We all know why it’s important to cultivate our employer brand by now, right?

As a quick recap, here’s the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s definition of the term:

“All organisations have, consciously or otherwise, an employer brand. It’s the way in which organisations differentiate themselves in the labour market, enabling them to recruit, retain and engage the right people. A strong employer brand helps businesses compete for the best talent and establish credibility. It should connect with an organisation’s values and must run consistently through its approach to people management.”

What’s the difference between an employer brand and an employee value proposition (EVP), I hear you ask?

Well, an EVP is what you think makes your business a great place to work – both the tangible and intangible factors that set your organisation apart.

An employer brand, on the other hand, is what candidates perceive your EVP to be – the cluster of beliefs, experiences and impressions that candidates use to decide whether they would like to work for your organisation.

To put it another way, your employer brand supports your EVP – it backs up the promises made, showing candidates that you are true to your word.

Employer branding = content marketing for candidates

Employer branding is all about content and here’s why:

  • Content marketing is all about using content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – employer branding uses content to attract and retain talent.
  • Employer branding requires content to be produced regularly and consistently.
  • Employer branding content needs to be distributed astutely so that it finds the right audience.
  • Content marketing is about telling the story of your brand to your customers – employer branding is about telling the story of your brand to your target candidates.
  • Organisations need to use all types of content to develop their employer brand.

Quite simply, you can’t expect to be able to develop a strong employer brand without using content. Content is the bait to reel in those who may not be looking to move, but would make a great fit at your organisation.

It’s all about developing a relationship with these passive talent groups. When you have a relationship, it becomes much easier to ‘convert’ these candidates into employees.

However, it often takes a good deal more to turn candidates into employees than it does to turn prospects into customers – it’s a much greater commitment.

So, content needs to be meaningful – consistently so – to your target audience. As with content marketing, employer branding needs to present your business as one that people can identify and feel an affinity with.

So, how do you go about creating content that moves people?

Step one: Know your audience

When I say “know your audience”, I mean really know your audience – not just who they are, but what makes them tick.

If you’re serious about creating content that truly resonates with passive candidates, you should build some talent personas. When drawing up these personas, combine audience research with the information you pick up from talking to your own employees.

You can then take these personas and apply them accordingly. For instance, if you’re hiring for persona A roles, your content should be created according to this audience’s behaviours, preferences, values and needs.

Step two: Develop your brand story

As much as content needs to be aligned with what’s important to your audience, it also needs to be in keeping with your employer brand. You can’t sell prospect candidates something that isn’t reality, just because it’s what they want to hear.

You should always start with what your brand stands for: your EVP, your values, or even your customer proposition. Then it’s a case of tallying that with what’s important to your audience. If you can get those two to overlap when developing your brand story, you’ll be in the “content sweet spot”.

Step three: Identify trustworthy sources

As we all know, content is only as reliable as its source. How engaged prospect candidates are with your employer brand content will depend on who’s telling the story.

The most persuasive content is often that which has come from the target audience itself, but that might not be so easy in this case. The next best thing is having employees generate content themselves – content which backs up the image the organisation wants to portray.

Content should come from a range of trustworthy sources – hiring managers, recruiters, subject matter experts – proving that your EVP is being upheld.

Step four: Know your formats

In this day and age, you shouldn’t limit yourself to text-based content. The written word will always have its place, but visual content is proving more and more powerful from an employer branding perspective.

The best advice I can give is to make sure you know the formats and channels that your audience are interested in, and create content that will flourish when it’s asked to. After all, distribution is half the battle when it comes to getting your content seen.

Step five: Measure your efforts

Getting a feel for what your audience deem meaningful and relevant can take a bit of time. However, with all the data and reporting tools that are available to us today, it shouldn’t take too long to get a feel for what content people are ‘digging’.

Measuring your content allows you to see what percentage of your audience that’s following you on social, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, for instance, are engaging with your content.

These findings should inform your content strategy going forward, in terms of both production and distribution. After a while, you should get to a point whereby you know that a piece of content is going to hit home with its target audience.

Once you’ve got that formula sorted, it’ll be a case of watching all the great applications come flooding in.

Here at Q, we aim to make producing meaningful employer branding content as easy as possible.

Give us a call to find out how we can help.

Ben Hollom

August 13, 2020