When you’re running a recruitment company, you may be thinking about content marketing, keen to develop your content strategy and wondering where to start. Before you even write a word, you need to answer four questions.
1. Why content marketing?
2. What’s in it for me and my business?
3. Why will my audience care?
4, How will I measure and define success?
Content Marketing – The Why
Content Marketing is sometimes called Demand Generation or Inbound Marketing… It’s the opposite of traditional outbound or “Interruption Marketing”. Rather than tell employers why they should buy your services, they discover why their business teams need your servicewhen they need it and trust you to deliver because they know how you think and what you do already.
Recruiters need to think about your ideal target audience that you are creating content for, clients or candidates. Once you know who you are helping, think what “pain” your recruiters can solve. Which specific employers will your content serve and how can you help them in a way no one else can. Recruiters need brands. People trust people and staffing companies can use content marketing to build trust in their client base. Trust can then be translated into profit. That is usually increased revenue, a reduction in advertising or production costs, “better” customers (convert faster or with have a higher lifetime value) speeding up placements or the amount of effort invested to make those placements, invitations on to PSLs, richer data on existing customers, upsells of products or services in the future… There’s thousands of reasons. Answer the “So What? Or the Why?” first before you write or record a word and make sure your recruitment website design is fit for purpose.
Develop Your Content Strategy
A staffing company’s content strategy must include your content origination, publication, resources required and the distribution of useful, relevant content that resonates with your target customers. Content marketing isn’t just about writing loads of “stuff” or producing a video for the sake of it. Your content is the very output of your organisation, your sales teams, social channels, owned and earned media as well as your website. It’s should be laser targeted with purpose and each piece of content marketing helps answer the question “Why should I use your recruitment service over others?”
Having a plan and sticking to it is critical in business. Otherwise, you’re publishing without purpose and you won’t know how successful you’ve been or where you went wrong. Recruiter content marketing is far more effective if you have a strategy and each element of your plan is considered, implementation will be more straight-forward. Having developed content strategies for several recruitment consultancies, there are generally five common elements you need to cover off to be successful. These are your:
1. Business Case
2. Business Plan
4. Story (including emotion)
5. Channel plan
Prepare Your Content Marketing Plan
Your content plan needs to be tactical and include:
How will you execute your strategy? Be specific.
What resources will you need?
How will you establish what employers need and your candidates want?
How is your content strategy being measured?
Who will be handling each task?
What does success look like?
You have to consider and build a content marketing strategy before you build your marketing plan. It’s a commitment that should not be underestimated as it’s ongoing, needs nurturing and will develop and morph over time into a key part of your business development strategy. The key elements are easier to implement that you might think. You will already have a lot of this in your business and need to frame your strategies differently. The good news is that content marketing enhances your current business strategy, it does not distract away from your core business purpose and focus. Key elements to consider are:
- The key topics you want to cover, (sectors you recruit in, candidates you’re looking for, vacancies you want to pick up more of)
- What content you create (topics and angles that are interesting and relevant to your candidates and clients)
- What type of content and format you will create, (video, white-papers, articles, webinars, infographics – the “how” your audience will digest and engage with your information
- How you will source content that’s relevant and resonates with your audience
- When and how to share your content
- When to bring in a call to action to prompt engagement and move your prospects down your buyer’s journey.
There’s a lot of detail in there… Then there is the question of “How will you plan, store, distribute and track your content?” Is your recruiting technology stack capable of enabling your business to do that? Will all the elements be captured in your CRM, on the recruiter desks and triggered in the right time frame? How will all this effort and resource tie into your sales process? How will your content marketing help and enable sales teams to qualify prospects faster, enrich data held in your records and accelerate/facilitate your sales process?
1. Content Marketing Business Case
After you pull together your reasons for starting out on your content marketing, the risks, the upsides and the downsides, your vision of what success looks like is a lot easier to understand and buy into. Your CEO and board are much more likely to get behind it along with your recruiters. It also gives you the time needed to learn on the job and try things out… “Test & Measure” You want to make mistakes and learn from them. You’ll be developing, adjusting and optimising your content strategy consistently over time as new channels appear and you discover some channels just don’t work for your business. It’s critical to share learnings and share your content success so you can double down and drive more business wins. What made it fly? Why was it a hit? How do you replicate it? How can you improve on that next time?
2. Content Marketing Plan
What are you trying to achieve? What goals should you have? What’s going to be THE kick-ass piece of expertise that you can offer and share with your target audience? What unique value and perspective will your content bring? What’s might make it harder and what resources do you already have internally that you can harvest your content from or generate content relatively easily? Content marketing goals include:
Brand awareness and engagement
This is a strong goal for businesses that interact with customers infrequently or from time to time – like recruiters.
Employer conversion and Lead Nurturing
Your content brings prospects through their buyer’s journey, supports your recruiting teams and with automation can capture data, nurture leads and create opportunity. It’s a way to bring you into their world regularly and to be seen as being helpful. Using lead magnets, (video, white-papers, research, salary surveys) you can also do some progressive profiling on your database and learn more about your database.
Content reinforces decision-making and turns prospects and opportunities into customers. It can also be used to cross-sell services and upsell different areas of your services that you’re not servicing that client with at the moment.
If you understand your customer personas, you can up-sell, cross-sell and turn customers into repeat customers as well as evangelists, increasing lifetime value. We work with lots of providers and Venngage put together a useful guide on how to make an infographic guide. Most people think it’s hard to make an infographic, but after reading this guide, you might change your opinion.
