echogravity – 3 Ways Thought Leadership Marketing Benefits Staffing Firms

Every recruitment agency leader understands the need for distinction in the marketplace, but true differentiation often proves to be elusive. How can you make your staffing firm stand out among the competition?

By demonstrating your company to be a thought leader in the marketplace, you can provide an experience to your customers and candidates that is unique and inspiring.

At echogravity, we’ve turned staffing firm brands into engaging, informative thought leaders, and we’ve seen the reward these companies reap from sharing this type of content. Read on as we dive into the top three benefits of thought leadership marketing in the staffing industry.

WHAT IS THOUGHT LEADERSHIP?

So, what exactly is thought leadership, and how can you use it to grow your staffing agency brand and connect with your audience? By delivering genuine content that takes a stand on industry issues and leveraging your knowledge to wield influence in your niche, you can grow your audience and attract new customers and clients.

Don’t get it confused with getting on your soapbox or preaching to the masses, though. What makes thought leadership work is its innate collaborative nature. Thought leaders welcome different viewpoints, as they create open and honest discussions and promote learning for everyone involved.

The goal of thought leadership is to create content, informed by first-hand experience and/or extensive research, that takes a stand or educates your audience.

The clients you’re hoping to attract want it, too. In fact, 84% of C-suite executives believe strong thought leadership content adds value to their role. Additionally:

  • 79% emphasize its importance in keeping them aware of significant business issues
  • 76% use thought leadership content to inform their decision-making
  • 40% of leaders will contact the firm behind a piece of thought leadership if they feel it hits the mark

Don’t confuse thought leadership with constantly providing a completely unique point of view, either. Your audience likely isn’t looking for your content to be differentiated at all times. They’re simply looking for the best and most persuasive answer to their questions. Focus on quality over quantity when it comes to thought leadership marketing.

Now that you know what it means to be a thought leader, let’s dive into the benefits of sharing this type of content.

1. YOU ESTABLISH CREDIBILITY AND AUTHORITY

Delivering valuable and original content is a great way to show your company has expertise in your field and build your staffing firm’s employer brand. Thought leaders don’t just publish “How to Build the Perfect Resume” articles. They unabashedly share their perspective and opinions on hot topics within staffing and recruiting.

Try taking a stand on gender equality in the workplace or publish a salary guide with research on trends within your industry. When you challenge the status quo, and maybe even embrace controversy (with tactful and potent arguments), people will listen to what you have to say.

Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard is an excellent example of a leader who doesn’t shy away from not only sharing his opinions but making business decisions based on what he’s passionate about as well. For over five decades, Patagonia has tied everything to ESG (before everyone joined the bandwagon) from the way they make their products and what messages they share across marketing channels to their actual conservation and political activism. If previous experiments didn’t cement Patagonia as a responsible business pioneer, their latest endeavor to make planet Earth their only shareholder sets their thinking apart from the rest of the pack.

Yes, at the end of the day, Patagonia could simply sell a great product and enjoy the success they’ve found in their niche, but there are always going to be plenty of companies doing what they do. They stand out from the competition because of their WHY and leadership’s dedication to innovating by way of a values-centric approach, making it clear to their audience they’re consistent and mean what they say.

Your staffing firm can and should act in the same way. Any old recruitment agency can match candidates with a client’s job description. While those services are necessary to keep the company moving, it takes more to differentiate yourself. Forge new paths and do things differently than they’ve been done before. And when you center your values in everything you do, the right path to take will be clear.

If you’re not ready to take things as far as Patagonia, try taking a simpler approach and publish blogs centered around your company’s expertise. Take w3r Consulting, an IT solutions and management firm, for example. While they could convince a few people of their credibility by telling them that each member of their leadership team holds an Engineering or IT-related degree, they don’t stop there. They consistently weigh in on the latest tech trends, effectively marrying real-world data with their own insight. It’s their knowledge and their passion for advancing their industry that moves the needle.

