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How to Hack Recruiting Content: The Ultimate Free Toolkit

A few clicks and one quick glance will show you the sheer volume of distractions there are for candidates online. If you want their attention, you have to earn it.

Recruiting content, if done right, can be a great way of cutting through the noise and making a connection with people that are slipping through the cracks — particularly passive candidates who are unlikely to look at your existing job ads.

Anyone who has dipped their toe in the content pool knows that the blank page is no joke. Even the most prolific authors struggle with writer’s block and getting their ideas down on paper from time to time.

Occasionally, it’s easy. You’ve got a fully formed idea bursting out of you. It’s a subject you’re passionate about and you’re pretty sure it’s going to be a hit. But sometimes, figuring out what material will resonate with your candidates and then taking the idea all the way through to fruition is a challenge.

To help you conquer recruiting content, we’ve put together a list of free tools to take you from Padawan all the way through to recruiting Jedi (excuse the Star Wars reference).

What is Recruiting Content?

A quick disclaimer: we’re all creating recruiting content already, even if we don’t actually realize it. Job descriptions, company career sites, email, social media posts, job ads and blog posts — it’s all content and it’s all crucial to recruiting.

These tools and tips will help you plan, research and create different types of recruiting content, and start standing out to top talent.

Start with planning: Making sure you have time to write

High-quality recruiting content could be the missing link between you and some highly qualified applicants — it could help you build a powerful employer brand and become an even more desirable place to work. The problem is, you only have a finite amount of time to dedicate towards creating this content. You have KPIs to hit and candidates to speak to. This makes planning your output and managing your time well, crucial.

Here are some tools we recommend to help with recruiting content planning.

1. Google Calendar

One of the best ways to deal with an overwhelming schedule is to block out time in your calendar to do specific tasks (like content creation) that you haven’t found time to get round to. It’s a simple technique that is widely known to boost productivity.

Just log into your Google or Outlook Calendar and block out slots to dedicate to working on content creation. It could be dedicated to crafting a new job advert, scheduling an update on LinkedIn or to publishing a new blog post. Whatever it is, claiming the time slot on your calendar is one of the best ways to ensure it gets done.

2. Asana

If you’re interested in doubling down on content, a project management tool like Asana can make a real difference to your team’s efficiency and make it easy to collaborate on tasks associated with each piece you’re working on.

You can use it for pretty much everything (it’s highly customizable), but we’ve found that the comprehensive tagging system makes it easy to juggle different projects, and assign specific tasks to the appropriate person and set deadlines for each.

This tool might become useful if you’re tasked with a range of different content tasks or if you’re constantly working on new job ads, employee testimonials and blog posts.

Research: What does your audience care about?

Why should someone care? That’s the question you need to ask yourself every time you sit down to draft a new piece of content.

There’s so much noise online with every company screaming for candidate attention — if you’re not working on the kind of content that candidates actually want to read, then you’re in trouble! Luckily, there are lots of tools out there that can be really helpful in the research phase, before you sit down to write a new piece of recruiting content.

3. Buzzsumo

Your deadline is approaching, and you’ve told your boss that you’ve got the perfect piece of content to lure in new candidates, but you’ve got nothing. We’ve all been there.

Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer through that ever again. Buzzsumo is the ultimate source of inspiration. It gives you a snapshot of the most popular content on the web for your chosen topic or vertical.

You’ll see exactly how many times other pieces of content have been shared, as well as the other sites that have linked to those sources. This helps you see the kinds of people that find your subject interesting.

4. Ahrefs Content Explorer

This is another great option for anyone on the lookout for the kind of content that people actually care about. Similar to Buzzsumo, Ahrefs will tell you the most shared content for any given topic you’re writing about.

The only key difference is that you’ll have to register for a free trial to make use of this one.

5. Evernote Web Clipper

Every great article is grounded in solid research — adding facts and extra details to support what you’re writing is one of the easiest ways to boost credibility.

