Recruitment and content marketing? Can these two practices really work in harmony?
Yes, they can, and it seems that more and more recruiters are accepting the merging of their practice with marketing. But not all recruiters are on the same page, and even the ones who are happy to embrace new trends, don’t always know how to start producing relevant, industry specific content.
So, here’s a crash course introducing recruiters to the art of content marketing.
Let’s start with a definition from the Content Marketing Institute:
‘Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.’
So it’s about relationship building. It’s about creating valuable content for your audience, and doing so consistently. In order to do so, you need to have a clear idea of who that audience is and what their wants and needs are. You’re not pitching or selling. Instead you’re developing a reputation for your business as an expert within your niche.
Content marketing isn’t about the quick sale. It’s about creating lasting value, building a brand, and retaining visitors to your website. As Jon Buscall, CEO of Swedish Agency Moondog Marketing, said: ‘Content marketing is a commitment not a campaign.’
That’s the most important thing to note. You’re creating content to build relationships, and in essence, it’s a long term investment. It’s unlikely you’ll see an immediate return either. This sort of marketing takes time and plenty of effort before you see any sort of tangible return on your efforts. In many ways you have to replace the word ‘selling’ with ‘adding’ or ‘giving.’
The first step is researching the competition and defining what they’re up to. This is the best way to see what your USP is and what you can subtly advertise through the content you create. Everything you publish should exist within your niche, and from there, you can create an effective brand based on expert content.
There are so many businesses writing blog posts or publishing videos, most are active on social channels too, so you have to make sure your content, and by extension your business, stands out. The important thing is to find creative and unique ways to not only add value to your audience, but to also express your brand’s identity, differentiating yourself from the competition.
Make sure your niche is clear to you, otherwise it won’t be for your audience. This will inform the type of content you create, and if you understand your audience, you can publish content that will immediately resonate. You want to foster interaction, you want engagement, but the most important part of content marketing, is brand amplification.
The more content you produce, the more traffic you’ll get to your website. This increases your audience, furthering your reach, leading to increased sales and conversions. As this is passive advertising, it’s a softer sell – no one feels forced or coerced and it’s likely you’ll retain new customers more easily too.
Once you’ve defined your niche, it becomes far simpler to reach your target/ideal audience. You can find relevant industry groups on social channels like Facebook or LinkedIn and you can attend networking events in person, increasing your reputation within industry specific conversations.
This of course leads to a better understanding of what your audience wants, informing your content creation efforts, too.
Sketch out the type of people who use your product and would enjoy consuming your content. Focus on your ideal customer and get to know what their wants, needs, and pain points are. This will inform the type of content you create and it will make your efforts far more tailored and relevant.
It is, though, a bespoke process so how you go about creating your audience personas is all down to your business and your audience. This article, written by Pamela Vaughan at Hubspot, is a great place to start your research.
One of the most important things to focus on is consistency. You need to make sure you're creating content and publishing it on a recurring schedule as this will help you to build a following. It also means that you're holding yourself accountable too by making a promise to your readers.
The best way to do this is by developing an editorial calendar. This means you can plan ahead and start building a resource of great content, published to a deadline at whatever rate suits you. Garrett Moon wrote a brilliant article on this titled: 'How to Boost Success with A Content Marketing Editorial Calendar'
Once you start your content marketing efforts, it’s important to track their effectiveness. You can determine which trends are worth capitalising on, and which ones are better to ignore. Analytics let you monitor:
Each of the above will shape your future content efforts, leading to a more relevant and developed marketing strategy. It will never be static. Instead it will always be changing, reacting to market trends, reflecting your audiences’ interests.
The end goal of marketing is to increase sales and shape brand awareness. However, when it comes to content marketing that goal has to take a back seat. You need to focus instead on putting your customers first – it’s their needs that will encourage them to click through to your website. So, answer their questions, provide them with expert tips and advice, and you’ll benefit from an engaged and relevant audience.
Just make sure that your efforts are related to your brand, its values, and its goals. This is true for every piece of branded communication, and if you understand your audience and target it effectively, they’ll want exactly what you’re ‘selling’.
Once you begin content marketing, you’ll start to see relationships forming – foster them. If someone shares your content on social, reach out to them and thank them personally. These are your brand ambassadors, and they clearly love what you’re doing.
It’s also worth identifying any influencers within your industry and reaching out to them. Share your content with the experts – their validation will help build your brand into something bigger, more notable, and better known.
So, there you have it. A quick guide, rough and still to be hewn, on content marketing for recruiters. It’s a start, but honing it into something relevant and scalable is down to you (and your business).
Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all off the rack blueprint when it comes to content marketing. Instead there are some principles that you can use, but it’s up to you and your business how you apply them. Understanding your audience and its needs is the first place to start. From there you can tweak your efforts, adapting to what works, and what doesn’t.
There will be trial and error involved, there will be mistakes made, but the trick is to learn from them. Determine some specific goals, and work hard to achieve them. What those goals are, are yours to define, and unique to your business.
About the Author: Working as their Content Guru, Andy Mckendry plans, writes, and edits articles and blog posts for Firefish Software. He holds an MA in Professional Writing, and in the early mornings is known to gravitate towards the nearest coffee pot.
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