ENABLING RECRUITERS TO RAISE THEIR PROFILE BE SEEN BE HEARD
JUNE / JULY 2016
RECRUITER IMPRINT Practical insights to help Recruitment business leaders make a mark on their sector
IN THIS ISSUE HOW RECRUITERS WIN BUSINESS WITH THEIR BLOG 7 BRANDING TIPS FOR RECRUITERS
THE INTERVIEWS WE TALK EMPLOYER BRANDING WITH THE CEO OF MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT AND THE HEAD OF THE BRITISH ARMY
WHY TWITTER IS NOT A NUMBERS GAME HOW TO GET THE LOCAL AND TRADE MEDIA INTERESTED IN YOU
CONTENTS FEATURED ARTICLE
PR + CONTENT MARKETING + SOCIAL MEDIA FOR RECRUITERS
EDITOR'S NOTE: WHY PR IS OVERTAKING ADVERTISING AND MARKETING AS THE PROMOTIONAL TOOL OF CHOICE FOR RECRUITERS
13 WHAT MAKES A STORY THAT THE LOCAL OR TRADE MEDIA WILL BE INTERESTED IN?
16 BEWARE THE RISE AND RISE OF THE FAKE “EXPERTS” AND “GURUS”
HOW RECRUITERS CAN WIN BUSINESS THROUGH THEIR BLOG
ESSENTIAL READING THIS SUMMER RECRUITMENT CALENDAR OF EVENTS OVER THE NEXT TWO MONTHS
18 7 BRANDING TIPS FOR YOUR
AGENCY TO MAKE YOUR FIRM STAND OUT ABOVE THE CROWD
TWO LEADERS ON RECRUITMENT
WHY TWITTER IS NOT A NUMBERS GAME
Linda Thomas, CEO Macmillan Cancer Support and General Sir Nicholas Carter, chief of the General Staff talk recruitment, diversity, leadership and staying ahead of the curve.
Twitter, like all social media, is not a numbers game. So why are organisations so focused on winning and celebrating the fact they more fans than their competitors?
21 5 GREAT SOURCES FOR YOUR DAILY SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS
23 HOW TO INTEGRATE A NEW EMPLOYEE EFFECTIVELY CLEARLY PR TEL: (LONDON) 0203 856 8000 TEL: (CARDIFF) 0292 070 6680 WWW.CLEARLYPR.CO.UK
WELCOME TO THE JUNE/JULY EDITION Who is ClearlyPR? Fair question. We are one of a select few PR agencies in the UK that specialises in the Recruitment industry. In fact, we are the fastest growing agency in our sector. We provide PR, Social Media and Content Marketing for recruitment firms, job boards and suppliers to the industry. Under the guidance of the chap pictured on the right, we have specialised in recruitment since 2005, having worked with some of the most well-known names in the sector...and those who aspire to be.
ClearlyPR in the news In May we featured in HRZone talking about the people (and business) benefits of adopting a pet-friendly office. Our MD was also quoted last month in People Management magazine, talking about how we at ClearlyPR recruit staff for ourselves...via social media (sorry recruiters). And we featured on BusinessZone, talking about how PR can drive sales.
Accolades Outstanding Small PR Consultancy 2015 Finalist - Chartered Institute of Public Relations PRide Awards 2015 Best Employment Advice on the Internet Winner in 2006, 2007 and 2008 (as lead content marketing provider) - NORAs Best Employment Advice on the Internet Winners in 2009 and 2010 Finalist (as lead content marketing provider) - NORAs Our client portfolio includes Europe's leading executive search firm, three of the top 20 companies in the Recruiter Hot 100 list and four of the top 10 job boards in the UK. We 'get' recruitment!
EDITOR'S NOTE By Paul MacKenzie-Cummins
Welcome to the June/July edition of Recruiter imPRint – the only UK magazine focused on branding and PR for recruitment agencies and search firms. For years PR has been the nice-to-have piece of the overall marketing mix in the eyes of recruitment business leaders, with advertising and marketing traditionally taking centre stage – at least where budgets are concerned. However, things have changed in recent years. The recession hit the industry harder than most and the mainstays of agency promotion (i.e. advertising) lost the ability to influence opinion and position organisation’s as the preferred agency of choice. The rules of promotion changed. No longer is promotion about sell, sell, sell. Rather it is about creating a positive perception of the agency 'brand' and its people, positioning its senior management team as true thought leaders, and effectively engaging with the very people they want to do business with – clients and candidates. In other words it is about PR. Simply put, PR is about getting you seen and heard by the right people, in the right way and at the right time. Advertising will create a great shop window for your agency, but PR is what will add value and make people want to do business with you.
