Welcome to the employer. Content show part of the talent insights series brought to you by hire well and career. Well, I’m your host, James. Hornick joining me is my co-host from before you apply personal newsletter pioneer.
Oh, that was good. I did not expect that. Yeah. Yeah. all right. What we want to talk about today. there’s probably a few aspects of this and I want to have this one be a little more freeform because I think there is a misconception in content. Well, the topic we’re talking about is how content achieves multiple outcomes.
And I think I should have titled it, how it achieves multiple unexpected outcomes. Perhaps. I think the unexpected was kind of a key thing I might’ve missed out of here. There’s a lot of examples, both of personal, and company-wide whether you’re doing content or what your initial objective is that I think it’s, yeah, it’s expected.
It’s normal that you’re going to see huge gains of areas you weren’t anticipating from the onset. And there’s a lot of examples I can give of that with us. There’s examples I have of other people I’ve known. Who’ve done that. I know you’ve got some examples in mind. And I I think it’s important because I think that is one of the biggest blockers to why companies get into the content game or why companies don’t spend more time on it, or why people don’t spend more time on it is because they think, if I’m, I think the way we kind of laid this up was we’re talking about employer brand, right?
So, if we’re considering doing employer brand for our company, and you look at how much time and effort it’s going to put in and you think, okay, maybe this helps us a little bit out with, with candidates and whatnot. Aren’t there easier ways of getting there than like doing content. You know what I mean?
Can’t you spend more money on more ads or spend more money on, hire another recruiter or something like that. Wouldn’t that be a better spend than, , but. That calculus is thrown out the window. If you just take a broader look at what this content does besides bringing more candidates in the door potentially.
and I think that’s what a lot of people kinda struggle with. So yeah, I can start if you want to, unless you have a thing you want to kick off with. No, go ahead. You always okay. What’s fun to you because then, cause you know, actually, you know, actually took some notes and you’re just going to kind of wing it as we go.
That’s pretty much why. so I’ll be real open and kind of honest about us, you know, and kind of what we look for. We’re getting into content, you know, when we decided to get into content originally and look at content marketing, it was because I started recruiting for marketing a few years before that I worked with lots of companies that didn’t, that worked in, you know, not cutting edge industries, you know, there’s, there was a point in time where all of a sudden.
Lots of real estate firms, for example, and other places that you just don’t think of as digital progressive shops started using digital, started making money off it. And we decided, Hey, we should look into this. And it’s at the same time too. Like I was you and I are in sales. You know, your who’s who isn’t sick of making.
Cold calls, you know what I mean? Or who isn’t sick of anything. Okay. Inbound, that sounds good. How can get more people interested in kind of finding us and whatnot and not to go through the kind of the entire journey, but you know, where we kind of landed on what we’re doing currently? My initial expectation was, or my initial hope was that we would get more people reaching out to us because they want to do business with us.
Which has happened. it’s definitely successful, but the things there’s so much more than that. And then that was like a sliver of what the total benefit was, which is why I kind of, I downplay it because it’s really not. If you’re basing the entire metric off of, Companies contacting us because they want to do business.
Like, yeah, it’s good. But, first off our referral business, which has always been our biggest driver by far 80% of our businesses referral that took off that got even higher, especially this last year, it just exploded. And. we can talk about attribution of whatnot, but with a lot of people, they’re not necessarily coming to us from our website.
A lot of times it’s, they’re going back to the recruiter they worked with previously or someone they kind of knew. And a lot of them would just mention, Oh, by the way, like I saw some of the stuff you guys are putting out there. I saw some of your podcasts. I saw some of your videos. Like, it’s just more present.
And you realize that the amount of people who would probably work with you or this I’m saying this about any company, but I only don’t because you’re not top of mind, like it’s, mind boggling. Yeah. I can say far and away as good as it’s been for net new inbound business. It’s by far better, just as a easy way of reminding people that we’re out there.
Hmm. so that exploded the second thing, which also completely unexpected. Our own hiring. Like we talk about employer content all the time and it talk about employer brand all the time. I never thought of what we do here as employer brand, but it is, yeah. We’ve had such an easy time hiring compared to like years past, like we’re in a tough industry to differentiate, right?
