Author: Nick Hill

TAKING A PROACTIVE APPROACH TO WORK IN LOCKDOWN

In recent months, the public have made a collaborative effort to get life back to some sense of normal. As lockdown restrictions began to ease, employees returned to the workplace, children were back in school and the economy was embarking on a long road to recovery.

This progress, however, is now at risk of coming to an abrupt halt. Although businesses across all sectors have worked tirelessly to become safe and secure, this global pandemic is once again on the rise and stricter social measures are set to be reintroduced.

Although this may be a daunting prospect for many, we must try to remind ourselves of the positive developments that have been made both in our personal and professional lives.

Among the many changes society has experienced, the biggest adjustments were most prevalent in the way we work. New technologies were embraced at a rapid rate, working practices were completely modified and entire industries underwent their own digital revolution.

Yes, the prospect of another lockdown is unwelcome, but businesses across the country are now equipped to deal with this scenario and must take with them the lessons they have learnt from the past nine months.

Communication and connectivity

The sudden shift to remote working caused widespread disruption across the marketplace. Offices became completely barren as vast numbers of employees began to work for their own homes. Although having a flexible workforce isn’t a new concept, it has never been practiced on such a wide scale and, for the most part, on a permanent basis.

A trial by fire for many, clients, customers, employees, and key stakeholders had to quickly evolve their traditional working methods if they were to ensure productivity and business continuity remained intact.

Those that were successful will have undoubtedly implemented new and innovative technologies into their business processes. This has proven to be most effective in the way we now communicate.

With physical interactions strictly prohibited, the Open Comms team for example have utilised video calling as a safe and secure alternative. Although the preference for many will always be to engage face-to-face, the enhancement of video capabilities has provided many benefits to our team. As with many workforces across the country, it has ultimately helped us to remain open for business.

With a flexible working approach, employers have been able to allocate more time to catch up with their team and other office members, whether this is through Teams, Skype or other video conference platforms.

Unexpectedly, without the usual rat race rush and time spent in a particular office, the use of technology has also enabled employees to become better connected to colleagues from different areas of the business. Not only does this create a more connected and inclusive culture, but it also promotes synergy across the company as a whole.

More importantly, many businesses have harnessed video conferencing to deliver a digital customer experience when conducting consumer to business interactions. As the behaviors of potential consumers continue to change, those hardest hit by this global pandemic must resume using video technology as a means of engaging with their customer base and selling products or services.

Mental and physical wellbeing

As we are now many months into the Coronavirus crisis, the traditional eight-hour working day is being slowly replaced with a more flexible model. Although adjustment periods can often be difficult, adapting to living amid a global pandemic has the potential to magnify all our concerns and anxieties.

When the spread of this virus initially took hold, the uncertainty that came with it undoubtedly had an adverse impact to many people’s mental states and being housebound for multiple months was also detrimental to our physical fitness.

However, we quickly learnt to take advantage of lockdown by using the extra time to enjoy life away from the office. Whether this was developing new hobbies, exercising more frequently or spending some much-needed time with our families. We must continue to make concerted efforts to stay proactive despite the threat of Covid continuing to impact our lives.

That being said, it is important to remember that no one person’s mental health will be the same, and therefore can change on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. When someone may be struggling, another could be thriving. Therefore, whether it’s business or in our personal lives, we must also be wary of the people we work and live with as further social restrictions come into play.

Although this has obviously been a difficult year, we must continue to adapt what we have learned over the past several months to improve our daily and future lives. Once this has passed, the legacy of this pandemic should see our working and personal lives be vastly improved.

THE POWER OF THE PROFILE: MEDIA INTERVIEWS

Media relations is a really important and strategic component of any press office. Whether this is online, in print, on the radio or TV, securing press coverage is an effective and efficient way of enhancing the reputation of an organisation.

Although there is nothing more rewarding than seeing clients hit the headlines for the right reasons, the full potential of securing coverage is only reached when it serves a purpose, has meaning and creates a lasting impact.

As well as generating a positive public perception, the overall aim of media coverage is to enable organisations to communicate key messages to their intended target audience. To ensure this objective is met, put the people behind the business into the spotlight and let them do the talking!

Media interviews and profile opportunities must be explored. The value of this type of press coverage can not only be beneficial to the careers of individual employees, but it can also be leveraged to help reach wider business goals.

