Content is at the heart of everything we do on the web.
It is content that seeds interest through social media, it is content that gets the views on YouTube and Vimeo, it is content that the candidates will read and decide whether or not your organisation is the right fit for them at their current stage in life.
While content is great and everyone has the power to write — even me, right now, on this blog — content is hard.
Here are a few things you should be considering when building your content strategy
- Define your business goals - everything you do should be tied back to a business goal. This can be a great way to head off any conversations about content creation that is a little off piste... if it isn't contributing to the goals then it's not part of the plan.
- Identify your ROI metrics - how are you going to engage success? Is it an increase in applications, number of hires, reduction in attrition, increase in the number of pages visited or the time spent on the site? Without these metrics you won't be able to determine whether the investment was worth the effort.
- Do your research - This is both market research to identify what your candidates want to know about, but also what are your competitors talking about. For this you can use tools like moz.com to monitor competitors and get suggestions for content for the types of search terms you want to be found. It is important here not to copy your competition... if you do what they're doing then you'll still be playing catch up. You want to aim ahead of the curve, or as Wayne Gretzky once said "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been."
- Create a content calendar - This is a long term approach to content marketing and not a one hit wonder. You will want to map your content plans out 12 months in advance so you can pick key points in the year for key topics that will be of interest to the candidates. This also spreads out the effort over the year and allows it to become part of your day to day role rather than a massive short term project that disappears after the first round. We use tools like Gather Content to map out the content that is required, assign to various editors and set deadlines for the different phases of creating content (collecting, editing, images, SEO review, approval)
- Build a platform - There are many platforms for content curation and publishing. The chances are that you already have a blog on your Careers site that could be used, and if not most Content Management Systems can easily add one in effort free. You have the option to host the blog externally from your site through something like wordpress.com, Tumblr, Medium (which is a lovely writing experience by the way), BUT I would encourage you to add it to your Careers site or at least run it off the same domain to get the most ROI for the content hub. You could even build an entire site dedicated to the content completely separate to the Careers site like we did with Lloyds Banking Group and Discover What Matters which is designed to provide entry-level talent with information about entering the workforce but without trying to sell them a particular job.
- Launch, Measure, Improve - Once you launch it's time to start monitoring how your content is performing towards your ROI and business goals. Which topics are performing well, what content types are doing well (list style articles, short stories, case studies)? Use the data you get back from tools like Google Analytics and Moz to continue to hone future content pieces.
From a commercial point of view, simply creating thousands of new web pages will not necessarily help you sell more products or services or deliver more value to your users. At the highest level, content hubs are a big investment and not a path to be taken lightly, especially given the amount of resources required, development, SEO and content, as well as buy-in from senior stakeholders. Despite all of this, it is not just large-scale businesses that would benefit from this digital marketing strategy. While a significantly sized content hub might be out of reach for some, the key principles here, such as understanding the possible return on investment (ROI) such content provides, as well as how to effectively research and deliver useful information to your target audience, remain applicable for businesses that don’t have a large budget to invest.