Tag: public relations

THE POWER OF THE HUMBLE PRESS RELEASE

Press Release

There simply isn’t a business or brand out there that cannot benefit from the power of a humble press release.

It goes without saying that the world of Public Relations is constantly evolving. As a result, us PR pros have an ever-expanding tool kit to choose from when implementing client campaigns.

However, despite the many tactics on hand, the traditional press release continues to hold its position as the number one way of securing media coverage. If that’s not an indication of its true potential, then I don’t know what is!

Although a staple of our industry, to the unknowing eye, a press release may seem like an outdated way for brands to communicate with consumers. Especially in the glorious age of social media.

Well, take it from our clients. Those who have featured on the likes of BBC news, ITV and the Daily Mail – this is completely false. In fact, landing news coverage has many more advantages than you may think.

SEO benefits from a Press Release

The primary purpose of a press release is to get your brands message in the pages of media outlets. Often, these publications have websites which rank very high on search engines such as Google.

As you can imagine, having your brands news published on such sites is often extremely beneficial for marketing purposes, but it also helps with SEO.

Following the distribution of a press release, a popular and authoritative site may publish your news. It may also include a link to your website – these are called backlinks. Backlinks are fundamental to SEO. The more backlinks you generate, the more authority Google awards your website. Which is what ultimately improves your ranking on the search engine.

With that being said, generating backlinks is certainly not an easy task. For a brand to be featured on credible media outlets, it’s vital that the press release shared is of value and deemed newsworthy by the journalists who receive it.

Press releases are not owned media. This would mean that you share the copy and it is relayed in exactly the same format. In contrast, content supplied as a release is earned. This gives a journalist the opportunity to use it or the freedom to discard it.

With coverage comes credibility

As Jean-Louis Gassée once said: 

“Advertising is saying you’re good. PR is getting someone else to say you’re good.”

Yes, it’s great that we have access to social media and can shout about how great we are on our own platforms. However true value comes from other people saying the same.

Ultimately, it’s what gives a brand credibility, particularly in an age where consumers make purchase decisions based on reviews and what others are saying about a brand and their experience with it.

Consistent Brand Visibility  

A press release offers a simple way to consistently maintain brand visibility within the media. The launch of a new product, an event, an award or a new recruit, are all examples of newsworthy stories.

To harness the power of a press release, it’s important to first identify opportunities where there is potential to secure news coverage. By doing so you can build a PR program which ensures your brand is given constant exposure all year round.

Reaching a larger audience

With the help of a press release, brands can connect with an ever-widening audience. You see, having your news published on media outlets, whether that’s in print, online or even across social channels often reaches consumers that you otherwise may not. Not only does this mean increased brand visibility and awareness, but it is often a way in which many businesses grow.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS WITH PR AGENCIES

Long-term relationships

In the world of PR, long-term client-agency relationships are hard to come by. 

Many brands often find themselves changing agencies in a never-ending pursuit for the right partner. Even with so many options out there, it’s very rare that they find a perfect match. However, with Open Comms it’s a different story.

Despite all odds, as an agency we are exceptionally proud of having retained long-term clients; some of whom have been with us for over a decade! YesA decade!

Whilst this is often unheard of in agency land, it’s a very real achievement that we take pride in. Simply put, it’s a reflection of our commitment to consistently delivering results and an indication that our approach to PR works.

With that being said, maintaining long-term relationships is not just favourable for an agency. Similarly, clients too can reap the many rewards that come with lasting partnerships.

How cultivating long-term relationships can benefit your brand

  1. Higher Degree of Trust

Agencies are often involved in the most intimate details of a business. Therefore, it goes without saying that trust is paramount.

As a brand, you put your trust in partners to present the right ideas, meet objectives, deliver results, offer guidance and perform well. However, this trust cannot be bought or built overnight. It’s earned through consistency, honesty and reliability.