Through thought leadership marketing, you can push ideas that are important to your staffing firm’s story that you want your audience to believe in. The longer you embrace open conversation, the more customers, candidates, and employees will trust you and your expertise.

2. YOU NATURALLY GENERATE ENGAGEMENT

When your content contains high levels of valuable insight and data, it naturally encourages others to engage with and reference your content. While thought leadership marketing isn’t innately an SEO strategy, it definitely increases the likelihood of people linking to your content, thereby strengthening your SEO value. By creating something worthy of engaging with, it will also be worthy of being linked to.

However, don’t dilute your content by creating it for the sole purpose of generating likes and shares. If you aren’t running a company with a cause already baked into the business model—e.g., TOMS or Newman’s Own— it can be difficult to convince people you’re socially minded simply by posting a one-off marketing campaign.

Posting thought-provoking, purpose-driven content is great, but you have to be working towards reforming the core issues of your actual business at the same time. For example, Coca-Cola changing the color of its Sprite bottles from green to transparent to make them more recyclable is a great way to position the brand as a champion of climate change activism, until you remember they’re still a global-scale plastic polluter.

Thought leaders grow audiences and drive SEO outcomes not by focusing on popularity and shareability, but by being leaders who walk the walk, too. Again, the collaborative nature of this content is what attracts an audience. Each leader in the staffing industry will have a unique perspective. Share yours, no holds barred, and you just might spark conversation that leads to a new client or candidate.

iSphere, an IT consulting and staffing solutions firm, is a prime example of not holding back when it comes to sharing your opinions. Instead of providing their audience with a general how-to blog about cyber threat awareness, they took the topic a step further, sharing their thoughts on how tensions with Russia might also affect the U.S. energy system.

While some might shy away from certain topics to avoid ruffling feathers, iSphere has made sharing their true opinions, no matter how controversial, their brand. Though, what works for one may not work for others; but as long as you remain authentic and you consider your wider brand story and beliefs, your audience will be excited to hear what you have to say—and excited to respond with their own thoughts on the subject.

3. YOU ORGANICALLY ATTRACT CUSTOMERS

Similar to growing SEO value, thought leadership marketing is not inherently meant to convert leads directly. Yet, it can naturally help your staffing firm build a loyal following and organically attract potential customers and candidates.

To illustrate this point, let’s look at the The Ordinary. The beauty brand has gone from three employees and a single product in 2013 to selling multiple products every second in 2022. They know exactly how to leverage storytelling and thought leadership to build a massive following.

Fighting the fear and insecurity-based marketing that consumes the beauty world, The Ordinary took a new approach. With a strategy backed by science, trust, and education, they pride themselves on constantly questioning the ways in which the beauty industry communicates with its customers. Through educational and authentic social media captions, and a noticeable lack of models throughout their site and socials, it’s clear the brand is staying true to their mission to avoid gimmicks and be transparent. They simply did what they were passionate about, and their audience eventually followed.

Additionally, Slayton Search Partners, an executive search firm, recently took a stance on the challenges facing the food industry today, and how food technology may be the answer to solving them. Their genuine, informative, and engaging approach to complex and controversial issues gives readers great insight into their brand’s personality and makes them easy to follow.

By being up front about your company’s values, you let others in your industry know who your brand is and what you stand for. In fact, over 40% say they want more brands publicly support leading social issues. Instead of simply promoting your recruitment services, show your audience the kind of people they’ll be working with.

CHALLENGE THE STAFFING INDUSTRY STATUS QUO WITH THOUGHT LEADERSHIP MARKETING

Thought leadership marketing is the ultimate expression of your staffing firm’s authority. Be authentic, show how deep your expertise runs, and challenge the conventional way of thinking and acting within staffing. Provide your audience with high-quality content on topics they care about, and you’re well on your way to cementing your staffing firm as a thought leader in your industry.