Why aren’t you marketing?

If I had hair I’d be pulling it out. I just get so frustrated when I see people laughing in the face of logic.

Recently I’ve been listening to the full series of Scale Up podcasts by the REC with Kevin Green and various business owners in recruitment. It has been brilliant.

One theme that repeats time and time again is that businesses who grow fast have all invested heavily in marketing, advertising and branding. Adam Buck CEO of Phaidon said he ploughed the majority of his money and profits into advertising which helped him and Shelby Jennings grow in the UK and internationally. John O’Sullivan, when setting up Best People, said advertising was what made the difference for them. It helped them hire talent, win clients and get candidates. The founder of Sigmar Adrian McGennis said their advertising was a key driver of their success.

But every day I hear recruitment businesses not wanting to invest in marketing, branding or advertising. 

It frustrates me.

Whilst I applaud them for their undying self-belief, thinking that they can do things their way, that they can be successful even though they aren’t following the rules of good business or that they are somehow exempt from taking the path most other successful companies have already carved out. 

It frustrates me. 

Be head strong by all means. Successful entrepreneurs often are. But please, have sense. Save yourself the hassle and take the easy way out. Focus more energy on doing a good job, advertising in the right way, communicate effectively and watch your business grow. 

Recruitment doesn’t need to be this hard. Take heed of those who have gone before you and follow suit.

Good luck.

How to write headlines: 8 tips for recruitment marketers


There is an 80:20 rule when it comes to writing online, and David Ogilvy put it so well when he said you should spend 80% of your time focusing on the headline.

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

The five most important headlines you should consider are:

  1. Blog titles
  2. Social status updates
  3. Email subject lines
  4. Website page titles
  5. LinkedIn headlines

For each of these there are some rules and formulas which are universal.

Tip One: Relevancy

Make sure your headline is relevant to your audience and feels like it has been written for them. Consider using words that are specific to them like “The 3 mistakes hiring managers make when dealing with recruiters”. (By the way, negative headlines really capture people’s attention.) This will potentially reduce the volume of people interacting, but increase the relevancy of those interacting. And what matters more : volume or quality?

Tip Two: Solve problems

Try answering questions you are being asked regularly. “How to …” is the most powerful term in digital marketing. Leading with this allows you to start solving business problems your targets may have.

Tip Three: Timeliness

How timely is your content? Tie your headlines to something that is happening right now. This drives up the urgency in the reader. The downside is that the content won’t be evergreen so you may not be able to keep coming back to it.

Tip Four: Tool Up

Use tools! Check out Adestra and their subject line analysis tool. It allows you to see if the key words you are using are likely to boost or drop your open rates. Using this I can see that the key word “danger” in a subject line should increase clicks in my email.

Tip Five: Short

Short and sweet. It works for blogs, social media, emails. With email marketing it is crucial you have a short email subject line especially as nearly half of all emails are now read on mobiles.

Tip Six: ACTION!

Drive action by using verbs. These doing words will help your audience start to take action themselves.

Tip Seven: Question?

Ask questions of your audience. They will be more likely to read and respond.  Wouldn’t you?

Tip Eight: Use numbers

People click on titles, updates and emails with numbers In. Use them sparingly though as some people have become bored or listicles (articles made entirely of lists). That said they still have some of highest click through rates.


So I should write a post called “5 mistakes recruitment marketers make with headlines” next week and use “How to write headlines: 8 tips for recruitment marketers” for this post.  Lets see how it works…

Email Marketing: don’t call it a comeback

Gary Vaynerchuk often harks back to 1997 when his wine business’ email open rate was 91%. Since then he says marketers have ruined that channel for all of us. Email open rates are no longer knocking on the door of 100% but we can’t say email marketing is dead. It still has a place to drive impact for businesses. 

Recently more and more marketers talk about the website visits and business outcomes that short email lists can generate compared to much larger Twitter followerships. People are falling back in love with email because the stats are positive. 

Seth Godin refers to permission marketing which has become the byword for modern marketing. 

Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.

It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.

If someone gives their email address you have permission to contact them as long as you deliver on the promises made when you captured their details. Continue to be valuable and there should be no reason for someone to stop receiving your messages. 