Once established, you have confidence in the expertise of your agency and trust their judgement, which can often save valuable time and effort, as well as budgets.

  1. Deeper Familiarity

After developing a long-term relationship with an agency, it’s only natural that over time they become more familiar with your wants, needs and personal style. Through the process of identifying these requirements, the agency gains a better understanding of you, your brand and your team.

It’s this knowledge that helps agencies adapt their approach so that it aligns with the needs of their clients.

  1. Better Brand Advocates

For many businesses, instilling brand advocacy within their teams is key to garnering success. The same applies when collaborating with out-house agencies.

However, transforming people into powerful brand advocates requires time and patience. This is exactly why building a long-term client-agency relationship is so valuable. It offers an opportunity to educate your external team the same way you would internally. As a result, your brand is supported by those who not only believe in it but also share your enthusiasm and passion for it.

We often say that there is nothing as infectious as passion and that is why we make sure we are as excited by our clients’ brands, products and services as they are.

Want to find out first-hand why some of our clients have stuck with us for over a decade? Give us a call on 01924 862477 or contact a member of the team here.

USING PR TO LAUNCH A NEW PRODUCT

If your brand is ready to launch a new product, PR should be a part of your plans. Simple.

Product launches are often obvious opportunities for brands to secure good, quality coverage. So, it’s crucial to manage announcements correctly. You’ve worked hard and now you want to shout it from rooftops. Trust me, we get it.

Here at Open Comms, we have mastered the art of pushing new products onto customer radars through PR. It’s what we’ve been doing for over a decade.

  1. The importance of ‘Media Relations’ when using PR to launch a product

Media Relations is a critical function of PR. In particular when launching a new product to market.

As an experienced team of PR professionals, we collectively liaise with hundreds of journalists and key industry contacts on a daily basis. It simply comes with the job. Over time these interactions with the media become strong relationships. This is ultimately what our clients benefit most from. Here’s how:

  • Journalists are more receptive if they know you

Journalists are busy people, and it’s certainly reflected in their inboxes. The likelihood of them seeing a pitch, let alone replying to one, is slim to none. That is unless they know the sender and have worked with them in the past.

This is exactly why building and nurturing a mutually beneficial relationship with journalists is so important. Ultimately, the journalist should view a PR professional as a useful source of knowledge not a waste of time.

  • Tight deadlines can mean more exposure to last-minute opportunities

Journalists, reporters and the media in general work on extremely tight deadlines. This usually means that they will reach out to PR pro’s that they have a working relationship with.

Having an established rapport with key contacts in the media, be it print, online, broadcast or social media ensures that our clients’ new products and or services are always put forward for exclusive opportunities. These are not always available to others.

  • Bespoke approach when pitching to different media

When pitching to media it’s imperative that you understand what type of content appeals to them most.

When it comes to launches, consumer writers for example are predominantly interested in the product. Whereas journalists from national newspapers want more detail and possibly even a comment from the brand.

Knowing this information makes all the difference. However, this can only be achieved when you have extensive knowledge of the contact you are targeting.

  1. How influencer marketing can support PR with product launches

Influencer marketing is a powerful tool so much so that the industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022.

With a community of devoted followers at their disposal, influencers are a great way to launch a new product. Recent research even suggests some consumers trust influencers more than friends. Here’s why:

  • Influencers are deemed trustworthy by their followers

People are more likely to believe in a product when someone who they trust endorses it.

  • Influencers create authentic content

Influencers often personalise the content which they share. This is so that it’s relevant to their unique style and resonates with their followers, which traditional advertising cannot do.

  • Influencers are usually considered experts in their field

Influencers usually have a status of expertise in a specific area. Meaning if a brand is promoted by them, it instantly gains a sense of credibility.

  1. How competitions and giveaways accompany PR when launching a new product

Competitions and giveaways are an effective way to reach a large number of people in a short amount of time. Particularly when using PR to launch a new product. They can either be placed with media titles and or influencers, print and or online.

