One of the biggest challenges small business owners face is finding top talent. You will not be able to compete in today’s crowded markets which are highly commoditized without having the best talent on your team.
While there is a lot of advice out there about how to attract top talent, I think that we can look to effective content marketers to provide a blueprint for how to attract top talent to your organization.
What is content marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is defined as follows:
"Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action."
Most companies aren’t creating or distributing valuable content to promote their organization as a great place to work. More importantly, most companies aren’t giving talented people a way to take action.
To have an effective content marketing program that attracts potential clients and meets them where they are requires a great deal of planning. Let’s look at ways that small businesses can use these techniques to drive actions from their top recruits to join their team.
1. Create an "Employee Persona"
The first thing we can take from content marketers is having a clearly defined audience. If you have a sales branch of your organization, you might already be familiar with buyer personas. We can use a variation of this process to identify our target team members.
A buyer persona is a profile of the ideal target that you are trying to sell your product or service to. Creating a buyer persona allows you to tailor your message to the audience. This helps sales and marketing teams customize their material so that it appeals to the unique needs of their buyers.
Your team should create an "employee persona" for the ideal candidates you would like to join your company. This will help you to speak directly to the candidates with targeted messaging that is important to them. You should evaluate your compensation plans and benefit packages to meet their unique needs based on these personas.
2. Go where the prospects are
Many companies are posting their jobs on Craigslist or LinkedIn even though that might not be where their target prospects are. It would seem like common sense that if you are looking for an architect, you might post the job in an industry magazine, or go to an association event to meet prospects. You should go to where the target is, not where the easiest place to post the job is.
Evaluate how you recruited the top performers on your team and analyze where they came from. If they were referred in, ask them where you could have caught their attention if it were not for the warm referral. Part of creating the "employee persona" is identifying how your target finds new opportunities. Use your research on the ideal candidate to help you identify where to find them and meet them there.
3. Promote your employment brand
Now that you are speaking directly to your target audience, are you saying or doing things that are meaningful to them? Don’t misinterpret promoting your brand to trying to sell your product. Sometimes you need to promote the "why" behind your organization to see if it aligns with other’s "why."
You need to showcase what makes your company great. Create a video that highlights your company culture or include blog posts on your site that talk about your internal staff to give people a peek behind the curtain. Something as simple as putting your employee of the month on your blog can go a long way in to showing your prospects what your team is made of.
4. Manage the funnel
Now that you have top talent in your funnel, make sure that you manage the funnel properly. Just like your sales and marketing activities, your prospects will not take action immediately. You need to provide multiple "calls to action" for the prospect to engage with you throughout the courtship.
Once you have people in your talent funnel, regular follow up will be the key to moving them through the funnel the same as any sales prospect. A simple email that provides valuable information and content about things that are important to them can go a long way. This will stand out and make sure that you are front of mind when the time to make a career change comes up.
If you provide quality content that is relevant and appropriate for your target employee, you can make sure that when they do make a change, the change is to join your team. You need to be proactive in your recruiting and think about the long term, rather than just your needs when a posting goes up.
Attracting top talent to your team is a very difficult thing to do in a crowded environment where everyone is bidding for limited resources. If you do things to stand out in the mind of your ideal target, you can get a leg up on the competition and bring the talent to your team that you need to compete more effectively in your market. You need to stand out at the time the decision is being made. What are you doing to stand out?