SPECIAL OFFER June and July PR package deals exclusive to Recruiter imPRint readers PACKAGE 1 8 blogs/month for your website 2 thought leadership articles/month for your LinkedIn profile Daily management of your Twitter and Facebook accounts Daily updates for your company page on LinkedIn Monthly newsletter to your client and candidate database Press releases
£1700 per month Usual price: £2450/mth
PACKAGE 2 4 blogs/month for your website 1 thought leadership article/month for your LinkedIn profile Daily management of your Twitter and Facebook accounts Weekly updates for your company page on LinkedIn Monthly newsletter to your client and candidate database Press releases
per month Usual price: £1450/mth
BOOK YOUR PACKAGE OF CHOICE NOW Call 0203 856 8000 or 029 2070 6680 or email Paul MacKenzie-Cummins at firstname.lastname@example.org
WHY TWITTER IS NOT A NUMBERS GAME by Paul MacKenzie-Cummins Managing director, ClearlyPR
Twitter may have seen a slowdown in activity over the last 24 months in the face of increasing competition from other social platforms, but that doesn’t mean its place within the marketing mix has become redundant.
using Twitter has been in decline in recent months (with Twitter themselves relatively reluctant to share its audience numbers – the most recent available being for 2013), Twitter continues to hold around 19% of the social media market in UK.
Rather, if anything, it has become even more relevant to businesses. For any forward-thinking business Twitter has unquestionably been a must-have social media platform to get on board with.
WhatsApp (18% share) and Instagram (9%) are both encroaching on Twitter’s position, with Facebook Messenger (23%) already edging ahead. However, whilst these other mediums can provide any number of attractive visuals and drive ‘likes’, they each lack the basic yet critical benefit that makes
Whilst it is true that the number of people
“If anything, Twitter has become even MORE relevant to businesses.” RECRUITER IMPRINT
“The desire just to increase the number of ‘followers’ they have is vanity – no more, no less.”
Twitter stand head and shoulders above the rest – the ability to curate and share content (aka ‘retweet’). It is the sharing of content that enables businesses to effectively communicate and engage with one another – providing of course, this is done in the right way. Indeed, the desire among may businesses to increase their ‘followers’ or the number of people or organisations ‘liking’ their company page continues to be a key consideration for many users. It’s vanity – no more, no less. Let me explain. If you are advertising for a job and you receive 1,000 applications, are you happy
that your recruitment advert generated such a huge response? Or are you frustrated because you have wasted so much of what little time you have in the day to weed out all the irrelevant applications (which probably account for 990 of all CVs received!)? Similarly, just because 5,000 people will be attending XYZ Expo doesn’t mean a thing if only a small minority of delegates have any interest in what you have to offer. It’s a matter of relevance, not numbers. Chasing more numbers to ‘follow’ you is not the reserve of Twitter, the same can also be said of Facebook. Log on to either social media and you will invariably see at least one post each day from someone saying ‘We’ve hit 1,000 Followers’ or ‘Please help us reach 1,000 followers, guys’….err no, I won’t. What’s the point in having 1,000 followers if you don’t engage with them and how many of this magical 1,000 people are current, past or potential new customers or advocates of your product or service? Yes I realise that ‘following’ a user may in itself be deemed as advocating said business, but is it really? Facebook has it’s ‘fans’, Twitter has it’s ‘followers’ and it can take time to build up that following. However, if all your tweets are used to tell people about a new product or service, or to drive traffic to your corporate website, you’ll soon find that these followers start to drop off like lemmings over a cliff. So you need to add value to your tweets and keep your followers engaged. The idea of using 140 characters to communicate and stay connected with your stakeholders is a simple yet equally brilliant one which appeals to both technophobes and technophiles alike – engaging with them in the right way is what’s important. The key to writing content that will keep your followers wanting more and attract others to follow you is simple: keep your posts (tweets) interesting, valuable and fun.
“It is NOT a competition to see who can collate the most number of followers. Tweeting is a two-way communicat ion.”
We see social media as being based on 4 key principles that if utilised correctly, will maximise your return on investment and deliver a number of business benefits: 1. Communication – provide engaging and relevant information 2. Collaboration – seek to stimulate greater collaboration with potential partners 3. Entertain – your brand needs to have a personality and Twitter et al provide an opportune outlet to convey this 4. Educate/Inform – share latest news from across your industry sector, position yourself as a thought leader Twitter is different to Facebook which in turn is different to LinkedIn and it is important to understand the language and tone that best resonates with each channel’s audience. For instance, Twitter’s demographic is one of followers who are by and large
well-educated professionals that make informed purchasing decisions, whilst Facebook users will often update their profiles with seemingly uninteresting and trivial comments such as “Just had a brew, ready for another instalment of Richard & Judy”. Admittedly Twitterers will sometimes write silly tweets but the difference is that these are deliberately done to add some personality to a company’s profile and make the relationship between company and follower more personable, human. Tweeting is a two-way communication and anytime the user fails to deliver relevant “What’s in it for me?” content, followers can simply decide to opt-out of following that user anytime they choose to do so. This is permission-based marketing – like having an inbuilt anti-spam filter. It is NOT a competition to see who can collate the most number of followers and any PR or Advertising agency that tells you otherwise is full of the proverbial! RI
HOW RECRUITERS WIN BUSINESS WITH THEIR BLOG When PR and marketing people talk about blogging, and the reasons for doing it, phrases such as ‘thought leadership’, becoming the ‘go-to person’, a ‘leading authority’ or ‘personal branding’ are banded around with aplomb.
