Shannon Smedstad | ,| By
A few weeks ago, I received an unassuming white box in the mail. Upon opening it, I discovered a plastic fortune cookie which inside read: We predict you have a content problem. How many of you feel or have felt there’s a problem with your employer branding content—albeit quality, quantity, frequency, or ROI?
Please know you’re not alone.
In fact, according to a Harris Interactive Survey for Glassdoor, “67% of employers believe retention rates would be higher if candidates had a clearer picture of what to expect about working at a company before taking the job.” Creating great employer branding content takes human and financial resources — and time. But it’s a fundamental way of painting a clearer picture of what it’s like to work at your company.
6 Tips for Creating Great Employer Branding Content
With that in mind, here are several top tips recently shared during the Employer Branding Strategies Conference (#EBrandCon). The goal here is to help you overcome your content problems, paint a clearer picture, and be authentic.
Tip 1: Post with Purpose
Great employer branding content has the ability to inform job seekers, engage employees, and influence perceptions of what it’s like to work at your organization. By posting with purpose, you are connecting people to what matters—strategy, values, mission, culture, and one another.
One of the ways to accomplish more purposeful posting is to develop an annual editorial calendar that thematically aligns to your company’s internal communications plan and overall business objectives. Another way is to establish an editorial and/or social media posting calendar. This will allow you better prioritize your content, manage partner expectations, and reduce spamming your audience with the same type of content all the time.
Tip 2: Create Pride and Excitement
Inside and out, great content can create emotional responses, and support talent attraction and engagement initiatives. CEB research shows that employees have six needs in the workplace that, when met, help people achieve optimal performance and engagement. They are:
3) Personal growth,
4) Meaningful work,
5) Sense of belonging, and
How might you better align your content strategy to help meet these needs?
Think about the ways you can use your internal and external channels to recognize individual performance, create a sense of belonging to a team, and show respect. Examples of this may include a blog or video series highlighting people’s achievements, an Instagram contest showing team celebrations, testimonials on your career site, or podcasts with people at your company who are making an impact.
Tip 3: Make it Consumable
It’s a noisy world out there. People are less and less tolerant of ads and content that are seemingly irrelevant. The average human attention span is lower than a goldfish thanks to smartphones. So, how can you help to make your messages worth people’s time and attention?
One way is to make your messages easier to consume. According to CEB research, communicators—yes that includes recruitment marketers and brand professionals—can “fight complexity on three main levels.”
· Components: Focus on what people need to know.
· Format: Simplify the layout and design of the content. How can you make it more scannable?
· System: Know where your audience consumes content, select the best channels, and iterate for each.
In a world where more than 200 million people use technologies on their devices (computers, mobile phones, etc.) to block ads from their news feeds, you can help cut through the clutter. And in the words of Jeff Goins, author of The Art of Work, “We live in a busy, distracted world. Don’t demand attention; earn it.”
Tip 4: Say it with Pictures
We’ve heard this: “If there are no pictures, it didn’t happen.” And, I am thankful everyday social media didn’t exist during my college years. In all seriousness, using visuals across channels is one key to creating engaging employer brand content. Why?
Images are processed 60,000 times faster than text, all generations use visual communications, and people retain nearly 65% of what they see (versus only 10% of what they hear). As you think about the content that you are creating, how can you infuse it with compelling visuals? How can you curate employee photos? How can you leverage visual channels, such as Instagram, to help tell your company’s story?
Tip 5: Build an Employee-Generated Pipeline
Using real life examples and storytelling can help with absorption of information. It also builds trust and credibility when you empower employees to tell their own stories. Often, the best way to curate employee-generated content (EGC) is to simply ask employees. Who are your brand ambassadors? Who has a story to tell? Who has an itch to write?
Allison Kruse, senior manager of social media and talent acquisition at Kforce, started a thought leadership content pipeline at her company. Each month, five recruiters write and publish their own ideas, in their own voice on LinkedIn. Her team is there to assist the writers through editorial, publishing, and promotional support.
Sometimes the hardest part of maintain a strong content strategy is keeping the hopper full. “Create evergreen content and then stockpile it for future use,” advises Shally Steckerl, founder at The Sourcing Institute Foundation. In tip number one about purposeful posting, there is a mention of creating monthly themes. How can you align your EGC to bring those content themes to life? How can you continue to connect people to what matters? How can you empower your people and keep the pipeline full?
Tip 6: Measure Content Effectiveness
There are many ways to create content to help you achieve your employer branding goals. “It’s really important to be honest and authentic; false advertising helps no one,” shared Kathryn Minshew, CEO and co-founder of The Muse. “Don’t be afraid of quirky. It’s better to attract passion than blandness—any day.”
So, how do you know if what you’re creating is making a difference?
· Evaluate short-term metrics such as impressions and reach, click through rates and engagement percentages via external channels (social media) and internal channels (employee communications).
· Assess long-term metrics including Google Analytics (source of traffic, site demographics), Google Trends (measures keyword usage over time), application quantity and quality, and retention rate data. Consider reviewing year over year, quarter over quarter, and/or month over month.
· Analyze qualitative data such as recruiter feedback, focus groups, and new hire surveys.
I believe that great content can create great outcomes. And these best practices are intended to help you make smarter decisions about your employer branding content. Hopefully, they will help you navigate and solve some of your content challenges, as well as understand how your efforts are impacting talent acquisition, retention, and your corporate brand. However, this is not an all-encompassing list.
So, what’s your best tip for creating great content? Share below.