Saying something of value

When it comes to approaching members of the press, it needs to be made clear why their readers, listeners or viewers will want to hear what someone has to say. This can be anything from providing insight on topical issues impacting a specific sector or region, commenting on current market trends, or announcing the launch of a new service/product within an organisation.

The most important aspect to remember is to define why this person is relevant to the audience of that publication or broadcaster.

Add personality to the brand or business

The public can now put a face to the name. Taking part in interviews provides the perfect platform for organisations to become more authentic and relatable by showcasing the personality of their employee(s).

The media audience will then have a more familiar and authentic attachment with the organisation, which will help strengthen their bond.

This combination not only helps retain existing customers and attract new business, but it ultimately enhances the organisation’s reputation.

Become an expert

Interviews offer participants the chance to demonstrate their credibility and experience by providing insightful advice, commentary and guidance wherever possible. As a result, the marketplace will begin to recognise these individuals as experts whilst also boosting the reputation of their organisation.

Before long, journalists will appreciate the credibility of these interviewees and call upon them as useful resources of information when covering other trends or topical issues within their fields.

In addition to raising the profile of the organisation, being an established industry expert will help bring in new business opportunities and add long lasting commercial value to any organisation.

As experts that have worked with multi-national brands and ambitious start-ups to secure coverage that has had a lasting impact, if you would like to speak to us about how media interviews could work for you and your brand, please do give us a call on tel. 01924 862477.

HOW IGNORING PR CAN BE DAMAGING TO YOUR BUSINESS

PR can have a transformational impact on businesses of any size, yet there remains an outdated and unfounded stigma around the value and results that it can deliver.

It goes without saying that communication is critical in the current marketplace. The success of any organisation largely depends on how it engages with its target audience, whether its towards the customer, client, employee or stakeholder.

This is exactly what PR professionals do!

As an agency, we form trusted partnerships with our clients to deliver strategic communications that meet with business objectives. This could be sharing key messages with the masses or more specific and targeted campaigns.

The one consistent factor is that our results speak for themselves.

In a nutshell, we increase brand awareness, help launch new services and products to market, enhance company or individual reputations to help them to become more commercially viable. When combined, the delivery of our services ultimately helps clients to achieve business goals.

Without a robust PR and marketing strategy, businesses are at risk of putting themselves at a disadvantage within the marketplace and losing all visibility with current and prospective customers.

In order to elaborate further, I’ve chosen just three outputs from PR that businesses will find hard to achieve unless they invest in professional services.

Media coverage

Sitting at the heart of PR is securing media coverage. Communications professionals form and develop lasting relationships with a vast number of contacts and journalists. Despite how specific or niche a market may be, members of press, publications and influencers can be targeted to help generate positive publicity for a particular business.

As there is an abundance of ways to digest news, both in print and digital, PR professionals will use their experience and expertise to approach the media with a story that is newsworthy and relevant. The idea being that it is then featured in regional, national or trade publications.

Once media coverage has been secured, it can then be leveraged to increase brand awareness, create a positive public perception and act as a useful platform to promote the launch of new products and services.

Without any investment in PR, businesses are likely to lose this opportunity and as a result fail to be recognised as a legitimate competitor within a specific marketplace.

Social media activity

Social media channels have now established themselves as the digital high street for many businesses. Now more than ever, a greater amount of attention needs to be given to these platforms as they are arguably the first place that target audiences will visit.

In other words, social media channels must give off a good first impression!

Whether it is Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, businesses need to use each channel to serve a purpose, whether this is showcasing new services or products, promoting brand identity or sharing critical company announcements. They need to act as a reliable and relevant communication resource.

This can be achieved by building the credibility of all platforms, which need to garner a strong following from relevant and influential businesspeople, members of the media, industry counterparts or new and existing clients.

As followers increase, so will the levels of engagement with different posts. This is especially useful when sharing media coverage as it can help significantly increase the amount of people who read about the positive news a company has to share. Thus, increasing brand awareness.

By investing in PR, businesses can ensure that each channel is managed by a team of specialists who understand what type of content should be posted and when. This will enable social media platforms to be used as useful tools to help businesses build towards achieving wider growth ambitions.