When I graduated many moons ago I signed up to a job board specialising in graduate jobs. To this day I receive a weekly email with top graduate jobs… (I haven’t unsubscribed as I want to see how long this goes on for.) If this company had started sending me jobs from an affiliate job site featuring more relevant opportunities or recommended I signed up to another job board and charged per lead they would have generated revenue and at the same time been more valuable to me. As it stands they can do nothing for me, and I can do nothing for them.

Email marketing hasn’t gone away so let’s not call this a come back. Take some time to reassess: are you still relevant and are you still delivering on the initial promise you made? Check the data and if you are, then the results should follow.

What I’ve learned this week: 1 article and 1 podcast

1 Article

With all the talk of Brexit making recruitment companies nervous about the UK’s future as a hub for talent it was refreshing to read that Snapchat are setting up a major operation in London.

Snap’s revenues from countries where there is not a local salesforce will be registered in the UK because they will be handled by sales staff in London run by Claire Valoti, formerly a senior Facebook UK executive.

Ms Veloti said: “We believe in the UK creative industries. The UK is where our advertising clients are, where more than 10 million daily Snapchatters are, and where we’ve already begun to hire talent.”

Good news recruiters – the U.K. is still hiring!

Read the full article here.

1 Podcast

The REC have been beavering away to create a phenomenal podcast series where Kevin Green interviews senior leaders from the recruitment industry including Steve Ingham – CEO of Page Group, Peter Searle – Chief Exec for Adecco UK&I and many more.

Download the full podcast series from iTunes or check them out here for free.

3 things I’ve written this week

Creating video in recruitment

Can you growth hack in recruitment marketing?

3 reasons content marketing is still important for recruitment marketing

Happy Friday!

Creating video in recruitment

Video is easily the fastest growing content type online. The problem recruitment companies face is that it feels expensive and hard to start. It doesn’t have to be though.


What makes a good recruitment video?

Attention. Grab your audience and stand out. This means being selective with the thumbnail you use, the cover image, the title and video description.

Once you have your audiences’ attention it is about making sure the content is good quality to maintain interest through out the video.

Story is crucial in maintaining attention but also delivering a message. Think about the structure of the content and narrative. If you are writing a script then edit in the same way you would a blog or article. Take out anything that isn’t essential.

If you are looking for a simple framework to creating content check out this.

Action. The next steps need to be considered when creating video. Ensure that you have something for your audience to do once they have watched your video – it might be to visit your website, share the video, check out a job or learn about your services.

But it all sounds expensive.

It doesn’t have to be. If you are outsourcing video creation to an agency there are businesses that can work to pretty much any budget.

If you want to start out producing your own content because it is cheaper, you want more control or quicker turn around times then the good news is that it can super simple. In fact you can shoot HD video and edit it entirely for free using your iPhone.

I would recommend investing in a tripod and a phone attachment. These vary in price from a £1 (from Poundland – no joke!) to £30 for a good tripod.

If you can stretch the budget I’d recommend getting a DSLR camera as this will also take good photos that you will be able to use in other places like your website or for social media.

Tips for making video yourself

Do make sure where you are filming is well lit. Aim for natural light, don’t put your subject in direct sunlight as it will wash out your picture.

Do film in a quiet place with limited background noise. If you can’t avoid the background noise then try to be close to the subject or set up a second recording device and record an audio note. These two files can be merged when you edit. You can also buy an external mic to connect to your device.

Do use your tripod. Nothing screams poor quality recording more than the jogging of a camera.

Don’t film portrait. Have your phone horizontal unless you are doing something on Snapchat.

Good luck and get shooting!


Can you growth hack in recruitment?


At least not in most traditional recruitment businesses.

In recent times the term growth hacking has become mainstream having started with online businesses, apps and eCommerce websites. Here is why I don’t think you can growth hack recruitment.

Growth hackers should start their approach at the product idea stage. In recruitment (and for that matter, others traditional service businesses) it isn’t really a product which can be manipulated, changed or optimised on the go. Growth hackers need to be able to change their product or service quickly based on live customer feedback and demand. Most traditional and established recruitment companies can’t pivot that fast or offer that many different services.

What recruitment companies may be able to use growth hacking for include launching new industry / functional divisions, new business offerings (such as RPO) or additional services (especially if those services could be found online).

