thoughts on the back cover. The magazine is appropriately named UGent’ers, because all topics are based on the stories of Ghent University staff members. So, no articles about Ghent University as an institution. No short stories, no HR announcements. Explaining a policy choice? We do that through the personal story of a Ghent University employee.
Everyone shares in the Facebook community
By starting a private Facebook group, we created an accessible platform. Every employee can become a member and share messages to their heart’s desire.
As long as it is relevant or interesting for colleagues. After about five months, the counter has reached almost 1600 members. Meanwhile, UGent’ers share photos, thoughts or interesting articles with each other every day. This accounts for around 80 messages per month, with an average of some 2200 interactions.
Away from the dry facts
We also respond to the community spirit through the traditional channels, the intranet and the weekly staff newsletter. Besides the factual news about the university, it is a place to share projects that make Ghent University staff members proud. Formats, such as ‘UGent’er tiptoes’ or ‘De Onderzoeker’ (The Researcher) help deviate from the traditional, dry articles and allow for topics to reach the target group in an original way.
The UGent’ers approach is a good example of how employees not only have the lead role, but are also triggered to create content themselves. A mix of community building, employer branding and ambassador marketing.