By Michael Quoc
Did you know brands that invest in content marketing enjoy 600% better conversion rates than those that don’t? No wonder they say content is king.
Imagine if you could apply those same winning strategies to your recruiting efforts—to convert employees, not customers. You can. Content marketing is a tool many recruiting teams mistakenly leave off the table. Don’t be one of those teams. Use content marketing to attract top talent for your brand.
Applying content marketing to your recruiting efforts
Successful content marketers do well in large part because they personalize content to their brand’s specific audience. Personalized content increases a consumer’s intention to convert, and the vast majority of customers expect personalization from the brands they buy from and work with.
To win over these consumers, content marketers create fictional representatives of their customers called user personas. User personas exemplify key details about the needs and goals of a company’s customer base. Content marketing teams rely on these user personas to create custom content tailored to their unique interests.
Applying this to recruiting, a user persona for an employee would answer the following types of questions:
- What are their technical skills?
- What matters most to them when searching for a company?
- What are their expectations of a company they work for, both in terms of technical benefits as well as other personal benefits?
- Where do they look for jobs?
- Do they share other interests outside of work?
To develop your own user personas, survey your employees. Ask them what they love and hate about your company. Which benefits would have made them even more excited to join had they known about them before applying? See if you can identify any prominent trends. For example, you might find that people tend to apply to your company through job boards and networking events, and certain types of employees heavily favor one option over the other. That would be a distinction to include in your user personas.
Once you have your user personas in hand, it’s time to go forth and create content. Your user personas will dictate many aspects of your recruitment content creation, including:
- The type of content you create. If you’re recruiting salespeople, they may love an interactive video at a networking happy hour, but if you’re looking for developers, they would be more impressed if they found you posted code to GitHub that opens up a page to your current job openings.
- The tone and language you use in your content. You want to speak their language. In the case of developers, this includes properly using more technical jargon, as well as referencing things that are important to them. Ask current employees to review your content to make sure you’re accurately speaking the same language as your recruits and to catch any technical mistakes.
- Where to promote your recruiting content. Your sales team may be on LinkedIn, but your engineers spend their days on Reddit. You would share content to different channels to target different user personas.
The more you can tailor your content to the types of employees you’re targeting, the better. Let your user personas guide the way.
Content marketing ideas for recruiters
Now that you’re armed with your user personas, let’s review how you can put them to work for your recruiting content:
1. Leverage user-generated content. Content marketers love UGC, short for user-generated content. UGC captures customer testimonials, reviews, social media posts, and any other content created by your customers about your brand. It’s free, which everybody loves, but it’s also more persuasive because it comes from real customers, instead of your marketing team.
When it comes to recruiting, the users you’ll be going after are not current customers, but current employees. Potential employees are a lot more likely to rely on the recommendation of someone just like them—a current employee—instead of what your head recruiter has to say. Just as you feature customer testimonials on your website, feature employee testimonials on your Careers page.
Also, monitor your brand’s reputation on company review sites like Glassdoor and Indeed. According to Software Advice, roughly half of all job seekers reference sites like these as part of their decision-making process. Thoughtfully respond to reviews, and be aware that both your response and the reviews color a candidate’s perception of your brand. You want Glassdoor to be a help to your recruiting efforts, not a hindrance.
2. Celebrate your employees. People like to work for companies where their contributions are valued. Instead of telling, show job candidates that you appreciate your employees with content that celebrates employee achievements. For example, Lyft hosts regular video Q&As with its drivers and encourages customers to share stories about their favorite drivers.
Fulfilled and happy employees are a company’s best brand advertisement. Turn your fun team-building events into social media reels to attract new employees and endear customers to your brand. Outfit your staff with cool gear so they’ll wear it out and attract more talent your way.
3. Demonstrate thought leadership. Customers prefer brands that are leaders of the pack, paving the way for the future, not rushing to keep up. Employees want to work for brands for the same reason. People want to be part of a company’s vision for the future; they’re not content to just maintain the status quo.
Get new talent excited about applying to your company. Adapt the content you’re creating to impress customers by tailoring it to potential employees. For example, if you make videos that preview upcoming product releases to new customers, also have your employees talk in the videos about the creation process and how their feedback impacts the end result.
Use your company blog to highlight thought leadership of your employees through staff-written articles, and provide educational tips that prove your company is dedicated to growing people’s careers. Not only does this build customer trust (since the team clearly knows what it’s doing), but it also gets future employees excited about working for you, knowing they’ll get credit for their own thought leadership. For example, at HubSpot, many of the employee-written blogs share personal stories of how employees made their own mark at the company.
Your employees are your subject-matter experts. Treat them as such. Plus, when employees share their own content on social media, it instantly becomes more visible to users on those platforms. For example, Instagram’s algorithm is slowly but surely phasing out brands from the main feed, but a post from an employee who is also a regular user will stay on people’s feeds longer.
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4. Share behind-the-scenes. Help future employees visualize what it’s like to work at your company, with content that takes them behind the scenes in an everyday scenario. Share photos of your dog-friendly office on Instagram. Post a Facebook Live interview with the software engineering team on their sprint process. Ask your accounting team for their favorite Excel functions. Your employees are the people your recruiting candidates will be working with, so use your content to introduce them and make them feel real.
LinkedIn has been hosting Bring In Your Parents Day since 2013. The event is a way for LinkedIn to show it cares about its employees’ emotional well-being, to help deepen parental-child relationships, and to strengthen the team. The company filmed the inaugural event at LinkedIn’s Dublin office, and posted about it on the company blog. The touching video captured the connections made among employees and their parents. According to LinkedIn, one mother had no idea how valued her daughter was at work and it made her proud.
5. Promote, promote, promote. It’s one thing to work for a great company, and content marketing helps ensure other people know how great it is to work at your company. Don’t hide your recruiting content assets in PDFs attached to emails you send to interview candidates. Share them on social media. Post them to your website. Make a press release out of them.
According to a customer survey, 87% of Starbucks’ brand affinity is based on how the company treats its employees. Starbucks knows its free college tuition benefit is a big deal and a major differentiator for a service industry company, so the company uses it to its recruiting advantage. Starbucks has attracted great candidates and boosted customer perception through a large scale marketing campaign that included in-store signage, press, content marketing, and coverage in big outlets like AOL, CNN, and Time. It also invested in sponsored content on a job networking website that targets college students and new graduates.
Someone at Starbucks clearly did their user persona research, as many new employees begin working for the company when they’re in college or just out of it. Like Starbucks, your content marketing team is already working to get published in niche publications. It helps with SEO and brand awareness. Come to them with more ideas. What trade publications are your user personas reading? Contribute articles written by your C-team or other employees to help job candidates discover you.
Content marketing for recruiting: Two birds, one stone
Content marketing for recruiting helps brands in more ways than one. You’re attracting top talent, while providing interesting content people care about anyway. A video about the day you brought your dogs to work helps your company seem real, cementing customer loyalty by developing relationships, all while attracting new employees who think your business looks like a cool place to work.
Employees are your best brand ambassadors for recruiting, so work with them on the content you’re developing. They’ll be able to pinpoint areas where you’ve missed the mark and provide important feedback so it’s as compelling as possible to candidates. After all, they were once in the same exact shoes as the people you’re now targeting.
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