Content Marketing: The Secret Sauce
How to really make content marketing work in staffing.
Last month, our Idea Club focused on content marketing and how it can help you sell staffing services...without selling. The article introduced a very simple process for creating compelling content and then using that content to generate sales leads and nurture relationships with prospects, clients and candidates.
If you missed the article, you can read it here.
Today, it's time to take your content marketing to the next level.
Understand Buyer Personas
Is the CEO the same as an HR coordinator? Do they have the same interests, concerns and motivations. Of course not. And that's why your marketing should not be one size fits all.
Before you develop your content plans, you need to really understand the mindset of the people you are trying to reach, and that's where Buyer Personas come into play. A Persona is a description of the "typical" person for a given role or job function.
A persona may include:
||Age, gender, level of experience, etc.
|Roles & Goals
||A description of what this person does and the results this person is responsible for achieving.
||How this person might perceive the services you sell.
||The staffing and non-staffing challenges this person has to deal with each day.
|Stage of Buying Cycle
||A "cold" suspect might have different interests in your firm than a "hot" sales lead. Understand what people want to know at each stage of the sales cycle.
||Become an expert about the problems and opportunities in your clients' industries.
||Who can influence the decisions of the person you are trying to reach? Sometimes it's more effective to sell to the influencer than directly to the decision maker!
When you develop your content, use your buyer personas to plan appropriate education for each audience you want to reach. At Haley Marketing, we most commonly look at strategic-level decision makers (people who make the decision IF and WHEN staffing will be used) and Tactical Buyers (people who determine WHICH staffing firms will be chosen).
Understand the Value of Your Services
Why do people use staffing services? It's not because they have money left over in the budget and they are thinking "oh, let's go buy a temp!"
People use staffing and recruiting services to get something done. To complete a project. Meet demand. Improve access to talent. Get work done faster and cheaper. To be successful in selling to any prospect, you need to understand the economic and emotional benefits of the services you sell.
In staffing, these benefits include:
The better you understand the value of your services, the more effectively you can plan content that will be of interest to the people you want to reach.
- Converting fixed expense to variable
- Lowering labor costs
- Reducing turnover, hiring and training costs
- Eliminating capacity constraints
- Improving productivity
- Allowing core employees to focus on more important tasks
- Reducing personnel administration costs and liabilities
- Ensuring deadlines are met
- Accessing needed expertise without the cost of hiring consultants
- Taking the pain out of hiring
Create a Content Curriculum
As humans, we're not very good at digesting complex messages. So rather than overwhelm people with information, think about your content the way a teacher thinks about teaching a class. Break your overall message down into a curriculum of small, meaningful bites.
By breaking your content down into smaller pieces, you make the information easier for busy executives to consume. We suggest that you:
Use the Right Communication Channels
- Create a Content Calendar - Plan the themes for your messaging each month or quarter. Just like a magazine produces an editorial calendar, you want to create a physical calendar outlining the topics you will be focusing on in your marketing.
The content calendar is also a great sales training tool. Once you have a monthly calendar, you can then have a monthly sales meeting to review the content themes and discuss the implications of those themes for your clients. These sales meetings are an ideal way to help your sales team better understand the economic and emotional value of your services.
- Repeat Key Points Over and Over Again - You are marketing to busy people. Your content is rarely going to be their top interest. To ensure that you make the points you want to make, you need to repeat key messages throughout your curriculum.
Repetition is actually a key to learning, so don't be shy about repeating topics and reiterating important lessons throughout the year.
Would you use a hammer to clean a window? Or a sponge to drive a nail? Of course not. And likewise, you have to use the right communication tools based on the content you are trying to share...and the audience you are trying to reach.
Here are a few examples of matching the medium to the message:
||Ideal for quick tips, news, and marketing top candidates. Email should primarily be used with people you already know (and who are on a computer all day long).
|Mail / drop off
||Best for articles, whitepapers, and longer format content. Mail and drop offs are one of the best ways to reach people you don't know and those who work on a plant floor.
||Can provide more detail than email, and less than an article or whitepaper. Blogs are ideal for organizing and categorizing content to make information easy to find. And blogs may be the single most important form of content for search engine marketing - they are a magnet for Google!
|Whitepaper or eBook
||Great for detailed information or survey data. Can also be effective when you want your content to make a big impact. They tend to be best suited for HR, department heads and executives.
|Video and webinars
||Ideal for how-to training and thought leadership. Video can be appropriate for any audience, but consider whether your audience will use a computer or mobile device to access your video content.
||Perfect for sharing links that drive people back to your content (and your website). Also the best way to connect with social influencers (people who are followed by the people you want to reach).
||The workhorse of staffing sales, but in addition to sales calls, the phone can be used to nurture clients and warm leads by offering content and promoting offers.
Integrate with Your Sales and CRM
Content marketing works best when it is DIRECTLY integrated with your outbound sales efforts. As mentioned in our earlier article, content marketing is not passive. You don't wait for people to come to you. A well-designed content marketing plan includes scheduled follow-up calls--showing your sales team when to call, what to say, how to track responses, and what to do when they can't reach the people they want to reach.
With content marketing, many of the people who engage with your content are not ready to buy, so you need to have a plan to follow-up appropriately. Train your sales team how to ask follow-up questions about the subject of your content, how to use the content to lead into discussions about hiring, recruiting or other staffing issues, and how to leverage the content to invite people to download additional content or attend events.
In addition to sales integration, your content marketing tools should be directly integrated into your CRM (Client Relationship Management) systems. This way, whenever someone completes an online response form, your sales team is immediately notified.
Create Leverage - Repurpose Your Content
Developing content is hard work. Make the most of your efforts by using your content in multiple ways. If you write an eBook, that book can be broken into lots of individual blog posts. Or conversely, you can create an eBook that is a compilation of your best blogs.
Print materials can be leveraged into webinars, videos or other events. And events can be transcribed to create printed materials.
With content marketing, you maximize your ROI by using your materials (and ideas) in as many different formats as possible.
Use Analytics to Improve Your Results
One of the best things about content marketing is that so much of what you do can be tracked. Using your email marketing software, Google Analytics and Social Media tracking, you can see who is reading, downloading, sharing and otherwise engaging with your content. And you can determine what topics are getting the best response.
Here are a few ways to use analytics to improve your marketing results:
- Determine what content (topics and formats) get most read.
- Monitor social media to see what topics people share with others.
- See where people go (and don't go) on your website.
- See what keywords people are using to find your content.
- Test your email content (subject lines, graphics, copy, etc.) to see what drives open rates and click throughs.
- Conduct surveys to get feedback on topics and the value of your content.
Are you Ready to be a Content Marketer?
Content marketing is a proven model for branding, lead generation, and relationship nurturing. It's about integrating great information into your sales and marketing methods. It's about using education to stimulate demand, build trust, elevate conversations and make selling staffing more consultative.
Content marketing is not a new fad. It's actually the way people have sold for centuries--by teaching people how, when and why to use their services.
And when it comes to staffing, content marketing works! It gets people more engaged in the sales process. While it does not replace traditional sales efforts, it makes them more effective. And content marketing allows you to leverage the latest social media tools to get maximum results from your investment in sales and marketing.
More Content about Content Marketing
On Demand Webinar:
Content Marketing, - The Art of Selling...without Selling!
Why Your Staffing Company Must be a Content Marketer (Part 1)
Why Your Staffing Company Must be a Content Marketer (Part 2)
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