Author: Nick Hill

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.

HOW THE ROLE OF RELATIONSHIPS CAN ‘MAKE OR BREAK’ PR PROGRESS

Success in PR is largely dependent on the ability to forge and maintain lasting relationships. But as an industry that is constantly evolving, so too is the way we communicate. With that in mind, putting in place the tactics needed to deliver consistent and reliable communications with those that matter most has never been more important.

Understanding the way we communicate with our clients, the press and our fellow employees can often be a challenging prospect. But as the working day for any PR professional can be incredibly varied, we must be able to meet the differing expectations of our many audiences.

Here at Open Comms’, our diverse client base requires that each member of the team must continually develop an efficient understanding of multiple sectors and specific fields. We are able to obtain this knowledge through the close relationships we have forged and the effective way we communicate with our clients, but also each other as well.

Clients

Whether it’s digital or charitable, public sector or professional services, the Open Comms team have developed the ability to seamlessly transfer from one to the other without any disruption to our work or comprising our services.

This is only achievable by working as an extension of our clients’ teams so that we have access to all of the information and detail we require.

Using this as a foundation, the Open Comms team takes a collaborative approach when executing a PR and marketing strategy. From conceptualisation to delivery, we offer transparency and openness throughout the entire process.

By cultivating this trust and respect, we retain relationships that span many years and often result in us being recommended by those we work with.

Media

Relationships with clients may be considered as the most important, but they are by no means the only ones we must nurture on a daily basis. A vital aspect of any PR professional’s role is media relations.

As journalists are inundated with dozens upon dozens of requests on a daily basis, their capacity to answer each one is almost impossible. So, establishing lasting relationships with members of the press is critical to the success of our press coverage. It is important that we, as PR professionals, contact journalists with something that will ultimately benefit them and their publication.

To understand the widespread benefits of having trusted contacts in the media, I’ve listed some top tips about what you must consider prior to approaching them.

  • Research what the journalists have historically covered in the past
  • Understand who their readers are and what is topical to them
  • Identify why you have ‘newsworthy’ content for them
  • Highlight why their readers will be interested
  • Be bespoke in your interactions, and try to avoid sending generic communications

We would like to think that through our relationships we have become an asset to the journalists we work with. We are often told that we are a trusted source of news and information.

Colleagues

Last but not least, the relationship between colleagues is paramount in the continuity of services a PR agency offers its clients. We at Open Comms pride ourselves on being an agile and receptive workforce who are able to trust one another when it comes to delivering for the brands we support.

Each employee at Open Comms brings their own individual skillset to the table. Not only does this ensure we are able to deliver on all client briefs, no matter how complex, but our collaborative way of working enables each of us to learn and develop new skills.

We are able to work as cohesive unit because of the trust we have developed through the relationships we have established. Much like we are with clients, the Open Comms team operate through regular communications and ensure that the team, no matter what position, has a clear understanding of each employee’s specific workload.

If you’d like to find out about the service we offer, then please contact the team here or simply give us a call on 01924 862477.

LEAVING LOCKDOWN A BETTER PR PROFESSIONAL

As we are continuing to adapt to new ways of living and working amid the Coronavirus crisis, dare I say that there finally appears to be a slight glimmer of light at the end of a turbulent and challenging tunnel.

Normal has and is continuing to change. Our lives will be impacted by this pandemic for many months to come. And, despite the overwhelming feeling that we are navigating through these unprecedented times together, I cannot help but think that our own experiences will be vastly different.

We are at the brink of a nationwide recession, unemployment rates are rising and most tragically, people are still losing their lives and loved ones to Covid-19. I’m sure I can speak for the majority of people when I say there have been some extremely dark days during this lockdown period.

Yet, despite being drenched in this daily wave of negativity, I must look within my own situation and be at least thankful that many key elements of my daily life have remained intact, especially when it comes to work.

Positivity in the workplace

Like many sectors across the UK, the PR industry hasn’t eluded the damaging impact of the Coronavirus. Here at Open Comms, however, we are fortunate enough that the entire team have managed to keep a sense of business as usual throughout this global crisis.

