Creating a personal “brand” is a concept borrowed from corporate marketing and refers to how you promote yourself professionally. Your unique combination of skills, experience, and personality as presented on paper, in-person, and online. For example, your brand includes your resume format and content, 30-second elevator speech, and social media profiles. Most importantly right now—due to COVID-19 and the lack of in-person networking opportunities—it refers to your online presence.
The internet affords professionals a host of opportunities to build and enhance their brand. However, establishing membership accounts and populating online profiles is only the beginning. It’s like building a house but not living in it. One powerful way to leverage your online presence is to incorporate content marketing for your remote job search.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is another technique borrowed from corporate marketing and is defined according to the American Marketing Association:
“Content marketing is a technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Translated for jobseekers, content marketing is a way to promote yourself as a credible, valuable resource to individuals in a position to advance your interests. Examples of your clearly defined audience are potential clients, hiring managers or recruiters, or managers/executives with hiring or promotion authority.
The Benefits of Content Marketing for Your Remote Job Search
Corporate content marketing outperforms traditional marketing strategies, with companies using the strategy seeing 30% more growth than those that don’t. In this context, the strategy works primarily to build positive awareness with potential customers. On a personal scale, other benefits include:
- In an already crowded job market, a content marketing strategy will help you stand out from your competition. When employers fill most positions via referral, this is invaluable.
- It’s free! In fact, if you are good at it, content marketing can potentially make you money. Opportunities abound to make a little extra cash by submitting content to established blogs and publications.
- You don’t need technical knowledge, a blog, or a website to get started. Easy-to-use tools on both LinkedIn and Facebook give you a way to publish professional-looking articles.
- Developing and posting content to the internet increases your visibility on social media platforms and in online searches. In other words, it improves your search engine optimization (SEO).
- It builds goodwill. Sharing your knowledge or researching an issue and then sharing that information is a valuable service to colleagues. In addition, this is an effective way to enhance networking.
- It increases your knowledge. Researching and writing will keep you up to date on trending topics and add to your own repertoire of knowledge and skills.
How To Develop a Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketers know that this technique is most effective when strategically applied to achieve specific goals. In fact, a recent study by CoSchedule found that marketers with a documented strategy were 538% more likely to report success. This illustrates that well-thought-out plans significantly increase the chances of meeting marketing goals and achieving a return on investment.
For an individual jobseeker, costs are mostly time-based. If you are spending countless hours developing content that is not being read or reaching your audiences, you’re wasting your time. Remember to view time as a valuable asset as a professional, even during a remote job search.
1. Establish Goals
The first step to implement a content marketing strategy for your remote job search is to identify your job or career aspirations. This becomes the goal of your content marketing strategy. If you don’t know what you want, you can’t identify who you need to reach or what content to produce.
2. Identify Target Audience
Once you have a career or job goal in mind, research positions that fit your future job goals. Then identify your target industries, companies, and positions. This information helps target your efforts and identify who you want to reach.
3. Establish Content Marketing Channels
If you know who you want to reach, select the most effective method for distributing your content. LinkedIn is an obvious choice as 99% of Fortune 500 firms use the platform to promote its company and recruit top talent. However, other platforms may work just as efficiently and engage the proper audience.
4. Develop an Editorial Calendar
Once you decide on the content you want to create and the best method to distribute it, identify and track the best time to distribute the content. This step takes advantage of optimal times for specific content. It will also keep you on track and accountable for plan implementation.
5. Identify How You Measure Success
Ultimately, securing a sought-after position will indicate the success of your strategy. But you may also want to identify a couple of other ways to measure the efficacy of your content marketing efforts. Depending on your channels, these may include how many read, react, and/or comment on your content.
Tips for Developing Content Ideas
Developing interesting and relevant ideas is a challenge, especially when implementing content marketing for your remote job search. Below are a few tips on how to brainstorm topics.
- Identify your areas of expertise. Start with a list of what you’re good at and where your strengths lie. Especially those that are important to the position you want to secure. Creating content about topics you are informed about or skilled at will increase your credibility.
- What’s new? Nothing piques interest more than content focused on a current news story. Check industry publications, mainstream media, and social media channels for trending topics to identify possible subjects where you can add value to the current conversation.
