June 07, 2016

How To Create Awesome Employer Brand Content Candidates Will Love

A bad hire can cost companies more than $50,000. But that’s not the end of the story. According to this recent TLNT article, there are many hidden consequences of a mis-hire: unwanted turnover, lower employee productivity and engagement, increased manager and leadership burnout, reduction in innovation and poor customer service, which can all negatively impact your company’s bottom line and success. So a bad hire can actually cost you a lot more than you think it does.

What can you do to make sure this doesn’t happen to your company then? You need to proactively build your employer brand to attract and influence only the best (and right) talent to apply and work for your company.

By sharing employer brand content that paints an authentic, accurate picture of what life is like and the work candidates might be doing if they joined your company, you can help candidates self-select and decide if they are a good fit. This not only increases the quality of your job applicants, but also reduces the amount of unqualified candidates that come in, thus lowering your chance of making a bad hire.

But creating effective employer brand content can be pretty hard. In fact, it’s a common content problem many HR and employer branding professionals face. To help you get your employer brand content right, Shannon Smedstad, who previously led employer branding at CEB and GEICO, shares these six best practices that will help you create great employer brand content and attract top talent:

Tip #1: Develop Your Content Strategy

Every piece of employer brand content you develop needs to have a purpose and shares with candidates something they are interested in learning more about your company, to help them with their decision-making process – this including your company culture, values, mission and employees.

To create more meaningful content, you’ll want to spend some time developing an annual editorial and social media calendar. Your calendar should align with your internal communications and recruiting plans as well as company-wide business objectives, to ensure you are meeting all your stakeholder needs and expectations.

Having a calendar also helps you prioritize and organize your content better, so you’re sharing a variety of content all the time and not spamming your audience with the same content over and over again.

Here’s a great example of an editorial calendar from Shannon:

Tip #2: Engage & Build Excitement

Successful employer brand content creates positive emotional responses, both internally and externally. And according to a CEB study, there are six basic things employees need in the workplace in order to achieve optimal engagement, satisfaction and performance: meaningful work, personal growth, recognition, autonomy/freedom, respect and a sense of belonging.

When developing your content strategy and editorial calendar, think about how you can create content that align and meet these needs. What channels, internally and externally, can you use to foster and showcase these six areas?

For example, you can create a series of blogs to highlight individual and team success and achievements, video interview employees and have them share the impact they’re making through their work at your company, or start an Instagram or Twitter contest showcasing a day in the life of employees and their teams.

There are tons of other creative things you could do with your employer brand content and channels, but the key is to offer a variety of ways employees can get involved (so they can do what they feel most comfortable with) and share content that matters to your target candidates, driving them to take the desired action, such as engaging with your content or applying for an opportunity.

Tip #3: Provide Accessible Content & Experience

People’s attention span is extremely short today, so you’ve only got a few seconds to get their attention and get your message across. Blogs, for example, it’s found that people only read approximately 28% of the words in a post during an average page visit, which means that readers should be able to scan and pull out your key points in six seconds or less.

To make your content more consumable, think about how you can really simplify it so people will find what they need to know in just a few minutes. This applies to both the design and layout of your content and channels you use to share your content. Take the blog example again, if you're writing longer form content, you’ll want to break up your text with headings, lists, visuals or other elements to make your content more scannable, so people can skim and find what they want to read quickly and easily.   

Tip #4: Make It Visual

People remember images six times easier than text. Furthermore, people remember 80% of what they see, but this drops to 20% when it comes to what they read. This just goes to show how powerful visuals can be in helping you create compelling employer brand content that will engage people and make a lasting impression on them.

So think about how you can incorporate visuals into your content. How can you encourage employees to contribute photos and videos, and how do you go about curating them and leveraging channels like Instagram or Snapchat to share your visual content?

Tip #5: Leverage Employee-Generated Content

A lot of times the most engaging content is not original content you have created yourself, but ones straight from your employees. Not only is employee-generated content a great opportunity to empower your employees to share their stories and build your employer brand, but it can also be a powerful tool to improve employee engagement and trust.

To get started with curating employee-generated content, you’ll want to identify who your brand ambassadors are, which employees may have a great story to tell, and who would fit the different content formats and channels you’re working with. Make sure your employee-generated content aligns with the content themes you have developed as part of your content strategy as well as the six employee needs mentioned in Tip #2.

You’ll also want to think about how you can empower employees to continue to contribute so you have a sustainable, healthy pipeline of employee-generated content you can use over time. For example, some companies have incorporated a gamification component with point systems and leaderboards to recognize and reward employees who proactively contribute content.

Keep in mind that what works well for one company might not always work for another, so you’ll want to talk with your employees to understand what their motivation drivers are to create unique, meaningful recognition moments that work for them.

Tip #6: Measure Your Result

Creating your employer brand content is only half the battle, you’ll need to measure your content effectiveness so you can identify what’s working (and isn’t) and continue improving your employer branding efforts.

Some helpful metrics you want to be tracking include:

  • Engagement rate is the percentage of audience who is engaging with your content, including likes, shares and comments. You’ll want to look at this by each channel to see how well your content is resonating with your target audience.

  • Likes and Shares per post can tell you what types of content your audience enjoys and finds shareworthy.

  • Total reach is the number of people who have engaged with your brand or have viewed your content.

  • Overall shares are the total shares of your content. This is a great indicator of whether the content you’re sharing is of high quality, so much so that your audience is sharing it and helping to increase the reach of your brand.

  • Overall mentions for your branded channels will tell you whether people are talking about your brand and if there is a positive brand growth. If there is a decrease, you may need to readjust your strategy or change your messaging so it resonates with the audience you’re targeting.

  • Retention rate is a good indicator of the strength of your employer brand and efforts as engagement tools for current employees. If your employer branding efforts are effective, usually you will see a correlation in your retention rate.

  • Quality of applicants will help you evaluate whether your employer brand content is effective at helping candidates screen themselves in and out, so only candidates who are qualified and a good fit would apply.

  • Quality of hire data, specifically on candidates who were influenced or came through your employer brand channels, will help you measure the ROI of your employer branding efforts and understand whether your employer brand content is successful at attracting the best talent for your company.

These are just some of the metrics you’ll want to start measuring to help you evaluate the effectiveness of your employer brand content and how your efforts are impacting your company’s recruiting results.

What other tips do you have to create great employer brand content? Please share your ideas below!

Do you need help with building or optimizing your employer brand strategy? Contact me here and let’s chat about how we can help your organization with attracting and hiring top talent.

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