This transition has certainly not been without its challenges. Similar to many companies across the country, we have all been working remotely. Our processes have had to be modified but we have largely ensured that the services we deliver have remained uncompromised.

This is why I feel fortunate, but it’s not the only reason. When I look back at my own lockdown experience, I recognise that through necessity I have gained valuable new skills, adopted more efficient working practices and my PR skillset is continuously improving.

Learning to adapt

It was inevitable that as the marketplace was impacted by this widespread disruption. Many businesses would have to, rather quickly, change their strategies going forward and for the foreseeable future. This was no different with our clients, and we had to therefore taken both a proactive and a reactive approach.

This was most evident on our clients’ social media channels. To reflect the current climate, we had to completely revise the messaging and tone of a program of activity we had previously collated. In order to avoid any inactivity on these platforms, the new content had to be turned around quickly and then shared across multiple platforms immediately.

Another client reacted to the Covid-19 crisis by amending a critical support service, so it is available to those who need it most at this time. Prior to the launch of this new scheme we took a proactive approach by specifically targeting media titles that have already shown an appetite for sharing this content around the subject.

Upon contacting members of the media, we also repurposed the press release to highlight each specific region in order to secure as much coverage as possible. Following this update, the story was covered throughout the UK, including every region this service is available in.

True value of regular communications

It is at times of crisis that positive communications play such a vital role. At times, PR may not be seen as a ‘must have’ by many, but I believe it is now evident just how valuable it can be. The success of a company can often be attributed to its reputation, and nobody understands how better to grow this then communication experts.

Aside from the successes we have achieved on behalf of our clients in lockdown, one of the biggest triumphs I’ve seen is how the Open Comms team has regularly and robustly continued to communicate, not just with clients, but also with each other. Shifting to remote working can be an arduous adjustment and can put daily correspondence at risk.

Whether it’s transferring our usual team meetings to morning video conferences, scheduling in private calls to further discuss work projects or simply putting on the kettle and having that much needed catch-up, tasks such as these give me that sense of normality, we all long for.

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 POWER OF PR: WHY REPURPOSING CONTENT MATTERS

The PR industry is constantly evolving, and as a result, agencies are having to adopt numerous tactics when implementing campaigns on behalf of clients.

There is an ever-increasing tool kit to choose from when raising a company’s profile, increasing brand awareness or enhancing an individual’s reputation. Some of the approaches that are frequently adopted include social media campaigns, influencer marketing strategies and sponsored or paid for digital media.

With all these methods to choose from, you could be forgiven for thinking more traditional skills had been set aside. However, this is not the case.

Extending audience reach through compelling content

At Open Comms we feel there should always remain a focus on coherent and informative pieces of content. Whether this be in the form of a press release, comment piece or a blog post. Compelling copy will deliver results for brands that want to communicate effectively with audiences.

As PR professionals, we know that securing frequent press coverage in the right media and using this across relevant channels remains a key objective for many of our clients. This approach allows organisations to build brand presence, communicate with chosen targets and enhance the bottom line.

Ultimately, the channels that are now available to PR professionals allow us to maximise the success of any single piece of content.

Press releases

Although there are many alternatives to the way we now digest news, the most efficient process of securing media coverage remains through the distribution of press releases. For content to be featured in the press it must have widespread appeal, not only to the journalist but also the reader.

At Open Comms we know how vital it is that we understand who the press release is being written for. We can then ensure the angle applies to the specific target audience; whether it’s regional, national or sector specific.

We understand that copy needs to contain a newsworthy or interesting angle in order for it to be read, digested and shared. This then makes this content as strong as it can be before being repurposed and used across multiple platforms.

Blog/news section

Once a press release has secured media coverage, the content can then be updated to feature on a company’s blog page or news section. This serves several key purposes:

  • Anyone visiting a website, including prospective customers, will have access to information about what is happening at an organisation at a given point in time.
  • Keeping visitors updated and informed will increase the number of times they access the website.
  • Frequently updating a blog or news section can significantly enhance a company’s ranking on Google and other search engines.

The reality is that the more frequently interesting and informative content is uploaded, the more likely it becomes that specific search terms will be associated with a company’s URL. This gives the pages greater authority, which improves page rank and as a result, generates even more organic traffic and prospects.

