A poorly conceived PR stunt, an attempt to mislead the public, or a Machiavellian plan to position Tory MP’s front and centre of the news agenda? Whatever your opinion on the Conservatives’ decision to temporarily rebrand its CCHQ Press Twitter account to ‘factcheckUK’ for the ITV leaders’ debate, it will certainly be remembered as a watershed moment in PR and communications for years to come.
As the UK eagerly awaits the next episode of the Apprentice (ok, I might be slightly exaggerating there!) I thought I’d be a bit different with my regular blog posts and outline my predictions for what recruitment PR lessons we can expect this week.
If you had asked me two weeks ago how PR could’ve helped in my role, I honestly wouldn’t be sure. But after just one week working at BlueSky I can see how integral PR is to help recruitment businesses stand out from the crowd and in turn increase revenue.
I was lucky enough to attend one of the most iconic and highest profile events in recruitment last week, TALiNT’s World Leaders in Recruitment conference. All of the hottest topics in the industry and upcoming challenges and trends were discussed and debated by some of the most influential people in the sector, including our own Head of Practice, Vickie Collinge. There were a number of interesting discussions, which provided much food for thought on key recruitment trends for 2020. Here are the key takeaways from the event.
If you’ve been following my recent blogs, you might have guessed that my opinion of the Apprentice isn’t great. There’s a wealth of flaws in the process itself that I find frustrating – what value is it to a potential business partner to see if someone can design a rollercoaster when the product they’re seeking investment for is a beauty cream, for example. BUT, the show does give me plenty of recruitment PR tips to talk about. So, as much as my family are probably fed up with me shouting at the TV on a Wednesday night, I’ll keep watching and keep writing. Here’s my thoughts from last night’s car (or rollercoaster) crash.
I may be wrong here, but from my personal recollection I can’t remember a group on the Apprentice ever being thrashed as much as Team Unison did last night (and how ironic is the name considering the complete disarray they all fell into!). You could almost pinpoint the moment their hearts sank as it was revealed that Empower had sold over £1 million, while Unison failed to even reach £500,000. In my view, so much went wrong for the losing team last night that I can’t give you a concrete recruitment PR lesson. But I can give three.
I’m not going to lie, I was slightly concerned when I committed to writing a weekly reaction to the Apprentice and the relevant lessons in PR for recruitment firms, but the show seems to keep on giving! Indeed, before we were even half way into the latest episode, I had my top advice outlined and, had I been a gambling woman, I would’ve successfully bet on which team would lose.
Hands up who watched the Apprentice last night and found themselves arguing with the TV? I know I did! Once again in typical Apprentice fashion we witnessed a team fail miserably in what should arguably have been a relatively simple task. And yet again, I have a crucial recruitment PR lesson to talk about.
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.
It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about the time to break out your jumpers and dig out your warm coats. It’s Apprentice time. Now I won’t lie, way back when this show first aired, I was a big fan. As a recruitment PR professional, it was great entertainment watching the cut-throat nature of high-profile (and highly-paid) hiring. And at the time, the activities on the show seemed completely reasonable ways to identify the next high-paid apprentice for Lord Sugar.
Have you tried googling yourself before? That’s one of the first things I got told to do in my journalism class, and it’s stayed useful throughout my career. It’s also something that I recommend every business do too. With most people researching products and services online before buying, you want to ensure that your digital brand stands out from the crowd and leaves a memorable impression. Utilising the web is one of the best ways to secure candidates and clients. So, here’s how recruitment firms can build their reputation online and take their business to the next level.
I know first-hand how much effort goes into developing content ideas and getting copy drafted and fine-tuned so that it is a perfect balance of opinion and promotion. So, I also know that seeing all this hard work result in one or two bits of coverage, and then being left to stagnate, can be incredibly frustrating. But there are ways of making your content work better for you. Here’s a few tips.
As social media feeds continue to become increasingly saturated, it is undoubtedly harder than ever for brands to cut through the noise. So how can your recruitment firm attempt to stand out from the crowd?
Blogging is one of the key skills that I’ve picked up during my time at BlueSky, and whether it’s for our clients, or for ourselves, there are a few key principles that always hold true. Here are my tips for writing a compelling blog.
Having been at BlueSky for close to a year now, and starting with next to no PR experience, I’ve definitely picked up a few things! So, here are some of the most valuable PR lessons I’ve learnt about pitching, one of the most important aspects of the job.
A few years ago, I came across an idea called 'pay it forward'. If you are unfamiliar with it, it's actually rather a nice idea that simply promotes the notion that if everyone does something to help someone else, then, in the long run, we all benefit. The same concept of collaboration to make things better for everyone underpins the value of content contribution, in that your brand will feel the benefit of helping another business build theirs.
