2020 has been testing for all of us, however we are starting to see shoots of optimism when it comes to the recruitment sector, which, as we all know, is often viewed as a barometer for the wider economy.
There are numerous viewpoints when it comes to whether to outsource marcomms to a specialist agency or keep it in house. But what about a combination of the two? Increasing numbers of companies are turning to a hybrid model where they keep some of the marcomms mix in house and outsource other areas to a specialist agency. And an effective relationship between the two parties can substantially maximise business results. So what are the top ways you can effectively work with an outsourced provider?
Since being founded in February 2009 as a way for co-founder Jan Koum and his mum to stay in touch with their family back in Ukraine, WhatsApp has become the world’s most popular messaging app with two billion active users worldwide.
I attended the Recruitment Network’s marketing round table last week and a key theme was how to get sales and marketing teams working together. And despite the fact that companies which successfully align sales and marketing not only drive more revenue, but also have better customer satisfaction levels, the subject has always been contentious. There a number of reasons for this – from a perception that marketing doesn’t drive sales through to cultural misalignment inherent within a business.
In the months since our lives were turned upside down due to COVID-19 I have seen several posts on LinkedIn about poor candidate experiences – from the jobseekers applying for roles and hearing nothing – not even an acknowledgement that their application has been received – to those seeking advice and being met with silence. Of course, it’s important to note that there are exceptions to this rule, and some recruiters have ramped up their comms activity to ensure that candidate experience remains on point. In fact, I saw a great post from a recruiter who was on furlough asking her network to get in touch if they have lost their job and need help with CV writing or simply a chat about what their options are.
There’s no denying that COVID-19 has meant that the messages you communicate with candidates has had to change exponentially in a matter of weeks. Many agencies will have spent a lot of time and effort developing a content calendar full of useful tips and resources. However, in the current climate some of these subjects will no longer be appropriate – a series aimed at job opportunities overseas or securing a pay rise, for example. Consequently, firms have had to go back to the drawing board and come up with new resources that address candidates’ pain points in the current climate. So what are the top tips for ensuring your content is appropriate and, crucially, that all candidates are responded to when they engage with your brand?
If you’re anything like the team at BlueSky you’ll be used to attending – and for many organising your own - industry events. At a time when we can’t attend in person, it is perhaps fair to say that many recruitment marketers are removing events from their future plans. But it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, have to be that way – in fact now is a great time to create virtual events for your clients and candidates. So, how can you organise a successful virtual event? And what should they be about?
It might sound a little biased coming from me, but I’m going to explain why hiring a PR agency is worth it.
More than 100 targeted press releases 50 comment opportunities secured in The Times, FT, Telegraph and Forbes 1500 mentions for clients in the recruitment and HR press 7 winning award submissions written for clients Sponsors of The Recruitment Network On The Edge Marketing Conference Recruitment Leaders Connect Social media Generated over 1.02m impressions for our clients Increased client followers by more than 400% 152 client blog posts written One LinkedIn campaign alone delivered leads equivalent to 192 x ROI based on average fees Regular engagement from publications including Accountancy Age, CSO Insights, Compare the Cloud, Financial Director, Marketing Week, Recruitment International and Relocate Global
Is your recruitment firm struggling to get candidates and clients interested in your content? If the answer is ‘yes’ you could be committing one (or more) of the cardinal sins of content production. So what are the top reasons your content isn’t hitting the mark? And, crucially, what can you do to fix it? You’re selling This is a big bug bear of mine, and something that far too many companies do. They use their content – whether that be a blog, newsletter or white paper - to sell their services instead of demonstrating their expertise. Potential candidates and clients want to know that you are experts in your field, an agency that can help with their career or talent attraction strategies. Leave the selling to advertorials or a pitch meeting when you have got your foot in the door! You’re not adding value In the same vein, too much content doesn’t address the pain points of the intended audience. When planning content themes, it’s absolutely vital that they are based on the information your audience seeks. Think about conversations you have had with clients and candidates, what’s keeping them awake at night? What recruitment struggles are they currently facing? What advice can you give a candidate about their job hunt? The list is endless. However, the key is that your content encourages them to read on because it will add value to their current situation.
