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“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.”
That is how the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) defines content marketing.
“Marketing is impossible without great content,” is one of the conclusions in the CMI article and a statement most marketers will agree with. In the ceaseless struggle for recognition on the internet, content marketing has evolved into one of the most effective weapons.
Content marketing plays a significant role in the process of creating brand awareness and preference. And, this applies equally to your product brand and your employer brand.
In Employer Branding: How and Where To Build an Attractive Image in the Job Market, you can read more about employer branding. In this article, we will take a closer look at the role of content in the creation of a strong employer brand.
Candidates are thinking about applications in the same way as they consider buying decisions. They want to learn a few things about your company, which is not necessarily a linear process. Candidates consume content based on what they are doing at the time, on what they fancy reading.
That is why the words “valuable, relevant, and consistent” in the above definition are significant. To start with, you will need a content marketing strategy that allows you to create and publish an ongoing stream of valuable content for every need during the candidate journey. And, you will have to be active on a variety of platforms and channels to reach and educate the candidates you are interested in.
But, creating awareness and educating is only half the job. The ultimate goal is consumer satisfaction, or in our case, happy employees who feel they have made the right choice. Just like product marketing, recruitment marketing should follow the four stages of the ACCD formula: Attract > Convert > Close > Delight. Each of these stages requires different information and a different approach.
What are you going to tell about your company and to whom, where and when? And, in which formats will you present your content? A content strategy provides answers to these questions. Some suggestions to get started:
Know your audience
The first thing, of course, is to know who you are talking to. Who do you want to attract? How would you describe them professionally and personally? Product managers make use of buyer personas to help them hit the right note. In the same way, you can create a candidate persona.
Put yourself in the candidate's shoes.
What reasons could they have to apply for a new job? What do they expect from an employer and a company culture? Which challenges motivate them in their professional life? Write about the things that your candidates would like to know.
Create a content calendar
To publish valuable, relevant, and consistent content, you will need a handhold. Or, call it a big stick. Create a calendar with content ideas, channels and frequency for the upcoming year or months. Plan and organize your content ideas around key events and dates, public holidays etc. Incorporate monthly themes. This will help you in finding content topics and has a cumulative effect on your readers as well.
Develop content ideas
Your content will vary based on the jobs that you recruit for, but having a master list of possible ideas at hand will be of great help once you start writing your content.
Whatever your business, there are many sources for content - social media for one. LinkedIn is a great place to find topics and inspiration. Your own company culture is another rich source, especially, first-hand accounts from your employees will resonate with candidates.
Once you have decided on the strategy and the topics, production can start. This is, unfortunately, the stage where many big ambitions get bogged down. People often get caught up in 'No time this week' or 'busy with more important things' scenarios. Sounds familiar? One solution could be to hire a content writer. Outsourcing to an agency or a freelance writer is also a way to make sure the content stream does not dry up.
As said, in every stage of their journey, candidates have other information needs. The challenge is to fulfil them all at the right moment. Let us have a look at 6 stages in the candidates’ journey and the kind of content that will be appreciated in each stage.
1. Awareness stage
Candidates have just become aware of your company as a possible employer. At this stage, you will want to capture their attention and make your company stand out. Your company’s experts’ comments on the latest industry developments are a way to start the acquaintance.
2. Consideration stage
Candidates want to know more about your company as a potential employer. They will ask themselves: what is in it for me? At this stage, interesting topics can be:
3. Interest stage
Candidates are interested in joining your company. They will ask themselves: how will I fit in? At this stage, the workplace culture is even more interesting for them. Employee testimonials and photos or videos from company events are simple yet effective ways to guide them further.
4. Application stage
Candidates have decided that they want to work for your company. A common question all of them will have is: how do I apply? Job descriptions and application process instructions are all they need at this stage. Or you can be a bit creative, and think of an online quiz, that matches the candidate's skills with open job positions.