But this is wrong; it is akin to putting the cart before the horse. This should not be the aim of producing a blog – it will come by default as the result (or outcome) of having a successful blog. Becoming a thought leader or the go-to
Great blog content empowers recruiters to engage with their existing audience, and reach out to others
person in your sector is not something you can simply wish for – it will happen, but you do need to work at it and earn it. 1. What’s the point in having a blog? Like all social media, your blog seeks to tell your audience what is happening in their sector. - It aims to sell you as a specialist. - It’s an opportunity for you to listen to your audience and engage in a sharing of information. - To demonstrate that you understand their
“Becoming a 'thought leader' or 'go to' recruiter comes by default.” RECRUITER IMPRINT
“Content that works and gets results directly addresses the needs of your target audience.”
pain points and to help them by providing solutions or at least adding to the debate. - To inject a personality into your brand.
- Information: This sort of post communicates the news e.g. “OUT campaigners lose - Boris resigns” (?)
That’s all there is to it, but to be able to do this and in a way that gets result, you need to create the right sort of content…easier said than done.
- Analysis: This post looks at what the news means to your audience e.g. “Will EU referendum victory boost or bite hiring intentions?”
2. What constitutes a blog that people really want to see?
- Help: This is ‘information marketing’ at its best – it provides answers to a question, need or concern of your audience. It is the How-to format which borders on the role of consulting (even customer service) e.g. “How recruiters should really be using LinkedIn”
Your blog, whether on your company website or LinkedIn Publisher page, needs to reflect the sort of information people like to receive. So you need to recognise the style of content that gets attention:
- Timely: To be truly helpful your blog posts need to appeal to the right people at the right time. During the recession, job boards were guilty of recycling careers advice that was only relevant to supporting job seekers during buoyant times, failing (in the main) to address their needs during testing times when employers could cherry-pick the candidates they wanted. Be here, be now. 3. What content generates business leads? Content that works and gets results is content that directly addresses the needs – the pain points – of your target audience…you wouldn’t run a recruitment advert for a graduate role in the FT, would you?! What problems do your clients, peers, candidates, people face daily? What are their biggest concerns, needs and interests? How can you help them? If you can, write about it. - Find the right topics to talk about: If you already run a blog, check your site’s marketing analytics to see what have been the most popular blog articles you’ve published. If you haven’t got access to any analytics or haven’t previously blogged, look in the public domain (e.g. Google News, Buzz Sumo) for trending and newsworthy industry stories – piggyback on these subjects and add your own take, expertise and commentary.
“Churchill said, 'This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read'.”
– Repurpose existing content: Constantly coming up with new blog ideas can be rather demanding at times. So, why not look at what you already have. For example: i) Videos: If more than 3 minutes long, they are unlikely to be watched (unless the viewer has headphones in the office of course), so write about the content instead. ii) Surveys/white papers: Take one or two of your findings and focus on that specific area as a post – a single survey can potentially create 3 or 4 different blog posts. iii) Webinars or seminars attended: Use commonly asked questions from a webinar you ran or attended and write about it. Webinars look at key pain points, so take just 1 or 2 points and focus on these in a post. iv) Annual Reports: Share key elements from company presentations or annual reports. Suppose you stated that your intention was to invest in new systems, ATS or cloud-based platform for instance – if you’ve now done these things, share your experiences in a blog and describe the way in which your business is benefiting from these changes. - Think like a publisher: Having a great idea for a topic is one thing, but for it to reach outside the confines of your four walls it also needs to be found. Your blog is a marketing tool so you need to optimise your content for search engines to find you, which in turn could convert your visitors into leads very quickly. Identify what keywords bring the most traffic to your website and embed these in your blog posts. – Make your content passes the ‘blink’ test and has a chance of getting read: Much like you will take just a few seconds to determine if a CV should go into the ‘Maybe’ or ‘Not on this occasion’ pile, the title of your blog post must also ‘sell’ itself to your audience: i) Is it clear by the headline what the post is about?