- Keyword research. Try to identify keywords that will resonate with your target audience using words used in their job ads, on corporate websites, or in executive biographies. Then conduct searches using the keywords to see what content and headlines have been created relevant to the topic. Use this information to identify related topics or aspects that haven’t already been covered.
- Use idea generators. Try HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator to get ideas or BuzzSumo’s content insights to see what related content is available and how it is performing.
- Answer common questions. Reach out to your network and get feedback regarding questions that your target audience might have that you can answer. If this isn’t practical, visit Answer the Public—a website that helps you discover what people on the internet are asking about.
Why You Don’t Need to Be a Great Writer
If you’re reading this article and panicking about the woeful state of your writing skills, you don’t need to worry. Great writing isn’t entirely necessary to implement effective content marketing for your remote job search.
1. You Can Use Another Format
Self-publishing podcasts and videos is just as easy as written content. Before you choose how you want to distribute your content here are a few facts about your different options.
- Articles: The longer the article, the more successful. Articles over 3,000 words receive three times more traffic, four times more shares, and 3.5 times more backlinks than shorter articles. However, listicles—short-form articles that consist of a numbered, fleshed-out list—get two times the shares of other blog post formats.
- Podcasts: With over 100 million Americans listening to monthly podcasts, audio content is still growing in popularity. While it is not as easily searched for as text-based content, Google is working on algorithms to improve their searchability.
- Videos: Video content is continually growing in popularity and video creation tools are now a part of most social media platforms. Video content is also very effective with 41% of bloggers reporting strong results from videos.
2. Create or Curate? That Is the Question!
If creating content is too difficult or time-consuming, you can also develop a content marketing strategy based around curated content. Instead of creating the content yourself, research content that you find professionally interesting and share it with your networks. The key to this strategy’s effectiveness is to add value. This means that the content you share must have insightful ideas and commentary. And every time you share content, you should include a comment or question that illustrates your understanding and knowledge on the subject.
3. Develop Your Skills
Take a course! Regardless of what format you choose—written, recorded, or video—you must maintain a professional presence. Luckily, free or low-cost online courses provide an outlet to build or refresh your knowledge. Popular options such as EdX provide access to courses offered by top universities including Harvard and MIT. Other sites—such as Udemy or Coursera—provide video instruction by expert instructors from around the world.
Where Should I Publish My Content?
If you are implementing content marketing for your remote job search, it makes sense to publish your content where the recruiters and decision-makers hang out. While proactive recruiters on the lookout for musical talent may scour TikTok, hiring managers rely heavily on more mainstream platforms. The most popular options include:
The undisputed heavyweight champ of job searches and professional networking is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is purpose-built, offering a host of jobseeker tools and access to over 95% of recruiters. In addition, LinkedIn statistics report that jobs obtained via LinkedIn tend to be higher-paying, and employees hired using the website are 40% less likely to leave the company within the first 6 months.
In terms of content marketing, write and publish an article directly in the application. Click on the “Write an Article” found on your homepage and you are taken to a robust word processor with the ability to add photos. In addition, you can create and upload slideshows via their SlideShare app located on the “Work” menu. LinkedIn is also perfect for links to video or audio content, as well as the sharing of curated content.
With 1.73 billion unique daily users for March 2020, an increase of 11% year-over-year, Facebook is still a powerhouse. Facebook is a solid option if your strategy includes cross-posting to Instagram, as they are easily integrated.
For content creators, Facebook offers many opportunities to create and edit a variety of media. Users can write and post articles in much the same way as LinkedIn by using the “Notes” feature. This is found on your Facebook profile page under the “More” tab. In addition, you can publish live video or upload and post already created video content. As an added bonus, Facebook has a library of free music and sounds to invigorate your content.
Although popular, Twitter is best for cross-posting, as content cannot be created in the application and the character limit means that communication opportunities are limited.
This is a great app if you are serious about your video content. You can create your own content channel that will stand on its own, and it’s also easy to cross-post to other major social media platforms.
While it initially may seem intimidating, content marketing for your remote job search is a practical and effective way to secure that dream job. With a little realistic planning and focus, this strategy will help you gain visibility and credibility with recruiters and corporate hiring managers.
Have you used content marketing to bolster your remote job search? What content did you use? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to share your advice. We’d love to hear from you!
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