Let’s Blog About It! The Future of Blogging in the Social Media Toolkit (Featured on HCI.org)

Featured on HCI.org / Written by Mark A. Leon – Recruiterpoet

From time to time I will be introducing guest bloggers from Hewitt Associates in order to get a fresh perspective on various topics. This week, I have the pleasure of introducing Mark Leon, currently a sourcing consultant at Hewitt Associates and a blogger in his own right. You can find out more about Mark here, http://www.google.com/profiles/markalex222.

“The influence of blogging is overall a very positive force in the media.” – Garrett M. Graff, editor-at-large, Washingtonian.com

In April 2010, Michael Stelzner, executive editor at Social Media Examiner put forward “2010 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.” According to his research, the top four social media tools are Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and blogs.

*Provided by Social Media Marketing Report 2010

The research shows that 67% of corporate respondents indicate an increased utilization of Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Linkedin and blogs. Most companies (81%) indicate they will step-up funding and resources to focus on blogs.

Blogging is a form of social responsibility from the corporation to its readers. It is a means of communicating personalized company information and viewpoints, soliciting feedback and using the interactive exchange as a means to define products and services. The meaningful transfer of information and feedback is a public acknowledgement of the commitment a company has to its customers, vendors and talent community.
Unlike other means of social media, blogging connects personally to the reader by providing personality to content and articulates the creative forces that set companies apart. It also provides the personality that potential candidates seek when they are trying to align themselves with a strong cultural fit.

What is the formula for successful implementation?

Develop a defined marketing plan that defines content, format, audience, outreach plan and communication
Distinguish who will be the voice of the blog
Determine a blogging platform that will maximize the reach of the site and design the layout
Begin with strong, engrossing content that will stimulate discussion and bring awareness to the message. As the blog grows, keep content fresh and use feedback from readers to continually re-invent the blog

As an inexpensive means of connecting with your community blogging has the potential to connect and create long term communities in a corporate environment that is being reshaped to place more value on personal networks. Following are excerpts from interviews with three industry professionals who have incorporated blogging into their social media toolbox to drive positive ROI.

Amybeth Hale, Editor at ERE.net and blogger on ResearchGoddess.com
We had a chance to catch up with Amybeth Hale fresh off of her presentation at the Social Recruiting Summit in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Amybeth, launched her blog in 2006 (http://www.researchgoddess.com/) and through its evolution, Amybeth has been at the forefront of the blogging movement. Initially launched to remain in contact with research clients and drive content to her landing page, Research Goddess now provides content around social media, vendor/product support, sourcing research, campus relations and employment brand. The personal brand Research Goddess is also promoted through Facebook and Twitter.

Amybeth writes three blog posts per week on a consistent schedule. Until 2007, there were fewer than 100 subscribers. Today, ResearchGoddess.com boasts over 450 subscribers and approximately 150 to 200 hits per day from 41 different countries.

Though she doesn’t use the blog to promote career opportunities, she did indicate a few industry professionals whose blogs focus on career opportunities and career development. If done strategically, it is valuable for the talent acquisition community to make a place for blogs in their social media toolkit.

“Many recruiters are using every social media tool to vomit their jobs all over the place. They just throw it out there and see what sticks,” says Amybeth, in reference to an unfocused social media strategy.
When asked about the timeline for a new blogger to gain a reputation, the response was simple:

“Good content is a key factor. If you write well and add value to the community, people will pick you up through Google reference.”

Amybeth feels it takes about two years to grow a subscription base and maintain repeat visitors. She suggests focusing on organic growth versus digging deep in the wallet and purchasing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools.

Ben Gotkin, national recruiting director at McGladrey and founder of recruitDC
Ben Gotkin has had his social media strategy in place for two years at McGladrey. The blog was the first piece and cornerstone of their plan. A Linkedin Talent Community page, Twitter, Facebook and You Tube are the other four components actively in place.

The blog entitled Success Starts Here (http://mcgladreycareers.blogspot.com) focuses on recognition and achievement. The intent of the blog was to create an “online brochure” and a way to bring awareness to those in the industry. The blog approach is a way to “push back the layers to get an insider perspective on the company and a means of celebrating success.’”

As Ben explained, “a lot of companies have great stories to tell. They are doing a lot in the community and should be recognized.”

Through various SEO platforms and tools, the site has yielded 4,000 to 6,000 views per month. With the added value of Google reference, email campaigns, Twitter, Facebook and print media, Ben and his team have targeted the key members of the industry to share their message. Links to the blog will also be included in the new on-boarding process that is soon to be launched.

The target outreach is two to three blog posts per week from associates, interns and leadership. Though HR analytics/metrics play a critical role in effectively monitoring and adjusting the strategy, McGladrey also relies on new associate surveys to gather information on how social media assisted in their career transition into the organization.

Ben expressed that a successful blog initiative is based on strong content. Prior to launch, there were four-to-six well developed blogs to take them into this new media. It took four plus months to create a foundation and now candidates, associates and clients are educated on the true inner workings of McGladrey.

Mark A. Leon, talent acquisition specialist at Hewitt Associates
In late September, 2009, Mark Leon launched the Recruiterpoet blog (https://recruiterpoet.wordpress.com). The key topic areas are health management, defined benefit, defined contribution, change management, leadership, diversity/inclusion, personal brand strategy, social media, talent acquisition, M&A and rewards/recognition.

Through a grass roots marketing campaign via Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Google/Yahoo Groups, presentations and email campaigns, the site saw traffic for the first five months at approximately 550 hits per month to a current subscription base of 50 and traffic of 5000 hits per month. The personal brand Recruiterpoet has translated to Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook to maintain the brand awareness.

“The goal is to raise awareness of opportunities and technology/process enhancements, bring an internal and personal perspective to the table and help industry professionals help each other. Engaging in dialogue and providing key insight has helped create a community of readers that hopefully will continue to grow,” explained Mark.

What can blogs do for an organization?
Define Culture – A blog provides not only content put a personalized perspective on the internal workings of an organization and helps shape how associates view their relationship with the company.

Drive Traffic – Whether it is organic or SEO tools are used, the goal is to drive traffic to the blog. More importantly to drive traffic to the other corporate communication web outlets (corporate website, talent community groups, supplier pages, products and services).

Provide a feeling of ownership – A blog takes dedication and time to maintain strong and consistent content. By partnering with associates, interns, co-ops, leadership and clients, a blog gives others a chance to share their message and embrace the partnership they share with the company.

Supply analytics/metrics – With key tools to measure where traffic is coming from, who is referencing and unique versus repeat readers, forecasts can be made on how effective the tools is and what adjustments are necessary to continue to maximize exposure.

Create an extension of the blogger or company – Like any social media tool, the goal is to relay a message. Blogging can be short or long, detailed or personal, but at the end of the day, it is communicating a message from the blogger to the audience.

Blogging is difficult. It is time consuming. It must capture the audience with interesting commentary and it must communicate a message or valuable content. Though it does not come with ease or immediacy, it has the potential to have a long term affect on readers. Blogging has the capability to be the most successful social media tool to bring an outsider into the doors of the corporate world and send them on a tour as an insider.


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