ii) As for the content itself, keep to the point – let each paragraph represent a single point, make it flow by ensuring each point flows naturally into the next. Remember, you’re telling a story. iii) Avoid turning your blog into an online version of War & Peace. If your post is too long, your readers may make the call over whether to continue reading or not. If writing about a complex issue, a short post will not necessarily do justice to the topic. At the same time, don’t write a long post for the sake of filling the page; as Churchill said, “This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read”. – Make your landing page effective: You want your blog to help build your prospects list, make it easy for visitors to engage with you: i) Include a Landing Page – a form that allows you to capture your visitors information. ii) For speed, stick to just an email address. To better qualify your new leads, create a data capture pop-up form to obtain key information: name, company, email address (this will also give you the web address), job role, and even add a question: “Recent recruitment challenge you faced…[blank box]” – you now have a need and an ice breaker/conversation piece. 4. How do you promote your blog? Social media is of course the primary method of promoting your new blog posts, but make sure you use the right outlet: i) Facebook – primarily brand focused. ii) Twitter – real-time news consumption. iii) LinkedIn – networking and industry news gathering. iv) Google+ – brand-led, primarily males earning above average salary. There are, of course, other methods of promotion too: v) Update your email signature to include a link to your blog post.
"Doing a blog is one thing, knowing how to measure its effectiveness is another."
vi) Update your LinkedIn company pages and cross-post a link into relevant groups.
- Unique visitors - Requests for information and downloads
Remember to include a call-to-action (CTA) in your blog e.g. “Do you struggle to balance the day-to-day responsibilities of running your business with your blogging or other PR activity? We may be able to help you, contact us now.” Or “Join our LinkedIn group for the latest news from our company and your sector." 5. How do you know your blog is achieving the desired results – how to measure ROI?
- Shares, likes, follows - Improved bounce rates - Increases in new vs returning visitors - Increased leads and incoming enquiries - Rise in number of speculative applications And of course, sales! RI
There are a number of measurements you can implement: - Page views
TOP TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL BLOGGING 1. REMEMBER WHY YOU ARE BLOGGING 2. IDENTIFY THE CONTENT THAT PEOPLE REALLY WANT TO READ 3. DECIDE WHAT FORMAT TO PRESENT YOUR BLOG CONTENT 4. PROMOTE YOUR CONTENT - DON'T JUST LEAVE IT SITTING THERE ON YOUR SITE 5. MEASURE THE SUCCESS OF YOUR BLOG POSTS IDENTIFY WHAT IS WORKING AND WHAT ISN'T AND ADJUST YOUR NEXT CONTENT ACCORDING TO WHAT IS OF MOST INTEREST TO YOUR AUDIENCE
BOOK ESSENTIALS Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahenman This book will really make you think about how and why we make the decisions we do, whether purchasing choices or how we form opinions of people, objects or other situations. It can be tricky in parts and each page will prompt you to pause and consider what the author is saying, so expect this to be a slightly longer read than you may be used to.
Life's a Pitch, by Stephen Bayley & Roger Mavity Split into two halves, each author takes it in turn to show how virtually every aspect of our daily lives is a sales pitch in one form or other. There are some great ideas on how to create the right first impression and strong rationale as to why clients wrongly assume that measurement is all about numbers – it’s not: “Numbers is how you keep score, but they aren’t how you play the game.”
It's Not How Good You Are, It's How good You Want to Be, Paul Arden This book can be read in thirty minutes – literally. Arden was the creative brain behind BA’s ‘The Face’ and Toyota’s “The car in Front…” ad campaigns that dominated British TV screens during the 1980s and 1990s. This short book is a catalogue of insights with the underlining message to encourage businesses to “Be unfashionable: Take risks.”
Contagious, by Professor Jonah Berger As professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Jonah Berger is one of the most recognised thought leaders on social media, viral marketing and word of mouth advertising. In this, his first published book, Berger superbly captures the essence of what makes ideas catch on, why is it that people talk more about certain products and ideas more others and what makes online content go viral. In Contagious, Berger draws on 15 years of research into the phenomena of social influence and highlights how some brands have successfully mastered the art of creating PR and marketing campaigns that become 'contagious'. Of particular note is chapter four in which he talks about why encouraging customers to publicly declare their interest in a product or service (‘Like’, ‘Share’, ‘Comment’ etc.) helps to spread the word that something is good and worth checking out. If you are reponsible for your agency's external communications, this book will give you a better understanding of how to create better newsletters, emails or recruitment advertising campaigns.
