Recruiters and HR professionals should want to, and need to, get good at content marketing. Increase your credibility, build a reputation as thought-leader, generate passive candidate leads, build a talent pipeline, increase your quality of hire… the list goes on.
In part 1 we showed you how to build a content strategy, and in part 2, we talked about writing best practices to help you create content your candidates want to read. You could write the best content in the world, though, but without proper promotion it simply won’t get read and all your efforts will be a waste of time.
Here’s to the final portion of the content marketing mix: how to publish and promote your content. If you’re looking for some quick and practical tips, skip straight to the end for a cheat sheet of social media promotion best practices. Searching for free recruiting software? Try Recruiteze to recruit with ease!
Publishing & Promotion
There are two ways of doing this:
- Use a hybrid social media/blogging platform
- Use a blogging platform to publish and social media to promote
Let’s look at each of them in turn.
Hybrid Publishing & Promotion Platforms
The main two social and blogging hybrid platforms are Google+ and LinkedIn. LinkedIn Pulse is a great example of hybrid done well – it’s breaking down the traditional boundary between social network and publishing platform, allowing you to do both in the same place.
LinkedIn is a platform used heavily by recruiters and HR professionals – 89% report successfully hiring someone through LinkedIn – so the fact you can leverage your existing network for your content is a real advantage.
For recruiters who are likely already active on and highly familiar with the platforms, LinkedIn especially, publishing content through them is simple.
Posting to LinkedIn Pulse is easy:
- Click on Publish a Post icon on your Homepage
- Add your headline and content
- Add images (think back to part 2 – break up the text and add interest)
- Add a cover image
- Add tags so others can find your post
- Hit Publish
Your post is then added to the published posts section above your summary on your profile. It’s also shared with your network – for recruiters, who’ll generally have almost all of their clients and candidates on LinkedIn – the potential reach can be huge.
If you are using Google+, this is how you publish content:
- Click ‘Share What’s New’
- Create a headline (*use asterisks to make it bold*)
- Add the body of your content
- Upload a picture
- +Mention anyone you’ve referenced in your content to extend your reach
- Add hashtags
- Select audience and share
You can share your content publically, with Circles, or with individual users, although you’ll most likely share publically – there’s no point putting out content if no one can find it!
Mike Elgan calls Google+ the “the best blogging platform available today” because of it’s simplicity, snowball-like growth tendency and easy segmentation using Circles.
Sounds great, right? Except there are disadvantages too (I know, it can never just be simple…)
A hybrid platform lacks the custom functionality of a blog, including features like an archive and widgets to improve the candidate experience. They also make it difficult to monetise your blog, which can mean that it’s difficult to drive tangible results.
One of the biggest disadvantages of relying on a hybrid blogging platform is the lack of ability to capture email addresses. Normally, a blog can play a fundamental role in capturing details to feed into your CRM. These leads can then be developed – “nurtured through the sales funnel” – to become valued clients/candidates.
In reality, though, the biggest problem is that you don’t own the platform. You’re held ransom by any changes that platform make, and they don’t have your best interests at heart. If you don’t own the platform where you publish content, you lose control – and that’s almost always a bad thing.
For that reason, many people choose to set up their own blog, relying on social networks to promote and drive traffic back to that blog.
Publishing Through A Blogging Platform
Which of the two publishing & promotion options you choose is personal preference, but many see owning a blog as the better option. If you’re an individual recruiter, or your content marketing is more on the casual side, then publishing through a hybrid platform might be simpler.
However, you’ll generally find that larger organisations who view content as part of an overarching strategy will invest in building a blog.
There are two options if you want to set up a blog:
- Free hosting
Personally, I think free hosting blogging platforms aren’t worth your time. They’re basically doing exactly the same thing as LinkedIn and Google+, with all the same disadvantages, but with none of the advantages.
The only real advantages to free hosting is that they’re free, and simple. With that in mind, most recruiters would do better to use LinkedIn and be done with it.
Which brings us to self-hosting.
The major advantage of self-hosting is that you own the blog. You have complete control over your content, and you can easily collect email leads.
Publishing content through a self-hosted blog is generally your best bet if you want content marketing to be a serious, fruitful part of your candidate acquisition strategy. You can track, capture and retain leads much more easily, and measure your results more easily too.
The most popular blogging platform is WordPress, which offers both free and self-hosted options.
WordPress was originally created as an open source CMS (software anyone can download and build a website without needing to be able to code). Once you installed, you host it on a separate hosting provider.
WordPress.com is a shared hosting provider using the open source CMS WordPress. It handles all backups, updates and so on but you don’t own the platform, and your functionality is limited.
The difference is like owning vs. renting a house – renting is probably less hassle, but ownership is ownership.
Here’s a step-be-step to setting up a free-hosted blog with WordPress.com:
- Click ‘Create Website’
- Choose a theme
- Find a WordPress domain
- Pick a plan
- Create your account
- Click registration link in email
- Start blogging
If you’re self-hosting using WordPress.org, this is what you need:
- A domain name
- A hosting provider
Having a personal domain name is more credible, trustworthy, and memorable – www.recruiters.com instead of www.recruiters.wordpress.com.
You can’t use your domain name until you have a hosting provider. WordPress recommend SiteGround or Bluehost.
Once you have a hosting provider, all you have to do is install WordPress (either manually, or most providers offer one-click WordPress install). Then you’re done – you’re ready to start blogging.
If you’re publishing to your own blog you’re going to need to capitalise on other social networks for promotion, to drive engagement with your content.
Writing great content without promoting it is “like writing the great American novel and leaving it on your doorstep”.
If you’re writing great content then neglecting to promote it properly are a sure-fire way to make sure your efforts go to waste. Leverage your social networks across all platforms, following these best practices:
- Use emoticons – emoticons can increase Facebook engagement by 57%
- Pictures – posts with pictures get 120% higher engagement
- Video – video posts see 100% higher engagement
- Attract attention by highlighting a specific point in your content
- Ask a question – questions drive increase Facebook engagement
- Length – posts of 250 characters get 60% more engagement
- Ask for input with fill-in-the-blank posts, to drive 9 times higher engagement
- Links – tweets with links receive an 86% higher retweet rate
- Use retweetable words – here are the top 20 from HubSpot
- Ask for RT – tweets that ask users for a Retweet get 12x more views
- Length – tweets with <100 characters get 17% more engagement
- Use hashtags – tweets with hashtags see double the engagement
- But don’t use more than 2 as tweets with 1 or 2 show a 21% higher engagement rate
- Shorten links using the likes of Bitly or Ow.ly
- Pictures – tweets with images get 18% more click-throughs, 89% more favourites, and 150% more retweets
- Links – Status updates with links get 84% higher engagement
- Pictures – updates with an image in results in a 147% higher engagement rate
- Video – videos have a 74% higher share rate
- Length – updates under 120 characters get more engagement
- Images – posts with images generate up to 62% higher engagement
- Video – video posts get 28.6% more +1s
- Ask a question – questions get 188% more comments
- Hashtags – posts with hashtags get twice as many +1s
- Add no more than 4 though, according to Buffer
- Show enthusiasm – enthusiastic language increases engagement
- Mentions – posts with +Mentions show 59% higher engagement
- Length – the best length for a Google+ post is 501 to 1000 character
And that’s the end of the guide, folks. From start to finish, a recruiter’s guide to content marketing. Content marketing isn’t a quick strategy, but done right it will build engagement, increase your reputation and build your credibility. Done right, it’s one of the most valuable candidate acquisition strategies in your arsenal, allowing you to target candidates earlier in the funnel, build your passive talent pipeline and grow your employer brand.
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