This year’s Edelman Trust Barometer - which measures trust across a number of institutions, sectors and geographies – reveals that social media companies have lost the trust of the public. In fact only a quarter of the UK population now say that they trust social media as a source of news and information. However there has been a huge increase in trust in traditional media (61%), reaching levels not seen since 2012, as well as a rebound in trust in experts and leaders. So what does this all mean for recruitment marketers? Media coverage matters Well first and foremost, no one is saying that social media isn’t important – it is obviously a fantastic way to broadcast your message – however what is more crucial than ever given Edelman’s research is that the content and messages you are broadcasting have credibility. And how do you get that credibility? One way is through appearing in the press that your target audiences read, trust, and turn to for information. PR is just a cost Despite this, however, many recruitment marketers that are only too eager to get their company featured in the press are prevented from doing so effectively. And it boils down to the same argument we hear time and time again. PR is deemed a cost rather an investment, a vanity project, and something that doesn’t help the business development strategy and deliver leads. The result is that too many agencies shy away from traditional media relations, instead opting for advertorials or nothing at all. So at a time when Edelman’s research clearly demonstrates that media really does matter, how can marketers get press coverage and, crucially, demonstrate its ROI? Getting press coverage…and effectively leveraging it
Last week I hosted a webinar with BlueSky’s resident social media guru, Dan Stobbs, on our top tips on how to use social media for brand building. And at a time when the number of global users now exceeds 3 billion, it’s perhaps more important than ever that agencies are using the correct platforms to engage with their target audiences. So here are our top five tips for how to use social media for brand building:
When many think of PR, they instantly think ‘press release’. Well, yes they certainly do form part of the public relations mix, but there is so much more and companies need to be looking to get much more out of a press release and make the most of their PR activities. Is it newsworthy? First and foremost, if you are going to put the time and energy into writing a press release, it really must have a news angle. You might consider the fact that you have launched a new website or refurbished your office is fantastic news, but believe me journalists won’t! Think about what there is an appetite for and craft a release based on this. Your target audience is seeking advice and information on subjects that will help them in their day to day job. Think about what data you have access to – salary levels, skills in demand, pooling & pipelining and diversity - and use that to form a release about the market you operate in. This will have far more appeal and position you as an expert in your respective field. Once you have a good, crucially, newsworthy press release, here are my top tips on how you can get much more out of a press release:
6 great sources for generating content 1. Your recruitment consultants They talk to candidates and clients on the phone every day. They will certainly have some quirky human-interest stories – they type of thing that they may not even realise is content but actually makes a really interesting story. They are talking to clients about trends in the market; they are talking to candidates about salaries – so use your people. They are also having questions asked of them by clients and candidates, so they know what kind of information is being sought and what there is an appetite for. 2. Databases Your database is full of information in terms of salaries etc. Think about how you can get some good data by segmenting the details you hold about your network of contacts. Journalists love data! You can look at salaries or whether there is a particular regional demand for certain types of jobs / skills. If you work across different regions of the UK – or internationally – you can do regional / country comparisons using your database.
I was kindly asked to take part in UK Recruiter’s latest live webchat on content marketing for recruiters. A few technical blips from my end meant it didn’t really go according to plan – so for those of you who are interested in how to create effective content marketing here are my top tips: Have a strategy It’s essential to determine who you want your content to reach and what the objectives are. Do you want more candidates, clients or even staff for your own business? Do you want to build up talent pools that you can demonstrate your expertise to and tap into for future opportunities? Establishing this will enable you to tailor your content to each specific audience ensuring it is relevant. A strategy will also help dictate what type of content – whether it be blogs, videos, or infographics – are appropriate for each.
Time and time again I hear recruitment marketing professionals tell me that they don’t get buy in from their recruitment consultants and are often perceived as a cost to the business rather than an investment in it. So why should you have to like and share all the content your marketing team produces on LinkedIn? And why do they nag you to write blog posts and get involved with the market updates and client collateral they produce? It’s really quite simple – all these activities will help you make more money.
Earlier today I was sent this fantastic review of a legal firm’s new branding and marketing that is about as off-message as you could possibly get. While you’re perusing photos of hot rod races, yachting and what looks like a man who has been knocked unconscious, remind yourself that this is the website for a legal firm you’re looking at. And that’s not even mentioning the deep philosophising (how does a butterfly feel when it’s in love?) We don’t expect all advertising, marketing and branding to perfectly replicate what a business does, there has to be some creativity after all, but surely there needs to be at least some connection between the two? This got me thinking, what are some other examples of when brands have just got it wrong: Firstly, the perfect example of why footballers should stick to football. As a colleague highlighted, imagine how bad Wayne Rooney’s outtakes must be. Thinking of booking a holiday? Try Thorne Travel, your first point of call for pumping house music, acrobats and a dance troupe. I personally wasn’t aware of this one but the outrage it has caused in the BlueSky office has meant it has to be included. Nationwide employees watching this probably wondered why their days are spent sat in an office and dealing with angry customers rather than the wishy-washy nonsense portrayed here. Or, as Kerry Gill said, “it’s the misuse of confidential company information that makes me angry.” At some level, branding, advertising and marketing needs to be aligned with what the company is actually doing. Promoting such an irrelevant message can potentially have serious consequences that affect the strength of the company brand. Statistics suggest that 7/10 consumers are closing accounts and ‘unfriending’ companies as a result of poorly targeted campaigns and that’s just on social media. Irrelevant messaging can also affect the employer brand. While we’re not expecting Manchester United to struggle to sign and retain players because of a dodgy wine advert, for professional businesses, poorly aligned campaigns can have a severely negative effect and leave staff feeling disenfranchised with their employer if their experiences don’t match the image that’s been promoted to the wider world.