WHAT MAKES A STORY THAT THE MEDIA WILL BE INTERESTED IN? One of the greatest challenges we face as a PR agency is communicating to our clients what sort of things the media are most likely to publish. For some, the reality of what will and what won’t be of interest is a little surprising But before you put pen to paper to craft your next press release, ask your self these three questions first: Q: Will anyone give a darn what we are saying here – no really, will they? Q: Does this press release communicate new findings – will it make people think Wow, that’s interesting? Q: Is it topical – will it add value and meaning to
something that affects our core market, does it address the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) factor? So what does grab the attention of the business journalists who you want to communicate with? Here are a few pointers to help you out. - Have you secured a new contract? What impact will this have on the business; will it mean that you have to increase your existing staffing levels? - Have you won an award? Business awards are brilliant for your organisation’s profile as they position you as a key player in your field. NB If the awards are organised by an industry
media publication, don’t bother sending your press release to a rival publication in the same sector because it will never get published! - Have you hired a new CEO? Senior appointments are popular stories, particularly if you are a business that is well known in your space or succeeded in bringing in a well-known figure to help drive further growth. - Have you expanded into new markets or territories? If demand has precipitated the need to have a physical presence in a different geographical location, whether in the UK or overseas, then shout about it. Firstly, the local press where you are currently will love to report that one of ‘their own’ is doing so well. Secondly, the local media covering your new location will be glad to report that a growing business will be creating new employment opportunities in their area. And thirdly, the trade press will be interested because your success may be seen as either being reflective of a strong performing sector or that it is possible for a business to buck the national trend. - Are you celebrating a milestone or anniversary? It won’t have escaped your attention that we recently experienced the greatest recession in living memory, so a story that celebrates your 10th, 15th or 20th+ year in operation is always welcomed. After all, we all like to hear of a company that has successfully weathered the storm to come out stronger on the other side. - Can you respond to a trending story? Having an opinion on a
Having an opinion is all well and good, but if it simply echoes what the majority is already saying it won’t be listened to topical subject matter is all well and good, but if your opinion simply echoes what the majority is already saying on the matter then save your breath – it simply won’t be listened to. The key is to add weight to the debate, to steer it into a different direction. For instance, the introduction of the new living wage will do much to boost the incomes for those aged over 25 years, but it fails to address the growing problem of youth unemployment, which remains at a record high. Rather than denounce Mr Osborne’s policy, can you offer a possible solution to address this point – greater use of apprenticeships, better careers advice for students at schools and colleges, perhaps. PR may stand for ‘public relations’ but it is more about ‘people relations’ than anything else. If you have a trumpet to blow, then blow it but you need to consider how relevant your news will be to the people opening the pages of the media you want to feature in. RI
Beware the rise and rise of the fake “experts” and “gurus”
A ClearlyPR executive usually starts their day with a big cup of coffee – a staple of any PR’s diet – and a check up on our client’s social media pages. Whilst we utilise the major networks like Facebook and Twitter, our clients have strong reputations and presences in the business world, so LinkedIn is particularly useful for us and something that we use regularly. Scrolling through LinkedIn feeds, we see the kind of updates that anyone would expect to see on a businessnetworking site. Job vacancies, CEOs and other professionals commenting on the latest business news, and even the occasional “inspirational”
success quote (although we internally cringe every time we see one). But something the team has picked up on lately is the number of self-proclaimed “experts”, or even worse “gurus”, selling their services on LinkedIn. Claiming that you’re an expert is an extremely bold claim to make in itself, but having to actually live up to that expectation is going to be difficult. After all, an expert is someone who has a high level of knowledge and experience in a particular field – but many people seem to forget this. Instead, they adopt the title without realising they still have
to deliver impressive results when work comes their way. In reality, the self-glorifying term has become so clichéd that it does the complete opposite, making people steer clear of you. With social media being a primary platform for networking, you would think that these “experts” would have professional looking profiles, but that’s not always the case. Not all, but some of these self-proclaimed geniuses don’t even have a professional photograph as their profile picture. This is a bad sign in any industry, but it’s even worse when they claim to be an expert in Public Relations or Branding, when they clearly can’t even manage their own image, let alone that of a business. There’s a reason that genuine experts never use the word in
their job description. Its overuse has led to the word being stigmatised, not to mention the fact that it’s a little bit arrogant. Do you think that Bill Gates calls himself a computer technology expert? Or that Richard Branson calls himself a guru in business development or aerospace engineering? No, we didn’t think so either…
Ochman also makes a valid point: “A guru is something someone else calls you, not something you call yourself”.
One of the main types of “experts” and “gurus” that we’ve come across are those in the social media domain. According to B. L. Ochman of online publication AdAge, there are now 181,000 social media “gurus” on Twitter alone.
In a day where followers and likes can be bought for a small amount of money, businesses must be wary of employing self-proclaimed experts who seem to have large followings.
