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In today’s hyper connected world, it’s incredibly interesting how an unknown quantity can become an internet sensation in a short amount of time.  Just ask Korean rapper PSY.

Although he has been relatively successful artist in Korea for the last 11 years, you would be hard-pressed to find someone in the US that knew his name.  But now with his music video and song “Gangnam Style” (you probably want headphones if you click the link) that number is growing by the day.

The video is outrageous, has a funny dance and the song is surprisingly catchy and has led to the video seeing over 200 million views on YouTube.  Due to this internet success, PSY himself has now appeared on SNL, Good Morning America and other media outlets across the U.S.  And while this may be just his 15 minutes of fame, PSY is trying to make the most of his internet popularity and enjoying every moment of it.  What this viral craze does for his career is anyone’s guess, however.

The real point of looking at this example is to look at what made this song and video hit the level of popularity that it did.  PSY has been making funny and ridiculous videos for years now so it’s important to try and understand why this one was singled out.

What lessons can we learn from PSY from a recruiting content perspective and in what ways can we make our content more compelling and viral to our target audiences.

Focus less on Viral and more on your audience

Nearly every media outlet asks PSY about his new-found internet popularity and if he ever thought that Gangnam Style would ever be this big of a hit.  To this, he always responds no.  He tried to create a fun video and song that would be popular in Korea and thought the song would be received well but not in his wildest dreams did he think that this would be this big and popular across the world.

In this way, he meant to cater to his audience and created something that was compelling to a much wider group.  It wasn’t his intention to cater to this group but due to the unique content he produced he was able to broaden his appeal.  The fact is he didn’t do much different from what he was doing before.  He didn’t change his focus or switch his target audience but just continued to produce his music and videos.  It just happened that this particular song hit it big with the internet audience.

The key I think that we can pull from this is that it isn’t about working really hard on one piece of content to optimize for being viral to the wider audience but to focus on consistently creating new and relevant content for your audience and see what pops.  Try different mediums (blogs, videos, podcasts, etc.) and use recruitment metrics to understand what types of content and ideas really resonate with the audience you are trying to recruit.  Then try to replicate and produce similar content to this in order to continue improving your content creation process.

For recruiting content, it’s becoming more and more important to evaluate content based on outcomes.  How good was the content at converting qualified candidates?  How many new candidates did it bring to the Career Site?  Depending on the type of content, the goals and expectations associated with it will change.  But the fact is, many times you will never know what content you produce will really resonate with your audience and what won’t.

Improving the viral nature of your content

While having a viral video or blog article can be great exposure for your organization, the real measure of success for any piece of content you create is it’s ability to resonate with your target audience.  Reaching 200 million views is great but if it’s the wrong audience the campaign wasn’t all that much help.

When creating content for your candidate populations, you can focus on a number of different areas in terms of making your content more compelling, shareable and overall more viral to that audience.  Here are a few to start with:

Be Relevant:  As content readers, we as a population are becoming less interested in the macro and more interested in targeted and relevant content that fits our interests.  As a content creator, this means that we need to go deeper into how we target our messaging and content to our different target populations.  This may mean less “Why work at ABC company?” and more “Why should Engineers work at ABC company?”  The more you can create content that is interesting and relevant to specific candidates the more results you should see from these campaigns.

Focus on Tone: While this will vary based on the organization (and how stringent the compliance issues are), you should really focus on finding the right tone of your content.  From being fun and playful to being more formal and educational, depending on the content you are trying to produce you need to find the right balance in terms of your tone.  Let your tone reflect your organizational culture and give a look in to what it will be like to work at your organization.  This can be a great way to filter out candidates especially if you are a vibrant and unique culture that is not for everyone.

Be Consistent:  Basically, this is all about providing content on a regular basis and having ways for candidates to find out about new content easily.  Whether it’s through an RSS feed, Talent Network email campaigns or your social feeds, you should have a way for candidates to opt-in to hear about new content.  And then you need to ensure that you fill those feeds with relevant and fun content that appeals to your target audience.

Try Different Media Types: Different media types can be great at achieving different goals.  Video can be very good at communicating simple messages and selling candidates on your company (as well as put a face to your organization.)  Blog articles can be a great way to produce daily content and educate candidates.  Audio such as podcasts can be a great way to exhibit thought leadership in your space and go deeper into the messaging and content you want to provide.  Depending on the goals you want to accomplish, different media types can have different affects on your strategy.

Rinse, Measure, Repeat:  With all the content you are creating, it is extremely important to measure the effectiveness of all the recruitment marketing content you produce.  Try to gain insight into what works and determine why it was successful.  Then use this information to create better targeted and more successful content in the future.

The best you can do is to try different content types, tones and styles and see what sticks with your audience.  And produce a lot of it so you have the data points to see what makes an impact on your overall conversions.

Focus on Making Lasting Content

When creating recruiting content, it’s important to focus on content that is relevant to the targeted candidate populations you are marketing to as well as ensure that the content you produce remains relevant and useful to these candidates.

Creating a funny viral video or blog post will last your organization a few weeks at most in terms of usefulness but a series of blog posts and videos about your company culture and employees can be a lasting resource to candidates trying to figure out if they want to work for your organization.  Because in the end, viral isn’t your goal, conversion is!

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