In addition to gaining exposure among relevant audiences, competitions and giveaways can often incentivise people to follow or interact with a brand and its product. Essentially, when it comes to launching a new product, this is a great tool to drive awareness, spark up a conservation and create a buzz.

Using PR to launch a new product just makes sense. There is certainly no point in spending huge amounts of time and resources in developing a new product and then under-investing in its launch. That would make no commercial or common sense at all.

If your brand is ready to shout about a new product launch, we’re here to help. Why not give us a call on 01924 862477 or find out more about the services we offer here.

REDIRECTING BUDGETS TO PR FOR SUSTAINABLE RESULTS

For many of us, it is human nature to invest in those areas that reap immediate rewards. Depending upon a business’ objectives and the tactics being used, PR isn’t always one of those things. This can lead companies to allocate their budgets elsewhere. However, with a little time, patience and expertise, the benefits achieved through a sustained programme of activity, can elevate an organisation to levels which far outweigh financial spend.

That’s not to say that PR isn’t a specialism with the potential to provide results quickly. Campaigns are a great example of how tangible outcomes can be achieved within a relatively short period of time. However, to deliver sustainable results which benefit the long-term success of a business, PR should be considered an investment for the long-haul.

The true power of PR

Some consider it to be a ‘dark art’, but this is based on outdated perceptions. Actually, put quite simply, public relations does what it says on the tin. It helps a company relate to the public, forming an important interface between an organisation and its customers, employees and stakeholders.

It allows a business to share whatever it needs to say, in a way which is authentic to the organisation. These communications are managed, from start to finish, by specialists who know how to craft a message in a way which will appeal to each unique audience.

The best channels through which to share news are carefully considered, and timed, so that developments are received positively – both by the media, and by the intended audience. Ultimately, PR professionals increase awareness while managing the reputation of a business. This allows brands to reach new levels of love and a position where they can be considered ‘well-known’.

A team that can be relied upon

A good PR agency will become an extension of their client’s teams. A service that can be relied upon during times of uncertainty, and a sounding board for trusted advice and guidance.

Most businesses will endure a crisis at some point during their journey. Depending on the nature of the industry, some will weather a number. However, having a reliable PR team on board, who already know the company and its systems and processes, really can be the difference between a make or break scenario.

The truth is that when a crisis hits, it can often be the first time that a company has considered PR. If you do not have a team in place, it is most certainly a wise move. However, getting to know a brand-new agency, sharing the ins and outs of your business, its culture and the crisis itself can be a time-consuming process. All at a time when moving cautiously but quickly would be the best plan of action. Food for thought which comes that little bit too late for some.

A wise investment

If PR is something that you’ve been considering, chatting this through could be a great way to determine whether it is the right route for your business.

As an agency, we would never take on a client if we didn’t genuinely believe that we were right for you. Our passion and enjoyment comes from securing results, so we firmly believe in being honest and upfront about what we can offer.

For most organisations, PR is a wise investment. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it could, quite possibly, be the best investment your business will ever make.

If you’re interested to learn more, have a glance at our ‘what we do’ page. Read a little more about our team.  Or hear about a few of our clients, past and present, on the ‘work’ page. Or simply give us a call on 01924 862477 – we love to chat!

ALWAYS-ON PR

Consistency matters most when it comes to managing PR, which is why we take an always-on approach here at Open Comms.

PR is powerful. That’s a fact.

Even just one standalone PR project can deliver astounding short-term results. But, that’s exactly what they are – short-term results.

Don’t get me wrong, momentary wins are great. However, this sporadic use of Public Relations does not ensure long-term success for your brand, consistency does.

Achieving consistent communications through an always-on PR strategy

The concept of an always-on approach is straightforward.

It simply means having an all year round activity calendar that guarantees constant exposure amongst your target audience.

Whether this is achieved through consecutive seasonal campaigns or social media marketing, the objective is to keep your brand front of mind always.