LinkedIn

At the same time as uploading content onto a blog page or news section, it can also be repurposed so that it can be shared across social media platforms.

It goes without saying that social media has become an online search tool of choice when people source information. In recent years, LinkedIn has invested heavily and is increasingly becoming the ‘go to’ platform for business-related activity.

As such, posting an update on a company LinkedIn page allows that business to engage with its followers. It can also extend this reach to those that are connected with its employees if they choose to share or like a post from their personal account.

Not only will this help increase a company’s presence on the platform, but when using hashtags or links to associated articles, it also informs professionals within a specific sector of this newsworthy content.

As a result, a company’s LinkedIn page can become a reliable source of relevant and topical content for existing clients and potentially new business prospects.

Summary

In summary, there are a number of ways that a business can use content to enhance their PR activity. Content is a great place to start. Thinking more strategically about how each article, press release, comment or feature will be used can make a real difference to results.

Start by thinking about the angle. Make it relevant and right for the audience. This can be used to shape a press release for media. Once coverage is achieved it can be amended and posted as a blog. The blog can then be repurposed for LinkedIn and shared across social channels.

Using this tried and tested method will help any business to create compelling copy that reaches the widest audience possible without getting tied up in knots in the process.

The value of producing well created pieces of content should never be overlooked and here at Open Communications, we take great pride in harnessing the power of the written word. Please find out more here or pick up the phone and give us a call on 01924 862477.

UTILISING PR PROPERLY AMID THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

As the UK embarks on another spell of lockdown, we are now seeing signs of progress in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. Although the future has never been more uncertain, these unprecedented times have guaranteed that the drastic changes to our daily lives will be ongoing for the foreseeable future.

The strict, but necessary, guidelines implemented by the Government in early March have caused widespread disruption; not just to our personal lives, but also to our professional lives as well. As society has been forced to adjust and adapt in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, the country has experienced a seismic economic shift that will be felt for many more months, if not years.

There has never been such a time where critical information has played a pivotal role. Customers, clients, business partners and employees alike must all be made aware of any changes that could have a significant impact on their lives.

Like so many other sectors, the PR industry has been forced to change rapidly to navigate through this ongoing pandemic. With that being said, it is at times of crisis that we realise just how valuable and critical communications can be.

As such, we believe that the implementation of a robust communications strategy can significantly help companies during this unprecedented period. We have listed our three top tips of delivering impactful PR amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

1. Take the opportunity to approach press and media outlets

During the nationwide lockdown, more eyes than ever will be searching for news and updates online. In response to this increase in online traffic, publications will be in need of as much content as possible to keep their readers engaged and interested.

Brands must take advantage of this opportunity by being proactive and calling on press contracts to find out just what sort of content is desired at this time. This will then enable them to tailor copy to the specific requests of each journalist and hopefully increase their chances of securing media coverage.

2. Don’t hide away from Covid-19

The ongoing pandemic has changed the way consumers shop, employees work and how services are delivered. Ignoring these changes could have a detrimental effect on companies and the relationship they have with clients and customers.

Communicating openly and honestly can be an effective way of creating trust and forming stronger relationships with the relevant people. A brand or company seen at the forefront of this crisis, whether its posting daily updates on websites, social media or in the press, can instill a sense of reliability and responsibility within the marketplace.

With that being said, businesses must recognise the difference between selling and informing. Communicating critical information isn’t an excuse to try to sell a product, so don’t fall in the trap of using it as a promotion tool. This will be received negatively and cause further damage to a brand.

3. Customer and client engagement

As life has taken a somewhat slower pace for some over recent months, it has provided these companies with an opportunity to reflect and reevaluate the way they operate. Part of this reflection could be focused on collating data regarding the experience customers and clients have when using a company’s services.

Crucially, this will help organisations to better understand how the current situation is impacting on their target markets whilst also providing them with a further opportunity to engage with their customer base.
An effective way to collate this information could be by using social media tools; whether it’s creating polls for followers to engage with or by posting questions for which the answer could be determined by retweeting or liking.

This will enable companies to communicate consistently on their own platforms, while also helping to garner more followers and potentially new business.

