Content marketing and recruitment – The recipe to success?

It’s been an interesting few months.

Five months ago I made a total industry shift. It’s been one I’ve been pretty keen to get stuck into – recruitment.

With no current marketing team, it was time to come up with a plan of action.

If I’m honest, when I set out I wasn’t sure where the industry was at when it came to content marketing in the recruitment sector. A few things became clear from the get-go.

A couple of guiding principles have been front of mind whilst considering how we should be using content:

  • The power has shifted.Gone are the days of top talent trying to get a recruiters’ attention. According to Ere.net, 83% of recruiters report that the power has shifted away from where it has been for years: the employer. In a candidate-driven marketplace, traditional recruiting approaches simply stop working.
  • Employer branding can help with recruiting efforts.56% of 4,125 global talent leaders in 31 countries surveyed for LinkedIn’s 2015 Global Recruiting Trends said they believe cultivating their employer brand is a top priority.
  • Content has a huge role to play.In order to stand out as an employer, companies will need to start posting more work culture related posts and leveraging their employees to share them. 58% of people are more likely to want to work at a company if they are using social media and over 20% are more likely to stay at their companies if they are using social media. People want to work for interesting companies and when they see interesting posts that gives them a better sense of what the company is about. The recruitment industry has a huge opportunity to take advantage, tell a story and get involved.
  • It never stops. Forbes recently reported that 86% of employees are already looking for work outside their current occupations and nearly one third of employers expert workers to job hop – there’s a continuous job search and content marketing needs to take a similar tack.

We’re quite lucky here at Salient in the profile of clients we get to work for – they’re pretty hot and they grow really fast. Naturally, they have awesome stories – but every brand does – you just have to know where to look for them.

Traditional recruitment marketing is still very short sighted – filling roles for now, which just doesn’t cut it for these guys who need to plan ahead and build pipelines of talent for next week, next month, next quarter. No more riff-raffing around scrambling to fill an ad.

These are the core areas I’m going to be focusing on over the coming months because I reckon they may just make or break content marketing in recruitment.

1. Know your pipelines

I wish I had time to write stories about all the brands we work with, touching on all the areas of the business –but I don’t.

Be focused with content efforts. Pick a couple of your key industries – in our case that’s SaaS and Digital. From there look at the job roles that are in high demand and short supply and tailor your campaigns by segmenting them in a similar way. It makes it one thousand times easier to work with Sales if you’re both working on the same funnels. It also gives you a better chance of conversion.

2. Find the right stories

Recruitment content doesn’t have to be around ‘how to build your career’. There’s a huge amount of content topics to be covered. Personally I’m really interested in telling and hearing the stories of the people that work inside a company. What were the expectations when you started? How do you feel about it 6 months on? What opportunities have you been given? What’s the stationery like!? (Ok maybe I’ll save the latter for my friends).

3. Give talent some breathing space

Top talent get calls and messages from recruiters on a daily basis. Many have become cynical about recruiters as a result. Be smart with your marketing, instead of asking if you can call back in 6 months to check in, why not ask them if they’re interested in signing up to your content and keeping up to date with the movers and shakers in their industry through some weekly stories from inside those brands? Use your smarts to pick up on any changes in behaviour, then sure it’s pretty reasonable to give have a recruiter call. They’ll be much more likely to communicate with you if you can be bang on point with the time you call. Make a guided decision.

4. Use the technology and make the experience easy

Whether you use a technology product or you have a savvy product use your technology then show it back to clients. Track all your analytics then feed them back to clients – they’ll be much more keen to do more content with you when they see it’s working.

Curated content would also fit in here. There are some pretty awesome products around, from Feedly to NewsCred (free to $3000+) – you can easily keep an eye on the content your clients are publishing themselves and re-purpose them with your own brand content to provide a nice balance of stories.

5. Play the long game

Starting a new career path is not the same as buying a television – there’s often anything from 1 month to 3 years between thinking about another job and actually leaving for one. But if you’ve been nurtured for months, reading stories and really buying into the values of a brand – chances are you’re more likely to go there.

I’m looking forward to checking back in a few months to see how the results are working in practice. If you’re working in recruitment, I’d love to hear about your plans..

The 5 lessons I learnt interviewing 239 people.

Interviewing was a task that completely daunted me.

I still remember my first one, it was speaking to a guy called Fred who was set to present at a Retrofitting conference. When I heard that Fred was well known for a particular area of façade design and that it was my job to get some content from him.. I Panicked. I went out and bought a pack of highlighters and decided that this was it, make or break time for if this was something I could do.

3 years and 240 interviews down the line it’s become a passion, I’ve been pretty lucky getting to fire questions at Hospital Chiefs, University VCs, Finance CEOs, CMO’s, Government Leaders, EAs and a whole host of techy people.

A few tips matter, no matter who you’re interviewing.

Do your research
Why highlighters? It was apparent from the off that research was going to be key. We’re very lucky to have a host of background research available. Start with the company website, narrow in to the name of the person you’re interviewing – check if they’ve been in the press recently, if they have a blog, an active LinkedIn, a mention on their company newsletter. Prepare.

You don’t need to become a subject matter expert, you just need to know what makes this person unique – What makes them special? Why are you interviewing them In the first place? Use this to prepare your questions.

