Adapt your marcomms

Stephanie King, Associate Director at BlueSky PR, Why it’s more important than ever to continue to communicate with stakeholders

There’s no denying that COVID-19 has changed the recruitment landscape as we know it – in a short few weeks staffing firms have had to reassess their entire business strategies to ensure they emerge from this crisis in one piece.  And it’s been incredibly heartening to witness the resilience of the sector in the face of such adversity. We’ve seen collaboration like never before and a determination to get the sector through this challenging time.

Despite this, however, it is often the case that when times are tough, marketing budgets are one of the first to be stripped back. Yet I would argue that cutting communication channels and ‘going silent’ will be detrimental to your future success. Agencies need to be communicating more so than ever with stakeholders so that when the market starts to pick up, they are already on the radar of the very people that will get them through the ensuing weeks and months – potential clients and candidates.

Evolving existing strategies

So while your business may have had a marketing plan in place for the entire year, it’s important to reassess and tweak this so it is reflective of the challenges your clients and candidates face today. After all, the subjects that were pertinent a few short weeks ago may not be appropriate at the moment.  Think about the conversations you are currently having with candidates and clients. Are you advising employers on onboarding remotely or using video interviewing, for example? Or are you providing candidates with information on how they can upskill themselves while they are on furlough? These are the themes that your content should be shaped around and can offer a fantastic way to add value. You want to be viewed as a consultancy that understands what your stakeholders are going through, and taking steps to help guide them through this period of uncertainty.

Keep engagement levels up

And with so many of us working from home and seeking information from online sources, it’s important to up engagement levels and review whether or not you are targeting your content to the correct channels. Spend time analysing where your audiences are ‘hanging out’ on social media, and ensure your content is being disseminated regularly on the platforms your stakeholders are currently using. Think about which other channels you can also use – such as Zoom, Facebook live and Periscope – to host virtual events that not only offer stakeholders valuable information, but also provide ample opportunities for engagement.

Candidate experience must remain a priority

Another important aspect of your communication strategy must be a focus on ensuring candidate experience remains a priority. And at a time when some agencies have faced the unfortunate task of furloughing their own staff, the very people who made sure that candidates were responded to may be absent from the business. In fact I’ve read several posts on LinkedIn recently about some firms simply not engaging with candidates when they have enquired about a job or asked for information.  Consequently it’s crucial that you have a system in place to ensure each and every candidate gets a response – this might be pointing them to a resource you have produced, arranging a video call to offer tips, or putting them in touch with someone else that can help. When the tide turns, you want to be remembered for how you treated candidates – not for ignoring them. And even if you can’t find someone a role in the current climate, it’s crucial that you are doing your bit to assist them with added value content or advice.

Think long term

While times are undoubtedly challenging at the moment, by continuing to communicate with your stakeholders effectively, you can not only provide useful resources to help them navigate their way through this crisis, but your brand will also be firmly on their radar when the market picks up again.


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