Recruiting is a crowded marketplace. It’s a challenge to stand out. Sure, you offer a better service than the rest. Yes, your value proposition is incredible. And I know that no other firm brings quite the industry knowledge that you do. But like it or not, there are plenty of other companies promising the exact same thing. Being the best is only part of the battle. Making sure people know and believe you’re the best is the far greater challenge.

“All the world’s a stage,” wrote Shakespeare, “and all the men and women merely players.” And it increasingly appears that the little show we call life has more than its fair share of ad breaks.

Advertising is no longer restricted to traditional formats like TV and print; instead it pops up as #spon content on our social feeds, as product placements in our movies, and as frustrating 5 second clips in the middle of a YouTube binge. Today, marketing is more personal, pervasive and omnipresent than ever.

The case for content marketing

Because modern day marketing messages have run rampant in every part of our lives, standard advertising is now heard as white noise by the people it’s meant to reach. It’s this fact that has seen more saavy recruiting firms head down a different marketing track, one of forming a strategy based around offering value to the audience in return for their attention…

Content marketing sees branded content – be it a blog, a video, a newsletter or a social media post – being created and shared with the public; for free.

This content doesn’t explicitly promote your business or product, but is instead intended to offer value to the audience, be that in the form of education, entertainment or a mix of the two. Rather than shout to the masses and hope that someone hears, content marketing pulls an intended person aside, gives them something valuable, and hopefully stimulates interest in the brand, product or service at the same time.

This gives content marketing an edge over traditional advertising. Why tell the audience why you’re the best when you can show them?

Starting with a newsletter

An email newsletter is perhaps the best place for a recruiting firm to start their content marketing journey. Whether directed at clients or candidates, a well-crafted newsletter is relatively simple to create and distribute, and can quickly gain a faithful readership, positioning your firm as a news source and thought leader in whichever space you choose to focus.

Most recruiting firms will have certain industries that they specialize in. But one of the biggest knocks on these firms is a perception that they lack the necessary knowledge in their pet industries, despite this specialization. “You’re not a programmer/architect/neurosurgeon, so how do you know that this job’s a good fit for me, or this candidate is better than the rest?”

An industry-specific newsletter is your chance to position yourself as an expert in the field. By simply gathering together news stories and thought pieces from around the internet, and perhaps writing an editorial of your own on recent developments, you can quickly go from pretender to contender.

You demonstrate that you’re keeping your finger on the industry pulse, and by doing so, you become a candidate’s trusted news source, and a far more captivating choice as preferred recruiter.

If your firm doesn’t specialize in a particular industry, no big deal – a more general newsletter about the state of the job market can perform much of the same function. Here you can showcase articles on current employment data, careers of the future, and how a candidate can stand out from the pack during the interview process. Including some original content will add even more gravitas to the newsletter.

Creating your own publication in 5 steps

So you’re going to publish a newsletter, but you’re unsure where to start. Don’t fret – creating your very own recruitment newsletter is as simple as working through the following five steps:

Identify the purpose: Why are you creating this newsletter? Is it to lure new candidates in or re-engage with old ones? To showcase your top candidates to your clients? To position your firm as a thought-leader? Once you’ve identified your main motivation for creating the publication, the chosen content must always be a means to this end.

Identify the audience: Who will you be sending the newsletter to? Clients? Candidates? Both? Once again, all content chosen for your newsletter must be chosen with the audience in mind.

Write and showcase valuable content: Be very selective with the content you choose to showcase in your newsletter. Take your time to crawl the internet for the most relevant articles (tools like Buzzsumo are great for this), and avoid anything from competitors. The more original content you feature in your newsletter, the greater the kudos your firm will receive; while it’s a time-consuming task, you should aim to write as much of the newsletter as possible.

Make it creative: The downfall for most industry newsletters comes when the finished product makes it to the recipient’s mailbox. If it’s not attractive it’ll either be deleted or ignored. A snappy subject line to entice that initial click needs to be followed up with a visually stimulating newsletter layout – bold colors, clear and concise headings, and interesting imagery.

Make the next step clear: Go back to step one – what is the main purpose of this newsletter? With this intent in mind, make sure that it will get your reader fulfilling the aim through clear calls to action. Get a potential candidate sending their resume to you. Get a potential client looking at your talent. Direct readers to a specific page on your website. Keep it simple with short forms and one-click functionality.

Recruiting is a crowded marketplace. Evolving your marketing and outreach practices will you in line with marketing practices B2B companies in other sectors have used for over a decade.

Show your potential candidate or client why you’re the right choice by exhibiting your expertise, creating compelling content and providing value to their day-to-day.

And don’t get overwhelmed, start with a simple newsletter and work your way up from there.

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