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Writing persuasive messages to optimize reply rates

September 22, 2021

Master the art of writing short emails

As you can see from the graph below there is a considerable drop in reply rates for emails with less than 50 words. Similarly the reply rates decline slowly from 50% for 125-word messages to about 44% for 500-word messages. And then it stays level until ~2000 words, then plummets precipitously. The sweet spot for the ideal email length is between 50-125 words which yields response rates above 50%.

Another reason why you might want to keep you emails short is the due to the size constraints on mobile. An iPhone will show about 120 words at a time—even with breaks between paragraphs. If you need to write more consider keeping the most important information of your message within the first 120 words and use hyperlinks effectively to direct candidates to landing pages(career, company, culture pages) where you can share more information.

Shape content by candidate sentiment

The following pie chart shows the distribution of today’s workforce across different generations. Also study shows that ~56% of companies say they’ve recently updated policies to appeal to a multigenerational workforce.

The following represents the percentage of people who selected the following as a top factor
when considering a new job. Inspirational colleagues and culture looks like the top priority across all generations. However there is a subtle difference in Gen-Z and boomers. Gen Z wants training,
Boomers crave purpose!

Flexible is the new normal

More employees want flexibility. Employees expect to reclaim their work-life balance through flexibility: the freedom to work where and when they want. There is 78% increase in job posts on LinkedIn that mention work flexibility since 2016. The below chart represents the percentage of LinkedIn members who say flexible work arrangements are very important when considering a job.

Use deep personalization for initial outreach

Moderately personalized messages see almost the same response rates as impersonal messages. There are entire websites and twitter feeds dedicated to SPAM messages that recruiters have sent to candidates. Emails with badly automated personalization, ones that are badly targeted and generic templated emails comes across as SPAM. Your brand’s reputation will be instantly left in tatters!

There is little to no chance candidates will reply and probably just be ranting and raving your message on social media. When you have only once chance to connect and establish a meaningful relationship with candidates, do you really want to frittered the opportunity away so easily with general messages?

To stand out from the barrage of job offers that top talent is receiving you’ll need to take a deep personalization approach. Study shows that majority of the candidates want to hear why you’re reaching out to them in the initial outreach.

Do your research and understand their skill sets and interests, the projects and initiatives your potential hire has been involved in at their current company. Then message your initial outreach by emphasizing on what they could bring to the role and offer your job opportunity.

Personalization need not be time consuming

But personalization can really time consuming. Well, not exactly! Even simple personal references can make a huge difference. The bar is so low with cold recruitment emails, that a three minute profile search and research is more than enough to stand out. Here’s an example showing how just 3 minutes of googling can completely transform the quality of your email.

The idea here is to search the candidate on google, find their social profiles and extract some unique information. In this case, spending some time on Jane’s social profiles reveals that she is really into snowboarding, and has even won an award last week. Voila! Your outreach message just became highly personalized and you’ve drastically increased the chance of getting a reply from Jane.

Leverage video to source candidates

Emails with videos see a 5x higher open rates and 8x higher open-to-reply rates. There is a huge potential for recruiters to leverage videos to engage candidates and increase response rates. When reaching out to passive talent it’s essential to draft a compelling pitch to capture their attention and educate them on why they should consider your job offer. This is where video can help!

Study shows that 96% of consumers find videos helpful when making purchases online. Candidates are researching companies in the same way as they do any other major purchasing decision. Recruiters can leverage videos to effectively introduce and market their company to new candidates. Especially if you’re sourcing millennials, video could be even more effective in sourcing. Research shows that younger people identify with video content: 40% of 18-24 year olds watch videos on their smartphone more than 10 times a week. If you are using a video consider including the word “video” in your subject line and add a video thumbnail to your email text(increases the click through rate).

Make the next steps clear

Every email you send needs to have a clear next action. Candidates are more responsive when they are given clear directions. Being ambiguous doesn’t help. The way you sign off each message is crucial.

Possible next steps could be: a simple ‘reply’ with availability for a call, availability for a meeting, formal interview etc. Make sure that you minimize the friction and effort it takes for the candidate to express interest. The less metal energy they have to expend, the better.

We recommend using call to actions that aim to get prospective candidates on the phone so you can have the real conversation there. This is termed as soft-selling. A sales approach that creates a more low-pressure sales experience for prospects. With soft-selling you focus more on subtle persuasion and casual, friendly language. Here’s some actual data(based on an analysis of 304,174 emails) from sales emails that proves this point.

