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Virtual or IRL? Recruitment marketing content planning in 2021

Reading Time: 7 minutes

You CAN deliver fantastic recruitment marketing in 2021. Blend virtual and in-person storytelling best practices in the year ahead.

With coronavirus vaccines rolling out around the world, it feels like there’s a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. However, despite the hope that comes with the vaccines, there’s still a lot of uncertainty around what our workplaces will look like and when we’ll return to them (if at all). 

Therefore, this uncertainty means your audience—candidates, employees, or customers—needs to hear from you more. They know your culture has changed and they want to know how. And, they want to know how your important people decisions have impacted employees.

But, we know uncertainty can make culture content planning seem difficult. Are we a few months away from being able to film in our full and buzzing office space, or are we a few quarters away? Is our office space ever going to be “full and buzzing,” or will the new normal involve much more remote work? 

In the past, you might have needed firm answers to those questions before committing to a culture content plan. And, a lot of our clients wonder whether to film in-person or virtually this year. Luckily, you don’t need to have all the answers right now to create a good plan. 

With the built-in flexibility of Stories Inc. best practices, you can execute on a robust recruitment marketing plan in 2021. Here are our tips.

1. Commit to getting *great* stories

Your employees have a lot to say right now. Their stories give insight into culture right now because their experiences make things real for your audiences.

But, how do you know you have a great story, that will engage and attract candidates? Here’s a checklist from us.

Employee testimonials are fine, but they are not stories and don’t give the insight your audiences are searching for. Don’t settle for less than insightful, compelling stories for your audiences.

2. Commit to a great storyteller experience

How you uncover and record employee stories is important. Again and again, we see the best stories emerge when employees are comfortable sharing their real experiences. Therefore, you must create an interview experience rooted in psychological safety for your storyteller. Nothing should stand in the way of your employee storyteller being their true selves.

Facilitated interviews are important for a number of reasons, but mostly so your storytellers are guided to share important experiences in a conversational way. And, when you as story director can focus on high quality audio and visuals, storytellers don’t need to worry about how they look and sound (yes, you can do this well virtually). Instead, they can focus on what’s most important: how working at your company has impacted their lives personally and professionally.

3. Get creative on how those stories are told visually

Now you have great stories, compelling visuals and good quality sound. You have everything you need to create compelling content. Now, it’s time to think through the best ways to bring the stories to life. Here are a few creative examples:

Many ways to create for your content calendar

At Stories Inc., we provide a mix of in-person and virtual interviews across the year, and we can adjust that combination as times change. For example, if your company expects team members to be back in the office in three-to-five months, you can start with virtual interviews. Later, when the time is right, we can shift to in-person and on-site storytelling. Because the virtual content is high quality, like in-person stories, we can easily mix stories to create compelling compilation content.

Additionally, our flexibility extends to deliverables. Say, for example, you start with a goal of releasing two videos per month. Depending on how the year evolves, a combination of a compilation video + standalone story might make sense for one month, while an ad + theme video combination might make sense for another month. All of this depends upon the channels you want to build out, holidays you want content for…and we are here as those needs shift!

Your dedicated Stories team will have a great grasp of your story inventory and we will help you navigate any uncertainty that the year brings.

Content plans that flex

Most importantly: You can still execute on a plan that’s flexible by necessity. There are three ways clients partner with us: Project-based, Retainer, and Ongoing Content Support. Our Yearly Content Flex Plans are loosely built upon basic content needs at the outset, but designed to be flexible as things change. 

In that sense, Yearly Content Flex Plans have the intentionality that commonly inspires project-based work, but with the flexibility you get from our retainer. Plus, Stories Inc.’s ongoing content support models around how the work gets done, as well as which specific deliverables come out of it.


While still focusing on the basics of great visual storytelling, our approach to content planning in 2021 combines three of the main reasons why clients love working with us. We leverage the different ways to partner with us, our ability to film both in-person and virtually, and the ease of working with us.

The uncertainty that still remains ahead should not stop you from sharing content. In fact, the uncertainty means your audiences need to hear more from you. And, your employees have a lot to say right now. Fortunately, you don’t need a crystal ball in order to commit to a culture content plan that will engage and grow your candidate audiences.

Ready to get started? Learn why leading employer brands trust Stories Inc. to tell their story.

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