Crisis management

Although crisis scenarios are thankfully rare for most, businesses must ensure they have the capability to deal with a problem if one were to ever arise. Whether this be a corporate, public, or internal issue or incident, how this is handled can be make or break for businesses.

Reputation is everything within the marketplace, and once this is destroyed, recovery can be almost impossible!

The most effective way to combat these types of situations is having an experienced crisis management team in place. This forms a big part of the PR toolkit. Communications professionals can explore and identify potential situations that could cause irreversible harm to a brand or business. This is combatted by the implementation of proactive PR strategy.

Despite how prepared the team may be, crisis’ can also occur with no warning at all. This is exactly why it is critical to have a capable team ready to tackle and resolve these issues with minimal collateral damage.

Navigating through these sensitive situations without profession PR support could spell disaster for a business. Damage to brand reputation will have a devastating impact that can never be fixed. The question perhaps therefore is not can you afford PR, but can your business survive and thrive without it?

Investing in public relations is critical to the success of any organisation, now is the time to take action and let PR do the talking.

If you would like to know more about Open Comms and the services we offer, why not give us a call on 01924 862477 or contact us here.

REALISING THE FULL POTENTIAL OF BECOMING A THOUGHT LEADER

Delivering a successful PR strategy will help organisations to generate and maintain a positive perception among the public. However, a lot of moving parts are required for PR to make a meaningful and lasting impact.

Whether this includes social media posts, press coverage, new website content or email marketing campaigns, each communication needs to share a common purpose and include the same consistent messaging.

Regardless of the industry or size of the company, the most effective way to engage with any target audience is to be as authentic as possible. Be relatable and real so the public takes notice. To do this, leverage the experience and expertise of the senior executive team by transforming them into thought leaders.

Objective

The benefits of establishing thought leaders can be wide ranging. In essence, they will play a significant role in helping to create trust, form strong relationships with existing and new customers, whilst also gaining the confidence of employees and key stakeholders.

When it comes to showcasing the expert insight and industry knowledge from a team, those chosen as thought leaders must have something of value to say on topical issues that are affecting their specific sector. This should also be relevant to the wider marketplace.

Not only does this build credibility for an organisation as a whole, but it also provides further opportunities to influence the public by putting a spotlight on the people behind the brand. Pulling back the curtain will help the target audience to feel more attached and familiar with the business.

Content creation

Once a relevant topic has been identified, the next stage will be to determine the best way to communicate the thought leader’s opinion to be digested by the biggest number of people as possible.

This can be delivered through a number of different approaches, but it is all about creating engaging and interesting content that is relevant and resonates with the intended audience.

Blogs

Writing blogs is a useful and unrestrictive way of sharing a thought leader’s views in an accessible and frequent way. The versatility of blogs means that they can either be complex and analytical pieces or lighter reads that encourage discussions and dialogue among the readers.

Depending on the topic chosen, it may be that the content written could have an angle that would be of interest to an online trade publication or regional newspaper. The media often have blogs that will publish and share articles from third parties, including companies that have thoughts to share.

It is important that any content submitted to a trade or regional publication is exclusive. Once it has been uploaded and shared it can then be repurposed to feature on a company blog but it is always best practice to offer it to a publication first.

In order to ensure a blog will reach as wide an audience as possible, it must be shared across all social media channels. Not only will this help engage with a company’s followers, but it will also drive traffic back to the website and may even lead to new business enquiries.

Media commentary

Be an ally to the media. Journalists are constantly looking to strengthen their stories with expert and credible opinions, so thought leaders must be willing to be provide commentary. Even if the topic can be somewhat controversial.

Contributing to media publications not only gives thought leaders the platform to demonstrate their expertise and provide insightful advice, but it also opens up the opportunity to be profiled in the press.

Once a thought leader is an established media commentator, they will be seen within the industry as a useful resource of information and, in turn, increase the awareness of themselves and the company they work for.

Social media

Although social media has already been mentioned regarding blogs, there are so many advantages to using these platforms.

Whether it is Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, thought leaders must utilise all channels to showcase their expertise and experience to the biggest audience possible.

By connecting with high profile people within the industry, members of the media, company profiles or other influential businesspeople, thought leaders will start to build a strong social following.

As followers increase, engaging content must be shared frequently. This can take the form of posting topical commentary, sharing articles of interest related to a specific sector or directly addressing other people to ignite debates and dialogues.

