As the market for talent has heated up, it’s given rise to a new segment of recruitment which is recruitment marketing. I’ve talked a lot about how recruiters can take a playbook directly from corporate marketers to develop a solid recruitment marketing strategy, and content marketing is at the heart of it.
In the simplest terms, 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. For recruiters, this means candidate engagement and building a robust talent pipeline.
It’s no longer enough to simply wait for candidates to apply. As recruitment marketers; and I believe we all work in some form or marketing in recruiting and HR, we must create content and experiences to engage our candidate communities before they apply for the job.
Here, I’ll outline five ways you can use content marketing to give your recruiting strategy a competitive edge.
#1 – Drive Candidates to Your Company Career Site
Content makes sense in marketing and there’s no doubt that it can also help drive qualified candidates to your company career site, engage them and increase the likelihood that they’ll ultimately apply to apply for a job posting. I’ve said for years that your company career site the heart of your digital recruiting efforts and the heart of your employment brand.
Your online campaigns, including social media, should do more than sell your open positions to job seekers. Content can be used in these campaigns to engage candidates with your company whether you’re currently hiring or not. If you offer useful, quality content targeted to the talent you’d love to connect with, you’re building a relationship, not making a sale. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues, in this case, getting a shiny new job. You can gate your content and force candidates to provide email addresses to access it, but consider offering helpful content for free simply with the goal of being a memorable resource.
#2 – Rank in Organic Search
Another way content can drive traffic to your career site is through organic search also know as search engine optimization or SEO. Search engines reward businesses that publish quality, consistent content. Your site pages could include advice for candidates in your industry, focusing on solving problems that are unique to them, and can then rank for search terms that are common for these candidates.
#3 – Candidate Nurturing
Content marketing is important for candidate nurturing in the mid- to lower hiring funnel. All candidates should get a list of resources to help them in their job search, whether it’s with your organization or with another company in your industry. The key is to create a referral source that continues to drive high quality job seekers to expand and grow your employment brand and talent pipeline. This can be in the form of an FAQ along with other candidate assets that can help provide information about your company, unique qualities and custom content and resources targeted to your ideal candidates.
#4 – Candidate Marketing Email Campaigns
Using content marketing via email campaigns allows you to grow your talent pool and also has the potential to win over a candidate in the company-consumer relationship. If a top candidate isn’t selected for hire, he or she would typically receive a form letter from your ATS with a “thanks but no thanks.” And then they’re forgotten when your company has future hiring needs. This is an often overlooked opportunity for recruiters. If a candidate makes it far enough into your hiring process, consider segmenting out a list of top candidates that came close to being hired and setting up a newsletter that follows a more personalized rejection response. This is a way to keep your company relevant to quality candidates and will give you a pool of candidates to reach out to for future hiring needs. Your “former candidate” newsletter can include information about your company, as well as feature other positions open at your company (and new openings). This is a great strategy if you are focused on re-hiring boomerang employees or are looking to grow an alumni network.
#5 – Content for Targeting Candidate Personas
For any campaign to work, you need great content that aligns with your target candidates. In recruitment marketing, we develop candidate personas to help us decide what type of content a particular segment is more likely to respond to. This applies to segmented email campaigns, targeted PPC or CPC campaigns, social media targeting, and the content on your website.
For example, if your target audience for a specific hard-to-fill, high-level job opening is passive job seekers, your content would focus on why they should consider your job listing as a better option than the job that they already have. If you’re looking for entry-level candidates who might still be in college or working on a specific certification, you’ll want to focus content on helpful support for your target candidate’s education and training.
Where to Get Content Ideas?
All of the above can also be excellent tools for helping you decide what to write and in what format. Use a free keyword search tool or simply search common industry terms in Google to see what topics your ideal candidate looks for online, see what they share on social (especially LinkedIn), or ask your recruiting team what their most frequently asked questions are. You’ll generate dozens – or hundreds – of ideas for content quickly. Be sure to talk to your recent hires either using focus groups or via a new hire survey to gather further candidate intel. People love lists, how-to articles, and information that isn’t already all over the internet (like an inside look at how applicants can snag a job at your company, for example)!
Finally, quality content is part of all forms of recruitment marketing, whether the format is digital ads, social media posts, emails, or any other method of candidate communication. And if there is one thing I’ve learned in my years of writing for websites (including my own), it’s that content is a long term strategy. It should have a “voice” that reflects your company brand and be an asset that aligns to your recruiting efforts, not one that replaces them.