If you read any of the quality or mid-market newspapers (think The Times and The Guardian et al), or read any column or book by the likes of Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point, Blink) and Matthew Syed (Bounce, Black Box Thinking), they each begin their interview-based article or discussion piece in the same way: by setting a scene rather than jumping straight to the point.
Syed and Gladwell are particularly brilliant at doing this in long formats, often for several pages, while those writing short formats (i.e. newspaper articles) may have less time yet they still manage to adapt the same style, albeit over a handful of paragraphs rather than pages.
This approach has four key characteristics:
- Strong headline – to grab the attention of their audience
- Bold statement – to dangle a carrot and entice the reader to stay with the writer because they about to lead the reader to somewhere really good
- Drip feed of information – with each new paragraph and page they pull the curtain open a little bit more but withhold from sharing everything all at once to keep the reader intrigued
- Call to action – they look to stir a reaction from their readers, which could range from challenging existing perceptions of a subject or individual, to forcing a rethink of how they act or perform a particular role, whether in their business or personal lives
Put another way, these points follow the AIDA approach to marketing – to gain attention and interest, stimulate a desire in a product/service/company, and to encourage action in the form of further engagement and ultimately, sales.
It is this mantra that you need to adopt when looking to build your brand as a go-to agency for clients, and as an employer of choice for candidates. But how do you do this in practice?
Time to start telling stories.
Future consultants: Give job seeking recruitment consultants a look into your world
- Upload images of the team and the office
- Create a short form video where current consultants can share their experiences of working there
- Add profiles of consultants whose careers have progressed since joining your agency
- Create a Glassdoor profile and add to it – often, and
- Keep your social media profiles active!
Future clients: Stop ‘telling’ them what you can do for them and start sharing
Think about their pain points then determine how you can address them:
- Add case studies on your website which give a background to the client’s business, the recruitment challenges they were facing before they turned to you, the solution you provided, and the result of that strategy
- Add content that shows how they can better attract candidates, write more effective job descriptions, be more proficient at social recruiting, screen and interview candidates, and negotiating offers – all based on your experiences
In other words, tell stories.
All of this is PR. One report found that 81% of senior marketers say that earned media (PR) is more effective than paid media (advertising and marketing) as a method for driving interactions with customers and prospects, and for building trust in a brand or product.
Paid-for marketing certainly has a role to play, but the most successful business relationships are those that yield mutual satisfaction. So, become better storytellers and in doing so you will make the distinction between you and your competitors very clear which by default positions you as the go-to agency.