How to Master the Principles of Content Marketing for Your Employer Branding Campaign
If you want to be truly successful with your employer branding strategy, you will need to embrace content marketing. New trends have sparked a revolution in marketing, as Rebecca Lieb explains in her book Content Marketing:
Companies have been creating and distributing content for many years, both to attract new business and to retain existing customers. However, here’s the point of differentiation from more traditional forms of marketing and advertising: … It isn’t push marketing, in which messages are sprayed out at groups of consumers. Rather, it’s a pull strategy… . It’s being there when consumers need you and seek you out with relevant, educational, helpful, compelling, engaging, and sometimes entertaining information.
Several other points differentiate content marketing from the traditional push marketing used in recruitment advertising:
- Content marketing looks “native” to the media in which it appears. Although advertising is designed to stand out from the rest of the content on the page you’re viewing, content marketing is designed to blend in. This is especially true in the social media context where it should look and feel more like a personal post from a friend than a corporate announcement.
- Content marketing lets people draw their own conclusions. The brand communication tends to be implicit, by association, rather than explicit, by proclamation. It’s a demonstration of what you are rather than a presentation of what you claim to be. If you want people to think you’re cool, you don’t tell them you’re cool, you do cool things. If you want people to think you’re funny, you don’t tell them you’re funny, you make them laugh.
- Content marketing opens up paths to the brand. In many cases, consumers or candidates aren’t seeking out your brand or business. What they’re searching for is content that’s relevant to their needs. They’re looking for relevant information and fascinating stories. Only after they find the desired content do they discover your brand.
- The best content marketing is naturally contagious. It’s not just about creating content that people seek out, it’s about content that finds them, because it’s perceived to be relevant and compelling enough for their social and professional connections to share.
With this in mind, another way to define content marketing is
The generation of a rich flow of engaging and shareable content that matches a wide variety of target audience needs and interests, while simultaneously building desired associations with the brand.
Balancing immediate engagement with long-term brand building
Building desired brand associations is crucial. You stand to benefit whenever you succeed in associating your brand with content that engages people’s attention and leaves them feeling informed, entertained, or inspired (hopefully all three). Whenever you’re able to make people feel better than they did prior to engaging with your content and brand, you reinforce your organization’s brand presence, especially if the audience chooses to comment on or share that content.
However, the longer-term goal of brand management is not just to leave people with a warm glow, but to implant specific and distinctive associations that differentiate you from your competitors and impel people to buy, join, or recommend your brand. To strike the right balance between immediate engagement and long-term brand building, here’s what you need to do:
- Start with your employer value proposition (EVP), which provides a thematic structure.
Always be on the lookout for stories and other content that demonstrate and support your employer brand promises. If you’re positioning yourself as an employer with a strong focus on development, for example, try to feature a strong mix of content related to employees learning new skills and progressing in their careers.
- Supplement your EVP with local communication objectives and engagement drivers.
In addition to consistently building your overall employer brand, be sensitive to the local context. Local communication objectives could include building basic awareness and familiarity with what the company does. Likewise, local engagement drivers include communication themes that may not be touched on in the global EVP but are highly relevant and attractive at the local level.
From a publishing perspective, your value proposition and communication objectives provide you with the equivalent of editorial guidelines.
Local engagement hooks and employer branding
Balancing global brand consistency with local color is important to maintaining core brand integrity while appealing to specific audiences. To deliver content that captures the attention and interest of specific target groups, look for opportunities to add content that matches attraction drivers specific to the countries, functions, and job types you’re targeting. Here are a few examples of localized content:
- Specific work locations and how employees make the most of where they live
- Fresh perspectives from experts on subjects relevant to their chosen disciplines
- “Day in the life” stories or career profiles
- Passions and pastimes employees are pursuing outside working hours
- Stories about how employees maintain a healthy work-life balance