Read my article published at MeYou Health for more information about how today’s savvy organizations are using Open Social design to ensure their wellness programs hit the mark.
What does this mean for you as an HR marketer?
This is the time when your prospects may be in panic mode.
Their strategies are set. Their list of deliverables is only growing. And, their employees are…on vacation.
(The phrase I remember most from those summer days was :We don’t have the bandwidth.)
This is the time when you need to share the services, resources, and tips you have that will make their life easier.
The only problem? You may find yourself in the same situation—with team members on summer vacation. Staring at the list of projects on your plate, you have no idea how you’re going to create the articles, white papers, case studies or blog posts that will intrigue your prospects. Your team may not have the bandwidth.
Regardless of the content marketing issue you’re facing: I’m here to help.
I’m currently booking my schedule for June – August. Contact me to schedule a time to about how I can support your content marketing needs this summer.
Let’s put a plan in place for how I can help you make timely, meaningful connections with your prospects so you can meet those goals you set at the beginning of YOUR fiscal year.
Sometime last September a new IKEA catalogue showed up in our mail box.
I tossed it on the counter along with the bills, promises for better wireless service, and an abundance of local grocery fliers.
Later that week I pulled out the catalogue. (This is strange behavior for me: I never flip through catalogues.) But for some reason, this catalogue from IKEA captured my interest with the promise of some much-needed lunchtime distraction. I opened to a page with a photo of people younger than me, sitting around a coffee table, sharing a meal.
Along with the photo was a paragraph of copy, part of which read:
“The days of ‘have to’ are over. Go ahead and eat around the coffee table. Sit on the sofa. Or the floor. Because it doesn’t really matter where we eat — Just that we get to be together.”
The message of the days of “have to” being over, and of the importance of just being together? They rang true. I flipped to the next page. And the next. During lunch, I continued to browse through the IKEA catalogue. Not because I was looking for furniture, but because I wanted to read the copy in the catalogue.
I’m not saying I think we all need to run to IKEA and get a new set of décor. But I do think as marketers speaking to an HR audience, we can learn from this experience.
Like the pile of unwanted mail I found in my mail box, HR professionals receive messages from every corner of their lives. If we want to make a connection, we need to provide a meaningful story about our products and services.
The power of the IKEA catalogue was that it told a story. I was pulled in with pictures and copy that went beyond showing me the latest and greatest new item from IKEA. Sure, those were included—they had a new bowl that was only 99 cents! But that new, cheap bowl wasn’t the focus.
“Because it doesn’t really matter where we eat—Just that we get to be together.”
The focus of the story that resonated with me was about the importance of gathering together for meals—regardless of the type of table. Regardless of the state of my kitchen, dirty floors, or flatware that doesn’t match.
You might be thinking that cool couches and new dishes are easier to sell than HR products and services. An example from Intuit illustrates how the power of story can change that.
“At Intuit, a software company born of the laments of ordinary people about what a pain in the posterior it is to balance a checkbook, the key to success has been relieving customers’ anxiety about money and computers. People don’t buy technology, they buy products that improve their lives.’”
– Scott Cook, Intuit Chairman
Don’t let your next newsletter, hard copy mailer, or website be the one that gets tossed aside. Try to infuse story within your copy. Where do you start? Ask yourself this question:
“If I were an HR specialist, manager, director or VP in these circumstances, what would I do? What story would I want to hear?”
Not sure of the answer? Study the people who are reading your story. Listen to what your audience talks about (their hopes, fears, dreams):
- Participate in a Twitter chat, join a local HR group, read industry content
- Schedule coffee with a customer
- Send me your questions about HR folks—I’m happy to share what I’ve learned
The information and insight you gather will help you become a better, more relevant storyteller for your HR readers.
When you focus on the story you’re telling, as well as the people reading the story, your copy might just make your readers pour over your message as they eat their lunch.
Like this post? Subscribe to my monthly newsletter, HR Matters!
When I feel compelled to share an ad on every social media vehicle to which I have access, I take that as a signal that someone is doing something right.
That happened to me today, when I watched these ads from Gusto!, a start-up provider of online HR services such as payroll, health benefits, and time tracking.
Why do these ads appeal to me?
- They demonstrate that Gusto! knows their audience. People in HR get asked every question under the sun, just like the HR director depicted in these ads. The inside joke factor in her handling of everything from benefits to recruiting to the bathroom key illustrates that the people behind these ads truly get the challenges faced by their HR audience.
- The ads are quick. HR people are busy handling people emergencies all day long. Rather than sending out a 250-page white paper to generate leads, these ads convey enough information to generate interest in less than a minute.
- They’re engaging and fun. Some folks may view the topic of benefits, payroll, and time tracking as bor-ing. These tongue-in-cheek ads make light of the topics, but in doing so, also illustrate how the HR function is relevant to everyone who is employed. In a comic way, they celebrate that HR does contribute to the business.
