Flickr | Kieran Lynham

Company culture content often seems to be a BS-based magic show.

Here’s the typical 10 second creative brief I get: “Make us sound like the subject of a TED Talk or Inc. Profile or Nobel Laureate. Here are two links and three facts. Work your magic.”

[Makes sarcastic magic hands]

I will have none of that and neither will your followers. They can see through your charity bragging and bad business stock photos a mile away. Writing company culture content isn’t magic, but you do need to know what you’re about. Before you fire up your editorial calendar, make sure you have these cultural ducks in a row:

Culture Preamble #1: Know Who You Are and What Your Culture Is

Having and writing about company culture requires knowing your company’s core values, caring for your people, and being authentic.

Do you have core values? Do you know what they are and what they mean by heart? Are you continually weaving this into the internal company communications (newsletters, town hall meetings, team meetings, casual gatherings)?

You can’t write something from nothing, and taking a closer look at some of these questions will help identify your company culture foundations. No foundations = no culture content.

Culture Preamble #2 – Know Your Company Culture Content Targets

Chief among marketing mistakes is trying to reach everyone. Click to Tweet.

In trying to reach everyone, you spread your efforts thin and reach nobody. There are three major company culture audience categories: clients/ investors, recruits, and employees.

Each of these audiences is looking for an organization with great culture. Each of them has distinct wants and needs. For example, you might think potential recruits and employees are focused on benefits and job security first, but according to a recent Society for Information Management Survey, “the opportunity to use skills and abilities” is the top indicator for job satisfaction (quoted in this Harvard Business Review article).

That’s just one example, but take note to know about whomever you’re trying to reach and what they want to know.

5 Company Culture Content Ideas

Once you have your foundation or if you’ve got a rockin’ cultural awareness already, check out some of these ideas for writing interesting and BS-free company culture blog posts.

  1. Write topical company culture blog posts—Seize on the news. The NYTimes’ summer article on Amazon’s notoriously demanding culture set the blogosphere afire. Although the article had some obvious weaknesses pointed out by its critics, it sparked good conversations about company culture and work-life balance.
  2. Give advice—Share lessons from building culture. Building company culture while running a successful business is hard, so share those lessons. There’s nothing wrong with sharing successes, but if you’re going to brag, get verification—employee quotes, pictures, and even client quotes. Get bonus points for sharing your struggles and failures. The American business ethos tends to be bold and braggart, so transparency and humility go a long way to balance out that success mask most companies wear. Transparency builds trust.
  3. Extol your peers—Talk about what you see in other people’s company culture. Don’t be afraid to compliment another organization. This can be a partner company, a friend, or maybe even a company with whom you’d love to have a relationship. Chicago Creative Space, the Chicago-based culture video creators, does this well. They’ve done culture profiles of companies like Virgin, Twitter, Southwest Airlines, and Pandora.
  4. Profile your people—Your people are your culture. Be proud and tell their stories. Profile how they help make you and your clients successful. For the love of the god of commerce, do not be afraid that profiling them means that they will be poached. If they are talented and know about the Internet, other companies will find your people no matter what. Fear is not a culture strategy. Click to Tweet. (Side bar: the secret to making your team unpoachable is, ahem, valuing them and having a great company culture.) Profiling your awesome people will attract like-minded, smart recruits and help prospective customers know how great their team will be.
  5. Use multimedia (video, graphics, social media)—You need to have great culture content, but remember it has to be sharable. Sharable blog posts are useful, funny, and interesting, but don’t forget to use a multimedia approach. Do short interviews on video, create social media graphics, and cross promote on social media. Going back to knowing your audience, choose the right media for your audience. You don’t know to engage every social platform—just a couple of the right ones. This piece by Social Media Examiner highlights some great examples

I’m a huge fan of company culture and all the Internet ephemera associated with it. There’s so much of it out there, though, that you need to cut through the noise with something novel: Meaningful stories. And great people.

Are you a culture nerd? Who is your dream employer based on their culture? What’s the best culture content you’ve seen and why does it stand out?