We’re always looking to hire experienced recruiters, agency recruiters who have done this work before people who have been told by every other recruiting firm. Hey, we’re different, but they’re not different. Right? It’s, it’s working for another kind of boiler room . Operation.
Everyone’s heard it before. but the hardest things is getting people who were good to want to talk to you. Right. we’ve brought on quite a few people in the last several months we’ve been growing. We’re still looking for more tech recruiters. But in the last year, it’s come up in conversation with literally every person we’ve interviewed.
Yeah, the content stuff we do. Like they, they’re excited to talk to us because of the stuff that we’re doing, which compared that to two years ago, we weren’t doing anything it’s like night and day, you know? So, you know, it has like an enormous impact, team engagement. It’s something interesting for everyone to work on.
this podcast show is not the limit of everything that we do here. There’s a lot of other kind of smaller issues. We do. Which has given everyone kind of a different side gig and side project to do, that’s been huge, thought leadership. So I saw this take recently content creators, aren’t experts, they’re just advanced learners.
In order to create content, especially on a regular basis, you have to do a lot of studying, like the concepts that you and I talk about now. Versus the stuff you and I probably talked about a year ago. Like we’re just so far beyond that only because we have to put the show on every other week.
Right. And it just really drives like my own knowledge base and awareness of like what’s happening in the industry. And I can see that for a lot of other people in the company who are doing these types of things, like you just become more knowledgeable because you have to. Yeah. I’d say in the last thing, I think that, Also to start individual, like like when you’re talking to clients like your market awareness in your ability to, I hate to say sales ability, but your ability to articulate and go deeper on more advanced topics like this sets you apart, because of that knowledge you had to build out compared to everyone else who hasn’t gone through this exercise.
Yeah. So, if I was going to break that in, I think you can break all that into two groups of group. One is like all of the things I mentioned. So more inbound business, like all we were looking for, again, if it’s at the onset of this was I hope we get more inbound business, but what we ended up getting was more inbound business, way more referral, business, way, easier time hiring, then more insights, which are just helpful to articulate to other people build more credibility when you’re actually in those meetings, more team engagement.
And it’s just like the total net value that we’ve seen from all this kind of stuff that we’ve done are just, just us. It has been far beyond what we originally anticipated. So like any kind of ROI calculation, it’s just the biggest no-brainer we’ve ever had. Okay. yeah, so I’ve experienced the same thing, which I’ll talk about.
But, the thing that I. come back to this a lot where I think like, practitioners get this, but those that don’t practice this, that aren’t actually doing it, like to just rely on numbers because I think numbers are really safe. It’s easy to fall back on numbers and say, okay, give me those metrics because those are comfortable.
I can look at those and I can say, yes, it’s working or no, it’s not. But when you’re actually doing this. you understand, like the nature of, of how this all works, that there’s like multiple touch points and that influence isn’t directly attributed to like one specific thing that it’s a collection over time of just like overall influence.
and that stuff gets mentioned, like you were saying, when you’re talking to a prospect or you’re talking to a candidate, or somebody sends you a message out of nowhere and says like, Hey, like I saw this post or this newsletter of yours, whatever. And they never engaged with at one time, and that’s the thing is like, it’s like very much a feel thing too.
and it’s hard to attach numbers to it, which I think like for somebody, especially in house. And wants to roll something like this out. They are going to be held to some level of metrics of numbers when they could like be sitting here going, like, I totally understand this, like intuitively I get it. I know that this works, but, but for them to get buy in to do it is a little bit challenging.
And I’m just wondering, like, I don’t have an answer for that because I just both. Yeah, I can see, I was actually thinking more about this too. And I think that, smaller business, I think it’s a business size thing at some point, too, right? Potentially. So businesses with a ton of money, it doesn’t matter.
Like if you’re Google, you can spend whatever you want to an employer brand and justify it. Cause, cause you can. Right. But I think that if you’re I have visibility into our hiring and our. Revenue generation and our different channels of that. Right. But let’s say you’re at a mortgage company and you want to spend time on employer brand and you’re fighting a fight over whether it’s worth it or not from a branding standpoint.
But they’re only looking at, in terms of employer brand, they’re not looking at, in terms of like all the other benefits for it. Right. And like, in my example, you know, what, if the content you do drives more referrals, Other people see the content out there. They think, you know what? We need to come back to these guys.