Evernote Web Clipper is a great tool to help you collect and categorize information. It allows you to save entire pages, ebooks or small snippets directly from web pages. You can also highlight interesting sections to make it easy to find key points when you’re reviewing the content you saved later.

6. Quora

Do you want to ask questions about your job ads or the style of your social media posts? Are you interested in direct feedback from experts around the world?

If you haven’t utilized it already, Quora might make a huge difference in the way you work. You can ask questions to the community and receive answers from leaders in your field.

If you’re feeling shy, you can browse the questions and answers that are already live on the site, (and believe me, they’re extensive)! This makes it easy to improve your writing ability and to take your skills to the next level.

7. Pocket

Inevitably when you finally have a spare moment to do some content research, you’re forced to rely on spotty wi-fi or a weak signal. Or perhaps you are on-the-go when you have a burst of inspiration, and need to save something to go back to later when you are more available.

The ultimate ‘read it later’ tool, Pocket, allows you to save content offline, so you can catch up on it later, ( during your commute for example), and avoid this situation.

8. Google Analytics

What could be a better indication of the things that people are interested in, than data on what content they’ve been looking at previously?

Talk to your marketing team about getting access to your company’s website analytics (or install this tracking script to add it to your site if it’s not there already).

You can then use Google Analytics to check which pages of your Careers Site and which jobs are receiving the most online attention. If you want more information on getting started with Google Analytics, check out this resource from Google on how to get started (it can be tricky initially if you aren’t familiar with the tool).

Use metrics like “average time on page” or “bounce rate” to judge how engaging your content is. You should try mirroring the style of your most popular pages (with the lowest bounce rates) with future content — this is probably the style of content that resonates with your audience the most.

Writing and Editing: How to craft content that gets results

The perfect plan means nothing without execution. We’ve collected a range of different tools that make writing and editing content much easier.

Whether it’s job-specific content, blogs or career site material that you’re working on, these tools will help turn you into a recruiting content pro in no time.

9. Evernote

If you’re in the market for a single tool to centralize notes, research and drafts, Evernote might be your best bet.

It syncs across all your devices, so you can start piecing together a new blog post on your computer, add the final touches during your commute on your phone and then edit it on your tablet from home if needed.

10. Google Docs

For anyone who has never used Google Docs, you will be pleasantly surprised by what is essentially Microsoft Word’s web-based younger sibling.

It’s totally free, syncs to the cloud, and can be shared with team members easily. This all makes it a great place to draft your content, collect feedback, collaborate with team members and edit your work from any device without having to install any software.

11. Hemingway

Named after the famous author of “The Old Man and the Sea”, this nifty little app will decipher your writing and tell you exactly how readable your work is.

Whether it’s a job ad, an email or a new blog, you need to engage your reader and avoid over-complicating your writing. This app is perfect for this — highlighting words or phrases that could be problematic, making it easy to edit and improve your work.

12. Headline Analyzer

Want to know something scary? Only 62% of people that click on an article actually read past the title. If you don’t hook someone in with the headline, it’s more likely than not that they’ll quickly move on to the next thing.

So how do you know what makes a great headline? Well, you can spitball potential titles with your friends or colleagues and try and find the right fit, or you can try the free Headline Analyzer tool from CoSchedule.

This tool scores your headline quality and rates its ability to drive organic social shares, website traffic and SEO value, and tells you how you can improve it.

13. Grammarly

Reliant on Word’s “spell check” function? Maybe you should move on to something better. This nifty little Chrome Extension spots (and suggests corrections for) 10x more mistakes than your word processor.

The beauty of Grammarly is that it checks anything and everything. Use it on your social media posts, emails and job descriptions and make sure you don’t let any small errors slip through the cracks.

14. Coffitivity

Do you find the need to hide yourself in an empty meeting room while you’re writing? If so, you could be hurting your productivity. Research shows that the right amount of ambient noise actually boosts productivity. Coffitivity taps into this phenomenon by recreating the ambient sounds of a cafe to boost your creativity and help you work better.

