by Erin Hogg
Talentsquare, a company that provides recruiting software for organizations to manage all job vacancies, candidates, job board advertising and employer branding, also aims to appeal to job seekers applying for jobs on its site.
When one searches for resume and interviewing tips, millions of results full of advice are returned. Talentsquare's goal was to be a top resource not just for candidates looking for a new job or career, but also for anyone looking for an informative and educational job hunting source.
In 2013, the Talentsquare team launched a blog to start sharing valuable insights into career advice and tips for job seekers in an attempt to start becoming a thought leader in the industry. However, at that time, the team was simply gathering and sharing the best articles on the Web rather than creating original content.
The team sought agreements with other human resource blogs and career management sites for permission to republish content on their blog. The team would promote posts via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and SlideShare.
"That's what we've realized, if we're spending time on it, one of our challenges is that the audience is not engaging with our insights and articles," said Hugo Pereira, Product and Digital Specialist, Talentsquare.
Pereira attributed the lack of engagement on the blog due to not creating content specific to the interests of the audience. The content simply was not unique and didn't have any connection to the Talentsquare brand.
The team knew that to drive more engagement to the blogs via social sharing, the content had to change. They needed to add more value and become an independent resource that provided engaging content unique to the Talentsquare brand.
"We were becoming kind of a library resource for many people, just sharing articles from diverse sources, but not sharing our own insights or not sharing our own expertise," Pereira said.
In April 2014, the team took the plunge to break away from old habits and start generating their own content internally on the blog and on social media in the hopes of providing insights into the recruitment, personal development and career management market.
"It's a lot like the idea of storytelling for a lot of personalized blog articles and insights based on our experience. But the main goal is, at a certain point, the blog will be seen as one of the leading blogs within the HR industry, both for companies and for job seekers, candidates," Pereira said.
Step #1. Hold workshops to evaluate brand voice
Before this effort, Talentsquare was looking to hire a new community manager. In the interview process, they asked potential hires for an analysis of the Talentsquare brand's presence online.
"A lot of them pointed out that they couldn't figure it out, via Talentsquare, what it was about or what we were talking about or how it was like to work for the company," he explained.
Pereira and the team started asking themselves about how they were represented online.
They already knew the blog needed to be filled with original content, but now the blog also required content that spoke to Talentsquare's expertise and insights.
The team began several workshop meetings, the first of which involved a shareholder of the company touring the office with the team.
From there, the Talentsquare team took inventory on several aspects of the company:
- What they liked about Talentsquare
- What they liked to talk and write about
- What topics they were experts on to share with their audience
Several proposals came into fruition from the meeting, including a specific goal: to evolve to a point where all content is created from someone at Talentsquare.
This goal was accepted by the core management team, including directors, and Pereira began putting the plan into action by the end of the month.
Step #2. Refine the publishing schedule
Before this effort, Talentsquare was publishing twice a week with third-party content.
To venture out and start creating their own, they dialed their publishing schedule down to once a week to allow for enough time to write valuable, original content.
During this time, they evaluated who would be the most skilled at writing at Talentsquare and who would be interested in writing for the blog.
Seek guest bloggers and partnerships
They also added in the possibility of seeking guest bloggers to appear on the blog to fill it with more content.
The guest blogging element helped keep content flowing on the site without having to resort to re-sharing blog content from other sites.
While technically this content was not created by a member of the Talentsquare team, it was still original content, and only writers personally chosen by Talentsquare would be hired to contribute. This ensured quality standards were being met.
The Talentsquare team vetted potential guest bloggers on three criteria:
- They must have published articles on career management or recruiting
- They must provide a test blog so the team could evaluate topic choice and writing style
- They must be able to deliver at least one post a month
The Talentsquare team also took to Twitter to find the biggest influencers in the career management sphere and reached out to them dierectly.
This helped Talentsquare not only express its expertise with original content from the team and from the guest bloggers, but also draw in more readers who may recognize and respect a leader in the industry.
Another element the team utilized to help fill up the blog with more valuable content was partnering with companies that could provide exclusive content for Talentsquare, such as book summaries, at least once every two months.
Write the blog content
Talentsquare's community managers researched viral topics online that the brand could address from its point of view. The community managers also collected ideas from articles and found different angles the team could take.
