Using thought leadership to gain client trust

21 March 2023 | 4 min read | News
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins
Paul MacKenzie-Cummins

Public relations involves more than simply getting organisations featured in the media that matters the most to them. Around half the work we do for recruitment businesses is focused on creating thought leadership content that creates authority, credibility, trust, and influence for the agency and its key people.

Take Client ‘M’ – one of Europe’s largest tech recruitment companies with offices in London and multiple hubs across Germany, the Baltics, and Spain. The company faced growing competition from a new crop of tech recruiters who wanted to nibble away at our client’s share of the market. This niggled them.

These new players in the game didn’t have the same impressive track record or hiring success rate as our client. Nor did they have an established ‘name’ that could open doors. But that didn’t matter to the clients they wanted to work with.

Having a ‘name’ is all well and good, and certainly opens doors. However, what employers want is for their recruitment or executive search firm of choice to understand the hiring challenges they face and show themselves to be potential solutions providers. This is what our clients’ competitors did brilliantly.

Employers care about one thing: can your agency deliver the talent they need when they need it?

By creating a steady flow of thought leadership content (articles, blogs, graphics, infographics, videos) that addressed the pain points of their target audience, these newer agencies catapulted themselves to the front of employer minds. This prompted action from our client.

With around 100 employees, some of whom had been with the business for 10 years or more, the client had a wealth of experience within its ranks. Our job was to elevate their profiles and position them as true industry experts. And it worked.

Traffic to their website increased by 156 per cent, which in turn led to a higher number of organic new business leads received. These then translated into a 25 per cent boost in billings within 12 months. Moreover, the overall perception of the recruitment firm itself was significantly enhanced.

The only content that works is that which creates value for the audience consuming it: does it address the challenges they face, and can the take-aways adopted help them to overcome at least some of these obstacles?

This didn’t see the client put paid to the competition. Rather, it reminded the market who our client was and why their experience and expertise gave them that all-important edge over their rivals.

It also created a sense of expectation among employers of the experience they would have when partnering with our client. In other words, the thought leadership content that was created  significantly strengthened their brand appeal.

But for that content to ‘work’, it needed to be structured correctly.

Winning at thought leadership

The Clearly PR team deployed the ENABLE framework – an approach to thought leadership that we developed which has proven time and again to consolidate the position of our clients as the go-to providers in their space and create an emotional ,people-centric attachment between the business, its key people, and the clients they serve.

Thought leadership creates a greater connection between recruitment businesses and the employers they want to work with. Its focus needs to be less on self-aggrandising and more on providing full or partial solutions to the hiring challenges that their target audience face.

Get the balance right and your agency will greatly benefit by increasing its influence within the sectors you operate, your impact on the outcomes delivered for your clients, and your income levels too.

If you need a steer and support in creating your thought leadership contract strategy, contact me directly at