3. Your Candidates, Target Employers + Content
Here you need to be as specific as possible. You need to outline who your audience is, (easy for recruiters) identify what personas they fall into (three or four personas works well), and what their ideal content engagement cycle might look like, over what time frame and the frequency you should be engaging with them. Crucially, you need to understand their buying pain, and the implications of inaction, how and why you’re the best recruiters to solve their problems. Work out what sort of information they’re looking for, the format they like and what content you can create that will help them move along your buyer’s journey so they feel like you’ve helped them, and they’ve not been sold to. Market intelligence, candidate opinion, compensation & benefits strategies, workplace culture, what do your clients and employers need to do better? What candidate pain or employer pain do your highest billers know about that you could share and be the market leader on that issue? James Whitelock, Managing Director of the staffing and recruitment digital marketing consultancy Think in Circles comments “How you write influences how people perceive you and whether they choose to engage. Striking the right tone, using simple but engaging language and avoiding jargon can all help to shape a picture in your readers mind. What you say is as important as how you look.”
4. Make Your Content Compelling
Here, you characterise your content marketing in terms of what ideas and messages you want to communicate, how your messages differ from your competitors, how you see your specific areas of expertise evolving and their world-changing as a result after you have shared your content with your prospects and target audience. Let your business personality shine and expertise to come through, give insights into issues and problems that only you can offer with your experience and expertise.
5. Your Channel Plan
The most important element of your whole content plan (perhaps) is to go where your customers are. Where do they go and graze for information and where do they hang out? This should include the platforms they use and will be the ones you should use to tell your story. Make it appropriate for each channel and set your criteria, processes, and objectives for each channel. Importantly, how will you engage with your prospects when they engage with you?
Share Your Content Marketing Strategy
When you have different stakeholders who have bought into your content strategy and your content plan, it means they’re aware of what you are doing and why. Importantly, they’ll be able to contribute to it and more engaged when you ask for content from them.
This is crucial in big teams or large companies, ensures everyone is on the same page and knows what they’re doing and why. It also helps in smaller companies, so billers understand what you’re doing and why and can contribute effectively. When briefing out content generation requirements team members and suppliers like Staffing Future, they’ll see the bigger picture. The best news is you can often quickly discover examples of success to win over the skeptics. What do people care about most? This should help you determine which elements of your content marketing strategy are most appropriate to focus on with each team.
Test & Measure – Optimize Your Content & Conversion
Some parts of your content marketing strategy will stay the same as your program rolls out. Goals, audience, strategy, personas and purpose should remain the same. (If they were right in the first place). However certain elements should be reviewed and updated systematically. You have to iterate and adjust to keep your eye on the ball, which channels are working, what topics resonate, where is engagement highest, what’s being shared, is the team doing the heavy lifting or are there easier ways to create your content? Review this monthly to be begin with, learn what metrics are important, then review your recruitment content strategy quarterly and adjust as appropriate.
Staffing Content Marketing Tactics
Content marketing includes loads of production but this doesn’t have to be onerous. There are several tactics, you just need to pick one that resonates best with your audience, is easy to produce and adds value to your target audience. If you don’t have the in-house resource available or the time, Staffing Future can write the content for you that is keyword rich, targeted and authoritative. Great recruitment website design includes these elements:
Visual Text Based Infographics Lists
Video How-tos / Tutorials Webinars Polls
Podcasts Reviews / Case studies / Interviews
Presentations, Books, Guides, Animations, White papers
Measure Success vs KPIs
You’ve managed to execute all of your content marketing plan and are producing brilliant content that resonates with your audiences. Your content is being consumed voraciously, being shared on social media, driving quality traffic and you’ve heard from recruiters it’s really useful. You may even have had a “Great content, well done”. But how great? How much greater is it compared to your last piece of content? You need to go back to the beginning and look at the purpose of producing your content and the audiences you’re targeting. Here’s where you produce your KPIs. Was your goal lead generation? Qualified candidates? New business leads or current client business development? Was it data enrichment on your existing CRM? How many interviews have been generated and how many placements as a result? How many phone calls did you not have to make to get the same piece of data you now have in your database? If this sounds a lot of work, it really shouldn’t be.
Have your placement fees been tagged against the right source? How will you measure that in your CRM? Do you have the recruitment technology stack embeded and plugged into your recruitment website design already? How did you measure nurturing prospects into a sales-ready buying state? From being “Unaware” to “Aware” of your services, through to “Consideration” and finally into a “Being an Active Customer” state? Disqualifying prospects from the sales process to save the sales team’s time is really valuable. What will they do with that extra time and how will that increase in productivity be attributed to your content marketing and be quantified?
Is the aim to encourage referrals or repeat purchases? To cross-sell and upsell/nudge people to buy other products or services? You need to be SMART with your KPIs and make them simple and effortless to collate. Your goals should be shared across the organisation to ensure you have buy in and teams can see the results marketing is delivering. Soon, this becomes a virtuous circle and sales will actively contribute to their content and what your customers need. Even better, they in turn, feel like you’re listening better as an organisation and are more likely to recommend your brand and become an advocate for your recruitment services.
How many of these tactics are you using and do you have a content marketing plan that makes a difference to your staffing business?
If your content marketing isn’t working, or you don’t know where to start, or if you’re producing content and not getting the results you need, share your thoughts or get in touch with staffing technology experts.