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How to Attract and Keep Great Content Marketing Talent

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 4/03/2016 Ian Mills
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Content marketing is one of the cornerstones of effective online marketing for any type of business. It's an exciting time to be a content marketer. The demand for content has never been higher, in-house content teams are expanding and new roles and opportunities are emerging for skilled writers, editors and content marketers. With all of these possibilities unfolding, how do you attract and keep the best of the talent pool for your organization's content marketing efforts?
Cash Isn't King
A look at any list of the top places to work quickly makes it apparent that growing a happy workforce is about more than mere salary. Sure, paycheck size is one of the strongest factors in someone's job search, but it isn't necessarily the deciding one.
In-N-Out Burger has appeared multiple times on the annual Glassdoor Best Places to Work list despite the majority of positions offering modest rates of pay. "The company places a strong emphasis on development, which seems to be keeping employee satisfaction strong." says Kathryn Dill in her Forbes article scrutinizing factors that helped to place companies within the 2015 list.
Corporate Culture Counts
A positive work environment can be especially important for people in creative roles who often struggle to thrive at organizations where senior leaders micro-manage, deadlines and budgets are unrealistic and overall creative initiative is stifled.
Coupling a positive corporate culture with great benefits and perks is becoming a key strategy for companies looking to build strong, talented teams and reduce staff churn.
Some companies excel in this:
Southwest Airlines has held their reputation as one of the best companies to work for for years, thanks largely to a commitment to taking care of their employees through excellent benefits packages, training opportunities and great working conditions.
Johnson and Johnson topped the list of 50 happiest places to work in 2015. Internal awards foster a sense of accomplishment and teamwork, while initiatives such as their mentoring program and Employee Resource Groups support ongoing development.
Possibly the most famous example of a company going to extraordinary lengths to improve employee satisfaction is Google, with a list of perks that includes on-site health and childcare facilities, free massages, treadmill desks, "nap pods" and employee vegetable gardens. These perks are more than just gimmicks- they are scientifically proven to improve the health and productivity of workers. Google also have an impressive track record for keeping some of the tech industry's leading talent.
Google were one of the pioneers in linking employee happiness to improved productivity and performance, but the concept isn't just suitable for mega-corporations or innovative tech start-ups. There are a number of things that any business can do to make their company more appealing to top talent.
4 Key Areas For Creating a Desirable Workplace:
1. Perks
Many of the most popular work perks are health related. This is a clear win-win as healthier employees take less sick time and tend to have more energy and focus. Consider a bike-to-work scheme, treadmill desks or an area where employees can enjoy a quick workout or basketball game to get their blood flowing.
If you are short of ideas, look into existing employee perk and loyalty systems such as AnyPerk.
It's easy to use the excuse that your business simply can't afford to shell out more money on areas that don't directly increase revenue, but perks don't have to be expensive. Sure, Sumo Me take their employees snorkeling in Hawaii and fly them on private jets to vegas, but there are plenty of ideas for any size company to build a fun and enjoyable place to work.
Can't devote the space to a climbing wall? Offer employees 1 hour off per week to head to a local gym.
No budget for free lunches? Speak to local restaurants about possible loyalty discounts or free delivery options for employees.
Strapped for resources to organize a retreat? Look for a charity or community event that you could encourage your workforce to participate in as a team.
2. Working Conditions
Turn your offices into a place that employees don't dread coming into. Dedicate areas where staff can relax, collaborate and destress. Think about how the work space directly contributes (or detracts) to your employees' health. Simply changing lighting from harsh fluorescent strips to daylight bulbs or adding plants can make a big difference to the atmosphere of your offices.
In their San Francisco offices freelance outsourcing company Upwork has bike laptop stations installed at the windows, offering beautiful views as a refreshing change from staring at cubicle walls.
Helping employees to "work however they work best" is another great way to make your company a more attractive choice than your competitors. "We provide a very flexible -- but accountable -- work environment. People can work when and how they want, as long as they get the job done" says Bob Glazer, CEO of Acceleration Partners, recently ranked number 5 in Fortune's 100 Best Workplaces for Women.
3. Team Morale
Forget cheesy, outdated "trust building" exercises in the boardroom. Creating great teams is about more than just stiff, formally organized events. It's about fostering social bonds within your workforce.
From weekly Happy Hours to annual Hackathons, getting your team together for fun and creative time is a great way to blow off built-up steam and reinvigorate flagging motivation.
No longer limited to the realm of big-name advertising agencies, games rooms, coffee areas and even bars are becoming popular in offices to encourage a more relaxed way to brainstorm.
Designated social spaces and activities offer a great way for employees to get to know one another, becoming more familiar and comfortable with their teams and therefore more effective in communication and collaboration.
As an added tip: don't make them mandatory. People who routinely don't participate are likely a poor fit. Likewise, anyone who can't balance their workload with taking advantage of social breaks won't last long. And that's not a bad thing when your goal is to only keep the best people for your team.
4. Talent Nurturing
Great employees are the ones that don't just rely on their natural talent to get by. They are driven, curious and constantly looking for ways to improve. Make sure you foster these traits and prevent your best workers from feeling like they have "outgrown" their position at your company.
The companies with the highest retention rates are those that offer advancement opportunity and ongoing training and development.
Pay for or contribute to further education that can build your employees' skills and abilities. Allow them to attend industry conferences to keep their knowledge fresh.
One idea that I am particularly fond of is to encourage "pet projects", giving a trusted employee time and budget to explore new ideas. Not only does this creative freedom result in higher job satisfaction but such experimental projects can often generate ideas or improvements that would otherwise never have been realized.
Attracting great talent and looking beyond qualifications to find the right fit for your team will reward your company exponentially. Great talent comes, stays and spreads the word to help attract more talent. As one Google employee puts it: "We are surrounded by smart, driven people who provide the best environment for learning I've ever experienced."
Read more online marketing advice and information at the Magicdust website, we are a Sydney web design company specialising in small business solutions.

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