Why we should learn about growth hacking

Whilst it is unlikely that we will see real growth hackers in recruitment it is certainly important to understand what growth hackers are doing and how they operate. Most of the core principles of growth hacking boil down to good research, an ongoing understanding of the market, good digital marketing and an ability to get insight from data. Growth hackers will tend to have digital experience and be able to build and amend websites or digital platforms (like apps) to launch new products, service lines or optimise based on feedback and data.

These are for the most part skills that recruitment marketers should learn to remain relevant in this day and age. You may not be able to growth hack recruitment, but you should know about it.

For more information on growth hacking read this book.

3 reasons content marketing is still important for recruitment marketing

Content is King. We know. We’ve been hearing it for the best part of eight years.

But still so many recruitment companies aren’t focusing on creating unique content as part of their strategy. Here are three reasons why it is still important.

1. Search Engine Optimisation

If Google isn’t one of the top sources of traffic to your business you are probably in trouble. Still in 2017 the best way to rank within the search engines is to create good quality content specific to the search queries your target audience are looking for. So if you are trying to drive applications for “site manager jobs in Plymouth” how well does your site rank for that term? If it doesn’t, then start creating content around each of those key terms and the phrase as a whole.

Not fussed about ranking organically? Well if you are investing in pay per click and Google Adwords the more relevant your website content the cheaper it becomes to advertise.

2. Social Media

Referrals to websites from social media have increased dramatically over the past few years. And this will be the same for your business if you are creating content regularly.

When looking to grow followers on social media, creating a reason for these people to come back time after time is key. That reason is content.

Check out these key metrics to measure social media.

3. Content Convinces

Unless you are the only business doing what you do and your audience has no alternative then you need to convince people to work with you. Content will allow you to convince candidates, clients and future employees that you are the business for them.

The best recruitment marketers are those who are able to use content to persuade. Whilst a recruiter can do this on an individual level a marketer can do this at scale.

You know content is fundamental to digital marketing so create some today.

Looking for ways to start? Check out this framework.

What I’ve learned this week: 1 article and 1 podcast

1 Article

The most interesting article I’ve read this week has been about the future of work as some roles slowly get replaced by robots.  This in-depth article by McKinsey shares some fantastic research and insight.  Find it all here.

1 Podcast

The podcast that I’ve most enjoyed this week is an oldie that Freakonomics re-broadcasted over the winter break.  It answers the question “How to Be More Productive” which was originally listened to over 2million times!  You can find it here.

5 things I’ve written this week

This week I’ve written a few blog posts myself which you can find below:

Writing more in 2017

Consistency on social media

My January Social Media audit

Improve your personal brand on LinkedIn

How to do Influencer Marketing on Twitter (in 5 simple steps)


Happy Friday!

How to do Influencer Marketing on Twitter (in 5 simple steps)

You may not have the most influential Twitter account for your particular area of expertise.  But scores of people are just clicks away that you can leverage to help boost your brand and your message.  All you need to do is find them and ask.  Here are five steps to do just that.

Step One.

Start by going to Buzzsumo.com and clicking on the Influencers section.  Search for the topic or areas of expertise that are most relevant.

Here you can see a list of Influencers in the “recruitment marketing” arena

Step Two.

Go to Klout.com and sign in.  You will be presented with people who are influencers in your space.  Then search for the Expert Tags related to topics that are relevant to you.

On the right you can see the influencers in Recruitment and Staffing as well as their Klout Score

Note that whilst in Buzzsumo you can search for any key words, on Klout you search for tag terms.  For example I can search for “recruitment marketing” on Buzzsumo but on Klout I will have to look for the tags “Human Resources” and for “Recruitment and Staffing”.

For more information on using your Klout score check out this blog on social media audits.

Step Three.

Build a list (either public or private) of these infleuncers on Twitter.  This will make it easy to keep tabs on them, the content they share and the conversations they have.  Start reTweeting and interacting with these influencers.  Hopefully they will recognise you when it comes to contacting them.

Step Four.

Pick a piece of content you would like these inlfuencers to share.  Reach out to each influencer directly and personally.  Whilst contacting them via Twitter is easiest, I would recommend taking more time to craft a compelling message and contact them via LinkedIn, via email (if you can) or via their website / blog.  Below gives you direction for wording that message.

