How to Manage the Content for Your Employer Brand
When it comes to content marketing and your employer brand, the most valuable asset you have — second only to the people in your organization who generate content and drive engagement — is the content itself. Properly
Assembling a content marketing and management team
Although you’re no doubt eager to dive into content marketing, wade in the shallow end first and making sure you have a competent team in place to do it right. Having a content marketing and management team in place before you get started is a crucial first step, because, if your organization is like most, it hasn’t collected and curated its content in any consistent or effective manner. A skilled and experienced team can manage the content in a way that ensures optimal impact.
An all-star content marketing and management team should contain people in the following roles:
- Employer brand specialists: These team members typically create your EVP and brand promises either in-house or with the support of external communication agencies. They should understand your strengths as an employer and be able to tap into the HR and employee communications network to dig out strong advocates and good employment-related stories. They should also be well versed in social channels, segmentation, and community engagement.
- Content managers: Content managers are in charge of storing, protecting, cataloging, and indexing both internally and externally generated content. In a large organization this may already be a specialist role, but in most companies it will be an enthusiastic communications manager or personal assistant.
- Subject matter experts (SMEs): SMEs are the linchpin to any content marketing effort, because they have the knowledge to generate relevant, informative, and compelling content, and they’re best suited to evaluate what the target audiences crave. SMEs include most members of the senior team, functional heads, and specialists in a range of fields that combine both the interest and the ability to provide content of interest to your target talent groups. Because this is unlikely to be written into their current job description, you’ll need to explain the benefit of devoting some time to content creation, and plenty of encouragement to help them get into the habit.
Conducting a content audit
One of the first steps in content marketing and management is to figure out what you already have in stock — existing content. Such content can save you considerable time and effort in getting your content marketing off the ground. To find out how much and what kind of relevant content already exists, perform a content audit. The aim of the content audit is to identify the following:
- Content you’ve already published that could be rechanneled: Examples include video content on your career site that could be republished on your YouTube channel, or stories that appeared in your in-house magazine that could be rechanneled to LinkedIn or Facebook.
- Content you have immediately available to publish: This might include existing photo archives.
- Content that may exist locally or in other functions: For example, you might have marketing content that could be edited and repurposed for employer brand marketing.
- Areas of expertise that align with target audience interests that you haven’t yet tapped into.
In addition to providing a detailed record of the content and sources you have on hand, your content audit serves as a valuable tool for identifying gaps that need to be filled.
If you have a large quantity of existing content and want to conduct a more comprehensive audit, check out Content Strategy for the web, 2nd Edition, by Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach (New Riders), which provides an excellent framework for this kind of assessment.
Tagging and categorizing content to facilitate indexing and raise its search engine ranking
Whether you’re taking inventory of existing content or generating fresh content, you need to categorize and tag it for indexing. Categories and tags serve as metadata (data that describes data), and metadata serves two very important purposes:
- It makes content easier for you and others to search and find later.
- Search engines rely on metadata to properly index content and deliver relevant search results to users. More important for your purposes, proper indexing can raise your content’s ranking in search results.
Metadata is especially important for photos, videos, and audio clips. Search engines have a more difficult time indexing these items, because this content type contains no text that the search engines can identify. When publishing such content, try to include it on a page with descriptive text, place the item in a section with a descriptive heading, add a caption (if possible), and use HTML tags to add alt text and other descriptors that search engines can use to identify and index the content.
For the kind of employer brand content you’re indexing, you should ideally add four kinds of tags to each element:
- Content theme: For example, development, innovation, flexibility (depending on your EVP pillars), and other regular topics
- Content source: For example, subject expert, employee generated, or third party
- Content type: For example, advertising, story, or profile
- Content substance: For example, employee, engineering, training, London
Whatever tags you use, make them as consistent, descriptive, and intuitive as possible.
Building a content marketing editorial calendar
A content marketing editorial calendar is a tool that keeps your content marketing program on track and ensures a consistent, continuous flow of fresh content. It also facilitates the process of assigning and scheduling content development with SMEs and others in charge of generating content. You use a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, project planning software, or advanced content management system (CMS) to create and manage your editorial calendar.
From a communication and content publishing perspective, consider scheduling your content marketing tasks based on the likely cycle time of each major element:
- Long cycle (limited change over 12 months): These elements represent the hub of your brand communication efforts and typically include your career website home page along with your professional and social media profile pages. In most cases, the majority of this content should be closely aligned with your EVP.
- Medium cycle (3 to 12 months): These elements include anything you can reasonably plan for in advance, including the graduate recruiting season, insight, and opinion pieces; Q&A sessions; and employee stories and profiles.
Your editorial calendar comes in handy particularly for these medium-cycle tasks. Your calendar may serve as a master content plan covering all your content sourcing, curation, and distribution activities and their target dates. In addition, your calendar should identify the channel in which each content piece is to be published.
- Short cycle (real time): Short-cycle tasks include the majority of job postings and the more opportunistic real-time posting and response to social media content.