Storytelling has become a crucial element of building a brand an creating an emotional connection with customers. It’s no different in recruiting top talent to your organization. Working on executive search engagements at all levels, I have seen the power of a compelling story in piquing the interest of an amazing passive candidate that wasn’t looking to make a change.
To craft a compelling story around your employer brand, you must know your audience and differentiate your offering, so check out the first two installments in this series to get started. From there, you need to get that story out into the world, so let’s talk about how marketers do it.
Content marketing defined
Content marketing is about engaging with prospective and existing customers through the creation and distribution of a variety of media through a variety of channels. At its basic level, it is taking your story and connecting it with customers in all the ways they consume stories (video, blogs, podcasts, books, social media, events) in all the places they consume them (online, offline, word of mouth…and now even virtual reality).
Content types x content channels = Telling Your Story
From an employer brand perspective, the easiest place to start is to look at what existing content you have and where it is being distributed. Partner with your marketing team to take a look at their marketing calendar. There may be content they are using to connect with customers that can be re-purposed to attract great talent. Similarly, there may be channels that they are using that you can piggyback in. No need to start from scratch here.
In both cases – content and channels – there may also be some gaps to fill in to promote your employer brand. For example, LinkedIn and Glassdoor are great channels to tell your employer brand story, but they might not be on Marketing’s radar. Marketing is surely using Facebook and Instagram, but they might not be posting about your internal culture, highlighting community service events or featuring employees within the organization.
If you are in a company where marketing is too under-resourced (or unwilling) to assist with telling your employer story, you might need to come up with content on your own. The good news is that this is getting easier and more cost effective all the time. Content doesn’t have to be expensive – it just takes a little time, and some strategic planning, to write a blog post, create an Instagram feed or create an engaging video using your iPhone and a laptop. Just be sure to partner with your marketing team to make sure it is on brand and consistent.
And don’t be afraid to have some fun! The best performing content from an engagement standpoint is inevitably about your people and giving prospective employees a real peek about what it is like to work at your company. When I was VP of Marketing at Eldorado Climbing Walls, our highest engagement social posts were always pictures of our team, not our products. Whether we were participating in Bike to Work Day, doing crag clean up or just getting a visit from the local ice cream truck, more people clicked, liked and engaged with those social posts than any other.
Getting the word out
As you create this content, you want to get it out into the world to engage potential candidates and build your employer brand. Again, it is best to partner with your marketing team on your strategy and execution, so that you aren’t affecting the performance of a marketing strategy and vice versa. Internal coordination aside, it is best to have a regular cadence of posting and sharing content to create an ongoing conversation with your audience. As tempting as it may be to just blast out the same content in all channels, make sure you are tracking and analyzing the results. Content that does great on Instagram, for example, might fall flat on LinkedIn.
Any company can do it
Here are a few examples of great employer branding content. It's not just for big companies with huge budgets and platforms. Small and emerging brands can be just a creative for far less, authentically connecting their employer brand with prospective employees:
Marriott Career Instagram: A great example by a global Fortune 500 company on a cost-effective, simple and engaging way to tell your employer story. You don’t even have to create a career Instagram, just sprinkle in these employee stories in your brand Instagram account. Customers love to learn about your employees too.
Holmes Solutions: Their career page paints a clear and compelling picture of what it is like to work at Holmes and appeals to the type of engineers they are trying to attract. A small firm, Holmes tells their story creatively and succinctly to attract the best talent.
Eldorado Climbing Walls: When I was VP of Marketing at Eldo, we created a series of videos called “We’re Climbers” to highlight the fact that our team were truly connected to our industry. While they were intended as brand videos, nearly everyone that came in for an interview cited the videos as part of the reason they aligned with our culture. They were fun and cost effective to creating, serving the needs of both marketing and recruiting.
Now that you’re engaging your prospective candidates across channels with consistent messaging – aka telling your story – what’s next? Check out the fourth post in the series – Work the funnel – where we discuss the candidate journey. And be sure to read the first two installments in the DIY Your Recruiting series: Know Your Audience and Differentiate Your Offering
Interested in learning more? Check out my post 3 Ways Recruiting is Like Marketing. And 3 Ways it’s Not.
Click here for more details on my training, Steal These 5 Marketing Fundamentals to Make the Best Hire