Social networking is a major catalyst in transforming a business executive into a thought leader.

If you need help in developing your brand and want to become a thought leader within your field, then our team of experts will be more than happy to help! You can give us a call on 01924 862477 or contact us here.

THE RETURN TO THE OFFICE: AN OPEN COMMS SAGA

As the first week of September gets underway, it marks the return to the office for the Open Comms team. Situated in the heart of Wakefield city centre, our head office is surrounded by numerous businesses that are, like us, taking the first steps into an environment they have missed for the best part of five months.

After working from home for so long, I can honestly say that the hustle and bustle of the morning commute is very welcome. This change in routine has been needed and interacting with my colleagues in person has never been so valued. Yes, we have put strict Covid guidelines in place, but we are certainly back to business for the most part.

With that said, the Open Comms team did implement and execute a successful working from home strategy. Despite this year’s widespread disruption, our work remained uncompromised and our client list grew.

Although transitioning into remote working did have challenges, we were able to adapt and evolved our business processes. We realise that we have been fortunate. And although virtual client meetings may be here to stay for the foreseeable future, I can honestly say that returning to the office has given me a sense of normality I have longed for.

Despite only just returning, the benefits of working at Open Comms HQ are already obvious.

Routine

When I look back at my own lockdown experience, the one aspect that I felt I significantly lacked and missed was a routine. Whilst I initially intended on maintaining some sort of constructive regime, this was quickly abandoned.

The allure of extra sleep and the ease of staying in become all too hard to fight. This was in addition to the separation between my home and life becoming somewhat blurred.

I quickly realised that I was someone who didn’t just like a structured day, but also thrived off it. So, it comes as no surprise that I can already recognise improvements in my daily routine, especially when I sit at my desk to begin the day.

Don’t get me wrong, during the lockdown period I evolved my skillset, adopted more efficient working practices and became a more well-rounded PR professional. But, as I transfer these traits into a constructive and purposeful office space, they are amplified and enhanced.

This is because I arrive at the office to work and leave the office to go home. The distinction is clear. As a result, I personally feel that my productivity has already improved, and my focus is much sharper.

The true value of the evening commute has also been fully realised. This time, which I obviously didn’t have in lockdown, is now one of the most important parts of my day. It gives me the chance to reflect on the day just gone, plan for tomorrow and ultimately switch off before arriving home.

Creative space

One of the most enjoyable aspects of working in PR is the opportunity to have a creative outlet. Whether this applies to securing coverage in the media, increasing brand awareness, promoting a new product or growing a company’s profile, we need to create engaging content for our clients.

I must admit that there were times I often stared at the four walls of my bedroom office, which I say loosely, in search of some creative inspiration. But my home décor isn’t the most ideal surroundings for when I needed to create some striking social media posts or compelling copy for marketing material.

I firmly believe that your environment has a significant impact on your productivity. This is unquestionably the case when I work in the Open Comms office.

With spacious and comfortable workstations, ability to work from multiple rooms and access to critical resources, I tend to deliver improved results, perform more efficiently, and increase my levels of productivity.

Collaboration and communication

As an expert communicator, it may be obvious that communication plays a pivotal role within my daily duties. However, this aspect of my profession was arguably the most impacted by the pandemic.

Not only was it apparent that robust communications played a crucial role in the lockdown period, it also became clear that this was also the most challenging to achieve.

Shifting to remote working put daily correspondence at risk. The Open Comms team had to adapt new technology to not only maintain communications with our clients, but also each other as well.

Whether it was transferring team-wide meetings to video conferences, scheduling private Teams chats to discuss key projects or just wanting to have a catch up over the phone, communicating with one another was not as simple as it may sound!

The benefits of discussing ongoing PR Campaigns and client projects in person not only quickens the entire process, but it also helps establish a much more cohesive working environment. We at Open Comms pride ourselves on being strong collaborators and this is much more effective when we can communicate clearly and much more frequently with on another.

Now we have returned, there is a sense of enthusiasm and buzz among the team that reassures me we will pick up like we never left!

If you would like to know more about Open Comms and the services we offer, why not give us a call on 01924 862477 or contact us here.

