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How Your Staffing Firm Can Do Content Marketing...BETTER By David Searns

Content marketing is everywhere.

Company websites. YouTube. Social media. Email. Drop offs. If communication is happening somewhere, content marketing is happening there.

What is content marketing?

If you’re not familiar with this marketing technique, it’s about using ideas to capture attention, and then getting people to take an action. In staffing, content marketing is intended to get more candidates to apply to jobs and more employers to contact you about your staffing services.

Content can come in just about any format, including:

•     Blog posts

•     eBooks and whitepapers

•     Videos (live action and animated)

•     Email

•     Print and PDF documents

•     Webinars, seminars and public speaking

•     Guest writing for publications

The idea is to create information (content) that your target audience finds interesting, useful, timely and/or entertaining. Then you have to find the best ways to get your content in front of that right people, which can be done via:

•     Sharing on social media

•     Optimizing the content for search engines

•     Emailing the content to people you know

•     Using paid advertising to promote the content to a target audience

•     Handouts at trade conferences and job fairs

•     Drop offs

•     Presenting at trade conferences and other events

•     Partnering with other companies to share the content with their audience

Why should staffing companies care about content marketing?

For most staffing companies, the biggest sales opportunities come from direct marketing – targeting the companies with whom you want to do business and then developing a plan to specifically market (and sell) to those organizations.

But does that mean content marketing doesn’t matter to your firm?

Absolutely not!

Content marketing has three critical roles in the staffing industry:

1. Making direct selling easier.
Content (or sharing ideas) is an ideal way to open a door with prospects. When used in advance of your sales call, it can increase the odds of getting an appointment by 100% or more. When used during a sales call, content marketing can illustrate the value services offer, warm a skeptical buyer and create opportunities to sell higher margin staffing solutions.

And when used after a sales call (as a leave-behind or in follow up), content marketing creates a compelling reason to make follow up calls; it gives your sales team something to talk about to keep the lines of communication open until that prospect has a staffing need and/or is ready to evaluate new staffing vendors.

2. Bringing inbound leads to you.

While direct selling is the marketing method of choice for pursuing your “A” prospects, content marketing is the perfect way to attract the “B” and “C” prospects to your firm.

Typically, these are smaller companies with a lower volume of staffing needs, but there are MANY MORE of them to pursue. Best of all, these companies are not being aggressively sold to by other staffing firms.

For our top clients, 30% to 40% of their new sales leads come inbound as the result of content marketing. These are sales opportunities that would never have occurred if these staffing firms had only relied on direct selling.

3. Recruiting. 

Need talent? Who doesn’t! Content marketing is an essential part of recruiting today. Every job you post is a piece of content. It has to be optimized for SEO (and mobile consumption), shared in the places your ideal candidates are most likely to find it (which can include job boards, email and social media), and it has to drive people to somewhere they can apply.

Content marketing is also about building your employment brand. Candidates can work for just about any staffing firm they choose, so why should they choose you? Content can be used to position your company as a “Best Place to Work.” It’s can convey your culture, illustrate all you do to provide a great candidate experience, and differentiate your company from the dozens (or even hundreds) of competitors in your market.

So how can your staffing company do content better?

My snarky answer is to write “call Haley Marketing” (well, it’s actually not so snarky, and is a good idea for anyone who doesn’t have the time (or desire) to constantly create and share content). But my more practical answer is, follow these tips:

•     Make content creation a habit. Get everyone in the company involved in creating and sharing content. Dedicate a portion of each person’s day, every day, to content marketing (and social sharing).

•     Train your people to write. This includes how to write more compelling job descriptions, how to create engaging content for your website, and how to write for social media.

•     Think beyond writing. Great content isn’t just blog posts. It’s photos, videos, podcasts, infographics, webinars and more. They key to an awesome content marketing campaign is to produce awesome content in the format your audience wants to consume it.

•     Integrate content into sales and recruiting. Develop a structured process for using content before and after your sales calls to enhance the effectiveness of your selling. Integrate content into your recruiting plans to make your firm more attractive (and visible) to candidates.

•     Be original. Forget the same old tired “how to interview” kinds of content. Instead, focus on real insights you can offer your clients and candidates. This might include market data, analysis of industry trends, or cutting-edge advice on staffing, recruiting and talent management.

•     Be provocative. Strive to share ideas that are thought-provoking. Challenge the status quo. You don’t have to be controversial (although that can be very effective), but you do want to get people thinking—and in the process, position your firm as a thought-leader.

•     It doesn’t have to be original. No, I am not contradicting myself. While you want to share content on original topics (i.e., stuff that’s different than what everyone else is doing), you do not need to create all the content yourself. Find thought leaders in HR, recruiting, technology or any other topics that matters to your target audience, and then share their innovative ideas along with your own commentary about the impact of these ideas for your clients and candidates.

•     Turn every job and every candidate into great content. Your website needs to have a job board that optimizes your content for SEO, and consider a tool like our Talent Showcase to turn your top talent into compelling content (it helps you place people faster and shows candidates you do more to help them get placed!).

•     Share your content EVERY DAY. You should be doing all of the following:

Sharing content from your website on LinkedIn – as status updates, in groups and even one-to-one with people you are trying to sell. Have everyone in your office share your content to their own LinkedIn profile and with groups they join. And consider repurposing blog posts as LinkedIn posts.

Share content on Facebook – show off your company culture, advertise your best job opportunities, and build your employment brand. Facebook is great for recruiting, and it’s also a great way to sell to small business owners.

Share content on Twitter – post to your company page, share via direct messaging with key influencers in your local market or industry, and have everyone in your company share to their Twitter accounts.

Create an email-based publication. Share ideas with your clients and candidates. Nurture relationships. And keep your firm top-of-mind. Email is the most cost-effective way to share content with people you already know.

Use PPC (pay-per-click advertising) to promote your content on Google and Facebook. PPC is an ideal way to get your content in front of the right people at the right time. You can target people based on searches they are doing, demographics, location and even behavioral traits and interests. You can even upload a list of prospects or candidates and specifically target that list for your ads.

Integrating content sharing into your sales calls. Use drop offs, leave behinds and post-call emails as a way to share content that illustrates your value, reinforces your positioning, and gives your sales people ongoing reasons to make follow up calls.

Content marketing is a lot of work. But 100% worth the effort!

How much more profit would your company make if you could increase sales leads by 30% to 40%? How many more placements would you make (and how much less would you spend on job boards) if you had a steady stream of candidates coming to you looking for work?

That’s the power…and value of content marketing.

It’s not easy. And it’s something you have to consistently and persistently do, but when you do it right, it will have a dramatic impact on the growth of your staffing company.

 

Editor's Note

David Searns, CEO of Haley Marketing Group

When it comes to marketing a staffing firm, few people know the industry like David. He literally grew up in the business (his Mom and Dad ran a very successful staffing and executive recruiting firm in Upstate New York). Mix in a degree in information systems from Clarkson University, an MBA from The Wharton School, and more than 20 years of marketing and consulting in the staffing industry, and you have someone with the rare ability to combine high-level strategic thinking with real entrepreneurial ingenuity.

About Haley Marketing Group

Haley Marketing provides website development, email and content marketing, social media marketing and strategy consulting to the staffing industry. We provide services to more than 1,200 staffing and recruiting firms throughout the world, ranging from solo recruiters to larger staffing and recruiting organizations with regional, national and international offices. Our mission is simple: to make great marketing more affordable!

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