News consumption has evolved and it directly affects brands

It goes without saying that the way in which news is consumed has evolved drastically.

With media now being online, we get our news at lightning fast speed. And, often what is deemed newsworthy one day, is considered history the next. As a result, many brands struggle to remain relevant.

That being said, maintaining relevance in today’s fast-paced landscape is not an easy task. In order for brands to survive they must:

  • React to emerging trends
  • Adapt to market changes
  • Live up to evolving customer expectations

Without this, they risk facing the greatest danger for brands in this digital age – loss of brand relevance.

So, how does an always-on PR approach support brands in staying relevant? 

Flexibility –

Adopting an always-on approach enables brands to manoeuvre through a world that is constantly changing. It offers flexibility to adjust brand activity based on what’s new, what’s trending and essentially what’s topical among consumers.

Innovation-

Having an all year round calendar of activity demands a constant flow of fresh and new ideas. Ideas which push boundaries and challenge the status quo. Ultimately, it’s these ideas that will get you ahead of the competition and help maintain your position.

Proactive-

As a PR agency, we receive countless journalist and media requests on a daily basis. Many of which are relevant and valuable opportunities for our clients. Thanks to our always-on mindset, when these opportunities arise it is always a priority that our clients are put forward.

Reactive-

Crisis Management is a crucial part of PR, but one which is often not valued as much as it should be. Business critical challenges can occur at any time and often have to be dealt with quickly and efficiently. Without an always-on approach, this simply would not be possible.

For many, an always-on PR strategy might seem like a nice to have, but this is far from the truth.

PR is a conversation. It demands consistency and structure. Yes, your brand can certainly profit from a burst of PR activity all at once, however the benefits are often short-lived. To truly utilise the power of communications, it’s important to first recognise PR as a journey not a destination.

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.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A PR AGENCY

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A PR AGENCY

The world of communications never stands still. To keep up, PR agencies are constantly having to evolve. This also includes extending the services and tactics that are available to clients of all sizes.  

Here at Open Comms, we work tirelessly to ensure that we continue to meet with the growing needs of our clients, whatever sector they work in. Our offerings encompass everything from traditional PR to digital content and more.

If you’re considering investing in Public Relations, here’s what you can expect from a PR agency that provides a full toolkit of tactics to deliver results and meet with objectives.

Social Media

PR’s natural ability to tell stories and build relationships goes hand in hand with social media. Which is why you will often find the two interlinked.

At Open Comms, you will be given extensive support with your brands online profile and audience engagement; whether that be through management, monitoring or strategic campaigns.

Management

Social media management refers to the process of managing a brand’s social platforms. This typically includes creating relevant and engaging content with the target audience in mind.

Not only can you expect us to craft tailored content for your social media platforms, but we will also publish this content on your behalf and monitor the levels of engagement it achieves.

A thriving social media presence is critical for the success of any business. This is why we will regularly analyse all social activity to ensure that our approach is working. If it isn’t, we will never shy away from suggesting different strategies.

Monitoring

Currently, we support a number of clients with the monitoring of their social media channels; Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram being the most commonly used.

Social media monitoring involves proactively keeping an eye on your social media platforms to check what others are saying about your brand.

This can often include, replying to customer enquiries, engaging with positive comments or dealing with customer complaints. All of which are taken care of by your chosen PR team.

Campaigns

An effective way to get noticed online is through carefully planned and timed social media campaigns.

An alternative to traditional marketing, campaigns on social media can help to build brand awareness, reach a wider audience, increase website traffic and ultimately drive sales.

We have extensive experience of creating seasonal campaigns. These can include everything from drafting content and carefully curated copy through to arranging brand led competitions and everything in between.

So, you can count on us to deliver activity that meets with results and objectives.

Influencer Marketing

 It goes without saying that influencers and their large followings are being leveraged on a global scale, with the influencer industry predicted to be worth $15 billion by 2022.