The term ‘quality not quantity’ springs to mind here. Whilst you’d think that these names couldn’t get any worse, it turns out that they can. Some are even appointing themselves as social media “ninjas” and “jedis”. Oh dear.
or perhaps we can put the term to bed completely in the business world, because let’s face it, a real guru has unique knowledge, not the same as the other 180,999 “gurus” in the field. …
Get proof of their expertise before you sign on the dotted line. Ask for a list of previous clients, testimonials, statistics and case studies. Anyone can talk the talk so why should you bring in an “expert” or “guru” who can’t back up what they say? RI
7 BRANDING TIPS FOR YOUR AGENCY With recent figures from the REC showing that the recruitment industry is thriving, there’s never been a better time to go it alone and set up your own agency. To be successful, you’ll need to convince clients that you’re the best when it comes to finding them the right candidates – having a strong brand behind you makes this infinitely easier. When you consider that the UK has over 20,000 recruitment agencies, the need for a means to set your company apart from the competition becomes all the more important.
However, aside from some of the biggest agencies, branding is something that is largely ignored, neglected or mishandled within the recruitment world with new agencies’ brandings efforts often hasty and unclear. So how do you begin to create a successful recruitment brand? Here are 7 branding ideas that will help you. 1. Remember what makes up your brand: It’s difficult to fine-tune your brand if you’re not entirely sure what it is in the first place.
Branding is fast-becoming a top priority for ambitious recruitment business owners
“The need to stand out in an ever-competitive crowd has never been greater.” RECRUITER IMPRINT
“Branding is much more than just a name, logo and tagline. It represents how people feel about your company ”
Branding is much more than just a name, logo and tagline. It represents how people feel about your company and therefore warrants significant time and financial investment if you want it to add real value and a significant ROI. Your reputation is closely tied to your branding and a positive reputation can take two forms. One, people may regard you generally as a “great firm,” or two, they might know you for your specific expertise. This is a particular asset, as a reputation for expertise connects you directly to your service offerings, helping to answer one of your audiences’ biggest questions “What exactly do you do?”
2. Understand the challenges facing your sector: Branding a recruitment agency has its own opportunities and challenges compared to other types of professional services. For a start, recruitment is immensely competitive. Though everyone has a general understanding of what recruitment is, there’s less awareness of what specific services different agencies provide – it’s imperative that you distinguish yourself and make these clear. Do you operate in a particular sector niche? In a particular location? What exactly do you offer that sets you apart? Since you’re typically selling your expertise and advice, it’s essential that you communicate exactly what kind of advice and expertise you offer. 3. Experts have an advantage: Having experts on your team is a great way of boosting your brand. After all, research has found that firms with experts have greater visibility and command higher rates, driving the success for the whole company. Though recruitment agencies often have clients that are repeat engagements, many agencies are sales-led, often manager owned by former successful consultants who have set up their own businesses. Having experts on your team helps generate more leads and strengthens your credibility in the marketplace, making it easier to close more sales and grow. 4. Base your brand on reality: It’s not uncommon for people to develop big visions for their brands, but it’s important to make sure your branding is rooted in reality. Sure, you want to stand out from the crowd…but make sure what you’re saying is true. The fact of the matter is that, no matter how objectively you try to view your brand, chances are you will always be too close to judge it effectively. That’s where research on your industry comes in, helping you to ground your branding in the reality of the marketplace. By studying your clients, prospects and
influencers you can base your branding decisions on empirical evidence rather than opinions, creating a brand that truly serves the needs of your business. 5. Know your USP: You need to identify differentiators on which to build your new brand and set your firm apart from the rest of the pack. Researching your competitors should help with this – keep an eye out on what they’re talking about, what areas they specialise in, and whether there are any areas of unmet needs in your market place. Some of the differentiators may be qualities that you already possess, others may be areas where you can actively decide to be different e.g. specialise in an unfilled niche or provide services through a novel business model. Think about any challenges that your clients may be facing in the industry and how you can address these. Essentially, emphasise these potential differentiators in your marketing. 6. Keep it consistent: You need to make sure that your brand positioning is reflected across all of your marketing channels. Otherwise, your message will become jumbled – your audiences will become confused about who you are and what you’re trying to say. 7. Grow your brand organically: Real results take time. Your brand will need to grow in the marketplace gradually, across many channels including your website, social media, blogs, articles and physical promotional materials. Search engine optimisation can help draw visitors to your website and public speaking, and seminars can raise your profile and cement your brand. Ultimately, all these tips work together to raise your visibility and propel your growth growth. Through strategic and deliberate branding, you can help your firm stand apart and get ahead. RI
PUBLIC RELATIONS I SOCIAL MEDIA I CONTENT MARKETING 20
5 GREAT CONTENT SOURCES FOR YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS
AS FEATURED ON THE CLEARLYPR BLOG
TIME IS A PRECIOUS COMMODITY, NO MATTER WHAT YOUR POSITION IN THE COMPANY. BUT IF YOU ARE THE PERSON GIVEN THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MANAGING YOUR COMPANYâ€™S SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY, HOW EASY IS IT TO FIND ENOUGH OF THE RIGHT CONTENT THAT YOU NEED ON A DAILY BASIS? NEXT PAGE
1. BuzzSumo If you want to find out what types of posts are currently the most popular on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, BuzzSumo will tell you and it’s incredibly easy to use. Simply enter your search term, select which country you want to focus on and hit the search button. The results can be filtered depending on which social media you are most interested in, which gives you the added advantage of a) identifying which stories have the greatest traction on Twitter versus Facebook, for instance, and b) helping you to evaluate what subject matter could make for good content for your company blog. 2. LinkedIn Pulse Be honest, how many of you really use this? Pulse – also known as ‘Publisher’ – is LinkedIn’s own blogging platform, where users can post their own thought leadership content that is shared among their network of contacts. It is also a rich source of daily content too.
