Tag: Press

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.

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.

 

A WORLD WITHOUT NEWS

No news

Just take a moment to think what it would be like to live in a world without news. No negative headlines. No worries about the wider world. No gossip columns. No announcements of job losses or business failures. No articles about people that mean nothing to you. No articles. Full stop.

Now take some time and think again.

There would be no national newspapers to keep you up to date with politics and economics. No business pages to provide category insight, trends or innovation. The narrative would be ‘manipulated’. Stories would share the positive but fail to give the bigger picture. We would become reliant on a one-sided view of everything. There would be no accountability, governance or code of practice.

Local news would come from chatter shared around the school gates or water cooler. Gossip would prevail. There would be no time for investigating the facts. Those stories that make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside would be enjoyed by the few, not the many.

Charitable activities, good deeds and communities coming together to clap in the street. Veterans raising millions of pounds through personal challenges. Residents using their skills to sew, knit and cook to selflessly help others.

These things would still happen, but only those involved would know about them. Certainly not the millions of people that rely on their newspaper, radio or TV broadcast every day.

Give journalists a chance

So, perhaps I’m painting an unbalanced picture of the news myself.

Maybe some journalists aren’t as thorough or as professional as we may like. Playing devil’s advocate, couldn’t that be said of all industries? Surely the behaviour of few doesn’t set a precedent for the many.

I have worked with journalists across international, national and regional media, broadcast and print, for more than twenty years. Throughout my career, I can honestly say that I have built up a genuine respect and admiration for what they do.

Some, I would even consider as friends.

A heartfelt plea

Yesterday evening I was scrolling through my twitter feed only to come across a video which had been shared by journalists from the Yorkshire Post. The collective, with no outside encouragement, had come together to give a heartfelt plea to readers.

The message was very simple: buy a paper.

Not only was the content raw, it put a face to the people behind the headlines. It gave a glimpse of those that work so hard to put a paper together every day. Those that allow us to better understand what is going on in our region; good or bad.

It struck a real chord with me.

You may not like the way that some journalists behave, and you may have taken a vow never to buy a particular title for your own reasons, but don’t shoot every messenger. We live in a country where we have a choice of media and medium.

Spoilt for choice

You don’t have to buy one paper, listen to one radio show or rely on one TV station. There is an abundance of media out there. We are fortunate that this is the case, and perhaps too spoilt for choice.

While I know that people will take this as an opportunity to share their opinions about the media; with some that say journalists are ‘missing the mark’, perhaps even that they are not representative of the British public. The simple truth is, this goes beyond a daily press conference.

This is a moment in time, and we would be mindful to think beyond it.

Think about the last story you read which made you smile. Think about the cuttings your mum kept. Think about those you are saving for your own family. Think about that feeling when your company featured in the business pages and someone mentioned it. Think about the ideas, encouragement and motivation you took from a feature.

Don’t be the reason to ‘stop press’

There are good and bad sides to everything. Nothing is perfect. We are all learning, and we are all adapting. Journalism is a skill. It takes patience, thought, concentration, the ability to find an angle and to get to the heart of a story. It is creative, exciting, interesting and engaging. It keeps us all informed.

This may be an opportunity for us to turn our backs on journalism and to make a stand. Refuse to buy a paper. Turn off the radio. Avoid the press conferences. Choose a box set.

When this is all over and we come out from the darkness and into the light. When we go to pick up our free paper on the daily commute. When we go to grab the local paper to see what’s happening down the road. When we go to the shop on a Saturday morning to enjoy the paper with a strong coffee. When we go to grab the Sunday paper with its many supplements that last us a week.

They won’t be there.

The stand we took. The one we didn’t think enough about. The point we made. It will be the demise of the newspaper. Humble as it may be, it is a lifeline for many. Don’t make a mistake you will live to regret.

Taking the right stand: the news stand

For now, I am backing the Yorkshire Post and the journalists that work for the title and those within the wider JMIMedia Publishing Ltd.

I will continue to buy my local papers. I will learn from the stories, laugh at the stories, cry over the stories, be shocked by the stories and I will encourage others to do the same.

In a time when it has never been more important to come together, let’s back the many and ignore the few. Buy a paper and keep an industry alive that many of us really do rely on.

MEDIA RELATIONS: WHEN PRESS AND PR PROFESSIONALS COLLIDE

Now that I have completed six months of agency life, I feel fairly confident in saying that I am much more settled into my PR role following a rather steep learning curve. The transition from journalism to PR is without a doubt a challenging one to undertake!

