Maria Hvorostovsky is the Director and Founder of HVO Search. Based in London, she runs a specialist executive search firm helping clients within digital, retail, fashion, consumer and technology industries find the best international talent. As someone who practices what she preaches, Maria has kindly shared her top tips for content marketing and answered a few questions for us.
- Have an idea – original if possible
- Research your idea for supporting evidence – maybe you’ll learn something new in the process
- Make no more than three points and use your research to support it
- Think about what you know that others don’t. Can you disclose it? Is it confidential? If not – write it. If yes – talk to the source – maybe they can help you tell the story
- Get a quote and credit it
- Be genuine
- Figure out your own tone of voice
- Plan your story – have a catchy title, describe your main point in the first sentence, summarise at the end
- Make a statement or pose a question
- Open up the conversation so people can get in touch with you
Tell us a bit about you writing ritual..
The most important part of the process is searching for an idea or a certain angle on an industry topic. And this happens on an ongoing basis. But, it usually starts on a Monday with a fresh mind for a fresh week. My ideas come from reading daily industry news as well as from the conversations I have with my clients and candidates during the week.
I like to have the first draft ready the following Monday, so it is in a position to be edited should something dramatic happen at the start of the week. Having the first two days of the week for editing means I can stay flexible until the last moment and gives me the opportunity to get quotes or opinions from industry sources if I need extra support for my story. The blog is then finalised on a Tuesday night, ready to go on Wednesday first thing.
What have you seen as a benefit since you’ve started this practice?
The biggest benefit has been connecting more deeply with my network. The blogs go out in a weekly e-newsletter and are posted on my social media (including LinkedIn, which is the most relevant to my work). It’s nice to see the comments and ‘likes’, however, it is the real world conversations that mean the most. It is very satisfying to have a call with a potential client and hear them say that a point in my blog resonated with them. It means the message is getting through to the right place and creates a more meaningful dialogue.
I found it also helps to formulate my own views on the industry better. And it keeps me on my toes when following a certain story. I feel much more connected to my industry.
How is content marketing perceived in your field of recruitment and how is it applicable to other industries?
Executive search is a fascinating service industry that is all about people. And I get to speak with amazing people every day. I also have the opportunity to make someone’s career dream a reality. But, as any service business, it runs the risk of becoming too transactional – too focused on just making the ‘sale’.
I believe that when your business is literally people you have to go beyond that to gain credibility and trust. Also, my industry is a competitive place and you have to work harder for your proverbial supper. So showing you are the expert in your field is paramount. One way to do that is through the content you publish, as long as it is insightful and not breaching any confidentiality.
In any industry hearing ideas and advice from an insider is incredibly valuable. Now that anyone can have visibility on the web, everyone has the opportunity to add depth and richness to their industry through the content they publish.
Take a peak inside some of Maria’s most popular articles: