By Tracy Gold published December 16, 2014

9 Ways to Use Content Marketing as a Recruiting Tool

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Content marketers often focus exclusively on creating content for prospective customers and clients. That’s great, and it helps spur growth.

But when you grow, who’s going to do the extra work?

Make sure you’re not forgetting a key audience that can be served by content marketing: prospective employees. If you use content marketing as a recruiting tool, once your customer-focused content marketing does its job, you will be able to hire more people to handle the growth without a scramble.

Especially if you’re in an industry where talent acquisition is competitive, content marketing can really serve your recruiting efforts. Here’s a nine-step guide using content marketing as a recruiting tool:

1. Collaborate with human resources

Keep your ear to the ground so you can know what positions your company needs to fill most. Ask human resources what type of person they need soon, and who they know they’re going to need over the long term.

For example, one of my clients, SmartLogic, creates content to appeal to software developers regardless of whether it’s hiring at the moment. That way, when the company needs to hire someone, it’s already on its prospective employees’ radar. The more aware of your brand your prospective audience is, the more likely your future job post will reach the right people.

2. Build recruiting into your documented content marketing strategy

CMI’s research shows that marketers who document their strategy are more effective. Make sure your recruiting efforts are part of your written strategy. Often, content you create for customers can apply to prospective employees. Pulling together these efforts under one strategic umbrella can ensure that you’re not duplicating efforts.

3. Build audience personas for prospective employees

You’re not going to reach a developer and a salesperson with the same content and the same distribution. Work with human resources to identify the types of people your company needs the most and how best to reach them.

4. Work with current employees to develop content for prospective employees

If you’re a B2B marketer, it’s likely that you’re used to working with your company’s subject-matter experts to create content for your prospective customers. You can apply this same process – working with current employees – to your content creation efforts for prospective employees.

It may be new for B2C marketers to lean on subject-matter experts for help creating content. Work with leaders in each department to build a strategy for creating content that will reach their next hire. Having top-down support will make it much easier to access internal subject-matter experts.

5. Showcase the big thinking

Prospective employees want to know why working at your organization would be meaningful and interesting. Your content marketing can show that.

For example, General Electric’s #SpringBreakIt Campaign, which showed household items subjected to advanced materials tests, reached not only consumers at large, but prospective employees. As GE’s Katrina Craigwell explained at CMW, the effort was successful at fostering brand-level social conversations as well as talent-level social conversations. The videos clicked with engineers and non-engineers alike.

6. Showcase everyday life

Your content marketing can showcase the everyday perks of what it’s like to work at your company. Take LinkedIn’s coverage of its Bring in Your Parents Day program. LinkedIn turned an internal initiative into a worldwide program in which any organization can initiate. Not only does this program garner publicity for LinkedIn in general; it also shows prospective employees a little bit about the culture of working there.

7. Don’t overload the wrong audience with job postings

In my experience, the most common (and annoying) use of content marketing as a recruiting tool is for brands to plaster their social media channels with job posts. If you’re a small organization, and you have a job to post every few months, it’s fine to share it on your social media networks. Posting jobs can help build confidence that your company is growing. But for larger organizations with frequent hiring needs, job posts can quickly overwhelm any other content – your Twitter feed could look like a search from Monster.com. I’ve seen many start-up companies suddenly infused with investment capital fall into this trap.

Instead, consider posting content that’s interesting to your main social media audience and shows why it would be a good idea to work for your company. For example, ride-sharing company Lyft’s Facebook page does a good job of balancing content to serve Lyft customers (riders) and Lyft drivers. Lyft shared a post written by a driver who answered questions about what it’s like to drive for Lyft. The post appeals to Lyft riders (the cute picture especially), but also provides valuable information for prospective drivers.

Content-Marketing-Recruiting-Tool-Lyft Image

Then, on Lyft’s website, there’s a prominent page dedicated entirely to prospective drivers. That way, Lyft’s content marketing serves as a recruiting tool without taking up too much valuable social media real estate.

8. Train your team to channel job inquiries to the right place

My clients frequently get messages and comments about jobs on their social media sites. People ask whether there are jobs available, if job X could be based at a different location, what job Y pays – you name it. Once, someone even sent multiple Facebook messages about why she would be a great fit for a job.

While messages like this are a good sign that your content marketing is working as a recruiting tool, chances are good that your social media managers are not equipped to answer job-specific questions. Make sure your social media managers know where to send people if they have questions about jobs at your company. This could be a detailed “Careers” page or an email address for someone in human resources.

9. Measure your success

As with any marketing strategy, you should measure the success of your efforts to use content marketing as a recruiting tool. If you accept applications through a form on your website, set up your analytics software to track those conversions and their sources. If, like many companies, your job applicants come from a variety of sources – email, a LinkedIn job post, recruiters – you may have to go a little low-tech. To find out which sources are sending the best people – not just the most people – work with human resources. They can simply ask qualified applicants where they found out about the job. Of course, self-reporting applicants may not result in completely accurate information, but they can be a starting point for your measurement.

Have you used content marketing as a recruiting tool? Share your successes and challenges in the comments.

Want more insight on how to leverage content marketing to better your business? Check out all the fantastic CMW sessions that are available through our Video on Demand portal.

Image courtesy of Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Tracy Gold

Tracy Gold is a marketing consultant, writer, and editor. Tracy is also an instructor for the Content Marketing Institute Online Training and Certification program. Please don’t hesitate to drop Tracy a comment on this post, and for more like this, follow her on Twitter @tracycgold.

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  • Adam Glassman

    As with consumer marketing, it is essential to show the human side of the brand in recruitment marketing content. Tell that story — what is it like to work here? Why do our current employees love it here? What type of culture do we embody? Etc…

    • http://tracycgold.com/ Tracy Gold

      Absolutely–yet as with consumer marketing, you also have to be careful not to seem like you’re being pushy and selling prospective employees, at least, not until they’re ready to be sold.

      • Adam Glassman

        Yes, 100%. It’s information, not sales. :)

  • Shai Geoola

    Absolutly love these tips! Thank You Tracy!

    • http://tracycgold.com/ Tracy Gold

      You’re welcome, thanks for reading!

  • Evan Hoggins

    Great tips! Never thought content marketing could used to bolster our staff strength. Best idea I found was to highlight the culture and lifestyle of the company through the blogs and social media.

    I guess videos would be most effective in highlighting a company’s culture and the fun and the satisfaction that the employees have. If you have a great looking office equipped with coke/coffee vending machines with fitness center and a cool canteen then a video projecting these facilities could be a huge turn on for the future employees.

    I have a web design company, recently started content marketing also, http://denton-media.com/content-marketing/ and I came across this blog and amazing suggestions just at the right time!!

    • http://tracycgold.com/ Tracy Gold

      Video is an excellent way to highlight company culture, great suggestion!

  • torin

    Timely post – especially for those looking to make a statement as we end 2014 and lift their efforts in 2015.

    • http://tracycgold.com/ Tracy Gold

      Thanks, Torin!