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When do people reading your company's content make a conscious decision to apply for one of your jobs?

As an HR professional, you may not be thinking about your content in the same way your marketing team thinks about a PR hit, but you should. Content—whether it's on your blog, your career page or on social media—is often the first point of contact for a curious candidate. It's a recruiting tool, which means it's worth figuring out what truly attracts and engages potential applicants. 

In the age of social media and mobile first, there is content everywhere we look. Thanks to the plethora of choices, we have become adept at picking and choosing what to read or watch, and on which channel. We have, in effect, become "content grazers" in order to find the most relevant and useful items to consume. Twitter is an excellent example: How many tweets do you scan in your twitter feed, compared to how many links you click to read further? It's likely not even 10 percent.

So, how do you ensure your content is good enough to interrupt your readers' grazing, and make them want to apply for jobs at your company?

1) Focus on Employee-Generated Content

Firstly, you have to create great content that is both relevant and interesting to your target audience. Real stories and real examples from existing employees are a powerful and reliable way to generate interest in your company. Put yourself in the shoes of a candidate and answer the types of questions they're likely asking: What is the office culture? What technologies do employees use? What are some of the exciting employee engagement initiatives?

2) Provide a Call to Action

In order to take advantage of any interest that content generates, make sure everything comes with a call to action (CTA). This may sound obvious, but lack of CTAs is the most common mistake in employer branded content. Unless you lead engaged readers to other relevant resources, you lose them. In visual content (such as a video), encourage viewers to learn more by clicking on a link to another relevant video. For written text, links can be added easily enough within the article to keep readers engaged. The CTA must be relevant to the content, and feel like a personal invite for the viewer or reader to access more information.

3) Get Creative with Content Placement

Place the content where it's convenient for your target audience to find, not where it is most convenient for you to place. Obviously, content should be posted on your own site and social channels, but be prepared to get creative. Your audience is likely in industry groups on LinkedIn, using certain hashtags on Twitter, following similar brands on Instagram or reading relevant blogs. You can test out a social campaign with a fellow brand or try syndicating your content to a well-read blog.

4) Write Great Headlines

An eye-catching headline is key to making your content stand out and getting the attention of grazers. Remember that we're all guilty of scan reading, so your headline needs to pop. You can also add commonly used industry hashtags to attract people to your content, as these are applicable and searchable on most social networks.

5) Track Your Success

Last but not least, use analytics to optimize your content. You can track the success of your content and your calls to action through sites like Google analytics—or for social, check out companies like Sprout or Hootsuite. In addition, you can also use sites that create unique, trackable links like Bit.ly or Goo.gl to track the engagement and click-through rates of different posts.

The next time you find yourself stopping in the middle of your own online content grazing, and clicking on an article, tweet or suggested read, step back. Take a second to think about what grabbed your attention—because the kind of content that your eye may just catch the eye of a potential candidate.

Photo: Creative Commons