Developing a Rock-Solid Employer Branding Content Strategy

October 12, 2020 • 4 min read

Developing a Rock-Solid Employer Branding Content Strategy

Hannah King

Hannah King

A good employer branding content strategy delivers engaging content that connects with your audience and inspires them to join your company and advocate for your brand.

But your content needs to do more than simply sound appealing to your external audience. It needs to resonate fully with your internal audience too. It’s no good putting out a message that your own employees don’t recognise, or worse, may discredit. So what building a successful strategy really comes down to is using the authentic voices of your people.

All employer branding content strategies vary in some ways, according to the individual business values, purpose and goals. The pillars of your specific strategy will be influenced by your core values – the principles that run right through the blood of your particular organisation. While every strategy differs slightly, the great ones do share certain traits – and these are what I’m discussing here today.


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Pinpoint the pillars of your content strategy

Every business has its own key values that in turn inform its content. With this in mind, the pillars of a strong content strategy are really defined by each individual organisation. It’s so important when communicating externally that your internal audience buys it. If they don’t believe in your message, believe me, word will get out. The last thing you want is those from within commenting on the lack of validity in what you’re saying.

What building a successful strategy really comes down to is using the authentic voices of your people.

At GSK, we constantly revisit what our key values (our pillars) mean. We’re always looking for the proof points to highlight these values in an effective way that resonates with our audiences, both inside and outside our organisation.

Make your content authentic and engaging

Good content is engaging, yes, but being authentic and relevant is crucial too, especially as far as employer branding is concerned.

As I touched on already, one of the best ways to deliver authenticity is by using the voices of your existing employees. Research has repeatedly shown that the level of trust you receive when your internal audience talks to your external audience is significantly higher than that achieved by a corporate statement.

Good content is engaging, yes, but being authentic and relevant is crucial too, especially as far as employer branding is concerned.

At GSK, we base our strategy on identifying the right people to share their experiences and thoughts. Gathering this content can sometimes feel like a job in itself, but it’s worth the time and effort to get this step right. To have that natural storytelling element and sense of authenticity that is so effective, you need the genuine voices of your people to come through.

You also need to manage expectations and the perception of what your workplace environment is like. I’ve seen so many companies wanting to show off brand-new premises they’ve built at head office, but what about their other sites? Their swanky new office may reflect life at HQ, but what about, say, the manufacturing side? It’s probably not all twinkly lights and corporate, polished environments for everyone who works there. You have to ensure you’re really, really demonstrating the reality of working for your organisation.

Structure your strategy so it’s flexible and relevant

Generally speaking, and definitely in the case of large, multinational organisations, you’re never going to be targeting just one audience. As such, you need to make sure your message is relevant to the different groups you’re trying to connect with. It may be from a geographical perspective or from a functional perspective – wherever there’s a difference, adjust your message appropriately. Relevance is a big factor. Give each audience what they want to hear from your organisation.

Relevance is a big factor. Give each audience what they want to hear from your organisation.

The best way to do this is to start with your pillars and then pinpoint your priorities. Once these are aligned, you can invest resources into figuring out the right plan of action for each country you’re targeting.

Our method at GSK has always been to try an approach with a market and see how it works, with regular reviews. For instance, in our priority recruitment markets, we have different personas. On a bi-monthly basis, we look at each persona and ask, ‘How is the I&D content resonating? What about health and wellbeing? How is the overall content resonating in different groups?’

Finally, measure and refine

Essentially, what you want to know at the end of it all is how your content is affecting your employer brand. There are many ways to measure this, depending on your overall purpose. There is a blend of KPIs – ranging from tactical to strategic – that you can put into place.

There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle and every one of these pieces of content has at least one goal behind it – for example, to drive traffic to a different form of content, or to raise awareness. As such, these metrics need to be measured individually.

Then there is more holistic measurement, which looks at the impact on your employer brand overall. At GSK, we use an external provider called ‘Employer Brand Index’, which measures our brand against other organisations on the index.

Having all of these definitions clearly in place upfront and really thinking about what you want each piece to do and how they work together is the key to measuring your performance correctly. Once you have this framework in place, regular reporting then enables you to be both strategic and reactive with your content.

As with any strategy, continually reviewing and refining your approach to employer branding is what will lead to success.

Finally, avoid going overboard with using too many measurement tools. With so many available it can tempting, but consider carefully which ones you really need and will get a lot out of. Use less better, so you’re actually utilising each tool to its full potential.

As with any strategy, continually reviewing and refining your approach to employer branding is what will lead to success.

I’m also keen to know – how does your brand use creative tools and methodologies to create content and measure performance?

About the author: Hannah is the Global Employer Lead for international healthcare company GSK in London. With over 15 years experience under her belt, Hannah has a passion for creating authentic, differentiated contentTalent Acquisition and Employer Branding.