From PR Firm To Productized Business: Our Journey

Heather R. Huhman

From PR Firm To Productized Business: Our Journey

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From PR Firm To Productized Business: Our Journey

Come Recommended is jumping into Spring with exciting news and big changes. Goodbye full-service agency. Hello productized business!

But first, a little history lesson.

In December 2008, I launched Come Recommended as a side hustle. At first, we were a SaaS that connected interns/entry-level job seekers with employers by way of professional recommendations. (Come Recommended, get it?)

I began freelance writing about topics I knew well — job searching and hiring — to build credibility and drive traffic to our product. I’d been in a hiring manager role at nearly every company I’d ever worked for throughout my career, so I knew quite a bit on the subject and had become extremely passionate about it.

In June 2010, I left my job to pursue Come Recommended full-time. At the HR Tech Conference that year, several companies begged me to abandon our SaaS and return to my roots as a PR specialist — and take them on as my first clients.

I merged my two loves: PR and job searching/hiring. Come Recommended, a content marketing and PR agency for job search and HR technology companies, was born.

This initiated our first move toward enhancing our services and giving clients what they were asking for — and, more importantly, what they need most.

But we refused to stop there and now are restructuring once again, this time as a productized business.

Why the sudden transformation?

For us, it actually isn’t sudden.

After nearly seven successful years as a full-service agency, we took a hard look at our offerings and asked ourselves two questions:

What do we do better than anyone else?

What services work consistently for every client, no matter their marketing situation?

The answer to the first question was immediately obvious: marketing and PR campaigns built around original research.

However, the second question required a bit of digging into client KPIs.

We are also very aware of budgets. We’ve spent many years servicing clients at three price points — $2,500/month, $5,000/month, and $7,500/month — so we didn’t want to move too far beyond the marketing budget levels our target clientele could comfortably match.

Realizing we could focus on what we do best — building effective campaigns around original research at the price point our customers can afford — we knew it was time to make a change.

What’s the big idea behind done-for-you marketing?

As a full-service agency, we offered an array of a la carte services. Our team and clients worked together to build strategies that achieved their goals based on their budget.

However, especially in the recent months, we found ourselves discussing similar strategies regardless of the varying client goals, because the ROI delivered was universally impressive.

As a result, we developed our six-step done-for-you marketing plan at three different price points.

From PR Firm To Productized Business: Our Journey

Why we’re excited and you should be, too

Perhaps what excites us most is our ability to work with more customers.

Regardless of your current PR/marketing situation — no in-house marketing team or PR agency, have an in-house marketing team but no PR agency, have a PR agency but no in-house marketing team, or have an in-house marketing team and a PR agency — our campaigns are designed to align with, expand upon, and complement your current efforts.

We’d love to be your in-house marketing team, work side-by-side with your current one, or work on the original research portion of your marketing strategy while your PR agency continues to take care of everything else. Our packages work just as well standing alone as they do alongside other concurrent strategies.

Research shows research is best

Forty-six percent of marketing influencers say research reports are the most effective content format, yet 62 percent find they are the most difficult content format to produce, according to a 2016 Ascend2 research report.

And the benefits extend beyond educating potential and current customers. In fact, a Wasabi Publicity report found 49 percent of journalists seek out original research to use as sources. This comes as no surprise to us, considering how well we’ve seen them work time and time again.

Benefits of Research Reports

  • Educate current and potential customers
  • Become a highly sought-after source for the media
  • Build an email list of potential customers and nurture those leads
  • Establish authority, credibility, and thought leadership on key topics within your industry
  • Develop quality links, improving SEO
  • Bolster brand awareness
  • Drive website traffic
  • Earn social currency
  •  

Our team has the expertise to creatively and uniquely identify the best topics to research, design the survey, analyze the results, and develop compelling media pitches and content around the most interesting data points.

We’re with you every step of the way

We understand the struggle of planning and executing your marketing strategy day in and day out — we’ve been in the trenches with clients. An effective strategy is crucial but shouldn’t be a source of ongoing stress.

With our new packages, you don’t have to revisit your strategy every few weeks or wait for us to put your proposal together. Instead, they are designed to repeat every quarter. This allows you to produce reports for you — and execute marketing activities around them — four times a year.

Whether your team wants to scale up to a larger package for a big annual report or down to a small package for one-time reports, we can make it happen and see it succeed.

Don’t worry, we’re still us

We’re still living and breathing job searching, careers, recruiting, hiring, retention, and workplace management. We’re constantly looking for — and excited about — industry trends, so you never have to worry about bringing us up to speed.

Most importantly, even though we’re transitioning from a full-service agency to a productized business, our core values remain the same.

Teamwork

There’s nothing like teamwork to us. No matter how much marketing you’re already doing (or not doing), we become an integral part of your team. Regardless of your project plan, you’re still getting a dedicated project manager, content creator, editor, media relations specialist, and social media specialist.

Transparency

With our new packages, we’re more transparent than ever. Before customers even speak with a member of the Come Recommended, they can see exactly what they’re receiving and how much it will cost on our pricing page.

Heather R. Huhman

Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.