The top five PR and marketing tips your recruitment business shouldn’t ignore Whilst the recession certainly reduced the size of the UK staffing sector, today’s market is crowded and full of agencies vying to compete with and overtake their competition. Despite this, however, too few look at PR and marketing as a tool to not only differentiate themselves from their competitors, but to also position themselves as the ‘go to agency’ for clients seeking staff and for candidates looking for their next role. There is perhaps a tendency to view marketing and PR as a time consuming and often costly exercise they can do without. Wrong. If done effectively, it can help a staffing company reach its objectives and facilitate growth. Here are my top five tips: Create original, engaging content Perhaps an obvious statement, but any material you create – whether this is a newsletter, mailer, brochure, or media article – needs to not only be compelling, but it also needs to grab the reader’s attention. Like me, most of you will be inundated with content from third parties and, if they fail to draw me in, they not only don’t get read but the brand in question doesn’t strike me as an authoritative voice in their market. Your content needs to be engaging and offer the audience added value. Target your content correctly
As a communications professional for the recruitment industry, I’ve followed the new monster.co.uk marketing campaign with interest. Ask any journalist the recipe for a compelling and engaging story and nine times out of ten they will tell you it needs a human interest angle. No matter how dull the subject matter, if a story talks to real people about issues that affect them, they will a) want to know more and b) want to share it with their friends too. Throw in some interesting statistics and a few celebrities and it becomes even more of a talking point. Monster.co.uk does just this with its ‘Monster Thank You’ campaign. The campaign invites people to thank an individual who has shaped their career, whether it be a colleague, boss, fellow student, teacher, relative or friend, and share their inspirational stories by submitting a message, picture or video via a unique ‘Monster Thank You’ microsite. Make your marketing ‘campaignable’ Not only are these inspirational stories infinitely shareable across social media, but the thank you theme as a whole is highly ‘campaignable’ - a factor in any successful marketing strategy. Not only did Monster raise awareness and drive traffic to its microsite with an above-the-line radio advertising campaign, the brand also supported this with traditional media relations activity by undertaking a survey of 2,000 consumers and 500 employers. This generated press coverage across both tabloid and broadsheet newspapers, as well as the recruitment trade press, and underlined the social media campaign by revealing that Britain is an under thanked and underappreciated nation. At the same time, the social media activity was given more weight and appeal with the addition of a celebrity endorsement by ex-Blur frontman Alex James, who featured in a looping Vine video. An integrated approach works for marketing communications
If you have spent any time on LinkedIn recently you may well have noticed the sudden influx of top tips guides which have been dominating your news feed, some of which are interesting, some generic, and many that offer blatantly obvious advice. However, this is one that appealed to us here at BlueSky, written by McKinsey & Company’s Glenn Leibowitz called 7 tips for writing a press release that won’t generate coverage. We always stress to our clients the importance of producing content that is relevant and interesting to their target audience rather than simply putting out information about themselves. So the next time you write a press release, before you hit send, make sure you haven’t unwittingly followed any of the advice below. If you have, maybe it is worth starting again.
Antal International is a global executive recruitment organisation with 110+ offices in more than 35 countries. We caught up with Chairman and Founder Tony Goodwin to see how they use PR to achieve their recruitment goals. Why do we use PR? “In the B2B market it’s vital to place yourself as a thought leader in your industry. A good reputation comes through well considered and thought out views on the marketplace which is exactly what PR gives us. Advertising can often fail to hit the mark, I think it was advertising guru, David Ogilvy who said “50% of advertising is wasted; we just don’t know which 50%”. With PR this doesn’t happen. We know we’re hitting our target audience every time and providing them with meaningful content. Recruitment is an industry based on taking the initiative and sharing opinions and PR allows us to do this.” How do you measure ROI? “It takes a longer term strategy to effectively weigh the value of PR. But we’ve found that the continuity and consistency of our message pays back, which can only help in strengthening our brand. There’s no instant return like a betting company would expect to see from their half time advertising at football matches. But the overall value is much greater. I’m confident that over the course of two years we’ve seen up to a twenty-fold return on our investment. People are influenced by people and by positioning individual figureheads in the public eye we’ve created a voice that the company can base its message around. The results might not be immediate, but PR is a slow-burner and in the long term can do so much more for our business than advertising ever could.”
