Content Marketing Spotlight: Kelly Services

4 minute read

Upland Admin

With 15 years experience in the human resources and workforce consulting space, Todd Wheatland has overall responsibility for thought leadership and global marketing initiatives at Kelly Services. Kelly provides staffing, outsourcing and consulting services, generating $5 billion in revenue annually.

Below Todd shares how he and Kelly use personas & buying stages to create their content marketing grid.

In an organization the scale and complexity of Kelly, we have a wide range of products and services targeting very different audiences. For some idea of ho broad this range is, think of a graduate scientist looking for work. Now think of a pharmaceutical company CEO looking to gain greater agility through a global talent supply chain of 100,000+ people. Both are key audiences for us, but with very different profiles, objectives, pain points and content consumption habits.

To understand how we use personas and buying-stages to frame our content, let’s focus on a specific offering –in this case addressing a B2B audience looking for staffing solutions in the call center industry.

As a starting point, we might develop say four core buyer personas for such an offering. This would likely include HR, Contact Center Operations, Technology and C-suite. Each of these core personas could be broken down based on role seniority (entry-level through to VP) or a more specific area of focus (ie within the C-suite, differentiate between CEO, CFO, COO, etc).

So – depending on the program objectives, budget and resources, a core group of four personas may in fact represent say 12 more nuanced role-based personas. A simple rule of thumb for determining if it’s worth developing content for a more-targeted niche is whether or not you can identify differences between the pain points, knowledge needs and buying behavior of each role type. If you can’t, then your content isn’t going to be unique enough to justify creating a different stream.

For simplicity’s sake with this example let’s stick to the four core personas. Keeping it straightforward with three buying stages, a basic content matrix for a pre-purchase audience may start to look like this:

In each box, the specific Pain Points, Topics, Messages and Content Pieces are identified to ensure a targeted approach is appropriately addressing each audience. For example, HR and Contact Center Ops contacts may have a common problem of sourcing employees for a hard-to-commute-to location; the C-Suite may have a problem with expiring tax credits on overseas operations. An IT manager may be attracted by content discussing smooth integration of new systems; a CFO by reduced cost, risk and increased agility and transparency; an HR manager by the promise of better sourcing, training and retention of employees.

The content matrix is a very simple but effective way of mapping the process.
By successfully identifying a range of unique – and common – issues such as these, content can be developed to speak directly to a market need.

Sample Grid Cell:

Persona: Contact Center Ops VP
Buying Stage: Consideration

Pain Points:

  • Difficulty in Sourcing Quality Staff
  • High Turnover of Existing Employees
  • Constant Pressure to Improve Call Quality & Productivity


  • Alternate Staffing Models
  • Developing Agent Productivity
  • Improving Workplace Flexibility

Topics / Content Pieces:

  • Case Studies – Virtual Workforces
  • Case Studies – Outsourcing / Partial Outsourcing
  • Video Series – Alternate Staffing Models, Features & Benefits
  • Whitepaper – Using an At-Home Workforce as a Virtual Swat-Team
  • Article Series – Making the Call: Improving Productivity & Customer Satisfaction Through Workforce Strategies
  • Ebook – The Staff Retention Habits of Great Call Centers

To learn more about how Todd and other marketers integrate content marketing into their overall marketing strategy, download How To Build And Operate A Content Marketing Machine eBook, co-published with Marketo.

Reliable products. Real results.

Every day, thousands of companies rely on Upland to get their jobs done simply and effectively. See how brands are putting Upland to work.

View Success Stories