Why creating a content strategy isn’t that easy…

Maëlle De Francesco
Maëlle De Francesco

Here at HireHive, we have always wanted to have a blog to help the people we work with – recruiters, business owners or simply people who need to recruit but whose job isn’t focusing on Human Resources and Recruitment. We wanted to give them our tips on how they could recruit and share industry news. But creating a content strategy is no easy task, and the mistakes we’ve made along the way helped us improve and continue to perfect. If you want to learn a bit more about us and our experience with recruiting content, keep reading!

Once upon a time…

When HireHive was created by our parent company, we didn’t really have a content strategy. We had decided that it was important for us to have a blog, but we didn’t really know what we wanted from it. We didn’t have a strategy in place or a content schedule: we just posted on our blog – it was very much a reaction. All the posts we were writing were reactions about something related to the tech world or the recruitment field. At that time, nobody took responsibility for the blog, nobody was officially in charge of writing the blog posts, everyone was involved. The blog posts were taken care of internally, by different members of our team.

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This is what our blog looked like in 2011 

As mentioned previously, we didn’t have an inbound strategy in place. We were focusing on outbound, with team members focusing on outbound sales. The blog slowly fizzled out as there was no structure or strategy around it. A content strategy just wasn’t there for us at that time.

The identity crisis

When HireHive became a standalone product, we had a bit of an identity crisis. The website and blog we had at the time were both very corporate, and we left all the branding and identity that we had to our parent company. We were left with a blank slate to build our brand, our identity and our voice. The problem was, we didn’t really know who we were back then. We had a big discussion and for the first time, we decided it was time to create a content schedule and a content strategy and really develop our brand. We finally had an idea of what we were doing and where we were going! Of course, we had to figure out pretty much everything from scratch. The one thing we knew is that we didn’t really want to keep the corporate identity that our parent company had as that really didn’t fit.

Our very first content strategy

Along with figuring out our first content strategy and creating our first content schedule – which wouldn’t be based only on posts of us reacting to industry news – we had to figure out who would be in charge of putting together this content. In the beginning, we decided to take care of this internally.  We thought that every team member could write a post from time to time. We quickly noticed that it wasn’t structured enough, because nobody was really taking responsibility for it. It wasn’t unusual for us to come to the office on a Monday wanting to publish a post in the morning but nobody had written one…because nobody knew who was supposed to write it or then the next day having three posts because everyone was writing one!

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The HireHive blog back in 2016

Learning the hard way

At that point, after trying to produce the content internally, we decided that to attract visitors (and so potential clients!) we needed to build our content base. HireHive worked with a few freelancers for this, as it wasn’t possible for us to take this on as a project internally. We then had both an outbound strategy, with cold calls and emails, and an inbound one using our content. Our aim with the HireHive blog was – and still is – to provide information and advice on different recruiting topics. We work with very different companies: recruitment agencies, big multinationals with internal recruiters, but also with small companies where the CEO is in charge of recruiting new talent. This is the reason why it has always been important for us to share tips on topics such as interviewing, how to improve employer branding, or even how to manage employees working remotely.

Back then, we thought that having two new posts a week was the best strategy for us to attract more people to read our posts. But the mistake we made is that we had agreed with our freelance writers to have short, very general blog posts. Usually, those blog posts weren’t longer than 500 words and didn’t go in-depth to explore the different topics. If you know a little bit about SEO, you probably know that Google now tends to prefer longer content, as it usually means that the content is more in-depth and that it is more likely to answer the user’s question. We had almost no engagement on the posts we were publishing on the HireHive blog, and our SEO was impacted.

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Auditing our blog

We kept this strategy going for a while until we realised that no, this wasn’t working for us anymore. A few months ago the HireHive marketing team decided to sit down and to go through our blog. And we noticed a few things: first, we have a LOT of content on our blog, which isn’t being used at all. To remedy this, we starting sharing our posts more and more on social media. If you’re not following us there already, we’re posting on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram! Second, we realised that we had plenty of duplicate posts: we have at least four different posts on employer branding on our blog, and at least three of them have very similar content. Not really useful for people looking for answers on that topic, right?

And lastly, we noticed that we didn’t have a voice. That was the biggest realisation when going through our blog. We had put so much effort into changing our branding and showing our voice on our website and different channels, but none of our blog posts were written with the HireHive voice! Funny enough as writing in your company’s voice is one of the things we encourage people to do to improve their employer branding… How could we have forgotten that?!

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Finding our voice

The first solution we tried to improve our strategy there was to ask our freelance writer to start writing longer and more in-depth content. Unfortunately, it was hard for us to communicate exactly what we wanted to read in these posts. We also realised that it still didn’t have our voice, the HireHive voice. The reason is very simple, as the writer wasn’t working every day with us in HireHive, it was hard for them to convey the HireHive voice – it was hard for them to know what we were really about. And of course, nobody can talk about HireHive better than the HireHive team. That is why we decided to try internalising the content again but this time with more structure.

We’ve decided to make use of the content we already have on our blog and to share it more on social media – we’re using MeetEdgar as our social media automation tool. We’ll talk about that in another post so stay tuned if you want to know more about the tools we love to use here at HireHive! We also decided to reduce the rhythm of the publications on the blog. We went from eight new general blog posts per month to only two new blog posts per month that are a lot more in-depth and mean something to us.  

Our view of content has also changed. In the past few months, we have started to find our voice and to separate that completely from the voice our parent company had. We figured out that we wanted to share a bit more about our experience, to give our readers a sense of who we are. We hope you enjoyed reading about our experience of creating a content strategy and finding our voice and continue to follow us on that journey!

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