And the problem is that’s a business model where your salespeople, you know, if they’re getting more referrals, like no F that that’s not because of marketing. You know what I mean? Like you, can’t the marketing, person’s not going to be able to claim in certain business models like a success off of, because they’re so big and they’re so siloed.
I think that’s a challenge, right? But that’s also why I think that small businesses have, companies with enough, I shouldn’t say small businesses, but companies with enough intelligence kind of top down to see across the divisions would have an easy time justifying this versus those that are extremely siloed.
And, territorial, I guess, is the bigger thing would have a really difficult time. Yeah. Or who have. Layers of hierarchy and things like that. But I, think you’re right. I mean, also too is like, if this is either led by somebody who’s a leader at the company, which you and I both are at our company, so it’s like really easy for us to do.
Or the leadership at the company just believes in it, then there’s a whole lot of things you can do. Yeah. So , you mentioned like Google throwing money can just throw money at employer branding content. Sure. They totally can. There’s companies like that. I am not confident that what a company throws money at is actually the right thing for them to throw money at.
it’s easy to go. Okay. We’re going to create. This stuff and it’s really going to be like what they want to create. Yeah. That’s what they’re going to want to position to the outside world, to show themselves as like a great place to work. But I think like if we’re talking about now content that can, influence multiple audiences.
And if we go, all right, content is, distribution of information. You go, all right, how can we distribute relevant information to an audience that, can also influence these other audiences? And I look at like you know, I’ve talked about it a lot, but I look at this like internal, external players.
And so if I look at like something that Google throw money at Google can throw money at a a hundred thousand dollar high production value video, which we would all look at and go like, damn, that’s a really great video, right? but a company without those resources can look internally and write a blog post about, this is how we do this at our company, which might be like super unique and special and whatever.
I mean, I know there’s companies who who’ve written, stuff like that, like before remote work was what it is today, where it was like, this is how we do remote work. This is how we think about, whatever, like whatever kind of like parental leave policy or whatever. It might be. Just something that you do that is just like killer and, you use that as a way to like communicate internally to your employees.
You can use it in onboarding. There’s a lot of use cases, but then at the same time, like, There’s people in the outside world who really care about that stuff and attached to it. Like I use Patagonia as like an example all the time, because Patagonia did that with some very unique internal policies.
They created that stuff for their employees, but they put it to the outside world and it’s one of the reasons why I support that brand so much. and so I want to see, I really want companies to be more confident and to take bigger risks with documenting the stuff that they do internally that is really different.
Yeah. And sharing it with the outside world because the outside world, whether it’s a candidate or a buyer, like really cares about that stuff. I think, when we were saying this before, I think that for some reason, people are terrified of just telling the truth about who they are. I don’t know why. it’s one of the, and like I’m saying this, even when there’s nothing to hide, even when the truth is perfectly fine and truth is a good thing, people are just afraid to say it out loud. This here’s what we are. Here’s what we stand for. Here’s what we do. I think everyone’s just used to being in this overly processed world where everything has to be calculated and put through PR nonsense and whatnot, as opposed to just here’s our policy.
Here’s our take on this and those sorts of messages that are just really real, really raw, you know, that, that hits on both angles in terms of both. Client brand acquisition as well as employee brand acquisition at the same time. I don’t know. Yeah. Yeah, it does. And I think that’s like another reason why, things like this podcasts, you look at like founders who have podcasts and I don’t know, things like that.
we talk so much about like humanizing brands, but then a lot of brands. Run that through a filter, but like, we love to hear people like, just like riffing or like how they think and like just themselves. And that’s why, like, especially for smaller companies, I think that going back to what you were saying originally, when you were talking about what you’ve pulled off at higher.
Well, I really think like every company should, seriously consider having somebody be like the face of their company, like publicly, like. Thought leadership putting themselves out there because it just like, I use the word influence a lot, but it’s just like, there’s so much influence that can come from that.
I never intended it to happen, but it kind of did with me. And it was just an experiment. It was just like, Hey, I’m a marketing sales, whatever team of one. And I still am. And like, Whatever, you know, I mean, it’s, it works. I remember our conversations. If you’re dealing with your early imposter syndrome issues, I, I guess I’m still dealing with it.
