How to Build a Strong Content Strategy for Your Alumni Program
Keeping former employees engaged within the community consistently is a challenge, but with the right content plan alumni will continue to come back for more and participate.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: The success of your corporate alumni network depends in large part on your ability to continuously engage your community with timely, relevant content. You may have found, however, that this is easier said than done. That’s where a content strategy comes in.
What is a content strategy?
A content strategy encompasses the planning, development, execution, and management of your content, covering everything from emails and social media posts to videos and in-person presentations. (Catch our social media planning guide here)
Why do you need one?
Perhaps the biggest mistake people make when it comes to content is simply diving in and creating a bunch of it without first thinking through the why. You need to ask yourselves:
- Why are we creating this content?
- Who is it for and why will they care?
- Who will create it, and how?
- What does success look like to us?
Without the answers to these questions, it’s very difficult to develop meaningful, cohesive, engaging, and sustainable content that resonates with your alumni. In short: It can be a huge waste of time and effort.
A purposeful and documented content strategy helps you define goals, set priorities, plan and execute the work, and measure its effectiveness. And it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Follow these three steps to get yours off the ground.
Step 1: Define Your Goals
First and foremost, your content strategy needs clearly defined goals. What are you hoping to accomplish with your content? Your answers will likely include things like:
- Increase membership numbers
- Recruit top talent to fill open positions
- Improve brand awareness and public perception
- Build relationships within the community
- Promote your company’s event and/or find industry events to attend
Every piece of content you create should be designed to support one or more of these goals.
Step 2: Consider Your Audience
From blog posts to webinars to newsletters, the options for content are nearly endless. That can make it overwhelming to decide on a format and channel, even after you’ve chosen a general topic. For each piece, think about who you’re targeting based on your predetermined segments: Are they recent leavers, mid-level directors, current employees, or some other group? A person’s age and career level typically influence what type of content they prefer to consume, and where. An executive likely won’t have time to sit through a one-hour webinar, for example, while a junior employee may not be interested in a trends report geared toward industry veterans. Likewise, certain channels are better suited for certain types of content. LinkedIn is a great place to post networking events, Twitter is perfect for linking to press releases, and a TikTok video is a fun way to highlight workplace culture.
Step 3: Create a Content Calendar
A content calendar is the engine that drives your content strategy – and keeps it from stalling over time. It helps make sure you don’t run out of ideas, repeat the same topic too often, or let projects fall through the cracks when things get hectic. Whether you choose to plan your content calendar by the month, quarter, or year, here are a few must-haves:
- Content summary including overarching topic or working title, 3-5 key message points, target audience, format and channel(s), and call to action (e.g., subscribe to the newsletter, attend the event, join the community, etc.)
- Key dates including drafts, reviews, revisions, approvals, publication, and archive, if necessary (for time-sensitive content).
- Resources responsible for all of the above.
- Metrics that will be used to measure success, such as clicks and views, likes and shares, membership and attendee numbers, or interviews and accepted offers.