A BLOG ABOUT BLOGGING: DELIVERING VALUE-LED CONTENT

When asked if blogging is essential to a PR campaign, the simple answer is yes. But that is only relevant when a brand truly appreciates the full potential of owned content.

By nature, the blog is a versatile tool. A brand or business can leverage owned content and its limitless possibilities, not least addressing so many topics. For a company to experience the benefits that this content can deliver, a strategic and purposeful approach must be taken.

And so, that is why we have shared a blog about blogging!

Identity

First and foremost, blogs are arguably the most read and updated asset on a website. They can and should encapsulate everything about a brand or business. This should cover who they are, what they do and how they get it done.

This content will act as a shop window on the high street. When visitors read these posts, they should be enticed and interested. The idea is that they want to know and see more.

Whether this is about employee wellbeing, new product or service launches, case studies or thought leadership pieces, the humble blog can be leveraged to communicate a specific or topical issue. This is a really useful tool when trying to build more robust communications with existing customers, whilst also trying to approach new business prospects.

In reality, the chosen subjects can be used in anyway the author wishes. As expert communicators, we believe that this opportunity and versatility provides brands and businesses with the opportunity to establish and enhance their identity.

Purpose

Unfortunately, creating content can be overlooked and undervalued by businesses. This is mainly because so much content is being pushed out, but perhaps for the wrong reasons.

Blogs in particular are often used as mundane devices. They become a box ticking exercise, instead of serving a meaningful purpose.

Owned content should form part of a wider communications strategy. Each one should have a clear, defined objective that is geared towards supporting a wider business goal. They need to deliver value.

For instance, an effective way to communicate critical information to vertical markets can be done through a blog post. To do this, the post must focus on something relevant and topical to those particular industries.

Any potential reader should be given a reason to click the link, and then be informed or engaged whilst digesting the content.

Whether a company is looking to attract new talent and expand its workforce or launch new products and services, implementing value-led content through a blog can support with this.

This same approach also applies when creating thought leadership articles. To be positioned as leading experts, brands and businesses must demonstrate their own capability and credibility within their field. This is when a blog entry can help showcase an individual’s specialisms by offering commentary on a topical issue or providing expert advice and insight.

Audience

Yes, creating blogs does provide further avenues for businesses and brands to promote themselves. However, this will only be beneficial if blogs are read by new and larger audiences.

The more people reading a blog, the more traffic a website generates. This then results in a potentially higher conversion rate of new businesses. To get the most out of the blogs, businesses and brands must leverage their social media channels.

Once a blog has been uploaded to a website, put the content to work! Create an ongoing schedule of social activity that sees a blog shared incrementally on LinkedIn and Twitter.

With an aim of generating as much engagement as possible, we would advise each post has an alluring statement along with a visual and corresponding link directing back to the website.

As the frequency of blogs rises, so too will the number of social posts. As the followers of a business become accustomed to receiving blog updates through social media, a brand can expect its audience to increase.

Once a brand creates a community, they have an active and engaged audience to communicate with. This is a really valuable asset for businesses of all sizes.

Summary

In time, if content of value is continually delivered through blogs, it can become a very meaningful resource. This is exactly what the purpose of a blog should be. It informs, educates and advises, whilst helping attract and engage with wider audiences.

If you’d like to discuss ways that the team at Open Comms can help in managing your brands PR strategy, contact us on info@opencomms.co.uk or call 01924 862477.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROVIDING A BUDGET

The true potential of a strategic PR programme can be transformational, but only if the target audience is communicated with in a way that will resonate.

In this digital age, there are numerous ways that organisations can engage with customers, so knowing which approach will work best is critical. With so many options to choose from, it is equally as important to allocate an appropriate budget.

Setting the programme of activity   

At Open Comms we collaborate with our clients to understand their business and industry, whilst also showcasing how our PR expertise can help them achieve their goals and ambitions. Whether we are supporting a client launch a new service or product, increasing their brand awareness or creating new marketing material, our role is to ensure that the relevant messaging reaches the right audience.

In order to create the right programme of activity for each brand, we need to identify the most relevant channels for each brand. We then allocate a certain amount of time to manage each. This then gives us an indication of the resource that will be needed to deliver results.

The recommendations we then make should be reflective of the client’s proposed budget.

