Jeanine Gordon, Content Strategist & Managing Editor, @ Article-Writing.co

Branding – it’s been a hot topic for some time now, and you might think you know what it’s all about, but there’s a whole branch of it that holds a hefty meaning for recruiters, talent acquisition firms, and hiring managers. If you want the inside edge in the recruiting industry, discovering your brand voice and using it to your agency’s advantage is a must. If you want to sharpen your focus, land better accounts, and attract killer candidates, your brand voice matters – big time. Let’s explore what this means and how you can take your agency from brandless to badass with a few simple steps:

1. Branding: More Than Logos

When we hear the word “branding” we think of what a company looks like – branding is all about slapping your logo all over everything, right? If you think branding stops there, you’re mistaken, especially when it comes to the world of recruiting.

Claire Petrie, an HR Generalist turned Talent Acquisition expert, puts it this way: “A consistent logo, slogan, colors, etc. is great – but that doesn’t mean your brand is consistent in the market. Agencies who do have a brand have internally defined their company values, their value proposition, and have made a strategic plan for their firm. By planning out what markets they’re going to service best, what types of roles they will focus on, and what they hold their associates accountable to will speak volumes about the firm. Clients will know exactly what to expect when they are working with you!”

For recruiters, your brand is about your voice. By brand voice, we’re referring to everything your recruiting agency puts out into the world, from web content to job ads and social media. Brand voice also encompasses the type of clients you work with, the career placements you specialize, and the type of team you have. Your brand voice is essentially your agency’s personality, and it touches everything you do, not just logos and packaging.

2. Let’s Talk About Relationships – Who are You Talking To?

The idea of speaking to a target audience is nothing new if you’re a shoe company and you’ve decided you’re marketing your sneakers to teen boys ages 13 – 17. Got it. But what does it mean for recruiters? After all, don’t you want to just broadcast your job postings and recruiting services out to anyone and everyone so you get as many responses as possible? While this technique might garner a large volume of responses, you’re likely to sift through hundreds of resumes only to find a couple that are viable. We’ve heard this time and time again, but it’s about quality, not quantity.

As a recruiter or an agency owner, it’s critical that you have a well-defined brand voice so you can establish who you’re talking to, what your relationship to them is, and what your tone is. Are you an authoritative resource who focuses strictly on placing candidates in no-nonsense jobs in legal and finance? Are you a trusted advisor who forms close relationships with your clients and candidates? Are you the best friend type with an open-door policy and focuses on jobs that require a lot of soft skills? There are vast differences between these recruiting styles, and when you know which category you fall into (or make up your own) you can tailor your content, your web copy, your newsletters, etc. to meet that vision, tone, and overall voice.

3. Burning Questions – What Do You Really Want?

Flinging tweets out into oblivion or posting to a company blog just for the sake of boosting your rankings is a huge lost opportunity for your business. Content is extremely powerful if you know how to use it. By this, we’re talking about knowing your objectives and shaping your content around those goals. Ask yourself what your main goals are for the content you’re creating. After all, you’re paying for it, either in-house or off-site, so you might as well have a purpose for it. Will you use your blog content to attract new clients, appeal to more job-seekers, become a go-to knowledge bank for other recruiters?

Once you know what you want, you can start the journey of getting there. Your content is the vehicle that will take you where you want to go. There are plenty of types of content that recruiters can use to facilitate their objectives, ranging from listicles to video.

So, how do you determine what content will work best for you? By tapping into your brand voice. Are you more of a serious, white paper or infographic type of firm, or a social media loving recruiter who targets young job-seekers? That brand voice that we keep talking about will guide you to the type of content that will drive the course of meeting your agency’s goals.

4. Location, Location, Location – Where Are You?

Not only do you need your brand voice to dictate the type of content you’ll create, but it will also lead you to where you’re putting it. For some recruiting agencies, social media will be a main focus area, and for others you might be better off creating blog strong blog content, focusing on press releases, or submitting guest articles on important HR trade publications. There’s an endless list of possibilities for where you want your content to show up and show off your brand voice. After all your work defining your voice, you want it to be heard, and where you choose to focus your efforts can make a big difference to your business.

For example, Claire recently added LinkedIn video to her content strategy and has seen huge value from it, saying “These videos make me more memorable, and allow me a new method to share useful content with my network. It’s separating me from other recruiters who only use LinkedIn to passive source and send InMails.”

In other words, broadcasting your brand voice in the right area, and using the right mediums can lead to huge gains for your agency.

5. It’s All in the Details – What’s Your Niche?

As much as you may want to, you can’t be everything to everyone. In fact, Claire believes that it’s better to hone a niche than to remain generic, which is the ultimate kiss of death. “Not being known for SOMETHING I think only hurts you in the long run, “she says, and we have to agree. Remember that target audience? This is where you get a laser-sharp vision on them and really refine your content to meet the needs of that group.

There are so many possibilities for specialties, from tech to finance, and your agency has likely already fallen into one, whether planned or organically. It doesn’t matter what your niche is, but it does matter that you have one. You want people to be able to say, “Recruiters Galore – they’re the people who hire clowns for kid’s events” instead of, “ABC Recruiting? I think I’ve heard of them but I can’t remember.” Let your voice shine through in your area of expertise and you’ll stand a great chance of becoming an authority in that area.

6. You Think You’re Special? Branding for Recruiters is Unique

Many of these lessons apply to any sector, but recruiters are a special breed, and as such, have specific branding and content needs. How so? For starters, you are appealing to a certain type of job seeker who is applying for jobs in a specific sector. Secondly, employers seek you out based on your voice and your position in the recruiting sphere. Recruiters are the bridge between candidate and company, which is a unique role that not many others play.

To this end, you need a well-defined voice and vision for your agency and your recruiting team so you can stand by what you believe in. As Claire puts it, “As a recruiter, you should not change who you are based on what client you’re working for.” When you have a rock-solid brand voice you’ll attract exactly the type of clients are best for you, with little effort.

7.  So What?

You’ve got your target audience, your niche, your content strategy plan for the type of materials you’ll focus on and where you’ll put them. Check, check, check. What now? After you have all your boxes ticked, it all comes down to executing your plan and using your voice. Your agency’s brand won’t become known overnight, but little by little you’ll rise to the top of your industry as you stick to your vision and maintain steady control over what your message is. What’s the end goal? Claire defines it as this: “I think it’s important to have a brand with a voice so that my connections always have me top of mind, and know that I’m a trusted resource. I’ll have a larger network who knows me and is willing to help me in return!”

What it all boils down to is knowing who you are, what your agency stands for, and then conveying that message in everything you do and say, whether it’s to your clients or what you’re posting on social media. Consistency and clarity are key when it comes to leveraging your voice as a recruiting agency so you can rise to the top of your game. If this all sounds like a great plan but you need a hand in executing your vision for your content, surround yourself with the best players in the game who can help you succeed. A content writing service is a great resource for planning strategy and showing off your brand voice. You do you, and you can let them take the reins when it comes to creating content that’s as brilliant as your brand is.

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