Pulse works by customised stories according to those people or organisations that you already follow on LinkedIn. For instance, we write a lot about branding, so much of the daily feeds we receive include links to the latest articles written by some of the most prolific figures on that subject. The website version is good, but we’d recommend the App which is great. 3. NEWS on iPhone OK admittedly if you don’t have an iPhone then this option is not available to you, but if you do have one then are you using the inbuilt News app? The app enables you to create your favourite news feeds covering a range of subject matter. For us, we have feeds that cover Advertising, Business, Content Marketing, Digital Media, Marketing…you get the idea. You can also add the feeds from your favourite news sites, such as Bloomberg, FT, The Huffington Post and just about every other newswire you can think of. And the feeds are all updated in real time, so you can be sure you are kept up to date with the latest and breaking stories. 4. MSN What MSN is particular good at doing is aggregating the most popular and searched for news stories on the web and placing them in an easy to navigate platform. Like most news-based sites the top trending stories appear on the home page and on the first set of results under each category heading, but of course you can search the site for more specific content. Its strength is on providing you with more ‘populist’ content, so for any in-depth businessrelated stories you may have to look elsewhere. 5. Feedly This is perhaps our favourite content generating site. Its minimalist design
and easy to use functionality makes this an incredibly popular content aggregator for techies and technophobes alike. Users can create their own personal dashboard that is fed daily with the latest news from across your key areas of interest and presented in a magazine format. Much like the News app on the iPhone, we have created a number of categories ranging from Branding and Content Marketing to Leadership and Turtles (don’t ask!). Although you won’t get to view the full article on the site itself, you will get to read a digest à la METRO or the i-independent with a link to the original source. RI
HOW TO INTEGRATE A NEW EMPLOYEE EFFECTIVELY
It is often said that people who are an organisation’s greatest asset, and it is true. Yet all too often we see organisations struggle to retain their best employees, losing them to a key competitor.
why onboarding has come to prominence is to stem the tide of staff jumping ship and swimming the seas to where their career nirvana lies in wait with the organisation’s competitors.
There can be a range of explanations for this, but one of the biggest reasons is the failure of employers during the onboarding process.
As the economy continues along its upward trajectory, more opportunities in the job market means employees are more susceptible to the possibility of moving elsewhere for better prospects. It’s a trend that is set to continue – unless of course it is nipped in the bud.
‘Onboarding’ is the buzzword that has been doing the rounds within HR departments up and down the country ever since the recession and relates to the way in which employers integrate new starters into their organisations. Some see onboarding as something that only happens in larger companies, but it’s just as important for small and medium sized businesses too. Perhaps the single greatest reason
To do this requires shifting the focus away from the so-called ‘hygiene’ factors (salary, benefits package, working environment) and balancing them with the employee’s ‘emotional’ factors (career ambitions, motivations, influencing ability). Hygiene factors will help you to win the battle for the right talent, but it is the emotional factors that will win you the war and enable
"The single greatest reason why onboarding has come to prominence is to stem the tide of staff jumping ship and swimming the seas to where their career nirvana lies in wait with the organisation’s competitors."
“...if you fail to really ‘get’ what an employee is all about, you risk losing that member of staff...”
you to keep hold of that talent. Think of it like this: The process of recruiting a new member of staff is rather transactional in nature – an offer is made, terms are negotiated, and a contract is signed. Of course this is not such a bad thing, its just business. Trouble is, if you fail to really ‘get’ what an employee is all about early doors, you risk losing that member of staff. So how can you ensure that you satisfy both the hygiene and emotional factors of your employees?
