Paired with online marketing elements such as social media and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), content marketing can be a fantastic way to show off your brand and your knowledge, and to attract would-be customers and clients to your website. While there are a ton of things that you can talk about in the recruitment industry in particular – whether it’s giving CV or interview advice to jobseekers, or offering tips on how employers can get the most out of using job boards – a lot of other people are already doing the same thing, so you may struggle to stand out from the crowd, especially if it’s laid out as the bog-standard 400-ish-words-and-one-image layout you often see with corporate blog posts.
Last year I devised a big content marketing campaign for Computer Recruiter: to celebrate their 25th year in business as an IT recruitment agency, we created CR 25, a separate blog site that published 25 posts in one month (roughly one per day during the month of January 2015). Admittedly some of the posts that we published were quite general, but we also experimented with different formats and types of posts in an attempt to vary the content that we produced and also because we were curious to see how people responded to them.
Here are six examples of ‘unusual’ content that we produced and published during the life of the campaign:
1) A list of local events
One of the very first posts we published was a list of all the IT events in the region during the month of the campaign: January 2016. We listed them in chronological order along with their respective logos, dates, start/end times, venues and ticket links.
We’ve since removed it, but at the time, we also embedded a Google Calendar on the post (using the WordPress plugin Google Calendar Events, now known as Simple Calendar) and added all the events to it, not only visualising them all in a more easily-digestible way but also allowing people to simply add the events to their own calendar with ease.
When we published the post, we tweeted each of the event organisers letting them know, many of them going on to retweet it or share it in their own right – here’s an example. We also did something similar if we added any more events during the month, giving us an excuse to share and promote it multiple times.
2) An interactive historical timeline
To tie-in with the campaign’s ’25 years old’ theme, we created an interactive timeline that covered historical IT-related milestones since 1990, including when the World Wide Web launched, when Linux was first released, and when Amazon was founded, amongst dozens of other similar events. The timeline was created using a free plugin called Knight Lab Timeline – you populate it by filling in all the necessary info (date/year, description, image, etc.) in a separate Google Sheet spreadsheet.
An alternative use for this plugin might be for your About Us page, detailing your company history in a more visual and interactive way.
3) A custom Google Map
Similar to the list of events mentioned above, we also created a list of all the coworking spaces in the local region. Tying in with this, we also created a custom Google Map, pinpointing the locations of all of them, with colour-coded pins corresponding to each space’s branding.
You can create your own Google Map with Google My Maps – it’s surprisingly quick and easy to do, plus it’s free to use.
Despite CR 25 being a one-off campaign (January 2015 only), we actually still manage and maintain this list/map on an on-going basis, in order to keep it as up-to-date as possible. There’s regular work involved in doing so, but it’s worth the time investment as many people have shared it on, especially via social media: users of Cardiff Start (a community of startups in the Welsh capital) regularly share it whenever someone asks for advice on what coworking spaces are out there in the area. Many of the coworking spaces that are featured have also shared it on to their networks, via Twitter and Facebook.
4) Expert roundups
Expert roundups – sometimes known as crowdsourced content – are when you ask multiple people to provide a short comment on a topic. We asked 16 employers of IT staff in the area what they looked for in an IT employee, while also asking 8 employees what they look for in an employer.
The beauty of this type of content is that the more people you ask, the more chance that they’ll share it on, whether on their own website/blog or via social media – one of these two posts became one of our most popular posts of the campaign for this reason. Obviously quality trumps quantity, so don’t go around asking too many people… I’ve seen expert roundups with 100+ participants, and I doubt people have time to read them all…!
We also summarised the points at the bottom of the posts, which was hugely insightful in itself. For example, for the employers roundup, more employers valued attitude over technical skill!
The mistake that people make is that they often ask their industry peers (who are also their competitors) to contribute, so they’d potentially ask other recruiters. But why not ask you customers or users? You could ask employers and jobhunters about something that can be used as part of an expert roundup – this way you’re getting onto their radar and getting free content from them. Win-win.
5) A ‘dissected’ infographic
Infographics are pretty common these days. If you’re not familiar with infographics, they’re basically a visual way of depicting information and data – usually presented as a long image, which visitors will have to scroll down in order to see in full.
We decided to take a different slant with ours, offering it in two ways: the image in full (as usual), but also in a ‘dissected’ format whereby we broke up each section and gave an analysis of the data underneath in a paragraph of text. Our infographic compared 25 CVs from 1990 to 25 from 2014, so we were able to talk about the gender divide, the types of skills people had, and the industries that they worked in.
This ended up being one of the most expensive parts of this (relatively cheap as-a-whole) campaign, as we tried to create the infographic ourselves, but eventually decided to outsource it to a professional graphic designer. It was worth it though.
6) A multiple-choice quiz
Our last post of 25 was light-hearted in nature: a multiple-choice quiz! We asked people to guess what various IT acronym stand for, whether it was GIF, HTTP, TCP or something else. People were asked 10 questions out of a possible 50 acronyms.
It was created using the plugin SlickQuiz, which is free to use.
We also tied it into a competition, where 3 entrants could each win a £25 iTunes gift voucher. Part of the criteria for entering involved tweeting your score using the #CR25 hashtag, which helped to promote the quiz – and the campaign and the brand accordingly – even further.
We were really happy with the results of the campaign. Over a thousand unique visitors saw all the different content in all its forms, it boosted our social media followings (especially on Twitter), and it even directly resulted in at least one enquiry, with someone saying that they saw the campaign and getting in touch asking if we could help them with a new hire. It also helped to boost the company’s main website’s SEO, which was truthfully the main goal and intention for the separate campaign mini-site. Indirectly, Computer Recruiter attribute the campaign to one of their biggest new clients in recent years.
Even if you do not necessarily publish content in one big blast (like we did), I hope that some of the ideas above have gotten you thinking differently about the types of content that you could produce in the future. The most exciting thing about content marketing? The possibilities are endless!