I’ve been working as a content marketing/inbound marketing/digital strategist pretty much my whole career. Regardless of my job title, I could boil my job into: telling stories, helping other tell stories, and promoting those stories.
But like many other content pros, I fight the blank page, especially when I’m writing something for someone else. I wrestle with the same problems you do: What should I write about? How do I know its the right thing to build? How can I avoid building content no one wants to read or won’t impact the target? How can I focus my inputs to maximize my outputs.
Which is why I have been thinking for a long time about a content framework. The idea isn’t new. Plenty of people have launched their own. The problem is that they are trying to build a universal framework that works for everyone in every industry. At that level, anything they build is abstract and lacking in direct connection in what you, me and my team do every day. Effectively, those universal content frameworks are nice but have little value outside of the professional content marketing talking head types.
So I wanted to build a framework that was specific to what I work on right now: the recruitment marketing and talent acquisition world.
If you’ve read anything else I’ve written, you likely know that I love to rail against job descriptions, especially when companies rely on them exclusively to sell a role to someone. This may be the most expensive mistake any company can make in the talent arena. The most important prospects want to know who you are, where you are, what the job is and why they should bother spending the 5-50 minutes filling out your ATS application. But most companies seem to be working overtime to avoid actually answering those questions. Certainly, the job description won’t explain it, so you need content to engage and compel top prospects to consider you as an employer.
As of this writing, I manage a team of 16 content marketers in the recruitment marketing space. We build regular recruiting content for everyone from Fortune 10 companies to those trying to crack the Fortune 1000. And while they sell different things and hire different people, over the past few years, we’ve started to see broad trends emerge on what makes for good content. What I’ve tried to do is boil down the thousands of person-hours ideating, building and measuring content into something that helps you understand how how complex content is, but also how to think about building content step by step.
From my perspective, the recruitment marketing industry is hitting a pivot point, one where the focus on optimization and automation gives way to emotion and fit. Recruiting content is a key (if not primary) element in that change. I hope that this framework walks you through some of the more common fears people have in embracing content to attract and move prospects to apply.
If you read this and have questions, ask me. If you read this and think it helps, share it.
-James Ellis, @TheWarForTalent