Digital content has taken over as one of the most effective ways to reach today’s job seeker. Job ads and social messages aren’t the only means of reaching today’s elusive candidates. Content, when strategically planned, developed and distributed can help lead today’s job seekers right into your ATS and help engage them throughout the hiring process.

Content includes of course, blog posts, but also literally anything your audience can consume:

  • Resource List
  • Mini Case Study
  • Infographic
  • Podcast Post
  • Video Post
  • Stats Piece/Brief
  • Quote Based
  • GIF Post
  • How To (at least 3 steps)
  • Q+A (can be faked)
  • Comparison/versus
  • Guides
  • Worksheets
  • Templates 
  • Checklists
  • Recaps (events/twitter chat)
  • Placed articles
  • Press releases

Here’s a quick rundown of how this content can be created to target candidates and guide them through the decision to apply. 

Step 1: Build Candidate Personas

And tons more! At RBM, we build out pretty complex buyer personas to better understand the person we’re selling to, and the same thing can be done for candidate personas. Use these quick tips to create yours:

  • Casting Call: picture your new hire as if they were in a movie. What kind of attitude would they have? Most importantly where are they RIGHT NOW? Stuck in a dead end job? Desperate for leadership experience and focus? Feeling overlooked at a safe but unfulfilling job?
  • Go through LinkedIn profiles to see what his or her colleagues do, read, how long they’ve been in a certain position, what groups they’re in, the works. This can really help you figure out what sort of articles, podcasts or videos might appeal to them.
  • Try to figure out what makes them tick, use the info gleaned from people like them to gauge whether they value work-life balance over money or are due for a move in the next six months. Does this person get along with superiors or might they want to work alone? Ask yourself anything, and then attempt to answer it.
  • Give your personas a real name. Try to imagine where they grew up, what is valuable to them and then fill in what channels are most likely to reach them wherever they are (online or IRL).

THIS is the first step to ensuring your content is created with the candidate in mind and increases your chances of attracting and engaging them with said content. 

Step 2: Align Candidate Personas with the Hiring Process

The next step in marketer speak is to align your buyer personas with the sales stages. We do this in marketing to create content that reaches the person at the right time, and this can be applied to your candidates too. The passive to active spectrum is ever-growing as technology is giving candidates more options than ever before. In content marketing, the sales stages are Awareness, Consideration and Decision… which can be applied to the hiring decision process:

  • Awareness of the company and open role
  • Consideration to apply for the role
  • Decision to move forward with the interview process 

These 3 stages can be aligned with your candidate personas:

  • Awareness - How do you get candidates to even know about your company and the positions its offering? 
  • Consideration - How do you get candidates to start applying for a role at your company?
  • Decision - What resources do they need to help them move forward? 

Give them everything they need to make them feel confident moving forward. Providing this information beforehand can help them self-select out of the process. If you publicly share a diagram of your organizational chart and the ebbs and flow of each department, you’re helping a candidate who is looking for a flat organization self select out of the process before you waste your time screening and interviewing them. 

Step 3: Build Your Editorial Calendar

Here’s the simplest, most effective way to do it.

  • Lay out your personas on the left. Yours can be role based or they might be seniority based, but make sure they each have their own line for every stage of the cycle. 
  • Build your stages across the top. This gives your content a linear feel and makes it easier to fill in the blanks. Awareness, Consideration and Decision if you want to start simple and Interview, Hire, and Onboard if you wanna get crazy.
  • Select your content types. At RBM, we use little acronyms for all of them because there are a lot. We just create a large space above the calendar to spell out what they all mean. Pro Tip: If they’re all blog posts, you’re doing it wrong :) 
  • Under each section, write a question your persona might ask. This can help you determine if the content you place there later is actually helpful or you just wanna be done with this whole exercise already.
  • Fill in content types until you have all the blanks completed and a solid cycle or piece of content in each section. You don’t have to fill every square (although it will make your job easier later) but you do need to make sure you’re hitting every stage and substage. This is a great place to add your inspire links.

BONUS TIP: Grab a copy of both the content funnel and the editorial calendar. Make a copy of it by going to File > Make a Copy, and get to work!

Want to get the extended version with more in-depth tips and tricks? I'm speaking at #SRSC this January in San Fran! Join me here. OR subscribe to the Red Branch Media newsletter, and we’ll send you a copy of the presentation ourselves.

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Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer, writer and business builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. Founder and CEO of Red Branch Media, an agency offering marketing strategy and outsourcing and thought leadership to HR and Recruiting Technology and Services organizations internationally, Hogan is a consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques. She has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies and been a thought leader in the global recruitment and talent space. You can read more of her work on Forbes, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, and her blog Marenated.