The value of content in the world of Employer Branding

The “new” big thing in marketing is content and to “think like a publisher”. But what does this mean? Surely it is still about the transaction. Amazon, Brands4Friends, eBay, Otto, etc want you to stuff your basket full of items and get you through checkout as quickly and easily as possible. That’s exactly why Amazon has 1-click. See it, 1-click, buy it, done.

But, what makes you decide that Amazon is the place to go? Despite the recent scandal in which Amazon got itself trapped and the opinions of many around me, I personally check Amazon for the majority of things I buy because they make it VERY easy for me to buy something from any device and have the connections to deliver incredibly fast. From one day to the other… presto! At my door.

So if any web shop offers an (almost) “frictionless” but they have to get me to use them once. When they have achieved that first transaction then they have to make sure I continue to love them and keep on coming back for more. But, if many large discounters have a better deal, because they too make it easy for me to buy, I will buy from Bauer if they have the better deal. But I won’t look elsewhere because I don’t have the desire as my perception is that I’ll have to go through a long winded payment process. More hassle than I am prepared to accept. Wrong no doubt but perception is reality.

People look at employers in a similar way. If Company X who I like is hiring, then I will take a look but if Company Z is hiring, no way. My perception (read belief) of Company Z is bad even though my perception may be based on old information and is now totally inaccurate. So Company Z has an employer brand challenge to address as far as I am concerned; and there may be many more like me.

So what does your employer brand look like?

I’ve been trying to find undiscovered virtuosos of different fields since 2001. Concepts such as SEO, SEM and more recently social get inconsistent levels of adoption but whilst employer brand appears to consistently get more airtime, I see no more actual effort on execution. So I often hear senior HR people talk about their employer brand but what do we really see? What concrete steps do we see of an employer defining their value to their prospective talent; or even their existing talent? 

The way I see it is this. Every employer has a brand. They are known in their market and people have a perception of what that organisation is like as an employer. It may simply be that they are cool (Apple, Amazon, Google, ThoughtWorks, SoundCloud….. [you choose]), so people assume they would be great places to work. Or they are very UNcool as they have been getting bad press recently possibly due to share price dropping (you’re still cool Facebook!) or some other kind of negative event. Yet in either case, perception may have little or no bearing on reality.

Ultimately, it is down to the “marketing people” (recruiters) to produce the kind of content that convinces people that cool = cool and not UNcool (or whatever message is chosen).

Recruitment advertising vs. recruitment marketing

I really think Recruiters still need to advertise their jobs in the right places so that candidates can find them and apply for them and the process still needs to be constantly measured and improved to ensure as many great candidates become great applicants.

But, if there is no marketing to define why you are the right place to work for XYZ candidates you will get very few of the right candidates and too many of the wrong. So to get more of the right candidates many recruiters spend money on job boards (and agencies) rather than look at their marketing activities.

This to me why the majority of recruiters I know state attracting the best talent as one of their top 3 issues; if not the most critical.

How to decide on the right type of content to help your employer brand

First of all you need to understand what is important to your target audience. If you have hourly paid roles, whilst money is important, you probably can’t change what you offer so maybe you have more flexibility than your competitors. Or better staff discounts. Or free parking. You get the idea.

You need to know where your target audience is. Hourly may be on Facebook chatting to their Friends so they want stories not adverts. Stories about that are important to them. That free bus passes maybe. Or the great staff discounts. Imagine showing the latest greatest product on your Facebook Page appended with a comment “Our lucky employees get 40% discount on this.”

Looking at graduate level candidates, maybe the opportunity to move to different countries is important so a short guide on graduate employers that offer International assignments.

Or an engineer may want to know how as an organisation your R&D people are thinking about the cost of oil or global warming. 

So as recruiters we need to initially know more about our target than they do about us. Once we do, we can start to think about the type of content we can create.

Would you like to see a crazy an cool idea? Recently one of my colleagues shared a story from Mars in the UK, that is what I call taking advantage of the nature of a platform while finding a creative way to connect online and offline. An elegant solution for the broken customer journey. Thumbs up!




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2 responses to “The value of content in the world of Employer Branding

  1. Excellent article Maria…I share similar sentiments and have discussions with some colleaguesnon this quite frequently.

    What’s core in all this is the evolution of the role of a recruiter. From the old ‘Post and Pray’ techniques of finding (hopefully) suitable candidates – to the multi-faceted new.age recruiter / sourcer / employer brand evangelist armed with the skills and competencies to not JUST recruit and hire, but additionally market, analyse, sell and convince.

    Equally important is that selling the employer brand is more than just a HR responsibility..ideally, every employee should champion their brand and have the tools and info to support them in doing so…

    Long one, apologies..the Mars idea is quite cool! 🙂

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