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(February 22, 2007) Dave Mendoza asked for some input for his Kennedy Seminar on Blogging next week. He wanted to know the substantive changes that have resulted from blogs in the Recruiting industry. Here's what we told him:
A look at the comments on Kevin Wheeler's latest ERE article is instructive. (http://www.ere.net/articles/db/F5E280D9684F4960A7F0C203FF71FB9D.asp). A fellow who was once a visionary in the field appears outdated. Critics have jumped right up to tell him so. Blogs reduce the distance between "experts" and non-experts. Just check out the increased level of flack that I take each day.
Blogs have accelerated the speed at which information flows in the early adopter front end of the industry. The disconnect is pretty profound. Those who read and participate in blogs are light years ahead of the rest of the industry in terms of technique and results generation. Vendors and analysts alike are struggling to catch up. The gap between early adopters and the rest of the pack has never been so extreme. Most recruiters have no idea what RSS is or how to use it, for example.
You can't underestimate the impact that Joel Cheesman has had on the industry. He has single-handedly made SEO a common thread (again, in the early adopter set). Both Martin Snyder and Colin Kingsbury have shifted boatloads of their marketing energy into the blog universe. By positioning themselves as thought leaders and participating heavily and effectively in a variety of conversations, they have reengineered their approach to marketing and made their companies vastly more accessible to market input. Martin tends to take the low road and Colin takes the high. This is solid positioning given their market segments. Martin's tools are for nitty gritty recruiting while Colin serves a more organizational customer.
The give and take between Jason Goldberg and his market is really interesting. While he has taken a bunch of heat on the subject, Jason continues to innovate his product based on blog feedback. He relentlessly demonstrates the tough realities of being a blogger . . . you fail in public with an audience. But, that's the essence of increased transparency and intimacy. It's a vastly different game when you work in front of an audience. It's even tougher when the hurdle is your level of honesty and authenticity.
Steven Rothberg's marketing of Collegeecruiter.com has become solely centered on the blogosphere and his inputs as well as the "BlogSwap". So far, the history of the Recruitosphere is that good ideas are spawned in one place and then settle somewhere else. Rothberg is doing great things with the Blogswap and simultaneously making a great name for his company.
That's really the trick here. You have to do something clever that delivers a strong benefit and then tag your aspirations to the back end. Each of the real leaders in the field demonstrate the "give first, take second (if at all)" method of marketing. They are not busy calculating the return on each incremental investment. Rather, they are giving freely with limited expectation of return. These folks will prosper.
Check the work being done by Matt Martone at http://www.jobsearchmarketing.com/. He thoroughly utilizes his soapbox to publicly wrestle with his competitors. It's pretty jazzy for a staid player like Yahoo (Note that in this universe, Yahoo is a staid player) He pokes at the enemy while educating his customers about Yahoo's very interestring Recruitment offerings. It's a great model.
Itzbig, the not so secret next offering from Hank Stringer and his band of Austinites has built a stealth brand awareness model through its blog http://www.itzbigblog.com/
Hans Geiskes, CEO of H3 has pioneered the art of influencing key bloggers to deliver his message. Just ask Shally.
A host of Bloggers have become key industry leaders in startups and well known firms. Their blogs reflect the transitions and demonstrate that professionalism is possible in the blog universe.
The rest of the story involves the (much slower) migration of actual recruiting into the blogs. Part if the issue here is helping people understand how to reach the audience that they need. Very little useful material exists on the subject of building the right traffic to your blog. It's not really an SEO play. Rather, it involves the sort of traffic development pioneered by Kevin Strange at RetirementJobs.com (see tomorrow's article).
Ultimately, the competitive value to be gained from a blog will level out and diminish. That always happens. There is a decided first mover advantage. It's important to remember that this is really about the bloggers, not the blogs. Blogs are tools. Bloggers are where the value comes from.
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