Right. but yeah, I think that, and this kind of, I want to bring up some examples of stuff too, cause we’re kind of, we’re kitten on a few different topics here, but I think we’re kind of coming back to it. When you talk about. individual’s doing your, company’s doing it or individuals doing on behalf of the companies.
I think it’s, it’s kind of irrelevant, but I I’m a believer that the reason why the calculus on is content worth it, you know, for this purpose is flawed is because I submit that anybody who continues doing it over an extended period of time just goes all in on it. Right. , we’ll have some sort of unexpected positive result.
Yeah. You know, some examples. So our buddy Chris Walker, right? we’ve been totally stealing everything we do based upon like how we start doing his LinkedIn posts. Now I know that his, the reason why he started doing content was to gain clients, right? but I guarantee he has the easiest time hiring of anybody at a marketing firm, his size bar, none.
I don’t even know if he knows how hard it’s supposed to be. Cause I think he has such an easy time hiring, you know, like I think that he like, but he’s not alone. Like it Dave Gerhardt, same thing, you know, I don’t know what Dave’s initial plate again, into kind of the content game was I know that if you just look at his numbers, his subscriptions on a monthly basis, like he’s got his, his side gig is like most people’s salary and that’s on top of working a real job.
And he probably has, again, an easiest of all time, hiring anybody kind of worked for his team. You know, like these are. These all achieve multiple things. I’m sure like these guys went into it hoping for one thing and then up getting so much more out of it. Like I had a couple other examples. There’s one, I won’t name this one because it’s a friend of a friend, but, one of my friends buddies, was a craft, Brutus, love craft brewing on his own.
Just all went all in on it, started writing a blog, right. And the blog got really, really popular. And I think he had like a nine, like a consulting job, nine to five or something like that. but the blog got so popular. He got a following. He had people reach out to him about. starting a brewery and they needed a brewmaster, you know, and he ended up going that route.
And now his brewery, like they have like distribution along the East coast. Like it’s actually like a legit place. I’ll because of like, Hmm. I’m just going to write about. Beer and how I make it and stuff like that. You know what I mean? Like it changes the trajectory of like, I guarantee that wasn’t anticipated outcome.
You know what I mean? Yeah. I got a friend who, a guy I’ve known for about 10 years now. if you’ve heard of a 2:00 PM. So they’re a, it’s a, well, it’s a newsletter. he’s a guy, web Smith is his name. He’s a guy who he was early Twitter, you know, he’s early Twitter because he has the, his Twitter name is web.
So when you ever have your first name, you know, you were in early, but I know he started doing a newsletter about direct to consumer, DTC brands years ago. I don’t know exactly when he would start doing it and just like a hobby for him. You know, like I like a side project, and I’m sure he was doing it To like build contacts and that’s the industry he worked in.
So like to gain more knowledge and just to kind of stay on top of things, I’ll make a newsletter out of it. But, that’s his job now. Like I’m not going to throw numbers out, but he’s making bank off this, you know, like he’s doing extremely well. And it was like, like again, a, not an expected outcome.
Like I know he wasn’t thinking, Hey, this is going to be my career. He was probably hoping that something that was going to help his career, you know, But these things happen all the time. And, and those are, those are examples of individual people who had kind of the trajectory of what they do change by it.
But it’s the same thing for companies, you know? And if you go into it expecting one thing and trying to do the cost benefit of is, is this one outcome worth it? You’re turning blinders off to all the other potential outcomes that will come from it because I guarantee if you have, if you take time and care, Put it into any kind of content creation that you’re doing.
You’re going to build relationships with people. You’re going to build audiences. You’re going to get rid on topics that you just weren’t anticipating doing. And as long as you’re progressive with it, like it’s going to hit on some unknowable unforeseeable area. Yeah. Gosh, you reminded me of some things you said earlier.
you know, like first why this is top of mind. I think like this doesn’t have to be like an. all or nothing. I’m sure this isn’t the only thing you do at Hirewell. not, not you personally, but I’m saying like James is content is not the only thing that you guys do. There’s like other things that you do to weather, whether it’s drive business or, or recruit candidates or whatever.
it’s just like, we’ve heard this stuff over and over again, but it’s easy to look to . See somebody who’s. Doing it successfully and forget where they started from and how long it took them to get there. , some move pretty quickly, but like others, it’s just, it kind of comes down to like, if you could create good stuff and just outlast everybody, you’re going to be towards the top.
