Content marketing has become a buzzword in recent years, but it’s actually a very simple concept: using content to do your marketing. Instead of hard selling, content marketing focuses on being creative and attracting the right people. By creating pieces (blog posts, videos, Instagram posts, white pages, etc.) about what it’s like to work with you, you’ll sell your open roles to candidates.
Think of being a hunter vs. a farmer. Hunters go out and find what they want when they want it. If you have an open job role, you go find a candidate, blasting out your application page and sending recruiters to LinkedIn. It’s a high-energy recruitment method.
Farmers, on the other hand, plant seeds that take time to grow and be nurtured. Farming can be a lot less intense, with more immediate results: When you want a carrot, you go out and pick one. It’s a slower, steadier method that takes more time and planning.
One method isn’t better than the other, and they can both deliver high-quality results, but they’re very different ways to approach recruitment. Content marketing is a form of farming. Will a great piece of content reap immediate results, bringing in hundreds of applications? Not necessarily. But it will help shape your brand, weed out nonideal candidates, and help people understand what your company is all about so that when the time is right, they’re primed for recruitment. Think of your candidates’ awareness journey: Where do they first come into contact with your company? It may be a really great piece of marketing content. When you take the time to craft a content strategy and execute it well, you’re planting seeds that could pay off in a huge way.
Here are four innovative ways to attract candidates through content marketing.
You may be thinking, really? Blog posts? What’s innovative about that? It’s true that blogs have been around since the beginning of the Internet. But while blogs themselves aren’t new, the way people are consuming blog content has radically shifted.
Consistency is no longer key. If the idea of crafting a new post every week terrifies you, don’t worry—you don’t have to! Instead, create a blog post that’s longer and meatier, then use other content to point to it. A totally immersive behind-the-scenes glimpse of your office is the kind of post that can attract a lot of excited eyes. It used to be that blog posts had to be under 500 words to really utilize search engine optimization, but these days, the opposite is true. Don’t stuff the post full of keywords or try and hack Google; simply make it useful and visually appealing. You’ll be surprised at how effective a handful of high-quality blog posts can be instead of piles of archived content. Make a plan to write three to five blog posts within the next year, focus on actually promoting them instead of letting them fall by the wayside, and see how high they climb on the Google charts.
Infographics have become incredibly popular on Instagram recently, and it’s no surprise why. They’re easy to create with a program like Canva, even if you don’t have a designer on staff, and they’re simple ways to share complicated information. Create infographics talking about how satisfied your employees are, what their favorite part of their job is, or how diverse your staff is. Infographics are also easy to share, making them more likely to reach a large audience.
The key to infographics is to make them easy to read while giving more context within the caption. Don’t try to overdo it and stuff too much into a single infographic; it’ll become cluttered, making it less likely to be engaged with. Try to brainstorm what your ideal job candidate really needs to know and finds interesting.
A Niched Podcast
You don’t need to get serial-sized numbers to create an effective podcast. Start a podcast during which employees can talk about their roles within your business. Audio can help make the mundane more interesting, and explain how your products and services are shaped. The key here is to niche down so that your podcast stands out while making it broad enough to be helpful to a wide range of people. It’s a delicate balance. There are much fewer podcasts on the Internet than blogs or social media accounts, so podcasting is a great way to stand out and try something new.
Oftentimes, people get tripped up by the complicated technology of podcasts. But the truth is, it’s easier than ever these days to create an audio series. Apps like Anchor allow you to directly record a podcast with your phone, and because you’re creating such niched content, you can simply start with what you have instead of investing in things like a fancy microphone right off the bat. Most smartphones have high-quality microphones these days—at least ones that are good enough for those just starting out.
A Segmented E-Mail Series
Again, e-mail is one of the oldest forms of content marketing. But that doesn’t make it any less effective. Most e-mail marketing platforms these days allow you to segment your list and give different communication paths for different readers. If someone has clicked on your careers page before, you can send that person a specific series of follow-up e-mails. A behind-the-scenes look into your business, an overview of your recruitment process, or a day in the life of one of your employees can all make for engaging, informative e-mails.
How do you create an effective series? It’s all in the spacing. Too many e-mails in a short amount of time will lead to high unsubscribes and people finding your brand obnoxious instead of interesting. You’ll also want to make sure every e-mail includes a link for people to unsubscribe. Slamming people’s inboxes isn’t the way to recruit them, and you don’t want people who aren’t interested in what you have to say clogging up your e-mail list anyway.
Claire Swinarski is a Contributing Editor at HR Daily Advisor.