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What if the most powerful employment branding strategy you've ever used was right under your nose just waiting to be discovered? Content marketing is a sleeper hit. Whether or not you realize it, you already have a good grasp on how it's done. All that you need now is a strategy to make content work for you.
Everyone creates content to one degree or another. Hardly any business hasn't built a web page, made a social media post or sent a promotional email. That's content. The difference-what separates useful content from words on a page that no one ever sees-is how you use it.
If you want to turn your content into a tool, here's what you need to know.
GET TO KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Content has one goal, and that's to convert. In sales and marketing, conversion happens when a lead turns into a customer who makes a purchase. In talent acquisition, conversion is the process where you make a job offer and the customer-the job candidate-accepts it.
Content helps keep job candidates in the talent acquisition funnel and interested in the employer brand. To do that, you have to keep them engaged. To engage them, you have to know them.
Who is your candidate? You don't need a name to know your audience. You just need a candidate profile. Chances are, you need more than one as you probably hire for more than one type of job.
ERE says the best profile has ''four to six easily observable characteristics that top performers in a given job share.'' If you're hiring for X job, what characteristics do other successful X job holders have?
That's the beginning of your candidate profile. The more you can finesse the profile, the more you'll know about your ideal candidate. Why does that matter? Because when you know them, you can target them with content created for their interests.
REVISIT CONTENT CREATION GOALS
Content is made to convert, but there's more to it. What should the objective of your content be?
According to GrowthFunnel, you need a goal. The high-level goal is to build the employer brand, but there's a lot more underneath. Is your brand building objective to reduce time-to-hire? Do you want more qualified candidates for a certain hard-to-fill job? Do you want to improve offer/acceptance rates?
Your goal will affect the type of content you produce, how and where you share it, your call to action and even your landing pages. If you're working with a few goals, you have even more opportunities to share and direct job candidates in a specific way.
Find those goals, articulate them and write them down. Everyone on the content creation team should know the purpose of everything they create.
EXPERIMENT WITH A VARIETY OF CONTENT
Now comes the fun part. What kind of content do you want to create? Unless you have no digital presence, no marketing materials and never write a job ad, you already have some experience. It's time to develop it.
Content is anything you create that has something to say. It can be words, pictures or whatever you use to tell your story. That's what employer branding is, after all: storytelling.
How would you use any of these methods to show job candidates who your employer brand really is?
- Professional videos
- Employee-made videos
- Blog posts
- Original research
- Social media posts
- Social media surveys
The list is only as short as you want it to be. Everything that you create is content. Some of it will resonate with your ideal candidate, and some of it won't. That's OK. Experimenting with content is how you learn what works.
DEVELOP A CONTENT CREATION SCHEDULE
At its most effective, content creation is highly organized. An editorial calendar can help you stay on track. Attention spans are short and unforgiving. When your audience knows that there's always something new, you'll hold their attention and gain their trust. If creation and publishing are erratic, they'll go someplace else. That's the way of the digital world.
Hubspot recommends two calendars to keep content creation and sharing on target. One calendar is for managing the editorial side. It lets you plan out what you'll create and when you'll create it months in advance. If you've ever experienced that sinking feeling that comes from a missed opportunity, you know why planning content early matters.
The other calendar is for social media sharing. Every social channel is different, just like your target audience. Certain days are better for reaching your audience on Facebook and some are better for Twitter. Time of day matters, too.
Using an editorial calendar and a social media calendar, you'll know well in advance what to work on, where you'll share it and when.
CLEAN UP LANDING PAGES
You've probably seen websites with landing pages so confusing you had no idea what to do. That's a holdover from the internet in its infancy when no one had a clue about optimization.
In a hard-copy magazine or newspaper, you'd have a captive audience. You could pack miles of information onto a page. The same method in a digital format is confusing for the consumer. Confused people tend to make choices that you wish they hadn't, such as clicking out and going someplace else where there's more room to breathe.
Landing pages should make it easy for your audience to take the right next step. How do you do that? With minimal fuss. Once a content consumer clicks your CTA and lands at your hiring site, your landing page should make the next step as clear as possible.
How many landing pages do you need? How many goals do you have and how many different candidate profiles do you have? There's really no limit. In fact, you could have more than one landing page for the same goal, just aimed at different content consumers.
Person A and person B might be very different and respond to different types of content, but you still might want them to ultimately take the same action. The content they consume might be different. The CTA button they click might send them to entirely different landing pages. But those landing pages might still direct them into the same funnel. They just needed a different path to get there.
TRACK CONTENT PERFORMANCE
None of your hard work will matter if you don't know how it's working for you. That's why technology that enables tracking is so important. Data is the key to improving employer brand awareness because it tells you what really happened. Data analytics turns that information into something more digestible.
It doesn't matter if the only content you produce is a weekly blog post or you're active every day with content creation and sharing. Without tracking, you can't see results. Without results, you can't improve and you can't use performance to bargain for a better budget next year.
Content Marketing Institute says there's an important difference between tracking KPIs and learning what's working and why.
You'll want to measure brand awareness, especially since employment branding is your highest goal. Watch these metrics to learn more:
- Page, video and other content views
- Website traffic
- Social activity
Engagement matters, as that shows how well your content resonates with your target audience. These metrics tell you what you need to know:
- Social media comments
- Blog comments
- Inbound links
How well does your content generate leads? Here's where to look:
- Blog subscriptions
- Newsletter subscriptions
As with virtually every other aspect of content marketing, there's no limit to what you can track. Begin with the basics. Over time, you'll learn which metrics matter more for your campaigns.
Employment branding is so much more than just a logo and a mission statement. Branding is personal now because that's what works. Instead of throwing one message to the wind and hoping that it lands well, you can craft numerous messages and direct them to the people you want to reach.
With content creation as your new employer branding strategy, you have more control over messaging. You can raise brand awareness with the right content for the right people at the right time in the right place. Not only that, you can track it, watch it unfold and either course correct what doesn't work or enhance what does.