The varied nature of working in PR can be extremely rewarding, exciting and educational, but consequently it is also a demanding job that constantly pushes me on a daily basis. It may be no surprise, however, that the biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is learning how to navigate the delicate intricacies of media relations.

With the emergence of ‘Fake News’, the instant ability to share information across social media and a gradual decrease in the number of working journalist, it could be argued that the art of ‘selling’ a press release or news story to the media is no longer a necessity. However, as someone who has experienced this process from both sides of the tracks, I can’t emphasise enough that it can still be extremely valuable.

Like many industries across the globe, journalism has been forced to evolve and adapt due to the ongoing digital transformation. As a result, however, a lot less journalists are working but a lot more content is being created. So, journalists are busy to say the least. I still vividly remember the dreaded feeling of opening up my inbox on a morning to discover that 300+ emails have found their way inside, and only to scour my way through to discover that less than half are of any relevance at all. It is just time wasted.

On the other side of the conversation, I’ve also experienced the hard work that goes into the process of getting a press release across to the journalist. As a PR professional, I write the copy, send over to the client and wait for feedback, make further amendments, get final approval and then find a photograph. But once again, this could all be time wasted if I just send across an email, hoping that the journalist will choose to open it amid all the unwanted spam they receive throughout the day!

The easiest remedy to for this painful process consists of two very simple steps.

First of all, never send a press release early in the morning; journalists are far too preoccupied with checking stock market listings; checking any overnight breaking news announcements; collating stories they covered the day prior and sending out the daily email newsletter to their list of loyal subscribers.

This is a critical time for a journalist, and unfortunately, if the press release being sent across doesn’t solve Brexit, then it isn’t going to get a look in. Following this is their time to annihilate the inbox, where journalists will be red faced and at risk of suffering with a repetitive finger injury from clicking delete repeatedly.

So, I always try to send a press release either late in the morning or early afternoon, as this can often be their calmest part of the day.

Secondly, which I believe is the single-most important element of this entire process, is picking up the phone and speaking with a journalist either before or after the press release is sent over.

Despite what journalists may say, I always found this extremely useful as it immediately directed me to an email/press release which I may have otherwise missed. Additionally, this also gives the journalist to ask any specific questions about the story, which could prove to be crucial to getting it published.

If nothing else, speaking on the phone at least gives you chance to develop relationships with members of the press for any future opportunities which may arise. As well as promoting your clients as reliable contacts for the media, you should also work to establish your agency as a reputable and reliable source. So pick up the phone!!!

Feeling the ‘Press’ure

There is no doubt that the PR and marketing industry has changed over recent years and will never be the same again. This, in my opinion, is primarily down to people having less time and a shift in media consumption.

Once upon a time you would buy a paper, read it and pass it on. You may watch some TV and listen to the radio too, whereby you were likely to come across some strategically placed advertisements suggesting that you buy this or that.

Press advertising and outdoor displays have been around for as long as I can remember but the use of digital has taken consumer engagement to a completely new level and this is what has impacted on traditional media sales.

As more publications become available online, a greater number of commuters, business men and women, choose to read the press before they get into work – usually on their smart phones or iPads meaning that there is no need or desire for them to purchase a paper, never mind read it during work hours.

As a result of these changes printed media are having to do more to engage with their audience and showcase why they are different and what value a person can gain from both reading in print and online versions of their publications.

Many printed business press have chosen to hold round table events, which bring together market leaders – this gives them the time to debate current industry topics, while also providing the journalist with the chance to sit in a room full of potential content and if they time it right an exclusive or two!

Most publications now have online versions as well as printed options so it’s a balancing act between having what the consumer wants and still showcasing the value of print.

As an agency that has worked within the print market for more than 10 years, we know the value and benefit of print, not least the tangible aspect of a creatively designed, full colour piece. There is no doubt that there is still a place for print and The Drum, a marketing trade publication, has gone one step further.

I received an email yesterday with the subject: ‘My Big Mistake’. Naturally I wondered what that mistake would be – there can be some interesting #fails when you work in our industry. Never did I think this ‘mistake’ would be one of the most insightful, challenging and intriguing ideas I’ve come across.