I mean, there’s like a sustainability factor. That’s very real. Yeah, it’s easy to get excited about this stuff. And like, maybe turn out a couple things, but like to keep doing it over and over and over again for a long period of time and sustain the quality. there just, isn’t a large group of people who can do that.
And if you can be one of those people, you’re just going to get noticed over time. And I think like that’s the same for companies where like, we just don’t see on the employer branding side, you just don’t see scale. there’s a few things created. That like check a couple boxes and then that’s kind of it, but there’s like, there’s none of this, like repeated over and over and over again, creation of things.
Yeah. and that’s where like, I’m going to come back to like it being more on the personal side, but somebody who’s associated with a company because on the personal side, you can scale that up. yeah, so we’ve talked about why the personal side. Is better than the corporate side only because just for the standpoint that people want to hear from real people, you want to hear it from the leader of technology leader of marketing, and you want to hear about the brand, but I do think some of it is somewhat self-interest driven.
Right. You know, like if you’re on year to year looking at what your initiatives should be, and you’re trying to sell it to somebody there internally and whatnot, there might be some disagreement over something. But if you’re looking about it as. As Nate and his career, you know, that’s much easier thing to justify because your name and your own know, talking, talk about personal brand.
you’re taking that with you wherever you go next. Right. Or, and whatnot. So there’s never, there’s never a shelf life to it in terms of like what, you know, when you leave the company you’re at all of your branding efforts you did for that company. Are no longer something you’re taking with you, you know?
but that’s why I think that the personal angle on the corporate bringing it back to kind of employer content. It’s, that’s the, it’s the way to go, because that’s what people want to hear about. And it’s also from the, from an audience standpoint, they want to hear from your CTO on technical things and thought leadership, but it’s also, something that those people should realize is also good for them.
Long-term and whatever they decide to do with their career next. Yeah. I think that one person who gains a lot of influence who’s associated with your company. I got to just go keep going back to Dave Gerhardt, because he’s like the best example of an in-house person who has become that well-known.
But whatever, I mean, it can be, it can be anybody. I will take that over employee generated content stuff all day long. there’s just so much more you can do with it. Anyway. the other thing that I was thinking about too, which is I can attribute this to Dave there hurt I heard him say though, that if you do this stuff, and you become like known in your industry in your invited on like webinars or podcasts or speaking events, and like all this stuff that like gives your company tons of brand recognition, You’re so used to doing it that like, you’re already ready to talk, you know, like you’re just like, you’re just used to it.
So like, I’m sure like you do this, I totally do this. Like, I’ll get invited on a podcast and I can just go on the podcast and just talk because I’m basically talking about this stuff all the time anyway. and so it’s really nice and easy. and I know people who. Don’t have that or aren’t used to it.
They have a harder time with it. Yeah. Well, I think that also ties back to that. That’s a good point because I think that when I was saying, one of the benefits that we’ve noticed is, , when we’re talking with potential clients, cause I didn’t want to say it as like sales ability, but you know, Yeah, I was thinking of it more as a domain knowledge, but it’s also just fluency with the topics.
You know, anything’s easier when you’ve talked about it a million times or when you thought about it a million times or when you’ve laid it out as part of your content plan, you know what I mean? As opposed to kind of like off the cuff. And I think that that holds true for I’ve noticed the same thing.
Like I’m going to be on a couple podcasts in the next month and I was on a couple. So far this year, and I’m just like, Hey, just give me a heads up on like what the three topics that you want to talk about. So I need, you know, and then you just kind of go, two years ago, I couldn’t do that. I’d be terrified.
You know, I’d have been like panicked, I’d be stumbling all over myself. I wouldn’t know what to say. but it’s also the same thing. When I notice, when I’m talking to. And again, I don’t want to say this as like a toot my horn thing, but more of as a, the reason why you should be comfortable with this stuff and get comfortable is because this also impacts regular conversations.
You know, one-to-one conversations you have in the real world, being able to kind of discuss these topics. Second nature builds a lot of credibility, versus if you wouldn’t have been able to do it. Yeah. And, and the ability to answer questions on the fly. This was brought up to me. I was on this, panel.
