The New Year is always a great time for new beginnings and new objectives. And for recruitment agencies, it’s a great time to plan for the year ahead – and what a year it’s looking to be.
What lies in store for the UK economy is certainly unknown. Indeed, the only certainty is uncertainty. For every business, now is the time to look at how to weather the storm and, in my view at least, having a robust marketing and PR strategy in place will prove hugely valuable in the coming months.
In fact, this formed the topic for a recent webinar I hosted. So how can recruiters and marketing teams create a strategy that’s impactful, relevant and can withstand the potential changes that lie ahead?
Start at the beginning
It might sound like an obvious statement, but when setting out your plans for the coming months, it’s vital that you take a step back and consider the ‘why’ before the ‘how’. Defining exactly what you want to achieve from any activity and why, will put you in a far greater position to see demonstrable results that are aligned with your agency’s growth plans.
And while of course the most ambitious firms might have a number of objectives, being minimalistic will often deliver greater results than taking an all-encompassing approach. By trying to cover all bases at once, you’ll be spreading resources rather thin and, as a result, will be unlikely to see the desired impact. Instead, setting three clear targets to begin with and investing time and energy in achieving this will deliver greater ROI.
Define your messaging
Once you’ve outlined the what and why, then you can move on to the how. At this stage, it’s crucial to consider the messaging that you want to be pushing out to your audience and where it will have the most impact. If, for example, one of your objectives is to showcase the great work your team has delivered for construction clients, ask yourself what messaging will be relatable to the target audience. Simply boasting about how great your company is won’t engage people with your brand (and it’s a complete turn off for journalists and editors, so avoid at all costs).
However, using a case study to demonstrate the innovative methods your team used to hire more females for a construction project – a real achievement given the huge disparity in gender representation in this field – will strike a chord. Perhaps more importantly, though, this type of content is highly sought after by publications as it’s time sensitive, addresses a key industry concern and, if written well, has the ‘non-sales’ approach that editors are looking for.
Messaging will, of course, need to be tailored to the objectives mentioned above. It is also vital, however, to consider where this content needs to be pushed out. Taking the construction example again, ask yourself what outlet is going to reach the right people for your objective. Again, if your aim is to increase brand awareness amongst construction firms, is coverage in The Times going to help you achieve this?
Yes, having your name in such a prestigious newspaper feels like a huge success, but how many hiring managers in construction will see the piece compared to a feature in Construction News or Building Magazine, for example? Again, sometimes reigning things in and having a more strategically targeted approach will yield better results, so assess what media outlets will work best for your firm.
A marketing and PR strategy fit for change
Once you’ve made progress with the PR strategy and start seeing the media coverage roll in, it’s important not to put the brakes on your activity. By pushing regular messaging out across the relevant channels you’ll be keeping your firm front of mind with the right audience and you’ll soon see your brand awareness levels snowballing.
In order to support this on-going activity, it’s important to repurpose all content where possible. Having spent time developing a press release, for example, it’s important not to let the ball drop once the release is in the public domain. Consider, instead, how this content can be repurposed into a blog, sold in as a feature for a magazine and pushed out on social media. By doing this, you’ll see greater longevity of your content and, ultimately, get more ‘bang-for-your-buck.’
Of course, measuring what is and isn’t working will also be crucial at this stage. Repurposing content that hasn’t met the original objectives simply won’t deliver the results you and the company want to see. It’s important, then, to have clear metrics defined from the beginning to enable you and the team to analyse how well certain activity and content is working. What these metrics consist of will depend on the objectives, but it’s important to point out that measuring PR doesn’t have to be costly. There are so many tools already at your disposal that it’s worthwhile turning to these often-free resources first. For example, your website’s Google Analytics will be able to demonstrate where web traffic is coming from and if there’s been a spike in interest following a particular phase of press or social media activity.
What lies ahead over the next year might be uncertain, but with the right attitude and communications strategy in place, recruitment agencies can position their firm for the best possible success. If, however, the above sounds like a lot of complex work (trust me, it can be at times!) why not contact us today to see how our team of copywriting, media relations and social media experts can help you.