  • Specific CTA: Asks for a meeting using a specific day and time. Example: Are you available to meet on Tuesday at 4 PM?
  • Open-ended CTA: Asks for a meeting, but it’s open-ended. Example: Do you have time next week to meet?
  • Interest CTA: Asks for interest, not a meeting. Example: Are you interested in learning more about X?

Use Interest CTA for cold emails

The Interest CTA is the highest performing call to action for cold emails. Once you get the nod that they’re interested, then move towards setting a meeting.

Use Specific CTA for deals

But the moment prospect enters the sales cycle switch to using the Specific CTA. This tactic more than doubles meetings booked.

Reason: Removing friction helps your buyer make decisions faster.

Invite candidates for a conversation about what they’d want in their next opportunity rather than selling them a job opportunity. Ask them if they are open to hearing more about the role and tell them that you to find out if their aspirations are truly aligned with your position. Example:



Amidst today’s noisy digital world, brands find it challenging to create meaningful connections with their customer base and target audience. Getting the target consumer’s attention and persuading them to buy from you gets even trickier. Hence, content marketing has become more crucial than ever for brands to attract, educate, and retain customers.

Content creation is a top priority for 80% of marketers, and there is no reason it shouldn’t be. Consistent, high-quality, and engaging content impacts your audience’s decisions through education and persuasion.

Depending on your business goals and requirements, the role of Content Marketers you hire will vary. The primary responsibilities revolve around forming consistent brand messaging and deciding upon a unique and identifiable voice, style, and pitch across various distribution channels.

From raising brand awareness to attracting a relevant audience to your website, boosting social media presence and engagement, generating leads, and building brand loyalty – content marketing drives all the growth efforts for your brand. When done effectively, it can help you:

  • Build positive brand awareness
  • Make your audience stick around for longer
  • Get better traction on social media
  • Gain more trust of your audience than ever
  • Generate qualified leads
  • Improve conversion rates
  • Boost business visibility with SEO
  • Position your brand as an authority
  • Cultivate loyal brand fans

While content marketing is a broad role with numerous areas of expertise involved, it’s vital to thoroughly understand your company’s current marketing goals and the related requirements. In this blog, we will dive deep into the step-by-step approach to hiring a Content Marketer.

What is The Role of a Content Marketer?

A Content Marketer must be deeply passionate about telling your brand’s story to the world. The objective is to educate and nurture the target audience to establish brand authority using thought-leadership and drive more people to buy from you.

As a candidate is expected to be a mediator between the brand and the target audience, they are primarily responsible for planning, creating, and sharing valuable content to grow their company’s awareness and engagement to bring more business.

To be more specific, the role of a Content Marketer requires a perfect blend of creativity and attention to detail in an individual. It’s a balancing role, as they need to ensure creating content that resonates and strengthens business relationships, using strategies that position your business as authentic and problem-solving.

Take a look at the core responsibilities of a Content Marketer that most businesses expect them to take over:

  • Research and Competitor Analysis: The first and foremost step to creating a content marketing strategy is effective initial research. It not only helps a Content Marketer understand the nuances of the industry through competitor analysis but also study and understand the target audience thoroughly.
  • Building Content Marketing Plans: Once the competitor research and target audience analysis is done, a Content Marketer needs to work on the different plans for all the business objectives, targeted channels, segments of the audience, and the bigger marketing strategy. A content marketing plan typically consists of:
  • Specific goals along with a pre-decided timeline
  • Various channels to be targeted for content distribution
  • Types of content to be created
  • Budget for the entire staff, outsourced services, and paid promotion (Collabs and Ads)
  • Creating Editorial Calendar: Creating, managing, and maintaining a content calendar is one of the most crucial responsibilities of a Content Marketer. It is a centralized visual document that enables effective collaboration among the marketing team and helps Content Marketers ensure on-time production and delivery.
  • Content Creation: Once the strategy and calendar have been approved by relevant stakeholders, Content Marketers need to do the on-ground work. This task usually depends on the scale of your company and content marketing strategy. Suppose an organization already has a set of writers, then the Content Marketer doesn’t need to create content by themselves.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Producing quality content that educates your target audience and resonates with them, isn’t enough. You need to optimize your content creation to make it search engine-friendly. While most companies need a dedicated SEO specialist for keyword research and planning, Content Marketers need to closely collaborate with them and should be well-versed in the basics of SEO.