The Drum have decided to complete an edition of the magazine in front of a live audience – yes, live! Those who attend the event on 3 July will see the team plan the publication layout, make decisions about the front cover story plus what other news will and won’t make the cut. In addition interviews will take place there and then with questions asked about the angles that should be chosen for feature pieces that will appear within the final piece.

Not only is this brave but it’s an incredible way of getting people to understand The Drum and how it works. It will give people a genuine insight into what makes good copy and what questions the team ask before submitting a final piece to go to print.

Unfortunately I won’t be in a position to attend the event but I can’t wait to read the final piece. Everyone attending will get an editorial credit – again, a very good ideas and just one way to get people to really buy in to the publication.

Well done to The Drum – a huge thumbs up! They are taking print to the masses, getting them involved, engaging with their audience, building brand loyalty and injecting some genuine creativity and excitement into what they do – nice work.

PR stands for Press Release

When you work in PR (public relations) there are some days when you wonder what your job description may look like if you were to write down everything you were asked to do. This is no bad thing you understand, as the huge variety of tasks certainly helps to keep things interesting, while raising a few exciting challenges along the way.

This is perhaps why I find it so frustrating when people tell me that they can ‘do PR’ because they have written a press release or had something printed in a newspaper. The purpose of appointing a PR agency shouldn’t be to just write copy – that’s what copy writers are there for and the clue is in the title.

A PR agency is there to manage a brands reputation, to identify opportunities that will extend the messaging of a campaign to take it to a totally new level, or to come up with creative recommendations that will deliver a stunt that will capture the attention of the media, while also educating consumers about what that particular product or brand has to offer.

There’s also the corporate side of things, when an agency may be appointed to manage a stakeholder or internal communications campaign, ensuring that a message is clear and concise, using the right tone of voice and being disseminated in the right way, to the right audience.

Sponsorship often falls under the remit of a PR agency, along with third party associations and event management. Although you may find that copy is required to support these activities, it isn’t the sum of the process and everything from launching to making sure the brand gets the most from an association – which often includes sampling – can be included along the way.

Really the job of a PR has no defined start or finish, as long as you are managing and supporting the reputation of a brand and business, focusing on how it chooses to communicate and engage with its target audiences, then it kind of falls in to our remit.

As we have said in the past there is no point in trying to be all things to all people and that isn’t what I’m suggesting – there are times when we work with other specialist agencies to deliver integrated briefs and this is when you can take one concept or theme and really push it to make as much noise across as many mediums as possible.

At the moment we are working on so many different things that when Friday comes around I feel like my head is spinning with ideas and variations on the campaigns and proposals that we are working on for clients both in business to business and consumer markets.

PR is creative, expressive, exciting and demanding and writing is just one element of what we do on a daily basis to manage the reputation of the brands and businesses we work with. So next time you hear someone say that they can ‘do PR’ because they can draft a press release, please pass on my advice, they can’t! If you think that PR is all about writing a press release then it’s time to take a long hard look at your future career in the business because it won’t last long.

 

Sometimes to say nothing at all makes most impact

The French edition of Closer magazine has decided to print pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge topless while on a holiday. My first point has to be does anyone really care – I have no burning desire to see her breasts and can’t imagine for one second why anyone else would want to either.

My second point is that Closer magazine (and it’s important to get across that this is the French edition not the UK based publication) will sell out on all newsstands if not for the fact that they have these ridiculous images but because the British media are making such a fuss about it.

If the truth be told the very best way to handle this would have been to keep quiet and say nothing. The publishers will be rubbing their hands together in glee and doubling the print run to meet with demand and all because people are talking about something, which for all intense and purpose, has no news value what-so-ever.

Closer in France couldn’t have paid for this profile or the exposure that they get. Right or wrong there is definitely some truth in the fact that all publicity is good publicity.

Even Jeremy Vine has got in on the act, asking if a Princess should go topless at someone else’s house on his prime time afternoon show – I go back to my original point, who cares? She is a beautiful married woman who was on holiday. If she wants to sunbath topless at a private resort then it is her right to do so.

I’m not one to bang on about human rights and I do agree that when someone becomes a public figure they have certain expectations placed on them but there has to be a line drawn and this photographer, in my mind, have crossed it.

The best thing we could all do now is never mention the sorry incident again. Rather than giving the ‘story’ more kudos, we should simply ignore it and rise above it. No more statements, no more comments issued and certainly no more mention of the rag in question. I just hope that those who are responsible don’t earn enough money to retire as a result of a few tasteless pictures.