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Can the content marketing approach be applied to talent acquisition?

MOG - Bl - Talent aquisition pic.jpgThe importance of content marketing is well established among the Microsoft community. Marketers and business leaders know that if you want to attract and retain customers, then creating interesting, relevant and personalised content is much more successful than simply promoting your product or talking about technology.

But when it comes to recruiting talent, instead of creating interesting, relevant and personalised content to attract prospective employees, companies often simply advertise roles.

I recently attended an event by LinkedIn's employment branding experts, Megan Speelman and Ryan Rutledge, on how companies can best use content to communicate their talent brand to the market. A common factor among the success stories presented was that producing good quality content can play a key role in establishing relationships with candidates and enhancing their perception of your company. Great content has the potential to help candidates professionally, build trust, and create positive feelings towards a company.

The talk got me thinking about some of the work my organisation, Mogrify, do for partners. For most of them, the primary objective is to create compelling content to attract new customers. But a handful of others want to create content to attract the best talent. They know that if they have the best people, they will do the best work.

Here are five tips from the LinkedIn event that I thought I'd share with you to help you start thinking about ways to promote your organisations to the talent you want to attract.

1. The same marketing rules apply

Whether you're using content market marketing to attract customers or talent, the same values apply. Educate rather than sell; know your target personas and tailor your content to grab their attention; and be authentic.

2. The same 'marketing mindset' also applies

Build ongoing conversations and trust over time it's not just about getting the job advertisement out there! The focus of marketing used to be on advertising spend, product brochures and one-off campaigns, but now it's all about relevant conversations and relationships built on trust; telling stories to people who want to hear them; and sharing information and knowledge.

3. Remember the journey

In content marketing, the buyer journey (or as Mogrify call it, the buyer RACER) are the cognitive steps a buyer takes before and after purchasing a service or product. In talent acquisition, this becomes the employee journey - how does the prospective employee consume your content before and after they make enquiries to your company, and after they're hired?

A buyer journey model shared at the LinkedIn event by was Core Logic's 'Influence along the path to hire':

Prospect > Aware > Familiar > Interested > Applied > Hire

4. Overcoming obstacles

There can be cultural differences between marketing and HR - meaning the prospect of working on a shared project might be daunting. At the LinkedIn event, Siobhan Savage, who heads up Talent at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, gave an encouraging talk about her challenges with this and how marketing and HR ended up working together and winning a recruitment award.

Siobhan said that for the content strategy to be successful, the leadership team needs to be on board with this new way of acquiring talent. With recruitment fees so high, and the task of finding talent a full-time job, there is much in favour of implementing an approach where the right type of talent approaches you.

It can save a great deal of money too. LinkedIn quotes the findings of a recruiter study: 'A strong talent brand can translate into 50% savings in cost per hire and 28% lower turnover rate.'

5. Position your company

You wouldn't misrepresent your services or products, so make sure you present your business to prospective employees in a way that captures your true vision and values. And you may have some discovery work to do first to find out what those visions and values actually are.

Would love to hear your thoughts on talent acqusition content marketing approaches and any sucess stories from using this approach.