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:
- Set objectives for your PR plan. It may seem obvious, but there are often examples of companies 'doing PR' with no clear idea why. Before you invest in anything, ask yourself what it is you want to achieve. Do you need to get more candidates or more clients? Do you want to get on the radar for an acquisition or do you need to recruit more consultants?
- Once you and your stakeholders have this agreed, the next step is to have a plan and build a timeline. Make sure this includes a long term view with an integrated mix of channels. The worst thing you can do is have a burst of activity in the first six months, send out a few press releases then go quiet. For a truly successful PR strategy you need a drip feed approach with not only regular, but also original content going out to your targeted audience.
- In any plans make sure you include your consultants. Your team will be the driving force behind any communications activity and the results should help them in their daily roles. Speak to them about what you have planned, what it means to them and get their buy in. If your PR campaign is successful they will get more business, but it will require a level of dedication from the team.
- Remember to use your PR. When you’ve got some coverage don’t just put it in a folder in your reception – those people have already found you. Make sure you’re using it in your own marketing material, business development activities, and at any events. Coverage is a useful way to show potential clients and candidates that you are thought leaders in your industry and consequently the ‘go to’ agency.
- Make sure you measure your success. You must keep a record of what is working well and what perhaps isn’t as successful as you’d hoped. In doing this, you will not only be able to evaluate the bottom line impact this strategy has, but you’ll also be able to tweak the campaign to make it work better for you. There are a number of ways to measure success, all of which are dependent on the initial outcomes you set in the planning stage. For example, have you got more website traffic? Are you getting more meeting conversions? If you’ve not met the outcomes initially agreed, ask yourself what could be improved and review your strategy.
PR and marketing can be a valuable business development and communications tool if used correctly, but there are still too many instances where recruiters are failing due to a lack of planning.