While the practices discussed above are primary responsibilities of a Content Marketer, they also need to be proactive with

  • Content editing and ensuring adherence to a certain style guide    
  • Continous publishing and distributing content
  • Measuring and analyzing performance

How to Hire a Content Marketer: Step-By-Step?

Content marketing has become the key to driving growth for businesses. Unlike a few years ago, it’s not possible now to get away with a one-person team for content marketing. You need deeply trained individuals for specialist roles.

Let’s now dive into the step-by-step approach of hiring a Content Marketer. But before you even source your first candidate, you should have a clear expectation of the skillset and experience to look out for top content marketing candidates.

Top Must-Have Skills in a Content Marketer

Apart from having relevant industry experience, a good Content Marketer must possess the following skills.

  1. Excellent Writing Skills

A Content Marketer’s prior skillset should be writing excellent attention-grabbing content. From long-form blog posts to website copy, ad copies, social media content, video scripts, emails, newsletters, e-books, whitepapers, and more – a Content Marketer should be able to adapt to the business’s specific requirements and create quality content.

  1. Audience Research

Identifying user behavior is vital for framing the story in the right direction. So a Content Marketer must know how to identify and analyze the needs and pain points to develop a buyer persona. User research can be performed through social listening, relevant communities, in-person calls with customers, analyzing sales call recordings, and more.

  1. Keyword Research

Creating valuable thought-leadership content isn’t enough. Researching the right set of keywords is an essential skill to further educate your target audience on the Whys, Hows and Whats of your business, and have your website rank on Google.

  1. Data-oriented Content

Content that’s not backed by relevant data points does not build enough trust. Experienced content marketing professionals would always prefer data over hollow claims. No doubt that only data doesn’t help a content piece succeed, but it’s essential..

  1. Project Management, Planning, and Publishing –

A Content Marketer is also expected to break down and analyze the pain points to turn keyword research into content ideas. So a professional must be able to identify and solve content gaps.

Further, they must know how to create a content calendar, decide the different types of content, and choose relevant platforms to publish and schedule marketing campaigns.

  1. Content Promotion

Creating a valuable content piece, for example - an ebook, isn’t enough. Your content marketing team needs to promote it proactively for bringing enough attention and engagement.

  1. Performance Analysis

Setting up goals and plans is one thing, but continuously executing, measuring, and analyzing content performance is another. A Content Marketer should always be monitoring key performance parameters to figure out the upcoming plans with the necessary updates required.

Not to forget - stakeholders and marketing heads need the performance reports regularly. So Content Marketers must be able to collect and comprehend all the data to make it worth presenting.

Step 1: Create a Candidate Persona

Let’s sort out the priorities first, and decide the type of content marketing candidates you want to recruit. From exceptional research skills to storytelling, communication skills, relationship building, audience engagement, and more capabilities must be comprehensively considered. Identify and break down the skill requirements for Content Marketers:

  • What are the educational qualification criteria for the role?
  • How many years and what type of work experience do you want in candidates?
  • What are the specific skill sets you’re looking for?
  • Which industry experience would you primarily prefer?
  • Are there any tools your candidates should be hands-on with?
  • What are some personality traits that will fit your company?
  • Where do they look for a new job?
  • What are their career and life goals?

Forming a candidate persona by answering all these questions would ensure you are not shooting in the dark while sourcing candidates. Further, it helps you determine the traits of the ideal candidate, and plan your sourcing and recruitment strategy further.

Step 2: Document the Role Requirements and Decide on Your Recruiting Process

Next step is determining your role requirements suiting primarily to organizational needs and business goals. A content marketing professional is expected to own the entire content strategy, creation, and distribution. But what about your business’s unique requirements?

You might need someone comfortable with frequently creating long-form content pieces like blogs, ebooks, or whitepapers, or creating engaging video content based on your industry trends.

Talk to various relevant stakeholders for seeking the complete detailed company requirements for the role.

Before you enter the recruitment funnel, outline your talent acquisition process. Identify various strategies, channels, and other informational insights you would need – and maintain a collaborative document.

As you update the tactics and tweak your recruitment process for meeting hiring requirements optimally – keep your document up to date.

Step 3: Prepare a Content Marketing Job Description

Once you have finalized the role requirements with respect to your current content marketing goals and team, you can start sourcing candidates. Preparing the job description is the first task you’ll need to do.