Why? Quite frankly you don’t want to look like a fool. Also, the key part of any interview is finding the ‘sexy’ angle. You won’t find it if you haven’t researched what’s already out there…

Be nice
Be friendly and approachable. I approach every single interview wanting it to be a pleasant experience for everyone involved.

Over the years I’ve been amazed by the amount of CEO’s and pretty influential leaders that still feel nervous in front of the camera. It’s not just you that feels nervous, and it’s important to put people at ease.

See the interview as ‘a chat’ and communicate that to the person you’re asking the questions to, right from the off.

Why? In addition to it being a much nicer experience for everyone involved, you’ll find people will relax and open up more – telling you the real stories, not the brand approved ones. They will also be more likely to work with you in the future.

Listen
The difference between a Q&A and an interview is huge.

I’ve always sent questions in advance, allowing time for preparation and to instil some ease. However, I understand that by doing this, it means I may end up with responses prepared by the Communications team. That’s why you have to listen rather than just move through the questions and take the answers, listen and ask follow up questions – drill into each answer.

Information you find out during an interview can also benefit wider departments.

Why: Again, it helps you find the angle and ask follow up questions. It also helps to generate future content ideas. Once someone has given you their time to be interviewed – pick their brains, make the most of being with them.

Use a formula
Each interview should be personal, no doubt about it. But there’s nothing wrong with having a bit of a raw framework to your question development – it helps you develop the content following the interview. Mine goes a little something like this:

Overview of Journey

Macro impact

Challenges

Above and beyond

Lesson Learnt

For example, the challenges question may end up being something like:

Change Management was clearly one of the biggest challenges of the project – could you tell me a little about the strategy you had in place and what hurdles you were faced with along the way..

Go the extra mile
It’s the simple things that count here, share a copy of the video – edited and raw footage, add some value to the experience.

Communicate where it’s been used and what the feedback is.

Being interviewed can be a real personal development tool. It will also increase your chances of getting the video shared with new networks. People are generally more than happy to self-promote, exponentially increasing your coverage.

Content Marketing World Sydney: What I took from day 1

I’ll be honest, when I rocked up to Content Marketing World Sydney (or #CMWorld), I was a little sceptical. Primarily because i work in the conference industry so I understand how hard it is to get a decent coffee at these things. Secondly, because I had a feeling the day may be centred around ‘the art of story telling’.

Don’t get me wrong, and you can probably tell by the name of this blog – I love story telling. Ultimately though i feel like that’s where Australia has got a bit stuck when it comes to content. Articles, podcasts, webinars, ebooks, infographics – in my current job we’ve been doing these pretty well for over a year now.

Yes, i know i should be doing more videos, but i was looking for a little more from CMWorld – APAC’s largest gathering of content experts.

It’s the end of day one now and i’ve been pleasantly surprised. The event is really well run and the speakers are very energetic and passionate about what they do. The lunch was pretty tasty too. Coffee, yeah it’s a bit rubbish but you can’t win them all.

Anyway, i wanted to share a few key points i picked up today:

  • Content Strategy – Network Strategy

This was the big takeaway for me. We’ve been fine tuning the content strategy for a while now. The term network strategy came up during the morning session and it’s exactly where i want to focus our own efforts. The thing about digital (and no i don’t think print is dead) is that it’s built on a series of platforms, it’s spread by a series of influencers. Those influencers used to be sports stars, actors, musicians, models… Not anymore. Absolutely anyone with a twitter account and blog can become an influencer – let’s try to become them and let’s try to engage with them.

Social proof is becoming paramount. If you look for a picture of a cat in a box – are you more likely to share the cat that only 3 people have looked at, or the cat that has had 300 views? (Personally i’d go for this one.)

There’s a few key things for network strategy: a) find the influencers in your business  – websites like Klout can help you find out who has the potential to spread content widely across the network by scoring the people you work with on their social influence. b) appinions – I think toilet roll is a boring subject matter. But if i’m developing a toilet roll product, is my influence matched with the rest of the market? For example, i say no one wants to read content around Claims Leakage in insurance – but what am i comparing that with? Are there conversations happening without my content? Appinion can provide the tools to check you’re not missing a gap. c) People – they are everywhere talking about everything under the sun, let’s find them, let’s engage with them and let’s work together to spread the word beyond our internal campaign cycle.

  • Customer Centricity

Without waffling on too much about this, as someone who works in b2b content – it’s something i’ve written about a lot. Today served as a strong reminder to check that i’m talking the talk in my own content marketing practices. 1000 photo’s are added every minute with the #me on instagram. No joke. The new marketing mix isn’t about the ‘4Ps’ anymore – it’s about principles, people, ideas then launch – it’s all about the customer. Marketing is giving people something to talk about. The challenge from today was set: It isn’t the best idea that wins, it’s the greatest understanding of the customer.

  • Be honest and fail

The other key area worth a mention today all centred around trial and error. Be honest in your content – if you’re speaking to someone because they are sponsoring your product – tell the reader. If you’re interviewing someone that bought you an ice cream – tell the reader. Also, it’s ok to fail. Push the boundaries. Those ideas that give us a bit of fear… give them a go. It doesn’t have to be so serious all the time.

Few key people to follow from today: @MarkSchaefer, @BernadetteJiwa and @TimWasher.

To sum up in one line we need: relevant audience, meaningful content and consistent engagement.

Looking forward to the breakout sessions tomorrow…