In movies, we’ve heard about the concept of “force.” Some films use this idea for protection, as in a force field that repels threats. Then there’s the force that’s like a special positive power, helping the good guys overcome the bad ones.
In business, there’s also a positive force. One that’s related to hiring. It’s called candidate gravity. Candidate gravity is the pull your organization has on talent. This pull may be weak, drawing in an insufficient supply of candidates; inconsistent, coming in ebbs and flows; or strong, generating a consistent stream of people. Organizations with strong candidate gravity always draw a stronger flow of top talent their way, leaving second- and third-tier candidates for everyone else. Because so many organizations have a weak or inconsistent pull on high quality people, I’ve dedicated a chapter to this topic in my new book.
How can you improve your candidate gravity? By leveraging often overlooked ways of drawing in candidates. One of those is public relations. To help you get starting in using PR for recruitment or to improve your current PR efforts, I turned to a leading expert — Fauzia Burke. Fauzia is the founder and president of FSB Associates. She provided insight on the topic of using PR to attract top talent.
Burke says PR has always been important, but in today’s aggressive marketplace it also gives you a competitive advantage. In the past the companies with the most money won the image game because they could out-spend the little guys on advertising. PR levels the playing field. If your ideas are better and you are doing good work, you can get the same amount of coverage as a big company. PR helps to build credibility through securing positive media coverage, and a great PR firm will help your company put its best foot forward by getting you in front of the right, influential media. While advertising and content marketing are important, PR is more influential because it provides third-party validation and cannot be purchased.
When properly leveraged, a sustained PR campaign can help attract more top talent. This includes people you’ll supply to your customers and the internal talent you need to run your firm.
Burke believes much of the success from PR comes from consistency. “Think about it: the first thing most of us do when investigating a new company or person to work with is we ‘google’ it,” she says. “Hopefully, the top results for your company will be an official website, plus positive press on that valuable first two pages of a Google search result.”
Along with positive press, you also want to make sure the media is current. A good story from five years ago won’t have the same impact as positive stories every year. You want to make sure your company is presenting itself in the best possible light and appears current.
What are the steps to get started in incorporating PR into an organization’s recruiting efforts? Whether you decide to hire an outside PR firm or use staff in-house, keep in mind your goal is to attract and keep top talent. “Think about a plan or strategy to attract the right kind of person,” Burke advises. “What qualities would they be looking for in a future employer?”
Once you have your strategy set, determine who in your organization will serve as your official spokesperson. “Just remember good PR is an invitation to prospects to check out your company, says Burke. “Don’t forget to get your house in order first.” Evaluate your social media platforms and make sure your content fits your corporate message. Commit to an editorial calendar for social posting and blogging. This may sound like a lot of work, but once you spend some time on the strategy, execution will be much easier.
In Burke’s opinion, the best PR content isn’t about “selling” something. It’s about providing helpful information — sometimes information people didn’t even know they needed. When you are seen as an authority in your industry, people will come back to you for thought pieces, opinions and your product and services.
When asked for a closing piece of advice to share, Burke reminds readers that PR needs to be a long-term strategy, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. An online brand can take at least 18 months to be fully executed, and even online coverage takes at least six to eight weeks from the time you start to see results. “Pace yourself and stay consistent,” she advises.
Fauzia’s firm, FSB Associates, is an online publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. She’s also the author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, April 2016). Fauzia worked for Wiley and Henry Holt before starting FSB, and has promoted the books of authors such as Alan Alda, Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Melissa Francis, S. C. Gwynne, Mika Brzezinski, Charles Spencer and many more. For online marketing, book publishing and social media advice, follow Fauzia on Twitter (@FauziaBurke) and Facebook (Fauzia S. Burke). For more information on her book, please visit: http://www.FauziaBurke.com.