Googling ‘what is quality content’ brings up, somewhat ironically, a whole heap of content; an infinite number of tutorials and advice-filled articles and blogs. But almost all of them focus on the simple relationship between buyer and seller. If the content is crafted well, each article declares, the audience will gain trust in your brand, resulting in greater sales of your product or service.

The relationship between a recruiter and a job seeker is somewhat more complex than that of an everyday buyer and seller. Sure, you need to sell your brand and your services as a recruiter, but the candidate isn’t buying anything from you in the traditional sense – that task is left to your clients. Rather, a candidate is simply tasked with applying, and trusting you with their career.

This can create confusion for recruiting firms who perfectly understand the power of content marketing to drive a business forward, but who are unsure how to make it work on the candidates side of the business. Sure, the basics of building your brand and establishing yourself as a thought-leader remain the same, but what makes for valuable content when the end goal isn’t the exchanging of money for products and services?

Let’s try to clear up some of this confusion. Here are five tips that will help you shore up your candidate content strategy and craft truly valuable content for your candidates, both current and potential.

Learn about your audience

The first step on the journey to valuable candidate content is to understand exactly who it is that you’re writing for. Knowing your audience will help you focus on topics that matter, and speak in a way that resonates with candidates.

If you don’t have a good grasp on the topics that spark joy for your candidates, it’s the perfect time to build out your candidate personas.

One-size-fits-all content is rarely successful. After all, generic advice is rarely interesting or helpful. Candidate personas are a useful tool, as they give a face and a name to speak to when developing your content for a specific type of candidate.

Building out candidate personas is the perfect way to uncover exciting and surprising insight you can use to build lasting, mutually beneficial relationships. For instance, you might find that your ideal developer candidate is in his or her thirties and totally geeks out over anything Star Wars related. Or you may find that your perfect graphic design recruit is typically addicted to Instagram…hmm, now that might be a great channel to leverage for your brand.

By using the unique hooks you’ve discovered through your candidate personas, you can craft more engaging content that keeps you accessible and top of mind.

Of course, creating content that speaks to your personas is not nearly as effective without segmentation of your ATS. You should have enough information on each applicant in your ATS to search and segment your database instantly and effectively. That way, you can easily share the content you’ve built for an individual candidate persona with the right group of candidates in your database.

Put yourself in your candidate’s shoes

You know who they are. Now what do they want?

Jenny, your candidate persona, is a 37-year-old marketing professional who rents a downtown apartment, is married without kids, concerned about the health of the planet – and is looking to expand her professional horizons. Put yourself in Jenny’s shoes, then ask yourself a simple question: What do I want from a piece of content?

Do I want content that will help me develop my career? That educates me on the current state of the job market? That will make me laugh? That will teach me something I didn’t know? That will ignite my sense of purpose? People aren’t motivated simply by a well written article or a beautifully constructed infographic. They need an incentive to look. Placing yourself in the size 9s of your ideal candidate will help you to identify an incentive (the right subject matter) that will work.

Focus on honesty and authenticity

A big recruiting firm produces generic blog content and uploads it anonymously, hoping for a few clicks. Where’s the heart?

If they are to place their career in your firm’s hands, a candidate needs to know that they aren’t just another number to you. They want to see your human side – the real people behind the employment brand. Bland advice fluffed out with artsy stock photos won’t get them excited. They want real stories told by real people with real faces. They want honesty and authenticity from their recruiter, and rightly so.

So how do you open up a window into your business for your candidates? For a little inspiration, check out Buffer’s transparency dashboard. They share everything from their company’s core values to how they are achieving diversity in their business.

Or, check out GrooveHQ’s startup journey. They’ve shared the details behind growing their business to $100k a month. While you may not go to quite these lengths for transparency, it shows how opening up about your company generates interest, and can open the doors to more candidates because they know exactly what makes you tick.

Let’s connect the dots to the candidate experience. Here are a few jumping points you can think about to spur more transparency and authenticity in your candidate content marketing:

  • Showcase a recruiter on your team every month across your social media accounts.
  • Share candidate success stories on your blog, or even better, through video.
  • Published your core values prominently where your candidates can find them. Mention them often and show how your team lives them every day.
  • Highlight team events, or show how your firm is helping the community.
  • Leverage hashtags during recruiting events so candidates who aren’t present can follow on social media.

Content marketing offers the perfect opportunity to showcase your firm’s culture, so where possible try to insert real anecdotes, photos, videos and case studies into your content. Be your authentic self – your candidates will thank you for it.

Share quality content from other sources

While nothing is quite as effective as uploading your own content, producing it takes a lot of work, and your social feeds should be posting more than the one or two in-house blogs you manage to produce per week.

While you aren’t advised to offer your direct competitors free publicity, be sure to find and share quality content from other brands. Doing so will position you as a thought-leader, showing that your firm is serious about staying abreast with the latest musings and trends in the recruiting space, adding to your credibility. Ideally you’ll become a go-to resource for candidates looking for work.

This content needs to truly resonate with your audience, so only share that which offers true value – don’t post for posting’s sake. Browse social media or use a tool like Buzzsumo to find the good stuff.

Update your old content

The content maintenance strategy for the overwhelming majority of recruiting firms can be summed up in five words: set it and forget it. But whether it be the blog on your website, an infographic on LinkedIn or a video on YouTube, that content will remain live for years to come, offering the same insights as it did on the first day it was uploaded. And thanks to the nuances of Google’s algorithm, it’ll often get more and more visitors as it matures and gets backlinks from other blogs.

So is that 2013 article about social media best practices still preaching the truth? Judging by the surplus of Vine references, perhaps not.

While that’s an extreme example, updating your old content, and making it as valuable today as it was when it was first published, is key in getting the greatest ROI possible. Take a moment to revisit content every year or so, updating statistics, checking links still work, and rephrasing sections in line with the current consensus. Once updated, you can share it with your candidates all over again!

While the recruiter/candidate relationship might not be a traditional one in the world of content marketing, the basics of the discipline remain the same.

Build good content and they will come.

Understand your audience. Empathize with them. Be authentic. Become a source of wisdom for candidates. And don’t let the quality content of yesterday go to waste today.