Lloyds Banking Group, UK contracted MSL Group London to review and improve their careers website, adding new features and reorganising content in ways that would make more sense to users, aiming to attract more of the best industry talent.
MSL Group London contracted my content strategy services for this project.
The content strategy challenge
Some challenging limitations included no allocation for revising existing content nor tweaking code. My team needed to focus only on new content, navigation and improved search engine optimisation (SEO). The job application process was also out of scope.
The client also wanted to add a content hub: an area for news demonstrating interesting things happening at Lloyds Banking Group. News is difficult to deal on any website; it needs careful balancing against its potential to distract from key user journeys.
Always start with users
First, we conducted user research with two groups: Lloyds Banking Group staff and members of the public. I believe it’s vital to include non-employees when researching anything to do with recruitment, as staff are, by definition, only people who succeeded in navigating your existing process. Understanding people who don’t get through it is what unlocks potential for more high-quality applications.
We observed user behaviour on the site when asked to complete tasks, for example, Can you find our what benefits you’d get as an employee? We also asked what mattered to them most when deciding whether to apply for a role. It became clear some important information was missing, hard to find or incomplete, and that some labels didn’t communicate as intended.
SEO keyword research
Our search engine optimisation (SEO) keyword research revealed much that would impact my content strategy, such as:
- Strong rankings for users searching for jobs at “Lloyds Banking Group”, but poor for searches using its high street brands, such as The Halifax and Scottish Widows.
- The site ranked well when users searched with formal language such as “careers”, but poorly for more common, everyday language such as “jobs”.
Auditing the content
My full content audit revealed, for example:
- The same content was sometimes used on multiple pages. This is usually a sign of past information designed without thinking about content. It is annoying for users and can pose an SEO risk: search engines rank unique content more highly.
- Vital information sometimes fell ‘below the fold’, making it easy to miss.
- Picture were sometimes used for decoration within content, pushing vital content further down the page and again, making it easier to miss.
Making a content matrix
I then made a content matrix, including:
- content for new pages
- meta titles and meta descriptions for all pages, incorporating target keywords
- suggestions on reducing or reorganising content on existing pages, including adding subheadings for better SEO and readability
- suggestions on where pictures needed to change.
Writing new content
In writing new content, I used Lloyds Banking Group’s recruitment brand tone of voice, content that was already working well and the SEO keyword research to decide exactly which words to use where.
One particular challenge was writing copy for careers at each of Lloyds Banking Group’s high street brands: The Halifax, Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland. Each high street brand needed its own tone of voice, but had no specific tone guidelines. To write this copy appropriately, I looked at as many examples of their recent advertising, brochures and so on as possible, identifying stand-out phrasing and a customer image to keep in mind as I wrote.
What to do about the ‘content hub’
To develop a strategy for the content hub, I examined the practices of other companies that Lloyds Banking Group might respect, both in banking and other industries, such as BBC and Google.
The practice they wanted to adopt, a news feed for potential applicants, was uncommon, but not unheard of. I was able to show several examples where brands were ‘getting it right’, and other examples that didn’t work.
My idea for tagged feed that would accommodate all types of media, from video to text-only stories, infographics to photo galleries, was inspired by the website of a major UK digital agency. The client loved the idea, and we set about finding out how we could execute it within the constraints of the project scope.
Of the names I presented for the content hub, the client chose my preferred option: What we’re up to. I felt this name would be a winner because it was intriguing, but clear as to what would be found in the section. Analytics have since shown the section is popular and frequently visited by users who also go on to make an application. We nailed it!
Getting away from carousels
My team argued successfully for removing a carousel (also called a slider) on the homepage. Our user research had shown the carousel was not useful in users finding what they wanted, which is almost always the case with carousels.
Our client was very happy with their new careers portal. We were also able to extend the scope a little to allow for programming that would enhance user experience, such as changing the relative size of menus.
We made some unorthodox choices, such as long menus. However, it was the user research that led us there. In the end, best practice is what works for users.
It was great working with Lloyds Banking Group. I found their team realistic about what could be achieved, but open-minded and enthusiastic to try new things. This bodes well for their future in recruiting even more outstanding talent.
Use my services
For a quote on copywriting or content strategy for recruitment and careers content, or any work in the banking and finance sector, please get in touch.