In 2016 alone:
With all those factors, finding and engaging your audience can be a challenge. Some companies are tempted to cast a wide net and hope customers will come to them, while others might target their message at too small an audience. A sharp content marketing program that communicates your true value proposition to your key audience can help you stand out. Here’s how to make it happen.
The role of HR technology has changed as the role of HR itself has changed. As technology makes it easier to automate and outsource tasks such as payroll, compliance and other non-core functions, HR leaders have expanded their role to focus on people strategy:
As a result, HR leaders work more closely with other departments than in the past — and that means your audience isn’t only in HR.
Think about the leaders you’re talking to and what they’re most interested in. Some of the people your marketing must educate include:
Senior leaders are looking for ideas about where the industry is going. Content to try: Industry briefs based on hard data; forward-looking interviews with industry leaders.
CTOs / CIOs
Technical leaders will want to know how your product integrates with their current tech stack. Content to try: Tech specs and integrations.
This segment wants to see the business case for HR tech. How does your technology help a company’s bottom line? Where does it help an organization add value to the product or service it delivers? Content to try: Case studies and specific examples.
HR leaders are interested in new strategies and improving their processes. They want real-world stories about how people’s work lives were made better by your product. Content to try: Case studies and people-focused stories.
Your content should give internal influencers — colleagues, leaders and stakeholders — the kind of bottom-line results and stats they need to tip the balance in favor of your product.
That means your marketing efforts need to go past job titles and pain points and treat the HR tech audience as a strategic partner who can provide solutions for the organizations they work for.
“We want to educate users and decision influencers since these people often will refer us to the buyer.” — Don MacPherson, Head of Global Talent Marketing at Aon
When planning your content strategy, revisit what you’ve produced over the years. You likely have a lot of data you can mine and reuse, while putting your efforts into updating and refreshing what you have. Look at your historical collection of content as a library that can be reworked, and push that content into the channels that get the best response depending on your goals.
“Pay attention to what your customers and visitors are looking for.”— William Tincup, CEO of Tincup & Co.
What gets downloaded? What are people commenting on? What pieces get the results you want? Identify those and produce more of them, then repurpose them to broaden their reach.
“A tweet takes three seconds to read, a blog post three minutes, a white paper 15 minutes. A quality piece of content provides value commensurate to the time invested. Having the tweet lead to the blog post which leads to the white paper is effective because the consumer can opt out when they no longer receive value. The goal is to tie them all together so we can effectively tell engaging stories to consumers no matter how they want to view it.” — Don MacPherson, Head of Global Talent Marketing at Aon
FOCUS ON THE HUMAN CONNECTION
People like to learn about other people more than they like to learn about products. Other people’s thoughts, challenges and triumphs make for compelling content, so make sure the stories you tell have a human connection.
“The marketing has to have a story that is relatable to the person consuming the content. A point of view alone isn’t enough. People want to put themselves in the shoes of the person or people involved in the story. When they can relate to the story, they are more likely to engage further.” — Don MacPherson, Head of Global Talent Marketing at Aon
For example, one of Aon’s recent successful white papers looked at the way men and women experience the workplace differently.
“Be human” goes for the language you use in your content as well. Avoid jargon and insider terms and communicate with a broader audience in mind.
“It’s about starting, and then continuing, a conversation in a human way. Be a human being. Talk like one. Don’t say things that humans never say, like starting sentences with ‘we believe.’”
Says Michael Carden, founder of Sonar6, an employee engagement and performance platform company that was acquired by Cornerstone OnDemand in 2012.
And don’t be afraid of failure, Carden says. One of the most successful emails his company has sent out was an apology after a webinar invitation went out with the greeting “Dear [insert first name].”
“People connected with the fact that we were humans. Someone was trying to do a good job, and they screwed up, and that’s something that is very relatable.”
So where do you get all the ideas to produce this content? It all comes down to research and relationships, leaders say: Research into the trends, ideas and facts of the industry you serve, and relationships with the people who work and build their businesses in that industry. How-to articles aren’t thought leadership; deep insights into the future of the industry are. And your company is full of people who have thoughts about these topics. Here’s how to find them:
Cast a wide net.
The best ideas aren’t going to come from a marketing team brainstorm. Too much navel gazing will kill your content marketing. And yet, a quarter of the marketers in our survey said they were responsible for most of their own ideas.
Dig into your data.
Odds are you’re already collecting data about your customers. Look for ways to turn that around and share outwardly. If you’re not already collecting and analyzing data as part of your regular business operations — or you can’t get ops to share it for marketing purposes — run a simple, well-designed survey.
“Data helps content consumers understand what we know. Original data helps content consumers understand what we ‘uniquely’ know. This is one of our biggest assets as a marketing team.” — Don MacPherson, Head of Global Talent Marketing at Aon
In the past 12 months, which of the following has been the primary source for ideas on your organization’s blog?
Source: Rep Cap Content Marketing Survey 2017
“It’s not enough to just mine search data. There are plenty of marketers out there now employing decent algorithms in social media to identify trending topics, and then creating content based on that, palming it off as thought leadership. Focus instead on your expertise. The great content strategies are the ones that are trying to create something new in the marketplace.” — Michael Carden, founder of Sonar6
If your HR tech content marketing plan needs a tuneup, or if you just need a boost creating relevant and quality content, we’d love to help.
Rep Cap is a marketing consulting firm that specializes in creating and executing digital content strategies to drive growth for B2B companies. Our team of writers, editors, designers and marketers can help you create a content marketing strategy that will connect with your audience.
To find out how Rep Cap can power your thought leadership, email firstname.lastname@example.org.