And, rightly so.

Influencer marketing has proven to be impactful. It helps brands build credibility and long-lasting trust with relevant audiences.

As an agency, we have supported several clients with influencer campaigns. This is why you can expect a large database of contacts that align with your business objectives and brand values when you work with us.

Market Research

 A fundamental part of PR is conducting market research. It allows a business to keep up to date on the latest trends and is also vital for finding out what competitors are doing.

To ensure that our clients are always informed about news that is relevant to their industry, we can share weekly market reviews. In addition, we also provide ideas and recommendations to capitalise on latest trends, so that our clients’ brand never miss an opportunity.

Not only is market research a vital part of any PR strategy, but it can also provide valuable insight when making important business decisions.

Traditional

Although times have changed, traditional PR is just as important as ever.

Press releases, print editorial, copywriting, media relations and crisis management are all essential components of Public Relations.

As an agency, we have offered traditional PR services for more than 11 years, so let’s just say, we consider it our bread and butter.

Our approach to PR is simple. We recognise that different tactics reach different audiences. This is why we listen to your objectives and design a tailored PR strategy to align with your business goals. Whether that be through traditional PR, digital PR or a combination of both.

Aside from professionalism and expertise, you should be able to expect a level of honesty and openness from your PR agency. Ultimately, an agency should work as an extension of your own team and that’s exactly how we do things here at Open Comms.

If you are looking to collaborate with a PR agency, why not give us a call on 01924 862477 or contact us here.

 

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.

 

ADDING AWARDS TO A COMMUNICATION STRATEGY

It’s hard to miss the glitz and glamour of the ongoing movie award season. Every broadcaster, radio station, magazine and social media platform is trying to ride the wave of the public’s unwavering interest in the rich and famous.

But despite these celebrities seemingly living a life we mere mortals can only dream of; it’s still surprising to see how much pride and joy they feel when receiving an award. More importantly, the viewer will register and remember who the winners are.

A movie or television show is much more appealing to the viewer if it has already been dubbed as ‘award-winning’. This forms an expectation that it is of a high quality. The same rules apply in the business world.

Winning awards adds credibility

As we live in such a connected and digitalised society, businesses can be subject to a thorough background search by practically any potential customer or client. Hence why it’s crucial for businesses to pursue opportunities to be awarded. Any type of special recognition will significantly help when differentiating themselves from competitors.

As such, awards must become a priority. Pursuing awards often falls under a company’s communication strategy, which will be implemented by their in-house marketing team or external PR agency.

Raising a company’s profile

PR agencies are brought in to raise a company’s profile, increase their brand awareness and secure as much media coverage as possible. As award submissions can require a lot of work, which has the potential to garner zero results, there is a risk of letting them fall off the agenda.

To prevent this from happening, the company and PR agency must be aligned in understanding the benefits of winning awards and where it fits within a communications strategy.

Below are three key tips to integrate award submissions into a long-term PR campaign;

Securing Earned media coverage

  • Shortlisted companies in for each awards category will be featured multiple times in the media as part of the build up to the event
  • Media coverage will continue for those that are announced overall winners
  • Awards are a useful way of securing organically generated coverage
  • Promotes companies within industry and wider business community
  • Builds brand awareness and increases overall profile
  • Increases visibility among competitors and industry leaders
  • Can be used as a way to introduce the company to prospects and customers

Social media

  • Promoting an award shortlisting or win on social media platforms to notify existing followers about the newly gained credentials will almost certainly attract attention and engagement
  • Can be used to attract new followers, which could be converted to new customers
  • Allows the company to add more personality to posts on social media i.e. celebratory gifs
  • Enables a company to engage directly with followers, thanking them for the support
  • Reshare media coverage of the shortlisting and win, adding in the awards # to engage with other nominees and attendees

Website/blog copy

  • Feature copy of shortlisting and win in the news section of website is a good way of increasing visibility with new and existing customers or clients
  • Repurpose copy for a blog post
  • Enhances a company’s reputation within its specific industry and distinguishes them from the competition
  • Validates services or products a company offers
  • Use links to blog and news section in social media post to draw traffic to website

Having a positive impact from awards

Winning awards can not only impact new business, but it can also have a positive effect on employees, senior team members and the company as a whole. They must not be overlooked. A robust communications strategy must place emphasis on award submissions, and if they are done right, the long-term impact can be extremely beneficial.

