The Marketing Opportunity is HUGE, but Best Blogging Practices are Few and Far Between
In some research that we did to gauge the digital marketing footprint of the top 20 executive recruiting firms and top 20 staffing agencies, we were more than a bit surprised to uncover the fact that we could only identify 10 of these top 40 firms using blogging as part of their staffing agency marketing strategy, despite an overwhelming amount of research and data like that from HubSpot and CMI that firmly establish the benefit and ROI of blogging, as well as the use of blogging in the B2B content marketing universe.
Frankly, there’s no shortage of folks who are willing to recite chapter and verse about the benefits of blogging and the ROI it can deliver. Try a search on “benefits of blogging for B2B” and you’ll see.
So instead of a list of benefits about blogging, we got curious about the blogging efforts of these 10 firms to get some insights on their blogging activities from the perspective of best practices, and to try to determine if their blog was delivering upon its potential for ROI.
Blogging and Executive Recruiting Firms
When doing a deeper dive on the top executive recruiters that are blogging, it’s apparent that there are a number of best practices at play across the board, like great writing, using multiple authors, and avoiding being advertorial. It’s obvious that these firms have made a strong commitment to content marketing that’s employer-facing, and are using blogs as part of that strategy.
But there still room for improvement. In fact, lots of improvement.
DHR, for example, has a comprehensive piece of content called “Risks and Realities Of Post-M&A Board Reorganization: Just How Vulnerable Are Directors Following A Merger?” that’s available as an ungated download. I’m curious … why not gate this? The time, effort, energy, resources and intellectual capital that went into the creation of this showcase piece deserve more than just a turn at the branding wheel. Why wouldn’t you want to identify people willing to raise their hands and provide contact info to get this valuable content?
DHR is far from alone when it comes to ungating extremely valuable thought leadership.
It may be that they and others who are not gating thought leadership feel it somehow less dignified or “salesy” to request contact information, and instead see the role of blogging and thought leadership in general as a branding mechanism. There’s lots of debate on both sides of the fence on this issue, and our guidance is that firms should gate some, but not all of your content. A zero tolerance policy for gating means a less than stellar ROI on the intellectual capital that went into content creation and publication.
But the real head scratcher is why some firms don’t even have a simple “contact us” message and directive at the end of each blog. You’ve got the eyeball. You’ve touched a chord. You’ve got their interest. You just let that eyeball leak off of the website that you invested tens and tens of thousands of dollars in without getting a straightforward, direct conversion to a lead.
So, why not place a simple and tasteful call to action at the end of each blog post in order to capture an inquiry from an interested reader?
Blogging and Staffing Agencies
Next, we took a look at the 5 staffing agencies that Emily identified from her research as having blogs.
Whereas the recruiter blogs were for the most part employer-facing for purposes of securing or retaining employer accounts, a number of the staffing agency blogs included candidate facing content built around career advice and practical guidance for job seekers.
Here’s what this dive produced:
Overall, staffing agencies appear to be less committed to blogging and content marketing in general, with one exception as noted below. First of all, Allegis you’ve got a problem. You haven’t posted in over a year and you may not realize it, but in and by itself, that’s a message you don’t want to give. Seems like you got motivated to do a blog and got excited, and fired all of your artillery at once. Insight Global uses their blog for advertorial purposes – a worst practice that deserves some attention as what you have isn’t a blog – it’s company news.
On the other hand, outside of needing more frequency, AMN appears to headed down the right track. I really like some of the gated content you’ve produced like the 2016 Survey of Physicians 55 and Older, but if you embed this offer in relevant blog posts, you will get a bigger and better return on what I believe is a substantial investment you made in the survey.
And the Best of the Best is … Robert Half
Hands down, across both recruiting and staffing firms, Robert Half is our favorite blog and content marketing program, and all the firms we analyzed can take a lesson or two from them. They have both employer-facing and candidate-facing content. They have a mix of gated and ungated content. They blog consistently, but not so much that it’s a burden on the company. The blog is well written and reader friendly. If you embed a few gated offers in your blog posts, and publish separate blogs for employers and candidates, you’ll continue to be the gold standard bearer when it comes to content marketing!
B2B Marketers That Use Blogs Get 67% More Leads Than Those That Do Not (Source: HubSpot)
We’ve been discussing the ROI of blogging for recruiters and staffing agencies, and it seems that the potential for significant ROI is there, but that firms just aren’t seizing it … even those that are committing time, resources, and intellectual capital.
Many of the firms that are blogging need to make a strategic (and perhaps a cultural) decision to gate some of your content to get a lot more ROI. Note we said “some”, not “all." And the low-hanging fruit of ROI for just about every firm is to put a tasteful call-to-action at the end of each post, directing the reader to contact information for the author or a link to your contact us form.
There’s a larger message and insight from these observations that can hold great promise for the 30 or so other firms in the sample we scrutinized that aren’t blogging, but more importantly, for the thousands and thousands of recruiting firms and staffing agencies that have not (yet) made the top 20 or 50 or 100 list.
The way to be a stronger and better competitor, regardless of your size, is to invest in a content marketing strategy anchored by consistent, well written, non-advertorial blogging, and to have each blog post serve up an offer.