Building a thought leader We’ve blogged before on the value of positioning your spokespeople as thought leaders when it comes to profile building, and how publicly sharing insight can be a fast-track to elevating your personal brand and, by association, your company’s corporate identity.
Whether you’re crafting blog posts, white papers, articles or press releases, including insight from third parties can boost the authority and reach of your communications. I’ve previously written on how statistics or quotes pulled from public domain can elevate your thought leadership offerings from a rambling rant, to objective and measured insight, in the eyes of your readers. However, it is crucial that you always check your sources.
I’ve previously written on why public relations is an art, rather than a science. However, that doesn’t mean that PR skills training isn’t vital to the professional success of individual practitioners – and the media campaigns they develop and execute. The benefits of professional development As a consultancy which specialises in the recruitment and talent management sectors, we often work with our clients to share stories around the benefits of professional development. Research from Guidant Group, for example, recently found that almost half of businesses (47%) believe that developing staff internally will be their greatest opportunity over the next three years. The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), meanwhile, often shares insight into the impact that CPD has on boosting staff engagement, motivation and productivity.
The disparity between what a business thinks is an interesting PR story, and the information that actually grabs the attention of target publications, is often vast. However, by viewing potential press angles through the eyes of the audience, brands can uncover stories which won’t fail to make headlines. In reality, even the most niche publications are unlikely to have much interest in the fact that you have had an office refurbishment, refreshed your website or invested in a new coffee machine. That is, of course, unless you have a solid angle as to ‘why’ you have made those changes which you can lead on: for example, you have updated your jobs pages to be accessible to disabled candidates to increase applications from this underrepresented group. Otherwise, save those nuggets for building your employer brand though social media. Sitting on a wealth of information
While expertly executed PR programmes, based on carefully constructed plans, are the bedrock of any successful PR campaign, reactive PR and marketing activity can offer brands a fast-track route to getting their voices heard. And this technique was something that Counter Terrorism Policing UK demonstrated perfectly, when it capitalised on the popularity of BBC’s The Bodyguard: the most watched new British drama in more than a decade, with more than 10 million viewers tuning in to the first episode. Demonstrable ROI By creating a social campaign tagged to the hit show - which offered behind the scenes insight and directed viewers to learn more about working in the sector - the comms team successfully tapped into a ready-made audience to gain demonstrable ROI.
Positioning your brand as a thought leader in its field through PR takes not only a superior understanding of the market, but also time and dedication. However, while there is no shortcut to building a solid media profile, generating data through surveying your networks can supercharge a press release by boosting both newsworthiness and the potential to repurpose. Flick through any national newspaper, or scroll through any major newsfeed, and you’ll find that a significant number use statistics as a hook. Thanks to the power of polls, we know that Magnums are the UK’s favourite ice cream, England’s progress in the World Cup increased national pride and two thirds of voters are baffled by Theresa May’s Brexit policy. None of these stories are particularly surprising – but you can guarantee they wouldn’t have made headlines without the figures to back them up.
Entering corporate awards can be a great way to gain exposure, enhance brand perception and validate your market position. However, for each category, there can be only one winner – here’s how you can stand out from the crowd and earn your status as an ‘award winning’ organisation. Choose wisely To be in with a chance of taking home a trophy, you’ll have to invest a hefty chunk of time and resources into collating the information needed. For this reason, taking the decision to enter awards shouldn’t be taken lightly – it has to be worth the effort. Do some research to determine which awards have kudos in your industry and are recognised by your customers – whether that be The Sunday Times’ ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ or the Concrete Society's Awards for Excellence. For example, we’ve recently been shortlisted for the Recruitment International Supplier Awards in the category of Best Marketing & PR – a hyper-niche category from a brand that our clients are familiar with and trust.
As far as PR challenges go, a chicken shop running out of chicken is a pretty major deal. Which perhaps explains the furore which ensued when KFC was forced to close the majority of its 900 restaurants after bringing a new delivery partner on board. The fiasco was covered extensively across the UK mainstream media, with the most influential outlets from the Sun to the Financial Times offering real-time updates on the situation. Social media, meanwhile, went into overdrive, with fans of the chain demanding, among other things, that the government calls an emergency Cobra meeting over the shortage. Unsurprisingly, rival brands were only too quick to ride the wave of publicity. Burger King offered free food for a year to a customer who told ITV News she was forced to visit the burger joint after finding her favourite chicken shop closed, while Iceland took to giving away frozen chicken strips.
Make no mistake, getting any fledgling business off the ground is tough, regardless of the founder’s skills, experience and level of dedication. And despite the huge potential rewards associated with setting up your own company, it’s a sad fact that around half of new start-ups fail in the first five years. The recruitment sector is particularly competitive. According to Companies House data, over 9,000 recruitment consultancies set up shop in the UK during 2017. That’s an average of 818 new agencies being registered every single month. Each of these businesses will need to make important decisions around premises, the software and systems they invest in and the service providers they choose, while ensuring they’re compliant and ready and able to trade as quickly as possible. So it’s unsurprising that marketing and PR often drops off the end of the ‘to do’ list.
In a world where the lines between advertising, marketing and PR are becoming increasingly blurred, it’s little wonder that some business leaders struggle to see where one function ends and another begins. Add in the role played by social media and it’s easy to see why there’s so much confusion.
