In this week’s issue of our Content Marketing All-Stars series, we caught up with Matt Anchin, SVP of Global Communications for Monster Worldwide. Monster has been a leading online platform for job seekers since 1999, and content has always been a key part of that equation. With thousands of searches for job-hunting tips happening every day, capturing the attention of their audience through compelling and useful content is critical. Our interview with Matt highlights the way that Monster has built the premiere web destination for all things related to your job hunt.
1. Can you start off by giving an overview of Monster’s history with blogging and content marketing and describe how the role it plays in your overall communications strategy has changed over the years?
Monster has long offered up editorial and marketing content as a value-add to our core services of connecting people and job opportunities across our network of sites. On Monster, the content can range from job-seeking and hiring advice to exploration of issues faced by job seekers and recruiters. We have other niche content sites as well, such as Military.com, FastWeb, FinAid and many more. Ultimately everything we offer, including the job postings we are best known for, is all content, so we cover a large space.
Today and more directly, we maintain two blogs — MonsterWorking and MonsterThinking — aimed at two very specific audiences and historically operated almost as independent news sites. We’re currently shifting that strategy slightly as we speak, to better support our work to transform Monster and how we serve customers. First, we’re taking our more B2B-focused blog (MonsterThinking) and making it much more about ourselves, utilizing it for discussion about what we see in the industries we operate in, our technologies and broad employment issues. Second, we’re integrating the more B2C-focused blog tighter into the core site experience, melding the more evergreen content we’ve featured there with the more timely content appropriate for a blog.
2. What goals do you set for the content you publish on your MonsterWorking blog in terms of engagement and conversion?
Most recently, we’ve focused on an integrated communication approach for our MonsterWorking (B2C-focused) blog, with strong ties to our PR and social activities. Basically, we’re now looking at how we can maximize every piece of content across all channels. For example, we’ll give content to a journalist first, then publish it, and then socialize it — always with an eye toward driving traffic back to our core sites.
3. What dictates the topics you cover on your blog? How do you balance job hunting/career advice content that is more specifically related to Monster.com?
Nothing in particular dictates the editorial we produce, as we’re always scanning the news for topics. We benefit from the monthly cycle of employment data issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are also natural tie-ins with events like school graduation, New Year’s resolutions, etc. In our entire editorial, we try to maintain a very healthy balance of content that’s evergreen and other items that are what I call “news you can use” in that they are actionable for an individual somehow. Monster is ultimately an advocate for both sides of every job search, and we believe helping everyone be as informed as possible about trends, the process of hiring itself, and other related content serves to benefit everyone.
4. Your main website also has a section dedicated specifically to career advice. What determines which channel your content gets published on?
It’s an organic process. We have a Content Council that brings together a variety of internal teams that produce content. Traditionally people visiting Monster have been very active job seekers, and we want to help them in their effort. This is why we have evergreen content on how to interview, how to improve a resumé and beyond.
5. There is a plethora of job-hunting resources online. What steps do you take to make your blog’s content unique to create a destination that job hunters seek out for advice?
We utilize our social data and connections across the industry to create the most-informed and actionable content for our readers. We also make it a priority to tell a good story — there’s already plenty of listicles and “things not to do” articles out there— instead we focus on the human element and the stories that people can relate to in order to provide value.
6. What channels do you use to distribute the content you create? How do you make sure your blog posts and video content reach the correct audience?
We utilize all available avenues when distributing our content — first and foremost, we focus on SEO and the value that brings. Our email marketing efforts are full of content targeted to specific audiences, and our social channels and paid media efforts also drive significant engagement around our content. Ultimately, we are focused on making sure that those who land on a piece of content are those who we know would benefit from reading it.
7. Project You is a unique initiative that is interactive and doesn’t feel overly promotional. How does a campaign like this one fit into your overall content strategy?
Project You is an initiative that we created in recognition of the continuing trend of the “quantifiable self” and to separate out the importance of knowing yourself across many dimensions to find the right job or career. One way to explain our philosophy on content as it relates to ProjectYou is that we’re hosting the best cocktail party out there. Sometimes we’re directly involved in the conversation, other times we’re simply happy to host it. Project You allows for this.
8. How do you look at video as a content channel in terms of storytelling and relationship building with your community?
We believe video — and all visual media for that matter — is key to success in telling a good story. Gone are the days where the written word alone can do what a brand needs. We are very focused on the visual platforms out there and how we can utilize them to further engage with our audiences.
9. Your MonsterCoolJobs series featured some great video content that doubled as job listings for participating companies. How successful were they in terms of applications for the positions that were featured and driving traffic to Monster.com?
I’ll give you one example that showcases how successful those campaigns are: When we had a cool job with the Boston Red Sox, it generated nearly 55,000 applications for the job. We were then able to utilize our SeeMore semantic search technology to help the Red Sox narrow the field and ultimately hire a terrific candidate for the position.
10. The Monster YouTube channel has millions of views, with some videos having been seen by several hundred thousand people. How do you convert a viewer to a Monster.com user?
Tell a great story. We know that all of our efforts, collectively, go beyond the direct view-to-a-click. Continuing to create great content and generate excitement about our brand, over time, reaps huge benefits for Monster.
11. How do you see Monster’s use of owned content developing over the next several years?
We have a continued focus on content in both the short- and long-term. We know that there’s a lot of content out there in the universe, so we’re not here to play the volume or quantity game. We have to create high quality, useful and engaging content. This means the best stories, the best visuals, and more – we win by creating the signal amidst all the noise.