Hi X,

Like you I am really passionate about XYZ area of expertise.  In fact I’ve written a couple of articles on the topic.  I’d love you to take a look if you get the chance.
Here is a link to the piece that I think is most likely to be of interest to you.  I’d love to hear your feedback on it.  LINK.
If you like it I would be really grateful if you could share it.  That would make my day!

All the best,

P.s. Let me know if there is every anything I can do for you.

Step Five.

Set up a search for your website domain (or the content you’ve shared) in a tool like Hootsuite or regularly check back on Twitter using a saved search.  Be sure to thank everyone who shares your posts and articles.

Interact with those Twitter members who have taken an interest by reTweeting or responding to influencer posts of your content.  They should be more responsive.

Get Advanced.

Once you are accustomed to interacting with influencers you may wish to track the outcomes they drive.  One simple way is to share bit.ly links.  You can see how many times those links have been clicked.  If the influencer is used to receiving requests to share content they may also be familiar with these types of tracking tools.  With bit.ly, when using their logged-in free version, you are able to customise each bit link (such as bit.ly/GiantFinder).

If you use Google Analytics try UTM tracking to get a more comprehensive view of what visitors are doing when they are on your site (use a UTM builder to make this easier).  See below for an example.


Here you can see:

  • what the source of the campaign is: source=twitter
  • that it is a social media campaign: medium=social
  • and that you are focusing on tracking influencers: campaign=influencers
  • you can even specify which influencer you shared the link with: content=John%20Doe%20twitter

If you want to learn more about building UTM tracking into your campaigns check out this by Kissmetrics.

Good luck on your influencer marketing efforts!

Improve your personal brand on LinkedIn

Even the best marketing, PR, advertising and branding professionals neglect their own personal brand. But by ignoring themselves they are missing out on business opportunities, jobs and are building the wrong associations in others’ minds.

Take the bull by the horns and make a couple of quick changes to make sure that every interaction with you online is as impactful as possible.

Start by thinking about the five key messages or stories that you need to tell.

  • Who am I?
  • Why am I here?
  • My mission
  • What I do
  • What that means for you

Five key messages

Who am I?

This should be a short introduction to you. It is essential that it is easy to tell across multiple channels and be as relevant on the homepage of your website and LinkedIn page as it is being told by someone else in reference to you.

A good profile picture is essential. You are seven times more likely to receive a response to an InMail if you have one. In addition, it helps should you bump into someone at an event or meeting. The style of the picture should reflect how you wish to be perceived. A picture of you down the pub might be the picture you have to hand but that isn’t the lasting impression you want to leave (unless you are a publican of course).

Why am I here?

What is the purpose of this conversation or this content that you are making me read? What are you trying to achieve? Be up front about your objective.

My Mission.

Explain what you stand for. This needs to include your core values and your mission statement as well as what motivates you.

What I do.

Your mission should be more of your “why” and this is more “how” you do your job. Find your USP – your unique selling proposition and explain it to your audience.

Instead of just explaining what we are selling you could equally discuss the UBR – the unique buying reason; the reason that people buy instead of the reason we sell.

What that means for you.

Complete the circle and give case studies and testimonials of how you have helped or impacted others. It is essential that you have success stories that demonstrate how you have achieved your mission through what you do and how you do it.

Putting things into practice

Now take a look at your LinkedIn profile and see how these elements take shape.

Use your headline not to show your job title, but instead how you can help other people. This is your succinct Who I Am content.

Build out your Summary with your full Who I Am message and then explain Why Am I Here followed by My Mission.

Each section of your Experience should explain the My Mission of the company you work for or represent. Then you can go on to explain What I Do highlighting your USPs (or UBRs). If your role involves a process that you take people / businesses through it is wise to document that.

Use both the rich media components and Recommendations to show what you have done for others. This is your online portfolio that highlights What This Means For You should someone choose to do business with you.


Double check that your contact details are up to date and that it is easy to get in touch.

You can add up to three links on your profile – make sure you use them! At the very least link to your company website. A few other options include social media sites, specific areas on your website (such as testimonials or services), your blog or a portfolio.

To see an annotated guide check out the slides below.

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