“Never build on rented land.” I don’t know where I first heard this phrase, but I love it because it perfectly describes what global recruiters are confronting in today’s digital landscape. It refers to the practice of creating content or other business assets that you don’t directly own. You may also hear it called “digital sharecropping,” a nod to old farming practices where a land owner allowed another farmer to work his land, but kept most of the profits for himself. It’s a bad practice for both farmers and recruiting firms.
Here are some examples of building on rented land:
- Relying on LinkedIn as your database of candidates and business contacts
- Using Facebook as your company website
- Using Twitter as your primary marketing platform
- Hosting your company blog on WordPress or another service
Global recruiters might read this and wonder why we’ve spent time in this blog telling you how to effectively use Twitter or Facebook, but that would be missing the point. The problem with relying on these “landlords” is that they can – and do – change the rules, sometimes frequently. When you create content that benefits the landlord (often in the form of advertising revenue), you’re putting your business at enormous risk if the provider changes the price, decides you have violated its Terms of Service, or goes away permanently. The smarter (and safer) practice is to always make sure you own your business assets. At a minimum:
- Build your OWN website, with your business name as the domain. Self-hosting is ideal, but not always practical. If you are not hosting it yourself, know how to retrieve, recover, and/or move your site if you need to change providers.
- Make sure your company blog is hosted on your primary domain (like npaworldwide.com/blog).
- Work diligently to build a robust database of candidates and clients, including an opt-in email list for marketing
- Create and host all of your content on your primary asset (your company website).
Does this mean that global recruiters should forego the use of social media tools? Absolutely not! Social media can be an integral part of your marketing mix, but its value lies in the ability to drive traffic back to your PRIMARY asset – your company website. It’s easy to be swayed by free or inexpensive platforms, but the potential cost to your recruiting business can’t be ignored. Own your data, own your content, own your digital business assets. What stories can you share about building on rented land?