Although we don’t know when normalcy will return, we do know that we must remain resilient and willing to evolve to accommodate the current climate. Despite these challenging times, businesses need to keep an optimistic approach whilst continuing to deliver for their clients and customers.

Recognising the value of positive communications will not only support businesses throughout this pandemic, but organisations in all sectors across the wider economy.

 

CITY CATHEDRAL TO BE ENGULFED IN FIERY GLOW AT NIGHT OF FIRE & LIGHT

Although the brisk remnants of a cold and dull winter are still lurking in the open air, Wakefield is set to turn up the temperature as we welcome in the start of Spring.

As one of the most culturally diverse cities in the UK, the Wakefield district is home to an array of world-renowned attractions. With the likes of the leading international centre for modern and contemporary art, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP); the award-winning art museum, The Hepworth Wakefield, and the National Coal Mining Museum for England, Wakefield certainly punches above its weight when it comes to things to see and do.

But arguably the most underrated and overlooked cultural offering, which sits in the heart of the city centre, is Wakefield Cathedral.

Although the residents of Wakefield may have become immune to the historic building’s towering and picturesque presence, the public’s interest in the cathedral will certainly be reignited during a two-night event at the end of this month.

Wakefield BID in association with Wakefield Cultural Consortium, the collective of cultural venues and business organisations from across the district, are set to launch a ‘Night of Fire & Light’ as Wakefield Cathedral is transformed into an illuminated cityscape.

Delivered by award-winning outdoor arts organisation, Walk the Plank, on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 March from 7pm – 9.30pm, the Night of Fire & Light will enable families to wander through a series of specially commissioned art installations and sculptures, which will cast a fiery glow around the grade-I listed building and its gardens.

Following flame-lit pathways adorned with intricately carved flower boxes and flame-filled floral chimneys, the event will put the spotlight firmly on the city’s cathedral, which will also be lit as a magnificent backdrop to the event.

Visitors will be able to experience Wakefield Cathedral in a completely new and exciting way! For further details about Night of Fire & Light visit www.experiencewakefield.co.uk/fire-light.

I for one, can’t wait!

UNDERSTANDING THE BENEFITS OF OUTSOURCING PR

Senior management may like it or not, but in order to realise their business’ full growth potential they will have to invest time and money in a robust and strategic communications plan.

Whether it’s raising a company’s profile, increasing brand awareness or protecting an organisation’s reputation, implementing a public relations strategy can be an extremely effective method of generating a significant boost in both revenue and profits.

The challenge, however, is to either keep PR services in-house or pay for an external agency to handle this process.

Although each option will require investment, the focus shouldn’t be put on the most cost-effective approach but rather the one that will deliver the strongest ROI. Looking at the long-term, outsourcing PR and marketing services can be much more advantageous than handling this approach internally.

First and foremost, working with PR agencies gives business leaders full access to an entire team of communication specialists and their varied skill set. No matter how complex the brief may be, agency professionals can each take a key area of focus to deliver a full-service programme of activity.

Once executed successfully, an external service provider can often become strategic partners to the businesses they work with, offering valuable market insight, guidance with future campaigns and expert advice to key decision makers and stakeholders.

Ultimately, PR agencies need to be seen as an extended team of the companies they work with, and not for.

Below are my top three benefits from working with an external PR agency

Team of experts: No matter the marketing or communication requirements, PR agencies will have a team of specialists at an organisations disposal to tackle any issue, often at the same price of hiring just one new employee. Specialisms include copywriting, social media management, digital marketing, press release writing, crisis management, plus many more.

Media relations: PR agencies have developed a vast network of media contacts in many different industries. So no matter what market a business operates in, specific members of press, publications and influencers can be targeted to help generate positive publicity.

Creative outlet: Creativity sits at the heart of PR agencies, whose teams are brimming with unique and imaginative concepts that will create buzz and excitement like never before. Businesses can capitalise whenever they are commenting on current trends, looking to disrupt certain sectors, enter new markets or simply trying to get in front of a wider audience.

Investing in PR should never be seen as ‘a nice to have’ but rather a key catalyst to obtaining further growth.

For more information about how Open Communications works with businesses and brands of all sizes please call a member of the team.