“You can sit around the newsroom and bitch about what's happening or you can see how you adapt to the new reality.” —John Collins, Managing Editor, Intercom
That print journalism is dying, will not come as news to anyone. What’s more noteworthy, especially to those companies considering growing their staff this year, is the recruitment trend that’s emerging as a result.
Writers, and those who cut their teeth in traditional media, are on the move, successfully carving out new careers as content marketers for brands.
Last Spring, Intercom, our neighbours here in Dublin, made headlines with their appointment of former Irish Times journalist, John Collins, as Managing Editor.
In the U.S., in 2013, Dan Lyons, current editor of Valleywag and a writer for the HBO comedy series, "Silicon Valley", left his position as tech editor at Newsweek to become a "Marketing Fellow" at Hubspot.
I, too, am part of the recent "writer migration," having worked at a magazine publishing company prior to joining Clinch.
So what’s the deal? Why the sudden upswing in companies — of all shapes and sizes, and across a wide range of industries — hiring writers?
The answer is simple. In an age where content is king, brands of all shapes, sizes, and industries are realising the value of becoming publishers in their own right.
With recruitment marketing on the rise, and roles likes "Recruitment Content Manager" beginning to emerge, it would be wise for those in the industry to sit up and take note of this growing trend. Your company's ability to land top talent might just depend on it.
Stay Relevant, Be Visible
Clinch was just three months old when I came onboard. Our website, still in the MVP stage at the time, was our only outward facing product. The existing team of software engineers and designers was hard at work, day in, day out, building innovative HR Tech software, but to the outside world who saw little of the goings on “behind the scenes,” Clinch was barely a blip on the radar.
The co-founders realised the importance of establishing a voice and an online presence for the company early on. They made the decision to hire a writer, whose task it would be to give visibility to the Clinch brand, generating interesting, informative, and shareworthy recruitment-related content that would attract and engage our target audience — some of whom would hopefully then convert into customers further down the line.
In his debut blog post for Intercom, John Collins explains how the combination of in-house writers and self-publishing tools has enabled companies to forgo tried, tested, and potentially highly costly methods of gaining traction with their audience:
“In the old media world, companies like Intercom would have hired a PR agency who would have got us coverage in the key trade magazines. A little advertising spend wouldn’t have hurt our chances of coverage either. Those magazines have either died or they’re limping on as a shadow of their 1990s selves.”
“For a start-up like Intercom the return on investment to advertise in those magazines just doesn’t make sense. With the proliferation of self-publishing tools and platforms it makes perfect sense for us to create that content ourselves."
From a HR perspective, the logic is just as relevant. Why pay for expensive job ad placements or recruiting assistance from pricey external sources when you have the tools available to create eye-catching, employer-branded content in-house?Quality is Key
Just as important as the creation of branded content itself, is the quality of that content.
As more people are looking to the Web as their prefered medium for sourching and consuming content, expectations of the kind of content that should be available there as well as the standard that it should meet, have been raised.
Google’s recent algorithmic changes reflect the growing demand for better content. In terms of SEO, the days of “more is better” - shorter, keyword stuffed pieces - are gone. Smart content that engages, educates, and challenges and educates - content that tells a story and imparts information in a style that is easily digestible and engaging - is what will best serve a brand.
This infographic (courtesy of Alice Elliott's post on business2community.com) illustrates how Google’s Panda 4.1. algorithm determines and subsequently prioritises in its rankings, “high-quality” websites.
It's easy to see why it pays to have not only someone with top notch writing skills on staff, but someone who has a vested interest in your area of business, too.
Says Collins, “I covered tech and startups for over 15 years, which was a major plus when I decided to make a move, but at Intercom I also found a company that really understands the value of producing thought provoking articles and not just puff pieces.”
Tips lists, advice pieces, or a wrap-up of an event your company has attended recently, are all great fodder for a corporate blog. However, if yours is a company that's on a mission to hire, it's worth planning out and creating content that caters to the kinds of insights and information a potential candidate would value as he or she evaluates the likelihood of your company being a fit.
Candidate-centric content makes a strong first impression on anyone considering a possible move to your company. It speaks of a company that truly cares for its employees, makes for a very positive first stage of the candidate journey, and elevates your company’s employer brand image in the process.Embrace the "New Reality"
There can be little doubt that regardless of your company or industry, in this age where content is king, it pays to hire the "write" person.
As we consider HR and hiring trends for the year ahead, I look forward to seeing more non-media companies embracing what John Collins refers to as this "new reality," and becoming content publishers in their own right.
With credible, authoritative, and conversation-generating content as the outcome, both audience and brand only stand to gain.
Want to learn more about how content marketing can help your company's recruitment efforts? Download our free eBook, How to Create the Conent You Need to Attract the Candidates You Want.