A targeted approach

As there are many strands to a bespoke PR strategy, it is important to access industry insight to analyse and establish whether we are better targeting vertical or horizontal markets. This will then determine the most effective way to secure coverage in relevant media.

Although the securing of earned news coverage, whether it’s through print or online, still remains an extremely successful approach to get in front of the largest audience possible, every PR campaign should allocate time to owned content too.

This again will impact the budget and will require the client to understand that a balance of earned and owned media will deliver the best return on investment over time.

Working in this way will help an organisation to create personality which reinforces the distinction between themselves and competitors. If  managed correctly, with the right thought given to key messages, it will also attract and engage with the intended audiences.

Putting theory into practice

We have recently completed work for one of our clients that specialises in managing critical communications for some of the largest utility providers in the UK.

As they operate in an increasingly competitive sector, we were briefed with promoting a particular service which would ultimately help them to reinforce their market leading position.

We initially created a strategic plan to showcase how our support would help increase the awareness of the company as a whole and also the service it was wanting to promote. As with all successful PR campaigns, we targeted the media first through industry-led comment pieces, which positioned the client as an expert in this field. Furthermore, this also showcased their ability to roll out this service in practice.

Not only that, but we also uploaded the content to the client’s website and also across social channels to extend audience reach.

Following on from our initial market research, we realised that there was a strong opportunity to connect with existing customers and potential new business leads by drafting an original piece of marketing material.

Given the objectives, the most effective way to do this was through video marketing.

In order to make this happen, we demonstrated to the client the long-term benefits of this approach, as well as the costs. Afterall, the ROI is essential to any piece of business activity.

Delivering results on a budget

Needless to say, we got the greenlight.

Calling upon our expertise, the Open Comms team transformed the client’s service offering into a visually dynamic and engaging video.

This was then shared across all of the client’s social media channels, implemented into their marketing packages, sent to new prospects and shown to existing customers.

Within a few weeks after posting, the video had been viewed more than 800 times on LinkedIn alone, with followers increasing shortly thereafter.

Not only did this approach help enhance our client’s audience reach, but it also improved their perception within the marketplace. Because we were able to demonstrate the impact of budgeting for bespoke digital assets, our client has now shown a commitment to adapt and evolve as their industry does.

This will achieve two objectives; to reinforce a sense of satisfaction and trust among current customers and acquire new leads.

If you would like to know more about Open Comms and the services we offer, why not give us a call on 01924 862477 or contact us here.

HOW WORKING IN PR HAS DELIVERED JOB SATISFACTION

It has now been more than a year since I transitioned from journalism into a career in public relations. The learning curve has been steep. My skillset had to evolve and adapt. But the hard work has been rewarded with a level of job satisfaction that I always sought after.

Amid these unprecedented times, I’ve found myself reflecting on my career and the fortunate position I’m in. Throughout the nationwide lockdown, Open Comms remained open for business and despite the marketplace taking an unprecedented economic hit, we continued to deliver a full suite of PR services to our diverse client base.

The impact of PR

The first thing I learnt when joining this industry was that the impact of a robust PR strategy can have a transformational impact on any organisation. The advantages were never so evident during the widespread disruption caused by the ongoing pandemic. 

I can honestly say that I am filled with professional pride after helping our clients maintain a level of business continuity as we all navigate through these challenging times. 

As the country now begins to return back to a new sense of normality, I often find myself looking back to help prepare for the future. As I reflect on my own career progression, the results I have helped deliver on behalf of our clients and the specialist skills I have acquired, it is clear to me that I am now in a position that meets with my professional needs and ambitions.

I have put my reflections to paper and shared the most satisfying aspects of working in PR.

Becoming an expert

A PR strategy is an extremely useful asset to have. it has the potential to positively impact an organisation at any level, whether it supports the senior management team, the launch of a new service or product, increasing a brand’s awareness or even introducing a new team member. 

The agile nature of PR means its approach can be as bespoke and specific as possible. 

This can only be achieved, however, if the professionals behind the strategy are truly experts in this field. 

Since joining Open Comms, I’ve worked hard to refine my skillset to ensure our clients receive real value for money when it comes to their PR. But this has only been achieved through the support of the wider team. 