15. Upwork

If you’re short on inspiration and have the budget, you can always turn to a freelancer for content help. Upwork makes it easy to connect with a range of different writers that will work for hourly rates at a moment’s notice.

This can be a good short term move in a pinch, but if you want to build your company brand and achieve long term success with content, we recommend writing most content yourself (or hire full time, in-house copywriters who can dedicate their time to this effort). This helps you create your company’s own unique voice in the talent market.

16. The World’s Most Dangerous Writing App

Anyone looking to write on the ‘wild side’ will love this app.

With “The World’s Most Dangerous Writing App”, there’s no time to lose inspiration or slow down. If you stop writing for more than five seconds, all of your work will be deleted. Pretty brutal. Give it a go, but don’t say that you haven’t been warned!

The world's most dangerous writing app

Adding stunning visuals: Tap into the candidate brain

The majority of humans can be pretty lazy at times. Many people prefer to look at a picture rather than read text. Research backs this up, suggesting that colorful visuals increase someone’s likelihood to read something by over 80%. Images can spice up anything from a job ad to a blog post. Here are our favorite tools for making your work visually beautiful.

17. Canva

The human brain remembers images 6x more effectively than text alone. If you can incorporate visual elements into your work, you’ll have a far better chance of grabbing the candidate’s attention.

Canva makes it simple to create infographics and beautiful images for social media, blog posts, or your website. They have a huge range of templates and icons already, but you can upload your own images and icons to make sure the images fit within your brand guidelines.

Anyone new to visual content should also check out their Design School which will get you up to speed on everything from titles to typography.

18. Skitch

Do you need to annotate an image or draw extra attention to something specific to get your point across? Skitch has a range of annotation options and lets you add shapes and sketches to images easily.

This can be extremely effective on social media when you’re trying to emphasize a particular idea or highlight part of a job description for your audience.

19. Infogram

Including research is a great way to add an extra layer of credibility to your writing. The only problem? Most people don’t like to wade through mountains of facts and figures.

Fortunately, you can use a tool like Infogram to create stunning charts and infographics to visualize your data and make it easier for readers to digest.

Your data doesn’t need to sit still either! Infogram will let you create moving charts that are more likely to increase engagement.

20. Unsplash

Nothing brings a piece of content back to earth faster than a run-of-the-mill stock photo. You know the kind of image we’re talking about — a collection of enthusiastic looking employees in suits in an imaginary discussion!

Luckily, there are a few different sites that offer fantastic free stock photos, (here’s a great list).

You’ll find reams of beautiful photography, all available for free for you to use on your site, to add color to job ads or to spice up blog posts.

21. PlaceIt

PlaceIt is a tool with a very specific use case. It allows you to input your own images inside stock photos of iPhones and laptops (meaning you can choose what will be on the “screen” in the stock photo)

This is usually a pretty tricky editing task that requires a designer, so it should save you a lot of time and effort if you don’t have a team of in-house designers at your disposal.

How to define success

Within recruiting there are a few figures that come to mind when we think of content success — Barry Flack, Matt Charney and James Ellis are some of our favorites.

It’s important to remember that every writer has their own distinct voice though. While you can take tips from your favorite blogger or colleague, it pays to develop your own style (for both your company and your personal brand).

Before you embark on your new, well-equipped writing adventure, the one thing that is essential is that you define what success looks like for you.

If it’s a job advert that you’re creating, you should be looking for a measurable increase in applications. If it’s an email, look for more opens, clicks and replies. If you’re starting a blog, monitor your traffic and social shares. These ‘measurables’ can start off as low as you like — the key is that they exist and that you’re tracking them. This way you can monitor your progress, improve over time, and start nailing recruiting content to help win top talent.

We have a whole section on our website dedicated to recruitment marketing and employer branding resources. Whether you are just getting started on your recruitment marketing journey, or you are just trying to fine tune your recruitment marketing strategy and skills, you will find information there to help you reach your recruitment marketing goals, and attract your ideal candidate.