In my recent experience speaking at industry events about blogging (2 more in the works...I'll provide details as the dates get closer) and engaging with recruiters individually, I hear some themes. Actually, they are questions...the same ones I hear over again. First, recruiters want to know if their company will let them blog. Wish I could help them answer that, but you know my philosophy is to show them the results and then ask for permission...I realize that doesn't work in all corporate cultures. I can't complain in that regard.
Second question I am frequently asked is about content...how do you as a recruiter decide what to blog on? Even with the relatively small number of recruiters that blog, I see a segmentation occurring in terms of content. I'll give you a couple examples and then I want to know what it is that you want to hear about from us recruiters.
Example number one is Recruiter Blog as Job Posting Site. This is kind of how I perceive the Semiconductor Jobs Blog (although there has been some additional content lately). I see this as a tool for a third party recruiter to attract actively looking candidates, especially if that recruiter doesn't have a true "jobs site" to utilize for posting job descriptions. For corporate recruiters like myself working across a large space, it's not an option. But I get why a TPR would want to do this.
Example number 2, I think of as a "Get to Know Our People" blog. An example of this would be the Monster blog. They blog about things like bad coffee and what it's like to telecommute. But I can't tell what their company is recruiting on, what it's really like to work at Monster (the bloggers are career advice writers) or who their audience is. It will be interesting to see if the Monster bloggers share more about what they do (like offering career advice) and share some industry insight (I'm sure there's lots of info they are privy to at Monster that the rest of us would like to know!). This is a relatively new blog so I'll keep watching to see how it develops.
Example 3: Educating job seekers blog. CanadianHeadhunter for example...which is actually 2 guys...Anthony is the quiet one and Michael is the other one ; ). These kinds of bloggers put out info that helps people not only to search for positions but also to plan their careers. Good stuff. With this kind of blog, I think people will keep coming back if they find your advice credible.
I see my blog as a combination of these with some other stuff added and I'll give you some ideas of how I've gone about segmenting my audience (I told you I think about marketing w-w-w-a-a-a-a-y-y-y-y too much!). First, let me say that I don't really think that there are "right" and "wrong" types of blogs. Each recruiter has to decide what to blog for themselves. So my comments above are not criticisms. I guess I feel the key is understanding what you want to accomplish, understanding your target audience and executing well (that means you have to be interesting, relevant or both). It is tough to find your blog voice. I know it took me a while and I was surprised that it sounded a lot like that voice in my head and a lot like Charlie on Charlie's Angels (am I sharing too much?). So what I want to do is share some of the lessons I learned over the last 8 months or so that will help recruiters make some decisions about what they want to blog on (I'll stop begging you folks to blog then, I promise!)
First thing: if corporate/professional blogging does not support one of your goals, don't bother. Seriously. I'm responsible for community building in the marketing space. Blogging is one of the ways I do that. Otherwise, I don't think I could justify the time investment. Understanding what the goal is that blogging supports will help you identify your readers. But here's the problem: I don't think enough companies are making recruiters responsible for community building (in which case, recruiting becomes totally reactive) and employment branding (most likely because they don't know how to measure it). Recruiting managers need to figure this out and make recruiters accountable and recruiters need to take accountability on their own (ask for employment branding to be included in your goals...I did)...but I digress. (And as I mentioned I get some soap box time at some upcoming industry events....wheeee!)
Second, think about who you want to read your blog (and the keywords they may be searching on). Once you've figured that out, ask yourself "who else?" You really have to think broadly. For example, I started with marketing job seekers. Then I said "wait a minute, self, these people have most likely already applied or posted their resume to a database...who else should I be talking to?" Then I thought about non-seeking marketers. I was getting warmer. These people might not be looking right now, but I wanted them to think of me first when they started looking. Could I provide content that would keep them engaged? Could I link to other marketing bloggers who have interesting content? Could I speak credibly about marketing? OK, what about marketing bloggers that have their own loyal readers...could I get them to link to me as well and engage with their readers? See how this thought process worked? I was finally able to come up with a target reader segmentation: active seekers, non-seeking marketers, marketing bloggers, influentials (these are your industry analysts), recruiters and media. Each groups wants something different in terms of content and I had to think about how to give them each what they want and keep them coming back (or get them to subscribe). And you thought I was just here playing around...this is serious stuff! ; )
Next, find your voice. This is hard. You have to do it by blogging regularly. After a certain amount of time, something clicks. One key: if you post something and nobody comments, your blog post is not resonating (ever felt like you were talking to yourself? yeah, me too...hello...hello...you out there?). Trust me, I have those posts (college football anyone? I didn't think so). I use that as feedback. Plus I examine how people respond to me in general...would they want career advice from someone who is a total goof? Probably not. Do they appreciate some humor now and then? Yep! If part of what you are trying to accomplish is connecting with your readers, you have to put some of your personality into it. You have to find the voice that your readers appreciate (I blog differently to an audience of marketers than I would to an audience of tech folks, for example).
So here's where I ask you some questions. First, if you are a regular reader of my blog (or a new reader inspired to respond), let me know if you think you fit into one of my segments above and which one (this could be interesting, actually). Let me know if you think I missed a segment (for those of you who have asked me if I've gotten any dates through my blog, keep in mind that "single men" is NOT one of my target segments! Some of you people are crazy!). Then let me know what it is that you want to get from a recruiter blog. It could be stuff that you have seen here or elsewhere or what you really wish recruiters would blog about but have not seen yet. You'll help me to post about the stuff you care about and you'll help some other recruiters that are trying to decide what to blog about find their blog voice. If you are shy, feel free to post with just a first name or something. I'm more motivated by the info than the need to track you ; )
(P.S.: I haven't a long blog post in a while and that felt good!)