Here are a few key recommendations that you may find useful: 1. Gain employee ‘buy in’: Employees who can identify with the organisation’s values and goals will feel that they are ‘making a difference’. 2. Big-up their role: Having a job description is one thing, but new starters need to see how their role fits in with the rest of the organisation and the difference they can make to the future direction of the business. 3, Enable two-way communication: Employees who feel they can easily approach their line managers are more engaged and feel part of the decisionmaking process. 4. Keep employees in the loop at all times: Whatever it is, keep your employees informed about what is happening in the business, whether you’ve won a new contract or even if the company has featured in a magazine like this one! Share your news and stimulate dialogue throughout the business. 5. Encourage ideas: By developing a supportive and knowledge-sharing corporate culture, employees will feel empowered to discuss, share and contribute ideas that can have both a direct and indirect impact on how the organisation performs. Integrating new employees is never easy, it is a challenge. But get it right and you improve the chances of your new employee getting off to the best possible start. RI
POSTMODERN PAINTING. Stella alternately paints in oil and watercolor
Photos by Richard Bosworth
THE INTERVIEWS by Paul MacKenzie-Cummins
One of the fastest growing trends within the recruitment sector since the end of the recession has been the increased focus on branding – the way in which agencies and search firms are perceived by clients and candidates.
how other agencies and search firms position themselves, we can often learn a great deal about employer and agency branding by looking outside of the sector itself.
business leaders in this and future editions of Recruiter imPRint.
That is what these interviews are all about.
- Lynda Thomas, CEO of Macmillan Cancer Support, and
So for this edition, we will reveal the thoughts of two of them:
With the sector enjoying a high not seen since, well, for some time at least, more and more consultants are recognising the obvious opportunities to be had by going it alone. Which is all very well, trouble is that this increased competition makes the need for recruiters to position themselves as the ‘agency of choice’ all the more greater.
Over the last few months I have been incredibly fortunate to interview several - General Sir Nicholas Carter, Chief of the captains of industry. Each of these leaders General Staff. has faced innumerable challenges of one form or another and each has successfully We hope you enjoy them! positioned their respective organisations as employers of choice.
Rather than always looking inward to see
We will share the insights of each of these
LYNDA THOMAS CEO MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT On leadership… Lynda didn’t follow the traditional path to the top. Most of her contemporaries have progressed from a services or public policy background, but she sees this recruitment model as changing. “The charity world is a very public place, it is a tough environment with a lot of media scrutiny,” she said. “The background that I have had in fundraising has enabled me to be very resilient.” “Whilst we once saw many of the senior positions being filled by those from outside the sector, we are increasingly seeing staff being developed from within it.” Leadership, from Lynda’s perspective, is about “being with people, walking the floor, getting ‘out there’ and truly believing in what our people are capable of more than anything else.” She quotes: ‘A desk is a very dangerous place from which to view the world.’ On procuring and retaining top talent… “Wherever possible we will look at ways in which we can retain the people we already have, and there are a number of ways in which we are able to do so.” She goes on to explain the importance of clearly communicating the career opportunities which exist within the organisation and about making it easier for people to realise their career ambitions by remaining with the charity rather than looking elsewhere. On staying ahead of the curve… There are in excess of 165,000 registered charities in the UK and in 2014 there were almost 6,700 new applications for charity status. How does Macmillan retain its competitiveness? “It’s tough. There is a huge amount of competition, but there is no secret to our success,” says Lynda. “We are constantly innovating. Our focus needs to be on continuing to deliver the best possible services which in turn means that people will want to support us.”
GENERAL SIR NICHOLAS CARTER CHIEF OF THE GENERAL STAFF On recruitment… General Sir Nick has talked openly about wanting to “maximise talent” in the Army, through greater diversity and inclusivity, but what exactly does this mean and how does he see this being achieved? “It’s a multi-faceted challenge. What I am trying to do is to acknowledge that unless the Army broadens its recruiting base, so that it draws from the whole of British society, then it’s not going to be able to deal with the sorts of challenges and perplexities that are going to come up in the future. “What I mean by that is there needs to be an absolute understanding that the demography of our country has changed. "The traditional recruiting grounds which were white Caucasian aged between 16-25 have diminished by 20-25% in the last 10 years – and they are getting smaller." On diversity… "It is also about women. It’s not good enough that we don’t draw talent from 51% of the population in the numbers that we should do. Ultimately, it’s about maximising all of that opportunity. But that means that we also have to change our culture, because we have to be an inclusive organisation. "I want my people to have the chance to go out and have attachments with organisations on the outside so that they can come back in – adjusted to be able to deal with the outside world. "That requires us to take a more wholesome approach to the way in which we manage our people and the way in which we give them a career structure that gives them the opportunity to just that. "As CGS you need to be concerned with today’s conflict, but you are responsible for this historic institution being positioned in the right place two or three CGS’s downstream. "It’s a super tanker and if I don’t make the call now to make sure that we’ve got the right talent in 10 years time, I shall have left my successor’s successor in a really bad place. That’s why it is really important to look over the horizon."
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