You’ve identified the ingredients for a perfect story, fired off a killer email pitch or picked up the phone and articulated your client’s experience, expertise and angle. The editor or journalist wants to cover the story Result! But where do you go from here? What are the essential steps when a reporter says 'yes'? Be clear on what the publication needs from you It may sound obvious, but be sure that your expectations are aligned. You may have thought that you were setting up an interview, while the commissioning editor had a 1,500 word, Harvard referenced, by-lined article in mind. Make sure you’re both on the same page.
We’ve all been there. You turn on the TV or open the morning paper only to see a story which is centred around your business sector splashed everywhere. You knew this story was going to hit the headlines months ago – why aren’t you being interviewed along with the other experts? Here are our top tips for becoming an effective media spokesperson: Be visible Becoming a thought leader takes commitment. If a reporter or researcher is looking for insight on GP shortages in rural Essex, for example, the obvious place to begin their search is online. Make a habit of sharing snippets of your expertise and opinions on the news across social media, your own blog and third-party platforms to increase your visibility. We’ve had clients appear on Sky News after TV researchers stumbled across opinionated blog posts. Lay the foundations and the opportunities may just come to you. Be a specialist
On average, employees have 10 times more followers than their company's social media accounts. We recently shared our 10 top tips for social media success. In the post we stressed that encouraging employees to post and share content about your organisation will increase your reach beyond your own channels, while simultaneously building potential leads and brand perception.
Building a brand takes dedication. As well as a great product or service, you need to invest time and resources into spreading your message. There is no quick fix - success relies on a sustained approach. Short-term marketing initiatives are quite frankly, pointless. Of course, there is a place for dedicated campaigns to promote a time sensitive event or initiative, but this should be contextualised within a programme of ongoing communications. You wouldn’t expect to get fit by visiting the gym once – however hard you pushed yourself during your single visit – so why should the results of PR and communications be any different?
I recently blogged on why PR professionals are unlikely to be replaced by robots in the near future. One of the reasons why is the human ability to craft copy to create impact at a time when content can no longer demand attention. Here are my seven top tips to sharpen your PR writing: Get to the point quickly Whether you’re drafting a pitch, press release or article, ensure that your intended message is clear from the outset, or you’ll swiftly lose your audience. Cover all bases PR professionals should always attempt to answer the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘why’ in the first sentence or paragraph of every piece they draft in the interest of brevity.
Few people hold back from airing their opinions on current affairs in person. And let’s face it, 2016 and 2017 have been particularly easy years for making small talk. However, while I’m sure you will have shared your firm thoughts on Brexit, Trump or The Great British Bake Off to anyone within earshot, for the majority, this insight will never be broadcast more widely. However, publicly sharing your viewpoints on relevant news stories online can be a fast-track to building your personal brand and, by association, your company’s corporate identity. You can’t become a thought leader without saying what you think While the majority of business leaders now realise the value of social engagement, the content that many organisations produce is formulaic, dry and uninspiring. Perhaps they are just playing it safe, or lack the confidence to open up about their thoughts and feelings, but while liking and sharing the posts of others is a step in the right direction, there really is no substitute for real thought leadership. Don’t just share a story that is of interest to your networks – if it’s really relevant, the chances are they will already have consumed it from the source. Instead, use your own blog, or a third-party platform, to put some meat on the bones. Speak directly to your audience and use your expertise to outline what it means for them specifically. What if my opinion is controversial?
In April we offered tips on writing a press release and, this time, we’re going to look at how Pinterest can add value to your company. Pinterest, which launched in 2012, is now the third most popular social network after Facebook and Twitter, so it’s perhaps not something you should ignore. It doesn’t work in the same way as most other networking platforms as there is no direct communication. However, it is becoming increasingly popular with businesses as a new platform for engagement. So how does it work? Pinterest is an online pinboard where you can ‘pin’ (post) images and videos. These can be uploaded from your computer, you can find them online, or you can re-pin images from other pinboards. When you pin from a website, Pinterest automatically credits the original creator by grabbing the source link, so you don’t need to worry about copyright issues. As well as having an image or video, you can give a description of the pin using up to 500 characters. You can also add a ‘Pin It’ button to your website so that users can take images and put them into Pinterest. When you’re confident with using the platform, you can find out your Pinterest influence to see how many followers you’ve got, how many people have ‘Liked’ your page, and how many repins there have been. You can do this by using apps such as Pinpuff or Pinerly, and it’s a useful tool for measuring ROI. So how could you use it for recruitment?
Why do you use PR? At a&dc we are seen as leaders in the field of behavioural assessment and development, and our clients look to us for the latest thinking and research. In order to really portray ourselves as thought leaders, we feel that PR is absolutely critical. We have been working with BlueSky since September last year, and have come to rely on PR. We are now able to seek out opportunities within industry and national press, both in digital and in print, reaching a much wider audience. Social media is also important for us, and we now have a twitter following of over 500. BlueSky manages our twitter account for us, and it’s a great way of letting people know of any events we have coming up or blogs we’ve written. How do you measure ROI? We measure ROI in different ways. For example, by looking at inbound leads brought in through social media channels and articles, the number of social media followers we have and their interactions, and how many new article opportunities we have each month. Also, we look at SEO reporting on our brand terms because we recognise that digital PR has an impact in this area too.