You know those ads for advertising that you sometimes see? The ones that say some variation of “made you look!”
For some reason, these signs always make me irrationally angry. I just find them excruciating and irritating. Which is why I hate that I’m going to pull that exact trick on you right now.
You’re reading this article. I wrote an article about recruitment marketing and you’re reading it. You might have even been directed here via a share on social media. That alone is proof that content marketing (that “official” name for what this sort of blog is) is effective. And all the more reason for you to give content marketing a go for your next recruiting campaign.
So what does content marketing for recruitment look like? And how can you approach recruitment with a content marketer’s eye? These four tips (not ranked, merely listed) are info from my experiences as a professional content marketer and recruitment and HR expert on how to merge recruiting and marketing to the greatest effect.
1. Your company is a product: Sell it!
While applicants may view a job interview as a one-way sale, recruiters know better. You need to sell your applicants on your company just as much as they need to sell their skills to your company.
It can help, especially when you’re in the stage where you’re just trying to get the word out about the company itself, to think of your company as a product you’re selling. This mindset allows you to package your company culture, your offices, and the lifestyles of your employees as features of a singular item. You’re selling the experience that the “user” (your employees) has with the company.
Think about your company through the lens of an advertising executive. (If it helps to imagine yourself as Don Draper, go for it.)
What features does this product have? An open office plan? A laid-back dress code? (Hello, startup hoodies!) A generous benefits plan? Or perhaps your people are your greatest asset and you’d like to showcase how wonderful they are.
A wonderful example of this sort of culture package-and-sale is Zendesk’s recruitment video.
It’s a favorite of mine because it does so much so well. It gives you a very brief snapshot of life at Zendesk. You see the faces and names of real people in the company, you see some of the company’s values, you get a look into the office, and the packaging is professional and pithy.
Aim for personable and relatable, address your audience directly. and put a high-quality camera on it, and you’ve set yourself up for a winning ad for your company.
Now we can move on to thinking about the best places to market these features.
2. Candidates are your audience: Go where they are
Ads need to be targeted toward a specific group. The more you can refine and narrow down this group, the better. That’s why ad agencies come up with demographics, and why content marketers like to have personas.
For recruiting, you have the risk of getting too specific and veering into stereotyping or discrimination. So it’s OK to have a more general persona. Think more about the kind of skills your open position requires, and about the sort of person who would fit in well with your existing company culture. Market your job post to that kind of person.
Who’s your audience? What kind of people are you looking to hire at your company? And where are those people looking for jobs?
Use your persona as your base example. If your persona was a real person, what would their interests be? What news sources would be their go-to’s? Where would they be likely to look for jobs?
There are many places you can post a job advertisement, but different sites will attract people from different industries and levels of experience. Don’t let that work against you: use it to your advantage instead. Looking for someone high in enthusiasm for an entry-level job? Try a job site for a nearby college. Hoping for someone with social media savvy? An ad on Twitter or Facebook that’s been carefully calibrated to certain keywords might find the perfect person. If you go for the latter, Hootsuite has a solid list of Facebook advertising best practices.
Your applicants are the audience of these ad campaigns, so don’t be afraid to make an ad targeted to exactly the applicants you hope to attract. Part of this is about finding applicants where they are, and part is about speaking to them in a language they want to hear.
3. Your audience speaks a language: Use it
Hand in hand with (and yet still distinct from) the point above, when you want to attract a certain kind of person, you need to be on the lookout for the flags and signals that will draw them in.
I’m not talking about jargon and buzzwords. Jargon is about industry knowledge, sure, or maybe just how fast you can google a term. And I have a love/hate relationship with buzzwords anyway. No, the language I’m referring to here is about culture fit.
Culture fit is important in the workplace, and can help your team gel or fracture. Both Inc. and Business News Daily have written articles about how culture fit impacts job satisfaction and employee retention. It’s no stand-in for experience and knowledge, but it can help you make the call between comparably experienced candidates. And wouldn’t choosing between a ton of qualified and engaged applicants be a great problem to have? Careful phrasing in your job posting is a way to help yourself have that problem.
