Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock lately, you’ve heard the term “content marketing” and “content strategy” thrown around a lot lately. Yet, it can be a little ambiguous as to what it actually means…and why you should care.

What, exactly, are we talking about here?

First, let’s understand that this whole content idea began largely in the consumer marketing space. So, much of what you read will include references to product marketing, growing a list of sales leads, etc. However, we can apply those same strategies to Human Resources and talent acquisition with some modifications.

Second, let’s define the difference between Content Strategy and Content Marketing for clarity.

I like what Robert Rose had to say about this in his article from awhile back:

“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience — with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

So at its heart, content marketing is a marketing strategy — an approach that uses content to deepen our relationship with customers.

Content strategy, on the other hand, delves deeper into (in Kristina Halvorson’s words) the “creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.” It seeks (in my words) to manage content as a strategic asset across the entirety of the organization.

With that understanding, I focus on content strategy in what I do as I take an overarching approach to content. Once you have a content strategy built, you can always segment down further based on your specific goals and objectives.

For me, the essence of a content strategy is that it forms your foundation upon which so many of your other digital strategies rely upon. You have no social strategy unless you have a content strategy. Your advertising strategy is only half-baked if you have no content strategy driving the message.

It’s the core that ties all of your other elements together.

There’s no better way to spread your employer brand

Now that you have a better idea of what content strategy means, let’s discuss how it can be useful.

As marketers use it to promote their products and place within a particular industry, those of us in talent acquisition should in turn leverage our content to promote our employer brand.

We want to share:

  • The culture of our company
  • Our Employee Value Proposition (EVP)
  • Why our employees like working here
  • What makes us unique
  • What it’s like to work here
  • What do our career opportunities entail
  • Career growth opportunities

What do you want to convey about your company? Are you trying to change your brand perception or make certain aspects of your recruitment business more well-known? That should be a key focus of your content strategy then. (We’ll explore the In’s and Outs of how to create a full content strategy in Part II of this series.)

Take note that I haven’t listed “open requisitions” in any of this. Promoting job reqs is not content. Focus on story-telling, not selling a list of positions. I cannot stress this enough.

Components of content

Now, content can come in all shapes and sizes and each has their set of benefits. As you start thinking about your story – and your capabilities to share that story – consider some of these formats:

  • Professional videos
  • Employee-created / low budget videos
  • Text-based articles
  • Photographs
  • Designed imagery
  • Infographics
  • Short social updates (text, graphics, stats, etc.)
  • Webinars
  • Advertisements
  • Internal communications
  • Employee referrals

Why should you care?

Hopefully by now you should have a better understanding of content strategy and how it can be used. For those in talent acquisition, there’s no better way to share your employer brand than through a cohesive content strategy. And, those with a strong employer brand attract at least 3.5 times more applicants per job (according to a CareerBuilder study).

But, you can also realize more direct benefits like talent network signups, email newsletter subscriptions, improved awareness and increased applications. And, in particular, content can help your hard-to-fill roles and those management/executive positions that have a direct impact on your business.

BONUS:  5 content resources

There are a lot of great content experts out there who are more than happy to share their knowledge. Here are five of my favorites:

  1. Jeff Bullas: One of the most famous influencers in content marketing and social media, Jeff has won a ton of awards and recognition in his time as a blogger and author. One of the very best around.
  2. Content Marketing Institute: I consider this to be the foremost content organization out there. Unbiased and extremely helpful, they provide case studies, how-to’s, conferences, trainings and more. Follow their Twitter feed, bookmark their website and pay attention to what they do. Seriously.
  3. Joe Pulizzi: The founder of the Content Marketing Institute (above bullet). Joe is a publisher, speaker and quite a fan of the color orange.
  4. Ragan Communications:  I’ve learned a lot from Ragan Comms over the years, regardless of my industry or area of focus. A truly fantastic resource for social media, content, PR and overall communications. One of my favs.
  5. ContentlyThey are in the business of running content software, so naturally their own conversations will revolve around content strategy itself and what successful content looks like. A good platform, and a good resource.

Hope this helps you on your path to content greatness. Share this with others in HR and Talent Acquisition who might benefit from a little content knowledge.

Author: With a unique career path that includes experience in Marketing, Communications, Social Media and Recruitment Strategy, Adam Glassman is on a mission to transform Talent Acquisition. 

[Image Credit: Shutterstock]

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