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How to create meaningful employer brand content


 AIA how to create meaningful brand content

Everyone’s talking about content marketing, but few employers are doing it well. Nathan Perrott, Director of Digital Marketing Strategy at AIA Worldwide, explains what you need to consider.

We define content marketing as “Information created for a specific audience that is valuable and supportive to their needs and interests, available at a time and in a format that is contextually relevant”.

Content is a powerful tool in the employer branding arsenal. It can help you reach passive talent groups by using content as the bait to hook in those who may not be considering a career move or a new employer yet. It helps you to establish a bond with your target audience. When you have a bond, you can start a relationship. When you have a relationship, you can build trust and when you have trust, the ‘sell’ (to apply for a job) becomes much more organic. 

Content is a core component of any candidate relationship marketing strategy. Ultimately, this will lead to optimising your conversion rates, which for employers, usually means a better application to hire ratio.

When it comes to creating content, it can help to think about the following six layers to ensure you create meaningful employer brand content for your audience.

The Content Layer Cake

Layer 1: Audience. 

Understanding your audience is the most critical element when it comes to creating content. So, how do you segment your target audiences for employer brand content marketing? Here are some examples:

  • By job specialism / subject matter expertise
  • By stage of career / experience level
  • By stage of candidate lifecycle
  • By cultural fit
  • By location and / or language
  • By audience interest

Layer 2: The Story You’re Telling. 

More often than not, content should be aligned to what’s important to your audience (layer 1) and what your brand stands for. If you have an EVP, it might be placing your supporting pillars at the centre of your content strategy, but it could equally be your values, or even your customer proposition in some cases (such as Three’s #MakeItRight campaign). 

The balance between creating content that is important to your audience and that which is aligned to your employer brand, is known as the 'content sweet spot’. Not every piece of content you produce has to fall where these two intersect, but it’s where you should aim for.

Layer 3: The Source. 

The strength of the bond you build with your audience will be driven by who’s telling the story, as well as the tone of voice. It’s no secret that content which has a corporate tone is the least authentic and least trusted. Employee review sites and the democratisation of opinion have exposed organisations and their cultures. If the corporate voice says one thing, and it’s not true, they get found out and exposed. Employers have to use trustworthy sources to tell their stories. 

Here are some examples of who could be telling your employer story: 

  • Colleagues
  • Subject matter experts
  • Hiring managers
  • Recruiters
  • Corporate voice
  • 3rd Party / independent point of view
  • The target audience (user generated content)

Layer 4: The Content Format. 

Text is the easiest and cheapest content to create, but it’s not always the most engaging format. Video has boomed in recent years and will continue its quest to become the content format of choice over the next few years, but be considered. 

It’s easy to spend tens of thousands of pounds on a shiny employer brand video to sit on your careers website homepage, but will anybody watch it? Make sure it’s captivating and is helpful to the audience. Employee generated content can often be the most authentic, trustworthy content, but not everyone is born to be on camera.

The content format you choose is likely to be influenced by the channel that you’re thinking of using, so have that in mind when you’re deciding upon format.  Examples:

  • Text
  • Video
  • Photos
  • Audio
  • Graphics
  • Infographics
  • Games
  • Virtual and Augmented reality
  • Apps
  • Experiential and Events

Layer 5: Engagement level. 

The engagement level is about how much investment you require from your audience to consume your content. Here are the four main categories of engagement level:

  • Micro-form: g. takes 1 to 30 seconds to consume - social media status updates, messaging via social apps, etc
  • Short-form:g. about 30 seconds to 15 minutes - a short blog post, employee profile video, a TED talk, etc
  • Long-form:g generally takes longer than 15 minutes to consumer - a thought leadership white paper, an eBook, a 45 subject matter talk, etc. 
  • Live:g. Facebook Live, Snapchat, Periscope, live chat events. Note, that micro, short and long forms can all be live too.

Layer 6: Content

Having understood your audience and their needs, aligned it to your brand pillars and / or messaging framework, and what format your content will take shape in, you now need to get on and create the content. The list of employer brand content that can be created for talent attraction is pretty much endless, but here are a few examples of the types of content you might create. 

  • Job postings
  • Profiles / interviews
  • SME Podcast
  • Article / blog post
  • Tips, advice and how to…
  • Reviews
  • Location spotlight
  • Organisation culture focus
  • Diversity focus
  • SME Insight, thought leadership and opinion
  • Project case study
  • Customer focus
  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR) / social mobility 

Understanding your audience and creating content that meets their needs and answers their questions can be very time consuming, it requires a lot of effort and costs money (at least in terms of promoting it to ensure they find it). But the rewards are huge, particularly in giving you exposure to audiences that may never have considered you as one employer before or even heard of your organisation.

This is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared on

Register today for Nathan’s AGR webinar on designing a content marketing and social media strategy.

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