While using the hip cool slang (that’s what the kids say these days, right?) is important, and is a real part of the content marketing process, think more about certain in-jokes, terms, and images that will appeal to your target audience.
Say you’re a startup with a laid-back culture. You want to hire the kind of person who would be happy at a startup with a laid-back culture. So post pictures of your cool office pinball machine and use relaxed, casual language in your job posting.
Or what if you’re a software engineering firm with a very nerdy, geek-friendly culture. It might help to include images of your employees wearing their vintage superhero T-shirts and mention the weekly Dungeons and Dragons group that stays late to play on Wednesdays.
Denny’s, while marketing their actual services rather than jobs, is particularly good at fitting their style to a particular demographic. It’s worth taking a look at what happened when Denny’s launched a marketing campaign on the social network platform Tumblr.
Tumblr has a very young audience who have a very specific voice and style preference. (Trust me, I’ve had a Tumblr account for more than six years, it gets niche.) If your ads don’t match the Tumblr aesthetic, they’ll be ignored. However, if you can nail the offbeat, quirky, creative voice of the site, you have good odds of going viral. Denny’s did.
Denny’s managed to strike a chord with bad puns, references to pop culture, and direct audience engagement. Content marketing brilliantly done. What kind of bad puns and pop culture references do the people at your office love? Include some of those and you’ll attract other people who would like those jokes, too.
4. Your employees are influencers: Encourage brand promotion
Who’s the best judge of a product? The person who made it, the people paid to advertise it, or the people willingly using it? Most millennials would say the people willingly using it. Young folks love reviews. Millennials consider reviews and user testimony to be more trustworthy and compelling than traditional advertising, according to an article by Forbes.
How can you achieve that review-based trustworthiness when marketing your business to your candidates?
In this viewpoint, your “users” are your current employees, and the content they produce can be as good as any Amazon rating or review.
If you can train your employees to be brand ambassadors everywhere they go, you’ll attract not only more high-quality job applicants, but you may get some free advertising for what your business does while you’re at it.
A simple way to achieve this is to have ridiculously comfy company apparel. (Though maybe I’m only saying that because I’m all cozy in my Capterra sweatshirt right now.) No but really: if the shirt that has your company’s name on it is comfortable, your employees are more likely to wear it.
Slightly more complex ways to make your employees into awesome recruitment marketers will probably give you more returns on your investment though. Influitive has a guide for training your employees to rep your company, as does Brand Quarterly.
What their advice comes down to is letting your employees be open and talkative about the company, in real life as well as on social media. Cool pictures of your cool office full of cool employees goes a long way when paired with a few choice hashtags.
Just as a mouse given a cookie leads to a variety of consequences, employees who are happy and satisfied in their work environment will have returns for your company. Happy employees talk about their company, and then they invite their friends to come have a great time at their job with them, leading to employee referrals. And referred employees are easier to train, fit in faster, and stay with the company longer, along with tons of other benefits.
Adobe is particularly good at making their employees into their best advertisements, and LinkedIn has an article explaining how they accomplished the feat.
Let your current employees help you find your new hires. It’s a strong process that makes a real impact on the business.
How are you using content marketing for your recruitment marketing campaign?
Recruitment marketing is just selling your office like you sell your product. If you can market whatever the company sells or provides, then you can market the work, the culture, and the office.
Try using recruiting software to help keep track of all the awesome job ads and excellent applicants you’ll soon have rolling in.
Then follow me on Twitter @CapterraHalden, and check out these articles for more ways to rock recruitment:
- 5 Essential Tips for Creating an Awesome Employee Referral Program
- 15 Vital Recruiting Facts Every Hiring Manager Must Know
- The 10 Best LinkedIn Groups for Recruiters
Got a question? Concern? Leave me a comment below!
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