Over the past 12-18 months, LinkedIn has been busy tweaking its algorithm to increase the number of valuable conversations taking place on the platform whilst reducing the number of viral posts that appear in users’ feeds.
Over the coming weeks the BlueSky PR recruitment and talent management team will be sharing some of their PR lessons. While I certainly have many to talk about (it’s an age thing – I’ve learnt a lot in my long career!) there’s one lesson that crops up as a recurring theme in conversations: how can you develop the best story.
With 45% of the total world population using social networks, businesses now have a fantastic and cost-effective way of reaching potential customers and interacting with existing ones worldwide. However, to reap all the benefits that come with using social platforms, you must always be thinking about how to get more engagement on your social media. Even if you have many followers, you want to aim for lots of interaction as this will help you appear higher in people’s feeds. A channel without much engagement can be perceived as dull and doesn’t generate all the business benefits of a thriving, active page. That’s why it’s crucial to understand how each platform you’re using works and how it’s best to target users. Here’s how to get more people liking, sharing and commenting.
I have already written about the importance of having a business blog if you are a recruitment firm. However, there are more steps that you need to consider after starting one, such as using the right keywords for recruitment blogs, and then applying them effectively. This can be difficult to get to grips with at first, however it is a crucial step in content writing to master, as without the correct keywords, your carefully crafted work risks being lost in the depths of Google! There are now a number of free tools online such as ‘Google Trends’ or ‘Answer The Public ’ to help you find out what is trending around your topic and what the relevant keywords are.
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.
When it comes to helping your company achieve its goals, great communication can be what makes the difference. So, here are some of the reasons why you should invest in recruitment agency PR.
With over 500 million tweets sent every day, it is essential to have an understanding of how Twitter’s algorithm works if your recruitment firm is to rise above the noise and attract new candidates and clients on the platform.
If there’s one PR issue that recruitment agency owners are arguably most concerned about it’s what to do in a crisis. Whether this be a breaking news story about some less than scrupulous actions from an employee or potentially detrimental information about your firm’s finances being leaked, implementing a damage limitation process at this time is crucial for businesses of all sizes. But it’s not an easy task. So how should you handle a PR crisis?
In the business world, and particularly in recruitment, people are considered a company’s greatest asset – and rightly so. Not only do your staff get the actual work done, they also hold the key to your very best marketing strategy – employee advocacy.
When it comes to PR, sitting down and strategising before embarking on a campaign is essential. A well thought out, comprehensive strategy can often make the difference between success and failure. Correct planning will help you organise your ideas, make sure your core messages are congruent, work out your target audience and decide on the tactics that you will use to target them. While ‘make a plan’ might sound like the most obvious statement in the book, it’s something that often gets overlooked or doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves. So, with that in mind – here’s some simple tips for how to create a PR plan.
Have you noticed a decline in your recruitment firm’s organic reach across social media over the last few years? You’re not alone. Algorithm changes at Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter have all negatively impacted the number of people that businesses are able to reach. But what can you do about it? Here are five methods that you can implement to help your recruitment agency overcome the decline in organic reach and improve its performance across its social media channels. Five ways to overcome the decline in organic reach on social media 1. Understand the algorithms
We often hear about the importance of having good presentation skills in life. But while for some, the idea of presentations seems exciting and a great way to communicate their thoughts – for others the idea of public speaking and presenting can understandably fill them with dread. It can be an utterly nerve wracking experience standing up in front of a crowd – no matter what the subject matter is. However, presenting skills are crucial in the art of communication, and particularly important when pitching for new business, training a team or if you are involved in public speaking.
It might sound a little biased coming from me, but I’m going to explain why hiring a PR agency is worth it.
Companies invest considerable time and money into PR campaigns. While PR measurement may be a chore to some, without it you won’t learn anything, and won’t be able to improve future PR efforts. Measurement is an integral part of communications, and something that pays dividends in the long run. However, so many companies are neglecting it, with 50-60% of PR campaigns having no method of evaluation at all. Here’s how to measure PR effectively: How to measure PR effectively: Goal-setting Ultimately, the return on your investment depends on the desired goals of a campaign, so goal-setting is fundamental. These targets should be as quantitative as possible and address who, what, when and how much the program is intended to affect. This could mean an increase in client acquisition in your sector, or higher numbers of candidate registration. Goals should all be agreed on upfront, along with the metrics for measuring them. Business results
You’re an excellent recruiter and you know it, but when it comes to writing, perhaps not. Don’t worry though, this shouldn’t stop you from starting a business blog that is packed with search engine optimised posts that will keep customers glued to your page. Poetic writing may be a benefit, but honestly, it all comes down to the content. Here at BlueSky PR we write quite a few blogs which is why we have devised a checklist that will guide you through creating your own. Why you need to be starting a business blog It is clear that content is the present and future of marketing. It is a powerful tool that allows you to build your brand image in one of the most direct ways. In fact, creating content is vital going into the future, as nowadays customers are seeking brands that align with their ethics and seeking more information about their message. Demand Metric found that 68% of people spend time reading about brands that interest them. A great example of a brand blog is Etsy. The site connects individuals with sellers around the globe while maintaining a high-quality, fun blog. The site excels in providing content that is fit for purpose while maintaining its company voice. Without a doubt, the blog helps establish the brand as an expert in its field. So, why not stay up to date with the latest trends and show what your business stands for by writing your very own blog.