Here are the necessary components you must have in your job description:

  • Job Title: The position you’re looking to fill. For example - Content Marketing Specialist or Content Marketing Manager.
  • Roles & Responsibilities: An outline of the candidate’s day-to-day activities. From ideation to implementation and the impact on the organization, everything should be covered.  
  • Skill Requirements: Skills and abilities a candidate must have to perform the job successfully.
  • Perks and Benefits: The compensation details, perks of the job, and any other benefits.
  • About the Company: Why should a candidate consider working with your company?

Content Marketer Job Description Template


The job of a Content Marketer is to perform competitor research, create user persona, and write plagiarism-free content for blog articles, social media, and the company website. They need to stay updated on the latest SEO techniques.


  • Develop, write and deliver persuasive copy for the website, email marketing campaigns, sales collateral, videos, and blogs
  • Build and manage an editorial calendar; coordinate with other content crafters to ensure standards
  • Measure impact and perform analysis to improve KPIs
  • Include and optimize all content for SEO
  • Contribute to the localization of processes and content to ensure consistency across regions
  • Review and implement process changes to drive operational excellence


  • Proven content marketing, copywriting, or SEO experience
  • Working knowledge of content management systems like WordPress
  • A well-maintained portfolio of published articles, blogs, copy, etc
  • Proven experience of working under pressure to deliver high quality output in a short span of time
  • Proficiency in all Microsoft Office applications, Google Suite
  • Fluency in English or any other required language

Soft Skills

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  • The ability to work in a fast-paced environment
  • The ability to handle multiple projects concurrently
  • Strong attention to detail and the ability to multi-task projects and deliverables

Step 4: Source Candidates

Once you have the tailored job description in hand, it’s now time to do the groundwork and source candidates. Create an attractive job post to promote your job across job boards and social channels.

  • Begin with what to expect from the role at your company?
  • Why should candidates apply for the position?
  • Highlight the growth opportunities
  • State the company vision and mission
  • Briefly describe the recruitment process

Prepare an impactful job post and also execute paid job ad campaigns if required. The next step would be promoting your jobs on various job boards and hiring platforms. You can leverage the following platforms for hiring Content Marketers:

  • LinkedIn
  • Indeed
  • Instahyre
  • ZipRecruiter
  • Monster
  • GlassDoor
  • CareerBuilder

Not to forget - almost 3/4th of the workforce includes passive candidates, so you cannot miss out on passive talent sourcing as well. Reach out to qualified candidates on communities, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Facebook to offer them suitable opportunities.

Step 5: Evaluate Candidates and Interview Shortlisted Ones

Once you have filtered candidates based on their experience and skills listed on their profile, it’s time to evaluate them deeply. Ask them to create a content strategy for your website, along with a value-adding content piece like a small blog. The topic of the article must fall within the scope of the strategy.

Interview the candidates whose profiles got shortlisted. Keep in mind the parameters covering skills, relevant experience, and personality traits of candidates.

Step 5: Make the Hire

Reach out to selected Content Marketers and communicate about the compensation.

Further, extend your offer letter to all the candidates who have been selected. In the case of passive sourcing, extend to only those who were aligned with you on the compensation and are willing to move forward.

Ensure having a deadline for the joining date and mention the necessary documents required by your recruiting team.

  • Get the required documents and set up the offer agreements with candidates
  • Organize an orientation session for the onboarded candidates
  • Introduce them to the entire team and the marketing teams they will be working with
  • Guide the new candidates about your company management tools and communication channels
  • Provide candidates with forms for benefits and perks like Health Insurance.

Supercharge Your Hiring for Content Marketer with Nurturebox

Inbound candidate sourcing doesn’t work effectively anymore. Do you also find challenges in closing quality candidates through job posts even after spending on ads?

Don’t worry, passive candidate sourcing can be an optimal solution for hiring top content marketing candidates.

Nurturebox is a one-stop talent sourcing and engagement platform which is powered by automation. Here’s how you can source product managers from LinkedIn using Nurturebox:

  • Install the Nurturebox Chrome plugin and sign up.
  • On your LinkedIn profile, start sourcing Content Marketers with boolean searches stating the required experience from targeted locations and including other criteria
  • Add the qualified candidates to your sourcing campaign pipeline with just a click
  • Automate the candidate engagement through email, Whatsapp and LinkedIn direct messages for reaching out and nurturing candidates at scale.

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