They then sent out topics and ideas to the team as well as to the guest bloggers and content partners, and each person chose the topic they would like to write about.
At Talentsquare, everyone in the company is encouraged to write, and Pereira explained that many people volunteer for a topic. Rarely does any story idea become specifically assigned.
After all topics are picked, the community manager schedules when each article will run. Posts are due the week before they are set to run, and the community manager will edit the content and, because they also serve as the company's designer, will design and create any specific visuals needed.
For the team members writing posts, the process of researching and writing combined with seeking feedback typically takes a week.
Step #3. Promote posts and content via social media
The responsibility of managing social media was handed to Talentsquare's community managers as well. Before this effort, the majority of information shared on the brand's social media accounts was third-party content, including links to external articles and images not connected to the Talentsquare brand.
After the community managers receive training, they are responsible for scheduling social media, reporting, analysis and providing suggestions for future improvement.
Once a post is published on the Talentsquare blog, the team tailors the social media promotion based around what network it's being shared on. Other social media posts not connected to a blog post are also tailored specifically for the social media platform.
For example, with Twitter posts, the team uses visuals and hashtags to help promote recent blog posts
On Facebook, the team adds more visual elements to a post
to help draw in more engagement to that blog.
Also, the team shares original content on social platforms that doesn’t link back to the blog
to drive additional social engagement. These include company updates and events the team attends — things that provide more insight into the Talentsquare brand.
Overall, the company has seen a trend with the visual elements that are shared on social media garnering more engagement from their audience, according to Pereira.
Step #4. Share and analyze results
Each month, Pereira and the team sit down to analyze what kind of engagement the blog content has seen as well as what posts on social media are generating the most interest.
One of the first improvements they made from looking at their results was to make their posts less generic, overarching topics, and instead really give them a specific focus.
Once the team took that route, they stumbled upon another discovery in their results: To leverage the visual aspect of Facebook to its fullest potential, the team proposed creating original infographics to share
"In June, with the infographics, we got quite a jump in terms of likes and more shares. It was something unique that people like to share online," he said.
However, the team soon realized after churning out several unique infographics that designing and creating these visual elements was too big of a time investment.
Instead, they reduced the number of infographics but created customized quotes
and other images — content that would not take as long to create as infographics but would still have visual appeal and lead to more clicks to the blog and engagement on social media.
Another insight that came from carefully looking at reports involved evaluating the frequency of posting. The team was posting two to three times a day on Facebook.
However, they evaluated the effectiveness of this strategy and determined "to have one post that is well-executed rather than two or three just to fill time."
They concurrently saw a rise in quality of what the community managers were posting, and while they received less likes per day due to posting less, there was better performance in terms of sharing, according to Pereira.
"So, for us, article shares are not that big compared to a lot of other brands around the world. But we can see the difference of an article that got seven or eight likes, another one got 58. It's the difference of the visual and nonvisual," Pereira said.
Overall, social engagement via likes, comments, shares and clicks to blog posts on Talentsquare's site have increased 61.2% through this effort of exposing the expertise and personality of the company.
The team has also been pleased with an increase in overall traffic to the blog compared to the website. Before this effort, 36% of total site traffic was going to the blogs. Now, the blog receives 56% of overall site traffic.
Pereira and the team have attributed this success to increasing content and social engagement as well as creating authentic and personalized content and tweaking social posts based on what platform they appear on.
"Every time we shared something on Twitter, it was going to Facebook and LinkedIn and Pinterest and Google Plus. So, we set up everything automatically. We did not think that the different networks had different behavior. Facebook has a bigger impact with visual components, Twitter has more conversational tendencies and LinkedIn is slightly more corporate," he explained.
As for future efforts to continue increasing brand awareness on social media, the team will begin fostering more interactions with YouTube videos.
"Now, we have to do mini-campaigns, so a week or two or a month-long campaign within our normal scheduling. We already launched the first video interview, but we want to be more active on YouTube. So, now we want to do a couple of video interviews to reflect, more engaging, with different individuals that we interact with," Pereira said.
Also, to help blog readers gain the information they want more quickly and easily, the team is looking at revamping the site to allow for more categorization in blog posts.
"If they want to read about career management, it should be a click. If they want to read about personal development, it should be a click," Pereirae explained.
- Twitter post
- Facebook post
- Company update
- Customized quotes
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