Employer

What content pulls on the heartstrings and really moves people? This week we chat with Will Staney, founder and CEO Proactive Talent all about creating engaging content for employer branding.

Have a listen to our chat below, keep reading for a summary and don’t forget to subscribe to the Employer Branding Podcast.

What is your approach to employer branding content in recruitment?

It’s all about content. It’s what feeds the engine. It’s the fuel. Without great content, it’s harder for candidates to really select in or out of your hiring process. It’s harder to attract top talent in your company, and engage your current workforce. Without content, you can’t tell your story.

It takes a mix of content as well. It needs video and pictures to really give a transparent look at your company content, really good, authentic content is essential. But it’s not always easy to do.

What is a step-by-step guide to achieve success in employer branding?

Tip 1: Is developing your content strategy. This is being very intentional about what kind of content is going to resonate with our audience. That includes building out talent personas, and doing some research, talking to your current employees. Where do they go to get their news? What are their interests? What bands do they listen to? All these interests help you to develop the kind of content, and the persona that does well at your organization. You can then take that data, and other data like, what kind of roles are we hiring for? What are our high priority hiring initiatives right now? You take all that and you start to build your content strategy that helps fuel those initiatives. Employer brand and recruiting marketing strategies should tie into the actual business initiatives at your company. You align talent acquisition to the true strategic mission and objectives of your company, and you get proactive about it. You start to notice that talent acquisition and employer branding starts getting more of a seat at the table because the business starts to understand. With content, you take this and then you start to build out an editorial calendar.

Tip 2: Is to engage and build excitement. Your content should be something that is helping to elicit an emotional response, both internally with your own employees where it gives them that warm feeling of pride when they watch that cool employee highlight video, or someone externally learns something new about the company. When you can change perceptions or really engage and pull people’s heart-strings around the mission of your company, that is when you win. And so,

Tip 3: Is providing accessible content and an experience. In other words, look at the different channels where you’re posting certain content. Some content works well in other channels and not in others. For example blogs. People read maybe 28% of the words in a blog post. So you have to make sure that the content is very concise and that they can pull your key points in six seconds. Then you want to make your content really consumable. So maybe that’s a video. Or maybe, you want to do a quick Facebook Live, or Periscope, or Twitter Video of a live, real event that’s happening. That makes it really accessible and you’re giving people an experience like they’re right there watching it.

Tip 4: Make it visual. People remember images six times easier than text. So whenever you can add really great, humanizing photos or videos in the blogs that you’re talking about. Visuals are really powerful for helping to elicit that emotional response, and to really give people an inside look.

Tip 5: Is leveraging employee-generated content. The great thing is you have all these employees, especially if you’re a bigger company and you have a lot of different offices. If you’re an employer brand person, or a recruiter who’s tasked with doing employer branding, you can’t be everywhere at once. So you’ve got to build an army of ambassadors, an army of employer brand agents that are out there capturing some content for you, and sending it in to you.

This does two things. It allows you to get a variety of real content from real people, and your content starts looking like the other content that your friends see in their social feeds. It blends in, it doesn’t look like marketing, it looks authentic. The other is that it empowers employees to be a part of telling what your employer brand and what their experience is. Employees love it. They like seeing the content they created being featured on a major corporate account, it’s really exciting for them. So leveraging employee-generated content is awesome. Have fun with it, create campaigns, and competitions. When I was at SAP, we did this big selfie competition to really promote our new Instagram page when we launched it for life at SAP. And it was a huge hit.

We did the same thing with our client GoDaddy where they did a #GoDaddylife. And now, there are hundreds of awesome employee photos about what they love about working there, all over Instagram.

Tip 6: Is measuring your results. When it comes to employer branding, tracking your engagement rate is really important. What percentage of your audience that’s following you on social, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, are actually engaging with your content? That tells you how good and how engaging your content is. Are your employees engaging with that content? Are they liking it? A main goal of employer branding is to increase awareness of you as an employer. Total number of reach is good at measuring this. What’s the number of people who have been exposed to our employer brand on a monthly, quarterly, annual basis? Overall shares are a really good metric to look at the quality of your content. If it was so good that they shared it with their whole network, then that’s awesome.

When it comes to the effectiveness of good employer branding and your organization, looking at things like retention rate is a really good indicator of the strength of your employer brand and your culture, that people are engaged, staying longer, and they’re enjoying the experience. That can be a really strong correlation.

If the amount of applicants go down, but the quality of each applicant is getting better, that’s a good indication that you’re doing a great job of employer branding, that’s giving them enough information that they can really self-select in or out of your process.

Do you have examples of content that emotionally engaged with people?

You’ve probably seen some of the employer brand videos by our client GE. They did one that went out on the Oscars. This is just a good example of a company whose corporate marketing and employer branding teams are coming together to help change the perception of them not only as a company, but change perceptions as an employer.

They did a video that was like imagine a world where female engineers and scientists were treated like movie stars. What if they were on the cover of the magazines and they were the ones that you see in the news. It really pulled the heart-strings when they announced they were committed to hiring 20,000 women in STEM by 2020.

There’s going to be a whole series coming out in a couple of months that we did for GE Digital, where it’s just real employees in a documentary style, talking about their experience, what they do, and how the products that they’re building has real world effect.

I interviewed for a video, at GE Digital, an engineer who grew up in Haiti. And he was in high school when those massive tsunami and earthquakes happened. It was devastating. And after that happened, he was really interested in STEM and engineering, and he made a commitment to himself that he was going to go out there and try to use and build software that would help predict these disasters better in the future. Now he’s an engineer at GE Digital, building the IoT mobile platform that allows people in these third-world countries that have little access to electricity or internet to have better predictability of natural disasters. It was amazing. I cried interviewing this kid because he’s telling me “I’m here and I built this.” And he won this huge innovation award. And he got to go home to his parents and say, “I went and I built something that will make life better for my family and friends in Haiti.”

I thought “Wow. I want to work here.” I want to be a part of something like that. It’s just amazing. Those are the type of stories that are real, and they exist in your company if you go out and ask the right questions. Pulling at the heart-strings is totally doable. Every human being has a great story.

Follow Will on Twitter @willstaney, and remember to subscribe to the Employer Branding Podcast.

About Jörgen Sundberg

Employer Brand Consultant, Speaker & Author of 'Employee Advocacy: The Ultimate Handbook'.

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