Once upon a time, the good people at CareerArc handed Misty Walsh and me the reigns to an episode in their popular recruiting webinar series. Their only requests were that we chat about content marketing and our unique relationship.
Content marketing was easy. Misty and I were both big fans, leveraging it for business development and recruiting respectively.
And so was chatting about our unique relationship. In a world where recruiting and marketing were often at odds, we were actually bona fide friends.
So we gave them that. But because we are both suckers for a good theme, we also gave them a bunch of obnoxious bird puns. (The CareerArc people did not ask for that, and probably have since written a “no birds” clause into their speaker contracts.)
Because the world needs more good content marketing, good friendships, and good bird themes, this is the third in a series on those topics. For even more goodness, I also encourage you to check out the webinar recording.
With that, let’s “take flight”….
Vision… “Get a Bird’s Eye View”
It is very tempting to jump right into content marketing. After all, the blogging, tweeting and the what not are the fun stuff!
However, it’s important first to make sure that talent acquisition and marketing share a common vision for your upcoming content marketing efforts. In other words, you need to make sure you have a bird’s eye view of what is important.
As mentioned in the last installment, I regularly meet with our marketing lead, Misty Walsh. During these working sessions, we continually return to our vision. For us, that vision is sharing Centric’s culture and people with the outside world.
Why that is important to each of our respective areas:
- Recruiting – Telling our story gives others a glimpse into our culture and our talent so we can hire the best people. I am a firm believer that smart, cool people want to work with smart, cool people. By showcasing our awesome team, we can attract more candidates just like them.
- Marketing – Telling our story gives others a glimpse into our culture and what makes our services different so we can attract the best clients. In a world where most consulting firms provide similar services, Misty believes that showcasing our thought leadership and dedication to unmatched client experiences can help us attract the best clients.
In the end, and like any professional services company, people are our product. Content marketing allows us to showcase our talented team, which in turns drives both recruiting and sales efforts.
Our current content marketing strategy is pretty straight forward. Among the elements:
- Social media
The more sophisticated element of our content marketing strategy, however, is execution. We do our best to be thoughtful in the implementation of those pieces.
Here are the guiding principles we incorporate.
1.Be authentic. Content marketing is your calling card. Make sure it portrays you correctly. We avoid anything that will come across too “sales-y.” We want to tell our stories in ways that are both real and beneficial to the reader. The last thing we want is clutter the internet with yet another advertorial.
One of my absolute favorite examples of authenticity is Linda Stevens‘ recalling “Aha Moments” from both her professional and professional life in this LinkedIn post. I will not do her story justice, so I will not even attempt to provide a summary here, but you should definitely check it out.
2. Tell stories. Speaking of stories, we feel that telling stories is one of the best ways to connect with the reader. Stories grab you and make you care about the content. This was admittedly not one of our strong points originally. However, we had a professional storyteller, Kindra Hall, help us hone our craft. ( By the way, Kindra has some awesome storytelling advice on her website)
One great example is Erynn Truex’s recap of Centric I/O, our annual TEDx style developer conference. She chose story-telling over a standard write-up, making her article much more engaging and enjoyable to the reader.
3. Choose quality over quantity. Once again, our goal is to give the reader benefit. That is why we love long form, multi-day blog series. They are a ton of work, but they give the reader much more value than a three paragraph fluff piece on “3 things that will totally change your business RIGHT NOW!!!”. As a bonus, Google loves rich content and will reward you with extra search engine optimization credit.
Joseph Karnes, from our Portals and Collaboration practice, often utilizes the multi-day, deep-dive approach. His articles on things like Office 365 might not be universally appealing but are extremely valuable to readers in his space. It is a perfect example of choosing a specific audience and providing meaningful content to them.
4. Consistency is key. Of all the principles, this one is probably the hardest. But it is oh so important! There are a billion distractions on the web, and unless you have a consistent voice, you will be drowned out by the din created by the others.
We post on social media daily and new blog content three to five days per week.
Specific to recruiting, we do a #CentricCareers push every Monday to coincide with our biggest job search day of the week. In the past, we have focused on highlighting open positions. However, we are planning to expand #CentricCareers soon to include employee profiles, “Day in the Life” and other employee culture pieces.
5. Nurture and encourage others. Last but certainly not least, advocating content marketing across your organization is crucial. If your organization is anything like ours, both talent acquisition and marketing already have an endless to-do list and a skeleton crew to make it happen. Content marketing needs to be embraced beyond those two departments if it has any chance of succeeding.
Misty and I lead content marketing and personal branding workshops for anyone at Centric with a curiosity in those areas. During the workshops, we introduce the basic concepts, show best practice examples and provide tools to get them started.
And most importantly, we provide encouragement. We have found that the number one limiter preventing people from doing content marketing was confidence. Often, just hearing things like “you have great ideas people will want to hear about” and “you are a better writer than you think” is enough motivation to get employees engaged.
Before you fly right into content marketing, take a moment to figure out what your vision is. What is recruiting trying to accomplish? What is marketing trying to accomplish? What principles will guide your efforts? How will you motivate your flock to get involved? Answering these questions will give you a bird’s eye view of what’s important and create a solid perch from which you can launch your recruiting content marketing program.