Sourcing with P.O.S.T. Planning

The book Groundswell by Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li was written in 2008 for the purpose of unpacking business relevance and use of social media in modern times. There is a concept outlined in the book that is designed to assist in developing a marketing plan for businesses. This concept, called the P.O.S.T. method, can be translated quite easily into a sourcing activity planning tool for you.

P.O.S.T. was designed for traditional and digital marketers to help them create a roadmap for relevant communication with their target audience using social media tools. While the original intent of this marketing planning tool may not sound like something that would be relevant to you, it can really help you, as sourcing professionals, put some thought into your personal work plan and your company’s sourcing, marketing, and outreach goals. 

The P.O.S.T. method consists of four progressive steps that can be formed into questions to ask yourself as you move forward:

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  1. People. Who is your target audience? What group(s) of people are you trying to reach? If you do not know whom you are trying to communicate with, then nothing else really matters.
  2. Objectives. These are your goals. Why are you trying to reach your target audience? Are you pipelining, or do you have specific reqs for which you are sourcing? How you answer this may affect whom you desire to connect with in the first place. Do you have specific things in mind when thinking about the objectives you are looking to achieve? Being specific in this part of P.O.S.T. is important, because it will help you define the components of the next step, which is…
  3. Strategy. These are the steps you will take to reach your objectives, which will put you in touch with your target audience. These too need to be specific progressive items that will help lead to the achievement of your goals, which will ultimately get you connected with your audience. Simply putting “Search the web for resumes” or “Set up a corporate Twitter account” won’t do. Will you use search agents? What about your ATS or your CRM? Will you need to dig deep to find phone and email contact information? Will Twitter be managed by just you, or a team of people? Do you want to automate any of the process? Think about specific points that are quantifiable – this will help keep you on track to achieve your goals.
  4. Technology (or Tools). What resources will you need to use or invest in to work your strategy in order to achieve your objectives? Often, this is the first stop for people when planning – but it should be the last! Think of it this way – no matter how much you try, you cannot open a can of tuna with a spoon. Even if that spoon is your favorite utensil in the kitchen, it is an inefficient way to open a can. You instead need a can opener. Tools – including computers, telephones, paper directories, online resources, etc. – should be the last component in your P.O.S.T. planning because by their very definition, they are devices used to assist in carrying out a specific function. In this case, your strategies. Choose tools because they are the most efficient ones for the task, not just because they’re your personal favorites.

What I’ve found works best for me is to take a plain piece of paper, divide it into four squares, and label clock-wise, starting from the top left, with the letters P, O, S, and T. In each box, I add details outlining the plan for the corresponding letter. This will eventually provide me with a quick reference visual aid to keep my plan at the forefront of my thoughts as I move through my daily routine. And as a list-maker, it gives me the opportunity to cross things off of my P.O.S.T. plan as I achieve them!

By following these simple steps, you should be well on your way to developing a working plan for effectively tackling your sourcing activities.

Amybeth Quinn began her career in sourcing working within the agency world as an Internet Researcher. Since 2002, she has worked in both agency and corporate sourcing and recruiting roles as both individual contributor and manager, and also served previously as the editor of The Fordyce Letter, FordyceLetter.com and SourceCon.com, with ERE Media. These days she's working on some super cool market intelligence and data analytics projects. You can connect with her on Twitter at @researchgoddess.

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