Content marketing lets your recruitment agency reach your target client and candidate audiences at scale by using articles, guides and posts that drive engagement and generate leads.
How does it work?
Think like a publisher
Content marketing turns conventional advertising upside down.
Instead of starting with your recruitment services and listing out all the benefits in a traditional ‘sales pitch’, content marketing starts with your clients and candidates – who are they, and what do they want to read online?
Content marketing takes a leaf out of the publishing community’s book by working to create content that gives people what they actually want to read naturally, not shoving advertising down their throat.
It all begins with developing a detailed understanding of who your prospects are: what constitutes an ‘ideal’ client or candidate for your agency?
- What are their job titles, locations and industry sectors?
- What challenges do they face in their professional lives?
- What types of news do they follow?
- What skills are they trying to build?
Based on this profile (commonly referred to as a ‘persona’), you can then then focus on creating blog posts, articles, guides and other online resources which are helpful, informative and entertaining to this specific group.
This content is what you will publish and promote online, thereby creating materials which resonate and generate interest from people matching the job titles, companies, industries or geographies you’re trying to reach.
Show people you know your stuff
Creating content which is relevant and helpful to your prospects gives you a great opportunity to demonstrate your own expertise at the same time.
After all, how could you write knowledgeably on the topics you choose if you didn’t know your stuff?
This is where content marketing has the edge over less subtle forms of promotional advertising – you can showcase your expertise, network, customer base, successful placements etc. while still providing content that is of genuine value to your target customers.
With content marketing, illustrating that you know what you’re talking about doesn’t appear as clumsy self-promotion – it’s a natural part of the resources you publish.
Offering value to your future customers helps build brand awareness and develop trust.
Helping your prospects solve a problem for free (via your content) offers a natural gateway for them to contact you when they need your help again.
Creating content that converts
Producing and distributing high-quality content has many benefits.
It builds brand awareness and visibility in your target markets, helping new clients and candidates discover your agency and your capabilities.
It also adds depth and credibility to your sales efforts – prospects who research your business after being contacted by a member of your team can see (through things like blog posts, website insights and social media activity) that your agency truly is as the expert business it claims to be.
Content can also help to engage prospects who don’t react to direct approaches – highly sought-after candidates may be bombarded with LinkedIn messages, for example, but be interested in exploring an article that offers valuable insight relevant to their career.
But content can also go beyond brand-building and make a more direct contribution to your agency’s bottom line, by generating tangible leadsfor your team to engage.
One way of doing this is ensuring that your content contains plenty of ‘calls to action’, or CTAs. This could mean an invitation to “get in touch” at the foot of a blog post, or the offer of something more specific – a free career consultation or CV review, for example.
More effective still is offering content that requires your prospects to provide their contact information in exchange for access, also known as a ‘lead magnet‘ or ‘gated’ content.
What Are “Lead Magnets”?
Lead magnets are typically longer, more detailed documents that sit behind an email signup or registration page.
Examples might include salary surveys, market reports, job-seeker guides or other data-rich resources.
Prospects are directed towards the guide with additional pieces of content, such as social media posts, blog entries, paid advertising and email marketing promotion.
Once at the landing page for the resource, prospects are asked to provide their contact information in order to access the full content.
Companies often use this opportunity to collect some additional information on their prospects at the same time, for instance (if candidates) their job-seeker status, salary bracket or similar, helping their sales team know which leads to prioritise for follow-up.
Lead Magnet best practices
This type of content can be a great way to collect contact information on potential clients and candidates currently outside your network, without having to actively find and engage them one by one.
There are a few things worth keeping in mind to get the best out of this strategy:
- Make sure your content is worth ‘gating’ – requesting signup information builds the expectation that your prospect is accessing something of genuine value, so if there is little more than a glorified blog post on the other side of the registration page your content could backfire, leaving your reader feeling swindled and creating a negative impression of your brand.
- Don’t ask for too much signup data – it can be tempting to ask for the world when designing your registration page. After all, this is a golden chance to collect valuable information on your prospect and what’s likely to be motivating them. But if you pack your landing page with question after question before letting your reader access the content, they will probably give up and move on without ever completing. Somewhere between 2-5 additional questions (after contact info) usually works well.
- Make sure it works! – it should go without saying, but it’s worth double and triple checking that your landing page redirects to the correct page, any automated follow-up email you set up is delivered correctly, and that the content displays as it should. Creating a lead magnet and driving traffic is a lot of effort wasted if there’s a glitch in the final conversion mechanism.
- Confirm your follow-up process before launch – once prospects begin to sign up to read your content, you should have a pre-configured engagement workflow ready to go. What email do they receive on signup, what next steps do you propose, and how do you take the conversation forward? Lack of structure around this can result in ad hoc follow-up which lets valuable and hard-won lead trickle away.
The world of online content is littered with graveyards of abandoned projects – forgotten blogs, website ‘news’ sections that dried up two years ago…
Creating quality content is hard, but creating it consistently is even harder.
One of the secrets to an effective long-term content marketing strategy is to have plenty of ways to find inspiration for new content.
There are a few simple tactics that make this process less daunting than it might seem, and ensure you never run out of ideas to populate your content calendar with fresh ideas.
Know Your Formats
An easy way to stimulate inspiration is to have an easy-access list of all the possible format options you have to create content.
Reviewing this list during content brainstorming sessions will help you connect the dots between business activity, market news and other data sources, helping content stories and ideas to suggest themselves more willingly.
Common formats include things like:
- Lists – think conference calendars, industry podcasts, tools… there are almost infinite ways to turn relevant lists and round-ups into the basis for great content
- Predictions – thought leadership articles based on anticipating market trends, influences and developments
- Tips – offer advice on key topics that resonate with client and candidate pain points
- Guides – produce a detailed best-practice walk-through, such as how to run an interview day, or a guide to effective new-hire onboarding
- Reviews – give your feedback on anything from software to books, events or educational resources
- FAQs – respond to common inquiries on hot topics
- Quotes – wise words and bold forecasts from key industry figures
- Quizzes & Polls – engage your audience with interactive quizzes or polls (then share results)
- Interviews – leverage the knowledge of candidates, clients or even suppliers for interview-based content
- Press Releases – formal announcements of key business news
- Case Studies – release detailed reports of your work assisting clients with critical hiring challenges
- Infographics – present intriguing or insightful data in eye-catching graphic format
- Curated content – offer your insight and opinion on recent news and events