5. Selection stage
At this stage, candidates are probably a little worried about the interview. You can help them with conversation tips and tricks from your HR team or your recruiter's profiles. Or, let a recent hire tell their story.
6. Hiring Stage
Yes! I’ve got the job! Now, how do I prepare for it? Your new colleagues will value content about the onboarding process, an employee handbook or a welcome video. A useful tool in this stage is a mobile communication app. This is the simplest way to give new employees access to company material, training, news, and updates, even before their first day.
Content comes in many different shapes and formats. From blog posts to YouTube videos, from newsletters to webinars. Rather than elaborate on all possibilities, we’ll give some miscellaneous tips that can help you create the kind of content that gets the job done.
Don't make things look better than they actually are. Be honest about your workplace culture and career opportunities and be yourself. Candidates want to see real people behind your employer brand. Don’t use glossy stock photos. Show the faces of the people they will be spending with on workdays.
People like infographics, they are visually appealing and easy to digest.
Make a quiz
A quiz is an interactive way to engage candidates online. Five to ten simple questions will help candidates find out if they are a good fit for your open position and company culture.
Think of FAQ
Your candidate's questions are a source of inspiration for creating interesting recruitment content. Study their queries and create content that provides the answers.
Go live on video
You do not have to hire professionals and spend big bucks for this. Your desktop camera is all you need to connect with candidates in person.
Take candidates on a virtual workplace tour.
All you need is your mobile phone. And don’t worry about your video being less than perfect.
Optimize your content for Google
Use relevant SEO keywords – the words people search for - to make your content rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Put these keywords in the headings, body text, and URL’s of your landing pages and blog content.
Share your content on social media.
Your candidates spend a substantial amount of time on their favourite social media platforms. Make sure you are present as well.
Repurpose your content
Turn your blog post into a podcast or a webinar or combine a few blog posts to create an Ebook.
Good content doesn’t have to be home-made. You can also share high-quality content that someone else created. The quality will reflect on your company. It is a clever solution for increasing content production while saving time and money.
Let us go back to the definition once more: “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 (…).”
"Consistency," asks for frequent output. Of course, this depends on the time and money you can invest, but in general, our advice would be to publish new content at least every week to benefit from the cumulative effect.
"Valuable" and "relevant" are qualities that depend on who’s reading your content. Maybe you have a pretty good idea about the places your candidates visit. LinkedIn and Glassdoor will top the list for many recruiters, but then again, there may be other possibilities worth exploring.
Wherever you publish your recruitment marketing content, make sure your website has a suitable landing page. A recruitment landing page provides SEO that remains in place, while job posting pages are always in flux. It can be the first impression of your company on candidates who have read one of your blog articles, so it better be an excellent one. Such a dedicated portal can be a gateway to your job posting pages and include tools for uploading resumes, filling out applications and finding out about other jobs than the one that led them here.
How do some well-known companies put their recruitment marketing content strategy into practice? For your inspiration:
Microsoft shares human interest stories of their Facebook career page, called Microsoft life.
The culture at Hotjar is a welcoming and well thought of recruitment landing page.
The Hershey Company’s LinkedIn page offers potential candidates extensive information about their business, brands and job opportunities.
Allianz Career Blog helped the sweets manufacturer become number one - out of over 400 companies worldwide - in Potentialpark’s overall ranking of "employers’ digital talent communication".
As a recruiter, you want to attract the best candidates. Content is a powerful way to present your company to these talents. By developing quality content and distributing it across multiple channels, you will increase exposure and be able to build an employer profile that stands out in the job market. Content takes time and commitment. It is a slow and steady practice that can lead to great results without putting a considerable dent in your wallet. In order to reap the benefits of recruitment content marketing, two things are essential: a good content strategy to start with and a commitment to honour your content calendar and produce a steady stream of content that is interesting for candidates, wherever they are on their candidate journey.
Interested in more content marketing tips? Download our free Content strategy template for your internal social network.
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