On the morning of the vernal equinox, the crazy cool converged. Actually, according to my mother-in-law, the vernal equinox is equivalent to at least four full moons, which means the crazy isn’t necessarily cool and only falls from trees like overripe fruit that children can’t help but to throw at one another.
That’s an appropriate analogy if you compare it to the way too many companies and candidates still market to one another. A spoiled twist on the spray and pray approach to the recruiting pitch (have you ever been hit with an overripe peach, for example?).
Content marketing best practices are as ubiquitous as the over-pollenated buzzwords that coat them these days, and yet, marketers, recruiters and applicants alike are still tossing leaky, bruised hand grenades over the fence to see whom they hit, and who cries out.
You know who you are.
Hey, I’m not judging; I’ve been there, too. So before we get back to the best practice, let me cover my crazy cool convergence from this week first:
First, I found that the 2013 Candidate Experience Awards eBook is now available for download! The third annual North American “CandE” Awards program has grown with overwhelming participation from both the employers seeking to benchmark their processes and job candidates who are eager to share their feedback on their recruitment experiences. Lots of great data in the latest eBook, including the top six content themes employers make available to potential applicants before they apply:
- Values (i.e., ‘Fit’)
- ￼Answers to ‘Why’ People Want to Work Here
- Community and Sustainability Initiatives
- Answers to ‘Why’ People Stay Here
- Product Information
- ￼Diversity – Culture
The 2013 CandE Awards indicate the emerging importance of communicating a company’s culture as a key point of differentiation, while there’s a decreased emphasis on job benefit details (among many other valuable insights). That’s a good sign. Download the CandE eBook and read it. Trust me. And if your company wants to participate this year, please do register here. There’s still time.
Second, LinkedIn is becoming a crazy content marketing tool, which I kinda knew and have tinkered with, but learned more succinctly after talking on #TChat with Viveka von Rosen, CEO of Linked Into Business and co-founder of LinkedProspecting. Since its launch, LinkedIn has been known as a recruiter and job seeker professional networking site, but has been extremely under-utilized as a recruitment search and marketing resource, to continually attract, find and engage with their ideal candidates by leveraging content marketing, influencer relations and so much more. (That last part is key for whatever “platform” you use.)
Third, I just received my LinkedIn publishing invite on the first day of spring! Sure, spring represents renewal and new beginnings, but the little gray pen thingie appeared magically in my status update box, and I’m not even really sure what it means yet. I’ve been told it’s a big deal for regular content creators, of which I am one, but now I can share real and relevant “fruits of my labor” with my “targeting” network. Good for me, good for business, hopefully good for readers. Right on.
Now, back to the best practice
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – I recommend that apply these two rules when enraptured with the sweetness content marketing can bring:
- Keep it real. Because good story is the human experience, but it’s not so simple to tell – or, more appropriately, retell. Sixteen years ago an editor told me that, “You haven’t quite found your voice yet; you haven’t fallen through the center of the earth and back again. It takes experience and practice to find your inner voice, and not everyone gets there.” True indeed. Practice, practice. Read and read some more and then read even more inside and outside of your immediate professional realm – and then write, write, write to find your voice. Write with regular frequency and remember your voice will come with time. And keeping it real keeps it authentic and you’re more likely to find a “buying” audience this way, whether on LinkedIn, your career site, your blog or whatever your publishing platforms of choice are. Candidates want the transparency with your company, just as much as you want from them.
- Keep it relevant. Because finding your audience means you’re creating and sharing relevant content with them (think of the CandE example above when it comes to attracting the right talent). The good stuff they want to consume regularly, whether they take action or not (over time, they might). Maybe they want a little humor, maybe they want to be schooled, maybe they want to be moved, but regardless, they want it to be meaningful and relevant to their lives as “customers” – buyers or candidates. This goes for content you curate as well as create. If you’re targeting product managers, then create and/or share software/hardware agile development articles, go-to-market strategies, building business cases, marketplace trends and innovations, and so on. Vice-versa if you’re a product manager prospect targeting specific companies and industries – share your insight and keep it focused.
The only forbidden fruit in my garden is that which rots in my field. Content marketing freshness comes with true relevance.
Photo courtesy of Big Stock