At Open Comms we are driven by results, and I quickly learned that our clients have come to expect nothing less. This was without a doubt one of the biggest evolutions for myself, as I had to cultivate an approach where I didn’t just offer clients PR support, but also be bold enough to provide my own recommendations and advice. This is what makes us experts and gives us the opportunity to make a real difference for the brands we work with. 

It is when our specialisms and experience are delivered in an effective and efficient way, that we aren’t just seen as an external agency but more of an extension of our clients’ teams. I have learned that this also allows us to form and maintain long-lasting relationships, not just with clients but other outsourced organisations as well. 

Achieving results

Joining an agency that takes a strategic and results-driven approach to help all clients, has enabled me to develop the necessary tactics to service clients’ needs, no matter what the marketing or communication requirements. 

Being called a PR practitioner is something that I have had to earn. Although it can be difficult to give a commercial value to the impact of a robust communications strategy, the successes and impacts I have generated are measured through a number of different ways. 

Among the KPI’s I measure my performance on are:

  • Media coverage in national, regional and trade, in print and broadcast  
  • Proactive and reactive to market trends that involve our clients  
  • Increase in followers and engagement across social channels 
  • Help to generate new business leads through the creation of bespoke marketing strategies, including various forms of video marketing, e-shots and brochures
  • Securing award shortlisting’s on behalf of our clients 

After obtaining these results, I have seen the transformational power of PR over the last 15 months. There is no better feeling than demonstrating to our clients how a comms strategy can be viewed and used as a key catalyst to business growth!

Storytelling

From my experience working in journalism, I’d often get inundated with press releases. Due to this process, it can often be hard for one single company or organisation to consistently catch my attention. But there were a few that often did just that.

It was only after I entered the public relations industry that I realised this was achieved through the coherent and consistent messaging that an agency would strategically use when creating content for their client. 

It is all about telling their story. 

After joining the Open Comms team, I quickly realised the value in developing an acute understanding of each of our clients’ businesses, the sectors they operate in, any ongoing market trends and key media contacts we need to be targeting. 

After gaining this knowledge, I am now able to carefully craft content to tell our clients’ stories and communicate their key messages to the relevant audiences. This is what forms the foundation of an effective PR strategy.

As our clients’ business journeys are consistently reiterated in the content we produce, their stories begin to take shape, which not only helps to catch the attention of the press, but also their existing customers and new business leads. 

Communicating in this way can support brands to establish stronger relationships between customers, stakeholders, employees and especially media contacts. Afterall, the success of a company can often be attributed to the strength of its reputation, and the most effective approach to take when enhancing or expanding this is to increase its awareness and, more importantly, loyalty among its customer base. 

As the Open Comms team consistently deliver these strong results, we are able to see how this impacts directly on our clients’ success. If you would like to know more about Open Comms and the services we offer – or perhaps, like me, you are looking for a change in career – why not give us a call on 01924 862477 or contact us here.

THE VALUE OF VIDEO CONTENT

Although it’s been around for some time, 2020 is the year that video content needs to form a key part of any marketing strategy. Over the last decade, the use of online videos has transitioned from a luxurious, expensive asset to an affordable and vital tool. As well as attracting attention, it can be used to promote brands, companies, products and even individuals.

The statistics  

Recent research has shown that 85 per cent of businesses use video as a marketing resource, and more importantly, 88 per cent of those have reported that this style of content provides a positive return on investment.

With these figures expected to rise in the coming years, it is imperative that companies don’t ignore these facts.

The main purpose of creating content is to get it in front of the biggest and most relevant audience possible. When it comes to delivering successful PR and marketing campaigns, the written word it still extremely effective but can be complemented with digital assets.

The return of this combined approach can be measured through media coverage and broadcast secured from a carefully crafted press release with accompanying footage. This can then be uploaded to social media channels, resulting in a huge audience reach.

Digesting content daily  

The content we digest on a daily basis can often be found on social media. Brands and businesses must therefore understand that creating engaging and bespoke content for these various platforms is becoming the most efficient way to get in front of relevant viewers.

With such a diverse client base, at Open Comms we have tried and tested varying approaches and have insight into what content is best to share across multiple platforms. As just one example, we have experienced significant and consistent success on LinkedIn for a number of brands.

With the ability to access a global business community, LinkedIn is becoming the prominent platform to use when it comes to acquiring commercial leads. This has been further supported by recent statistics that show four out of five members on the platform are in charge of making business decisions.

