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Time to Get on the Blogging Bandwagon?
Just a few years ago, blogging was the offbeat realm of political pundits and marketing mavens. But today, blogging has gone mainstream. From corporate communications professionals to Aunt Rose sharing her family updates, people everywhere are blogging. In fact, more than 346,000,000 people (or 77% of all Internet users) read blogs.
And the staffing industry is just starting to get onboard.
So what can a blog do for your staffing firm?
For starters, it can generate sales leads, improve your recruiting, and help you strengthen relationships with clients and candidates. It can get your company listed higher on the search engines, position you as an expert, and help you stand out from the competition.
Need some specific ideas? Here are nine ways blogging can benefit your business:
- Attract clients. Right now, your clients are online searching for information that will help them do their jobs. Through your blog, you can provide the answers they seek. By blogging about hot topics in HR, hiring trends, salary data, staffing issues and other topics of interest to the people you serve, you will attract more visitors to your website—and position yourself as an expert and a solution provider!
- Attract candidates. It’s no secret that a lot of people are looking for work. Your challenge is to attract the right ones to your firm. To improve recruiting, you can blog about specific jobs you fill, employers you serve, salary information, and other tips and advice for job seekers. To qualify candidates, your blog can include information on the specific skills you are seeking, how your hiring process works, and most importantly, the requirements of working with your firm. Your blog can also drive people to application forms and online screening tools on your website.
- Improve your search engine rankings. Blogs may be the single best tool for SEO. Every time you create a new post, you are creating a unique web page with its own URL and links back to your website. The more posts you add, the more new pages you create, and the higher your website will rank. The trick to blogging for SEO purposes is to write posts that provide useful content while being filled with relevant key words. Not only will the search engines see and index your posts, but other bloggers (and blog readers) will post links to your content on their blogs and on social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Digg.
- Build deeper relationships with clients and prospects. Blogging is a simple way to interact with your clients and candidates on a more personal and frequent basis. Most blogs allow people to submit comments, ask questions and provide feedback. A blog gives you an effective and inexpensive way to get to know your clients and candidates better and forge deeper relationships (which will improve customer satisfaction and lead to more referrals!).
- Strengthen your brand. A blog is a great tool for showing off your company’s expertise, innovative thinking, as well as your style and corporate culture. Your posts should convey useful, interesting and timely information. They should demonstrate your values and beliefs, and offer insightful opinion and analysis. And just as importantly as the content, blog posts can—and should—be written with a casual, personal tone. They should show off your personality and humanize your organization.
- Stay top-of-mind. In addition to allowing you to post information to your website, most blogs also feature an RSS feed. This feed allows people to subscribe to receive updates every time a new entry is posted to your blog—and unlike email, content delivered by RSS feed doesn’t have to pass through the corporate spam filter!
- Accelerate your social media marketing efforts. Blog posts make great content for social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. In fact, you can automatically feed your posts (using the RSS feed) to all three of these sites, so that every new blog posts create more buzz and drives people back to your website.
- Improve morale at your organization. One word of advice that we often give to our clients is to get your entire organization involved at writing and posting content. While some people may initially be apprehensive, over time, everyone will find that contributing to the blog is a great way to be a more integral part of the organization and to have your opinions heard. At Haley Marketing, our entire company, from our designers to our project managers and technical staff contributes to our blog content. We’ve found that everyone has something unique to share, and of course, the more content you have the better!
- Position your organization as a thought leader. Blogs allow you to share your knowledge and showcase organization’s savvy and expertise. By blogging about current trends in your industry, issues affecting your local market, or just best practices in HR and staffing, you position yourself as an expert and a source for innovative thinking.
Four Steps to Blogging Success
Deciding to implement a blog is easy. Actually implementing it can be a lot tougher. Here’s a quick overview of the process we follow to ensure our clients’ success:
Step 1: Decide who your target audiences are.
Will you be targeting prospects, current clients, candidates or all of the above? While the best blogs are focused on very specific audiences and/or topics, you can effectively serve multiple audience by breaking your content into categories with each category focusing on a specific reader or type of information.
Step 2: Do your homework.
- Check out your competition. Do they have a blog? What type of information are they posting? How could you make it better?
- Ask your clients, prospects and candidates what type of challenges the face, interest they have, and information they would value.
Step 3: Plan your content.
As you might guess great blogs are filled with great content. To determine the best content for your blog, brainstorm a list of categories to include.
For job seekers, consider content such as:
- Job hunting tips
- Personal success tips
- Hot jobs
- Employer profiles
- Salary trends
- Local events for job seekers
For clients and prospects, consider content such as:
- Staffing best practices
- Employment law
- Case studies in staffing
- Candidate profiles
- Salary trends
- Local market news
Step 4: Plan your calendar.
The biggest challenge with blogging is to keep up the momentum – to continually add fresh, relevant content over the long-term. We recommend:
- Set a goal to add one or two new posts each week.
- Get your team involved—require everyone to write at least one post per month or quarter.
- Assign specific people to contribute each month.
- If you’re short on time (or writing talent), outsource some or all of the content writing.
Step 5: Get blogging!
Once you’ve done the set-up (and you might need some professional help with the initial blog software installation and template design), blogging is really easy and even fun. Posts do not have to be long…just useful…or timely…or simply interesting to read.
To minimize the stress, be sure to train everyone who will be doing posting on the tools for writing and editing (generally speaking, they are REALLY easy to use and require almost zero technical skill). Also, get a little training on how to use special features like SEO plug-ins to make sure your blog posts give you the maximum impact with the search engines.
Now is the time for your staffing blog
As this article has highlighted, a blog can have a big, positive impact on your business. It can create sales leads, improve recruiting, and strengthen your position in the market. And NOW is the best time to get started.
Right now, there are very few staffing firms that are blogging. By getting started now, you get a jump on the competition and the opportunity to clearly carve out a niche for yourself in your market.
So don’t wait, get blogging today!
David Searns is president of Haley Marketing Group. For more ideas for growing your staffing firm, visit www.haleymarketing.com.