In an increasingly candidate-led market, it is more important than ever that your recruitment firm’s marketing is as effective as can be. Candidate personas enable you to successfully target jobseekers and produce compelling content that resonates with them so that you can save time, money and resources on finding the perfect candidate for your client. What are candidate personas? A candidate persona is a semi-fictional representation of your recruitment firm’s ideal applicant for a specific job role. A persona is created by defining the characteristics, skills and traits that make up the perfect hire.
Branding and PR are key ingredients to the success of any business. Therefore, from the word go it’s important a company has established its brand identity, message and image it wants to put out there. Similarly, in order to maximise your brand, a PR strategy is a vital tool for helping organisations grow an industry presence, communicate their message and further their reach. In essence, to get the most out of your business you need the two to work in tandem as they influence each other. With this in mind, here are three key ways a PR strategy can help build and maximise your brand. Consistency is key for brand identity Look at Coca Cola for example – it’s one brand that we all value and recognise across the globe. With stats showing 98% of the world’s population recognise the brand name, while it certainly is impressive – this didn’t happen overnight. Sometimes unknown to the naked eye, it takes a PR and marketing strategy that is consistently and succinctly driving home a company’s message, its brand image, latest news and communicating this with a targeted audience. In this instance, Coca Cola is all about enjoying a light carbonated drink – so the PR strategy is all about making sure audiences and consumers associate good and positive feelings with the brand. A case in point, the company’s latest motto is “Taste the feeling” which is linked to all the new flavours the business has recently launched.
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.
I recently contributed to a great initiative launched by Alex Moyle and Louise Triance called the A-Z of Recruiting success. You can see all the contributors on Alex’s blog but my particular letter was H for Hero Content. For me Hero Content really is a recruitment marketing dream because it gives you so much more to work with than one piece of content. Content driven recruitment marketing We all know that original content that adds value and addresses a particular pain point of your audience is likely to get more engagement than any other. But for busy recruitment marketers or for owner managers that don’t have the luxury of an in-house recruitment marketing team, this can be difficult to achieve on a regular basis. This is where hero content really comes into its own.
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.
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
You may have heard the term before, but aren’t exactly sure what it means, how it can benefit your business, or why it’s named after a tree. So what is evergreen content? Evergreen content is content that is relevant now and long after it is published. It can show up in a variety of formats, such as ‘how-to’ articles, top ten lists, case studies, and much more. Topics that work well for this are those that are part of our everyday lives, or relevant for everyone within a certain industry or subculture. Be it health, finance, careers, family, or relationships, evergreen content will flourish regardless of what’s going on in the news. News articles, statistics and reports, and trending topics are typically not suitable for this. Long-term potential
In my short time at BlueSky, I’ve written a lot of blogs. This has meant a fair amount research on what makes a great post, and also reading some which aren’t very good at all! If my experience has taught me anything, by making sure you do these often overlooked things, you can take your blog to the next level. So, here's my list of 8 overlooked ingredients for a successful blog post: 1. Making a point This might seem obvious, but many blog articles have nothing to say. Well, they might have something to say, but they don’t have a point. When your blog has a solid hook, it gives readers a reference point to latch onto, making them more likely to share, comment, and engage. 2. Giving away knowledge Many bloggers and companies alike hold back their best knowledge in fear of giving away their ‘secrets’ for free. However, with the wealth of information available on the internet, your ‘secrets’ are probably not as valuable as you think, and this information will end up being put out elsewhere – by someone else. By giving out as much value as you can in your blogs, you’ll become more attractive to visitors.
Joining hundreds of PR professionals for a day of insight, debate and discussion, I recently attended the #CommsCon 2018 event hosted by Cision. Designed to inspire PR and comms strategies for the year ahead, attendees heard first hand from major brands and journalists, topics included: how roles in the industry have changed; what stories they want to hear from PRs; how to ensure your creating content with a purpose; and the best approach to crisis management. Below are the key takeaways from the event to help inspire your 2019 PR strategy. Purpose driven content … why does it matter? While most organisations recognise the value of creating content based on news, shared interests or worthy causes – to have content with a real purpose extends beyond that. As Peter Heneghan, Head of communication at LADbible said during the discussion, “We often get asked, what are the core ingredients to make something go viral – actually, the intention shouldn’t be to go viral but to make content an audience will love and relate to.”