The growth of LinkedIn in recent years has also resulted in a marketplace that is increasingly popular for businesses that want to communicate. As the number of users rise, so does the amount of content being published and shared. Therefore, companies must be willing to invest in processes that differentiate themselves from their competitors. At Open Comms we believe bespoke and dynamic video content could be one way to achieve this.

The best thing of all is that video can be used to promote any aspect of a business, product or brand. But as you want to target key decision makers, it is important to take a strategic approach as to what sort of content you are hoping to promote. We have listed below key instances when video content could be used;

  • Showcase company services
  • Provide case studies of how services have enhanced customer experiences
  • Showcase new products and demonstrate how it is used
  • News updates and company announcements
  • Tips and advice to address specific target audience
  • Deliver senior team introductions to add personality to biogs

As public relations specialists, we combine our social media expertise and marketing prowess to transform our clients’ initial ideas into visually dynamic marketing materials. We also work with specialist partners to ensure the content we create and manage is of the very best quality. After all, it’s only what our clients would expect.

Using our skills with those of specialist and trusted partners means that we can extend our offering and manage all communications for our clients. If you would like to know more about Open Comms and the services we offer, why not give us a call on 01924 862477 or contact us here.

THE VALUE OF PR AMID OUR ‘NEW NORMAL’

As the country is cautiously moving out of lockdown, the familiar sounds and sights of life before Covid-19 are beginning to return. But as the economy starts to reopen and recover, we must all be vigilant and willing to accept how our ‘new normal’ will reshape society.

The biggest changes will arguably be felt within the business community as many people are now transitioning back to the workplace, albeit a modified version. I suspect, however, that our ‘new normal’ won’t just see alterations in where we work but also in the way we work as well.

Working differently

Fortunately, the Open Comms team quickly adapted a remote working policy in the early stages of the Coronavirus outbreak. In a lot of ways, it has been business as usual.

But managing public relations for a diverse client mix amid a global pandemic doesn’t come without its challenges!

With that being said, I believe that PR will be among the industries that will experience the most adjustments as we move towards our ‘new normal’. Communicating in the relevant and right way must now be put at the top of the agenda.

We are all navigating through a tense time and the margin for error has never been as small. Businesses must adapt and evolve, as must society.

Positive messaging

The Covid-19 crisis has brought the economy to its knees. Unemployment rates are continuing to rise, and the looming threat of a nationwide recession shows no signs of easing. We cannot escape the negativity that has stifled our lives, but once we are out the other side, the lessons we have learned must be remembered as we move forward.

As a PR professional, my experience through this crisis has reaffirmed just how powerful and engaging positive messaging can be. As our client base operates in a range of different sectors, we implemented a bespoke communications plan to navigate each client through the challenges and obstacles they were faced with.

Whether it was implemented through social media, press releases, blog posts or feature-led pieces, we understood that the most efficient way to support each client’s own objectives was through strategic messaging and tone. Our role was to ensure their key stakeholders, employees, customers and partners were frequently updated and were never left with notions of doubt or concern.

Proactive PR

Marketing and PR strategies had to be completely changed when Covid-19 hit our shores. In a very short space of time, a lot had disrupted the marketplace. As the magnitude of the situation become clearer, we all had to react. But the rate of change often proved too difficult for businesses to respond to accordingly.

Upon recognising this, we at Open Comms realised that the most effective PR and marketing campaigns we could provide for our clients had to be proactive. We put our clients in control. Rather than waiting for a story, we set out to create one, which not only helped showcase the services our clients offer but how they can best be utilised during this current climate.

Whether this be regarding specialist funding support, critical communications services or digital and technological innovations, we identified topical trends, tailored specific copy and targeted appropriate media contacts. Again, through this bespoke and strategic approach we were able to maximise the output of content we created.

As we begin to learn what our ‘new normal’ is within the PR industry, the Open Comms team will ensure that taking a proactive approach remains a core element of our services.

As we have throughout this pandemic, we will continue to make certain our clients and the services we offer remain uncompromised during this transitional period. PR has never been such a valuable asset for businesses to use, and the benefits can be transformational.

If you would like to know more about Open Comms and the services we offer, why not give us a call on 01924 862477 or contact us here.