© depositphotos/Samantha Craddock #13721767 There is an old saying that “there is no such thing as bad publicity”, and perhaps years ago, when communication was more difficult than just clicking a mouse, there may have been some truth there. However, whilst today’s ever-developing technology allows us to put out a message to the entire world, it has also made customers much more wary that many of those messages are not worth reading. An example of this occurred to me when I was looking for a job after finishing university. Having been told that recruitment agents were my surest path to employment, I signed up to about 5 or 6 different agents immediately after graduating. I set up identical email alerts for all of them, expressing a desire to work in PR or writing. One agent was particularly quick to respond, and within two days I had received 10 emails from them advertising hairdressing courses, mechanics’ apprenticeships and also several emails urging me to sign up for the site which I had just signed up for. After deleting the first weeks’ worth I felt forced to unsubscribe to the site and turn my attention to the others. The frustrating thing is that particular recruiter may have worked just as hard, done as much research and made as many good references as all the others, but due to relying on quantity rather than quality and relevance, it had already undone all of that work.
We all know that the recruitment market is crowded. In order to keep up with, and overtake your competition, you need tools to help differentiate yourself. And one tool at your disposal well worth considering is PR. Now you may be reading this and thinking that a professional working in this area telling you you need PR is nothing more than a sales pitch, right? Well in an era where PR is not just simply about getting press coverage, but rather creating compelling and original content that can be disseminated through your available channels, there is so much you can be doing yourself.
As recruiters look to maintain a competitive advantage, get in front of key clients and attract some of the best candidates, many will turn to PR for support. However, it is all too common to find organisations jumping head first into PR without the necessary in depth planning. Any communications activities such as this are strategic, long term investments which will require a level of forethought in order to be truly successful. So, if you're looking at PR as an option, what do you need to consider? Take a look at our top five tips we shared with TIRA readers:
Following on from the success of this year’s Recruitment Agency Expo, the BlueSky PR team will not only be exhibiting at the 2013 event, but will also again be presenting on both days. The Expo is an ideal opportunity for agencies to network with fellow professionals, receive advice from industry experts, and meet companies exhibiting services relevant to their business. And you can sign up, for free, right now. Our MD, Tracey Barrett (Dunn), will be sharing her pearls of wisdom on ‘How to create a brand – and keep it!’ We all know how crowded the recruitment market is and PR can be a fantastic tool to differentiate yourself from the competition. However it’s what you do with PR that really makes the difference– how you disseminate your message through all the channels available is what will help leverage your brand. Tracey will be focussing on how organisations can use the different channels at their disposal to shape both a brand and crucially its reputation.
Why do you use PR? We use PR to help get our name in front of clients as market leaders and thought leaders on a range of topics from hiring outlook, salary surveys to general trends in sectors and geographic areas. It is about promoting ourselves intelligently using the massive intellectual property our people have access to. We are specialists in international markets and we use that to educate clients, and as the basis for PR and marketing activities.
“Nothing says you rock at your job like a LinkedIn Endorsement” was a recent headline in the Chicago Tribune. The article, as the headline suggests, rates the company’s newly launched endorsement function. But is it as good as it’s hyped up to be? Or are recommendations a far more credible addition to a person’s profile?
For some recruitment businesses, the decision to undertake PR can be a hard one. Recruitment is hugely results driven and ROI is easily measurable. PR is different, and it can take some time to see results. With this in mind, we thought we’d feature a Q&A in each newsletter with a recruiter who uses PR, and why they do so. This edition we speak to Maggie Berry, Managing Director of Women in Technology. Q: Why do you use PR? A: We use PR to make female technologists aware of the opportunities available to them in the sector, as well as helping businesses to understand the importance of gender equality in the workplace. We have so much to offer the industry that one of our major goals is to ensure that every woman in technology comes into contact with us at some point during their career. This can be through a networking event, through our site, or through reading our advice in the press coverage generated through PR. Another reason is that it has a completely different effect to advertising. Anyone with the right budget can buy advertising space, but PR places you as an expert in your field within prestigious and targeted trade publications.
What is your definition of PR? In our monthly team meeting here at BlueSky we discussed the various clients we have and what level of PR support we provide them. One interesting question that was raised was do our clients, and do people on the whole get PR? If you asked 10 people how they defined PR I am pretty sure that the vast majority would say it was getting an organisation’s name into the news.