So, I encourage you to watch these ads. If you’re an HR professional, they’ll give you a chuckle.
And if you’re someone in the business of marketing to HR professionals, they’ll give you a chuckle, too…as well as some inspiration about how to get creative about delivering your message to HR.
But how often do you read a job description that leaves you saying, “Huh?”
Don’t let that happen! In this post published at O.C. Tanner, I provide three ways to infuse some of your culture into your job descriptions—and on your website’s careers page—so that everyone understands what’s required.
I get that startups rarely have dedicated HR staff, in fact often someone who may or may not have experience in HR is put in charge of handling handles hiring, payroll, benefits, grievances, promotions and other employee-related tasks. If that’s you, or if you want to think about HR before you open your doors for business, check out this article published at Captain401.
As a life-long learner, I appreciate the opportunity to dig into the data and talk to experts about how the world of HR comes to life. I believe these insider insights are what makes the messages we create for our readers, clients, and prospects more valuable.
But in a desire to create value, we have to be cautious. Who are the experts—both in person and on the page—to whom we refer? If the expert source we cite somehow doesn’t resonate with our reader, we’ve lost them.
As an example, I was writing an article about career development. I found a small meat packing company that provides excellent career benefits for their employees. I was excited about the way their approach illustrated my points about the importance of career development.
Then, it hit me: there were likely vegetarians and vegans in the group of people who would read the article. People who might not appreciate, or relate to, an organization that packs meat.
I opted not to use the example from that company. It was too risky. I didn’t want the article I was writing to be dismissed after the words “meat packing plant” appeared on the page.
It’s the same if you’re working with a prospect. The experts you highlight need to be relevant for your audience. Talking to retail organizations? Your experts should be people who understand retail, either through their research or as another organization in the retail space.
Are you looking to expand your product offering to small business clients? Then show them how your HR software has helped other small business clients. Don’t use Walmart or Starbucks as an example. Small businesses don’t relate to giant companies. Small business owners want to hear from an expert who understands their unique set of challenges.
Not sure where to find HR research, data, or experts? Here are some places to start:
Not only will these organizations provide you with data and research you can use in your conversations and content, they will also provide insight about what your prospects and clients face in their role as HR leaders.
With time and care, you might just become an expert yourself.
In honor of Father’s Day, my most recent article at eLearning Brothers is a reflection on how learning has changed, and how it’s the same, after all these years:
My 74-year-old father got his first cell phone about a month ago. He’s been holding out, but when the landline in his house was out for a few weeks, and the phone company wasn’t sure when they’d be able to get around to fixing it, he knew it was time to get a mobile phone.
In my father’s case, the Internet and eLearning came about long after he had graduated and was entrenched in the working world. Truth is, the learning world has experienced a massive shift since my father was a student in the 1950s, sitting in a row of desks, staring at a chalkboard as his teachers made him recite lessons from his primers and walloped him on his knuckles with a ruler if he made a mistake.
Read the full article here.
Missing Rowe’s presentation at the Annual Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Conference is just one of the many reasons I’m disappointed I won’t be in attendance this year. But for HR leaders who will be in Washington, D.C. for the conference, check out my post at ‘a magazine’ to learn more about Rowe and his co-presenter, Alan Mulally, who brought Ford Motor Company back from bankruptcy. Read the full article here.
I recently attended a presentation for HR leaders. The topic was how to make the transition to becoming a Chief HR Officer. The presenter had 30+ years of experience in the HR industry. He was engaging. He had good stories and insights to share. But unfortunately, he didn’t have a clue when it came to his audience.
His presentation consisted of 45 slides:
– 17 photos of men, 1 photo of a woman
– 10 analogies, all related to sports
– 40 HR leaders, 33 women and 7 men (including him)
These ratios aren’t a fluke. There are a lot of women in HR.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a “man hater”—I’m married to a man and I’m raising two sons.
And, I actually enjoy a good sports analogy. But at a certain point I stopped engaging with this presenter’s message, because he hadn’t geared his message to his audience. Seeing photo after photo of successful men doesn’t inspire me. And, he lost me at the fifth sports analogy–most of us in Seattle are not fans of the New England Patriots.
This presenter missed a huge opportunity, but you don’t need to do the same.
Before you engage with employees, clients, or prospects…seek to understand your audience. Know who they are before you walk into the room, pick up the phone, or send an email. (Hubspot has a great template to create personas for your audience. And we’re in luck…the sample persona they use is for a Head of HR.)
Don’t just rely on who your own thoughts or assumptions about HR.
Talk to colleagues and people like me, who have worked in the field of HR. I can help answer questions about what might resonate (or not) with your HR audience. No, you can’t please everyone. And no, you don’t have a crystal ball about your customers. But you have to try.
If you don’t make some effort to connect with and understand your audience based on who they are and what they value, you risk losing them before you’ve even started.