Engaginga very specific business audience with exactly the right pieces is one of the most difficult content marketing challenges.
That’s why we like the content from Xerox Human Resource Services so much. The offerings from the technology and services firm, especially its excellent blog, manage to connect deeply with the intended audience of HR professionals by being current, informative, and – most importantly – highly relevant.
Recently we chatted with Jeannine Rossignol, Vice President, Marketing, and Steven Laird, Editor for Content Marketing, to find out how Xerox HR Services approaches creating content and what lessons the organization has learned from its experiences.
Check out the Q&A below:
Q: Starting broadly, what role does content play for Xerox HR Services?
Jeannine: Content is critical for us. We know that our clients and our prospects spend a lot of time online reading about business problems they have, issues that are coming up, or just keeping up with the latest trends that are happening in the marketplace.
One insight I found interesting from an Association of Management Consulting report is that 96% respondents say that thought leadership content plays a significant role in selecting the consulting agencies that they are going to work with.
The reason I was looking at that report is because a significant portion of our business comes from consulting. Consultants always need to be out there demonstrating their expertise, their thought leadership, and we in the Xerox HR services are very fortunate to work with some really incredibly smart and talented people who are subject matter experts.
Q: We really like the content on the HR Insights bog. How is it programmed? What are the goals?
Steven: The content is made up of insights from our consultants, original research findings, and repurposed content.
Each week I do a roundup of how our experts were quoted in the media, and I also compile insights from other Xerox blogs. Our goal is to build audience awareness, to showcase the ideas and insights of our consultants.
Jeannine: We found that the blog is a great way to connect all the different things that we do and highlight the points of view we have on current topics that are on the minds of our audience.
Steven spends a great deal of time researching the market, finding out what the hot topics are, and then we turn to our subject matter experts to help develop the content.
This approach has really been connecting with our audience. Year-over-year, we are up 101% on the pageviews, and the subscriber base is up over 480% year-over-year.
Q: How are you building an audience?
Jeannine: Most of it has been organically through social sharing.
I would like to do some more work to amplify it. We haven’t done any paid media so far, but it’s not to say we wouldn’t in the future.
We’ve been spending a lot of time learning more about our audience. We started by developing comprehensive personas based on market research as well as interviews with our consultants and clients. We wanted to understand which issues our audience is facing, the
types of information that they need to help solve their problems, and who their trusted sources are. We wanted to make sure that we are connecting them with content that they really care about.
We’ve also done a content audit to examine all the things that we produce. We wanted to know what people are reading, what they aren’t, and what we need to do more of based on the personas that we developed.
We paired all that with our business strategy and developed a message map to help keep our content on track. It’s something that we keep going back to: make sure we connect the audience with the right message.
Q: As you went through all that, what did you learn about the HR audience?
Steven: HR people are very busy. They’re usually too busy and they’re also amongst the most highly targeted people by marketers and consultants. So our content needs to be reliable and useful to connect. We need to show that we know what their world is like.
Jeannine: One of the things unique to the HR is that they almost always wear two hats. They
need to be the advocate for the employee in making sure that they have got the right things in place to meet their needs. Then they also need to make sure that they’re meeting the needs of the company and achieving the strategic goals. Oftentimes, those two things can conflict.
We think a lot about about how do we help HR professionals become both an advocate for the employee while also being an advocate for the company. We think that that’s a unique place
where can help bridge the gap.
Q: What are some of your favorite pieces of Xerox HR Insights content?
Steven: I really enjoy the blog posts from one of our experts, Lori Block. She’s a principal in our engagement consulting practice and she comes up with these wonderful ideas.
My favorite is “Kitty Hawk, Wagons, and HR Programs.” It brilliantly talks about paradigm shift, explaining it in terms of what the Wright brothers did in developing the airplane and how that applies to HR programs.
don’t necessarily have one favorite, but I enjoy when we take something unexpected and relate it to HR topics. It’s all about being relatable – about being more human. That’s what people are looking for.
Q: Final question, any learnings from your experiences with content? Any advice for other content marketers?
Jeannine: Steven is the biggest reason why we’ve had so much success with what we’ve
done. Having a dedicated resource makes all the difference in the world.
We have great subject matter experts but they also have full time jobs. Steven is able to do research for them, connect with them, interview them, and help them to articulate their point of view.
Also, it may sound really obvious, but it is important to know who you are as a company, what your unique perspective is, and who you are talking to. The exercises that we went through
in terms of the personas and the content audit can be really hard to do, but understanding what you’ve been saying versus what your audience wants to hear is essential.
Finally, make sure that all your content is working together. We make every effort to cross-reference relevant content, for example a webinar to a blog post or an email campaign. That really helps with building awareness and engagement.
Steven: I have it posted on my desk: be useful, be relevant, and be entertaining.
If we can do that, then we’re on our way.