It wasn’t really a, webinar’s more of like a recording that was going to be shared out with our audience. But the, the host was telling me, he was like, it was basically like spontaneous questions with answers. And he said that he had a conversation like that with somebody who’s like a influencer and she didn’t have the ability to do that.
And he’s like, I just like. What’s one surprise in two, like sod is kind of like a, like a fraud thing in a way. because like, what kind of, was she not Was she an influencer in like, was she like, not like someone who would speak regularly or, well, like, like she’s like well-known on social media in like post format, but in real life, the ability to like come up with.
Stuff like on the fly, just wasn’t there. That’s why, I mean, not to rehash other old topics, but that’s why I maintained it. Like video or audio video is so important because, that’s how, you know, the person is actually them. That’s the person saying it. They actually know. You know, went on to know what they’re talking about.
It’s another story, but you know, they’re able to articulate their point of view versus you have, if, if your entire thing is just posting text and blog format or social format or whatever, like no one knows it’s actually you. Yeah. But anyways, I think that tying this all back, I guess as the final kind of unanticipated unexpected positive outcome is just the ability to be more fluent in your own industry.
and that just has a tremendous value and that’s more of a personal thing than a company thing, but it all, you know, it’s all interrelated, so Yeah. I mean, I want to like before we jump, I just, I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of. Somebody internally, who is like leading employer brand.
Let’s say, I don’t know. On the marketing side, I think it’s a little bit different, but, you know, somebody who, who might be listening to this or thinking about this stuff and going like, okay, but like what do I do? I mean, I think I like a starting place, a starting point would be, if you think that.
Having somebody like, be it like a legit influencer at your company, or like a thought leader in your industry, if you think that ability is there just like seek somebody out or a couple of people out and just they’re like, Hey, I think this is like a real thing that we can do. Let’s run it as an experiment.
I’m not going to put up any guardrails. Like, do you want to do this? Like I see you as somebody who’s smart it seems like they, have this ability. Is this something you want to do? Cause I’ll support you in doing it and just like give somebody like the opportunity to do that.
And I know you’ll be able to find somebody at your company who just like, wants to kind of run with this and then just go and then like, see where it goes. And if you’re starting to get some traction, whether it’s qualitative or quantitative, whatever, then you just like do more of it and just empower them to do more.
But I think it can start with just like, One person, even it doesn’t have to be this like massive initiative across the company. and then I just, really, really want to encourage people to tell more of these, like these internal stories. And I don’t mean stories about people. I mean, the way you think as a business, the way you operate as a business, why you do things, how you do things, just like it doesn’t have to be sexy.
It’s just, we’re talking about a blog post I want it. I’ve got more of that kind of stuff. It’s real information that people care about. We’re starting a new video series based on that, by the way, not like this, it won’t be this format. It’ll be like kind of prerecorded, but we’re going to be, there’ll be, at least you’ll see a series of videos of.
Us having conversations about what we do. That’s a little different and why we’re doing it and what our take is on it. That’s it? I mean, it’s just, it’s, it’s not something I’ll put, it doesn’t need to be in a podcast and won’t let go on the talent insights podcast. It may or may not be in our website, but just like stuff that we’ll have kind of posted on social occasionally.
just because I I’m a bit curious to see how it’ll play, so, but it’s just really kind of addressing, I’ll give the spoiler. So one of them, we, we shot at like this past week was like why we don’t have a dedicated sales team. That’s such a good video. Oh, I love it. We’re a full desk shop.
I believe very firmly in that I have very strong opinions that shops that are, have that split desk model. Like. there’s several reasons why the recruiting industry has such a bad name. that’s one of them and I’ll explain why in the video. So check out my LinkedIn and you’ll see it in the next couple of weeks.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I’ve done some of those things with Jackson, you know, it’s like why we offer a freemium model? Like why we think about our industry this way, whatever, you know? And it’s just like, it’s just important. People, people care about that stuff and they want to know it.
Yeah. All right. All right, dude, let’s wrap it for this week. everybody out there, thanks for listening to the employer content show. If you want to hear more of what Nate and I have to say, you can subscribe to the higher well channel on YouTube, where we playlist of all of our episodes and the talent insights podcasts, which is available on Apple podcast, Google podcast, Amazon and Spotify.
Nate. Thanks again. Thanks buddy. Everyone out there. We’ll see you soon.