Mention ‘public relations’ to pretty much anyone and the words most commonly associated with this critically important part of the marketing mix are ‘press releases’, ‘journalists’, ‘spin’, and a ‘shower of bastards’. Hey, we know that PRs often sit on the same bench as our estate agent-lawyers-recruiters brethren.
OK perhaps that is a slight exaggeration, but what can never be over emphasised is the fact that public relations (PR) is so much more than dishing out a load of press releases to a bunch of unsuspecting journalists.
In 2013 the executive director of the UK Government’s communications team declared at a national PR conference that the press release was dead. A year later, Coca-Cola announced it would no longer use press releases to communicate its message.
The press release is not dead, not by a long way. However, its role as the primary method of communication between an organisation and its public is no longer what it once was.
Rather, the age of social media and the availability of news in real-time has seen the traditional press release, with its somewhat lengthy timeframe between drafting the release and obtaining final sign off from the client before being distributed to the relevant media, become rather redundant.
Against this backdrop, those responsible for the marketing of their recruitment agencies need to ensure they adapt and evolve to the ‘new way’ of getting their agency’s message ‘out there’.
Here we take a look at the 10 most impactful ways of connecting with your audience.
1. Social media
We’re not going to reel off a load of stats about how many people use which social media platforms – Google can provide you with the figures you want. The simple truth is this: Social media is not a fad, it has been with us since 2005 and its importance as a core communications channel will only increase. Understand the language your audience expects across each social channel and tailor your message accordingly.
According to HubSpot, companies that have blog content have a 97% higher volume of traffic than those who don’t. Make your headline eye-catching: According to advertising legend David Ogilvy, five times as many people read the headline as read the actual article itself. Give people a reason to want to read more.
- Thought leadership articles
Got an opinion on the impact Heathrow’s third runway will have on the employment prospects on that region, or how Theresa May’s dithering and backtracking over Brexit could weaken her credentials as a long term leader? If so, stick your neck out a little and write about it on your company blog, your personal LinkedIn profile (click ‘Write an article’) or contribute as a guest blogger on sites that have influence in your sector.
- Media articles
If what you have to say adds a new perspective to a trending story, speak to the relevant media. The recruitment and trade press as well as the nationals and regionals are always hungry for a different take on hotly debated subject. So pitch them your ideas, and once you are published you can share the coverage across all your external communication channels (social media, newsletters etc.).
- Speaking opportunities
On the back of any publicity you generate for yourself and your agency, you can begin to think about speaking at key events, whether they be local business networks or national trade conferences and expos. Event organisers love a ‘name’ – someone who has already appeared in the media talking about the subject they will present at their event.
Simple yet equally brilliant way to raise your personal brand and that of the agency you represent. Invite local businesses from the sector and a business journalist to a breakfast roundtable and then discuss three or four of the most pertinent issues facing that sector right now. This provides you with content for a blog, social media, great imagery that will boost traction of your posts, coverage in your local (and possibly trade) media, and videos that will boost your SEO and online branding. And it hardly costs a thing to produce!
- Market research
Speak to any editor and journalist and they love, love LOVE stats. There are over 30,000 recruitment businesses in the UK and one of the most effective ways to be heard above the noise and communicate with your audience is to share information that shines a light on something that is pertinent to them. Survey your market to garner real-time insights into a topical issue affecting your audience, and use those findings to help position your agency as having your finger on the pulse of what is happening in their sector; thereby positioning you as an agency of choice.
Simple, frequent and highly impactful…if done right of course. Newsletters are a great way of engaging with your audience on a regular basis. But be mindful of the messages you put out there – if all your communications are sales-led they will counterproductive. Instead, strike a balance between sharing information that your audience will be interested in reading and having a call to action. As Gary Vaynerchuk puts it – Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. In other words, offer three or four pieces of valuable content before going in for the sale.
To maximise your audience reach and publicise your personal brand, you will need to relevant attend events and engage key ‘influencers’ via social media – influencers such as colleagues (past and present) and sector groups.
- Be visual
Using an image on social media makes your posts 94% more likely to be read and acted upon (HubSpot). So when posting any form of content across each of your social channels, think of how to maximise the impact of the message being sent. Customisable image creation platforms such Canva, Picmonkey and Buffer are great ways to add visuals to your posts, whether as straight forward pictures or something a little more creative such as an infographic.
If you need help or advice in getting your agency name seen, heard and read speak to Clearly PR & Marketing Communications – the recruitment marketing specialists.