Here’s How Stripe is Quietly Using Content Marketing to Engage and Recruit IT Talent

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Apr 19, 2017

Content marketing is all the rage. There are many variations, but blogs, white papers, infographics, and webinars are examples of popular offerings in the employment space. There’s a good chance you’ve submitted your email address in return for accessing survey results or learning the latest Top 5 how-to list.

The reason is that people are tuning out advertising. We’ve become blind to banner ads and bypass commercials when watching television. As a result, giving away something of value in exchange for a little bit of information in return works. It’s a strategy underscored by Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. That is, give, give, give, take.

It’s a tactic popular with businesses looking to sell something, but it’s rarely incorporated to recruit, and when it is, it usually takes the form of a corporate blog or YouTube video. Nothing wrong with that, but the stench of marketing still remains.

Last week, well-known payment solution Stripe launched an online magazine of sorts called Increment. Described by Recode as a New Yorker for geeks,  it’s a “collection of insider tips cultivated from inside Silicon Valley’s largest and most influential companies and entrepreneurs.”

The publication will be published quarterly and is free to access. Readers can submit their email address to receive alerts when new editions are available. No word yet if additional content will be pushed to subscribers.

“As software becomes more important in the world, the practice and art of software engineering becomes more important too,” said Stripe CEO and co-founder Patrick Collison in the Recode article. “Increment aims to illuminate the most sophisticated practices from the best companies in the world. Our hope is that Increment can help surface the institutional wisdom and practices of the most effective software engineering organizations in the world so that the industry as a whole can make faster progress.”

It all has a very Kumbaya feel. Stripe’s branding is very inconspicuous;; the logo is only present in the footer. Very subtle.

But make no mistake: Increment is a content marketing play to get Stripe in front of the world’s best programming talent. Developers will search topics like “Crafting sustainable on-call rotations” on Google, find and read such articles, then, most importantly, engage by submitting their email address to get new content alerts. Or they may follow the publication via social media or read articles via RSS.

Anyone paying attention to Stripe won’t be surprised. It recently bought Indie Hackers, a knowledge-sharing platform for entrepreneurs. It also runs Stripe Atlas Forum, an “invite-only community for founders to swap challenges and solutions.”

Everything works to quietly promote Stripe to the developer community, specifically for job opportunities and recruiting developers to adopt Stripes platform. It’s a win-win. The community gets helpful content and community, and Stripe builds its brand with those it wants to employ.

As the line between marketing and recruiting becomes thinner and thinner, I suspect we’ll see more and more strategies like this one. As 84 Lumber showed during the Super Bowl, if a company can get customers while also recruiting via marketing initiatives typically deployed by the marketing department, why not?

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