“So, what is PR?” Sometimes I really dread this question when I go to networking events – it’s one of those things you know you’re going to be asked, but in many cases, my response is never quite believed. Whenever I explain what I do I’m challenged: “Well, that’s copywriting, isn’t it?”
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
Social media continues to transform the way in which recruitment agencies are able to reach their target audiences, source candidates and showcase their company culture.
We recently attended a roundtable hosted by The Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI), which aims solely to break down the barriers facing disabled people in the workforce. On the day, attendees came together to discuss the hurdles disabled individuals face and how the recruitment industry must work together to truly make a difference. The main theme centred on how we can enable technology for disabled talent and the impact it is currently having. Attendees discussed the types of technologies available which are designed to help those with impairments and disabilities. Challenges voiced ranged from ways to alter the application process, how to change attitudes and the importance of reasonable adjustments. Currently 75% of disabled people believe their condition is a barrier to employment, while the Business Disability Forum has found that 71% of disabled people will click away from websites they struggle to use or access content on. With this in mind, it is crucial that recruitment firms take a fresh look at how accessible application processes are to disabled candidates if they are to tap into this valuable pool of talent.
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.
This is a guest blog by Olly Dunn, a final year Business & Management undergraduate at Nottingham Trent University. As I was scrolling through my LinkedIn feed the other day I came across a video showcasing a self-driving bulldozer that digs trenches based on job plans. As cool (and scary) as it is to see how far technology has developed, it got me thinking about to what extent robotics, and AI in particular, could replace the human worker, and whether the ‘human touch’ could ever be taken out of the recruitment process completely. AI, or machine learning and robotics are becoming an ever more integrated phenomenon in a multitude of sectors. Amazon is one example of a company ahead of the game, from its fully automated warehouses, to Alexa as your new personal assistant, to intelligent algorithms analysing your buying patterns for future purchase suggestions, the brand’s use of technology is everything AI was intended to be and is working wonders for the logistics giant.
There’s no doubt that recruitment agencies are sitting on a wealth of important information, even if not all of them realise the full value of it. While recruiters will certainly be drawing on their own knowledge and the data in their CRM to help them source, shortlist, interview and place candidates, agencies will also benefit from sharing their understanding of the hiring landscape more widely. At BlueSky PR, we know that a great way for a business to position itself as an industry expert is by highlighting its unique insights into candidate and client behaviour. Here are our top tips for making the most of the information that you have.
You may have heard about the bold move from global sports company Nike, selecting Colin Kaepernick, (ex-NFL player and US civil rights activist) as the new face of its global advertising campaign.
Given the very nature of recruitment, losing a client to a competitor is a tough, but rather common situation, particularly as prices become increasingly competitive. However, all is not lost. Rather than bemoan the fact that the client has moved on (even if you know they are prioritising money over quality), why not take a more strategic approach? You’ll likely have plenty of other highly engaged clients who value your agency – use them to your advantage to not only win clients back, but engage with new ones as well. Produce case studies of the results you’ve delivered to these businesses, focusing your attention on how only your agency could achieve this. If you’ve recently lost accounts to lower priced competitors, place an emphasis on the return on investment your clients have noted – including the added value that they received from using your agency over others. And, perhaps more importantly, share this content far and wide. Get people liking and talking about the case studies across your networks. Consider the hashtags you’re using as well. Look back at posts from your previous clients’ accounts and use any relevant ones to ensure they see the content you’re sharing.
As all business owners know, your reputation is something which is carefully built and you want to avoid damaging that at all costs. However, there’s a recent cautionary tale for recruiters everywhere, which involves the boss of a Sydney-based agency causing his company to go viral on social media for all the wrong reasons. Marcus Wood, Director of Mars Recruiting, sent an angry internal all-staff email titled ‘Friday observation’ which was shared externally and quickly found its way online. Suits, sick days and sackings In the communication, the director lists a number of things which he says are “getting on my t*ts”, including “endless ping pong” during core hours and “not even bothering to put a suit on or pretending to look the part.” The catalogue of annoyances ends with him comparing their sick days to a film about a man dying of AIDS and a grumble that they are “a cost to the company and me personally.” He signs off with the threat that “if you don’t pick up your game massively you will see your sorry a**es fired and slung out the door in under 3 months.” An all-staff apology Wood later apologised to staff, saying that when he sent the email he was “not at my loquacious best,” and admitted that it was written “in a moment of seeing red and most definitely should not have happened.” He added, “It seems I am becoming an online sensation for how NOT to communicate.”