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

PR CONTINUES TO BE UNDERVALUED AROUND THE BOARDROOM TABLE

PR can often be an outcast and certainly underrepresented around the boardroom table. An unnecessary investment that cuts deep into company budgets. Granted, it can be difficult to measure the true success of a PR campaign but, without developing and maintaining a positive reputation, a company’s image can be put at risk.

The public’s perception has never been so vital to a business’ success and longevity. And as technological advancements continue to merge with our daily lives, the heat of the spotlight is only set to increase even more.

So, what does this mean?

There is very little room for mistakes. Whether it’s a lack of engagement on social media, a refusal to evolve services or an inability to attract new business, garnering a negative perception can often be led to the downfall of any organisation.

But there is hope! This can all be successfully and robustly manged using an effective PR campaign.

The purpose of PR

First of all, companies must determine what they want to achieve from a PR campaign. Versatile by nature, PR campaigns can be as bespoke as needed depending on the specific objectives an organisation intends to meet.

This can be anything from launching a new product, introducing an enhanced service, promoting a special event or the desire to increase the company’s profile and build brand awareness. Gone are the days when a humble press release was the most effective way to communicate with the public. Now a strategic and proactive approach must be implemented in order for a PR campaign to be successful.

Below is a list of things to consider when putting together a public relations plan:

  • Identify target audience
  • Target trade media and journalists that are dedicated to your specialism
  • Engage with target audience through regular social media posts
  • Position yourself as an expert through thought leadership pieces
  • React and comment on topical issues within your field or area
  • Pursue industry-specific award submissions
  • Create more personal and engaging blog posts
  • Pursue interview opportunities with press
  • Create NEWSWORTHY content about your business

Compiling these points into a step-by-step process, which are then scheduled and executed accordingly, will undoubtedly help a company build towards achieving its initial objective.

It is important to remember, however, that the difference between a poor campaign and a successful campaign is the ability to tell a consistent and compelling story.

This is how companies set themselves apart from direct competitors and stay relevant in the public’s perception.

Telling the story

The foundation of a strong PR campaign will be built on a company’s key message. This needs to be constantly seen and reiterated in any content that is produced. The message can be determined by simply asking why? Why is a company rebranding; expanding the workforce; releasing a new product; investing in IT infrastructure; moving offices; and so on.

Although the newsworthy angle will be to focus on what is currently happening within that company, the underlying messaging is often the reason behind it.

For example, a fashion house may announce the launch of a new store opening that will create 25 new jobs. Although this appears to be strong, albeit relatively straight forward news story, the underlying message may be that the store opening is part of a wider expansion strategy to help the fashion house hit the £5m turnover mark in the next 12 months.

For the duration of the PR campaign, the messaging should constantly echo that the fashion house is set to grow to a £5m business. As this is shared via journalists in the press, through social media, in blogs and other available platforms, the public perception will begin to view this fashion house as a growing and ambitious brand.

Communicating the story of the business can often lead to establishing stronger relationships between customers, members of the media and stakeholders, which in turn will help build brand awareness and customer loyalty. Once a brand establishes a strong following and reputation, the longevity of success will significantly increase.

Back to the boardroom

Taking all of this into account, it could be considered foolish for those with their hands on the budgets to deny a business the opportunity to protect and build its reputation.

The truth is that when PR is embraced and used to meet with the wider objectives of a company it can have a profound impact, not only on the brand profile but also the bottom line.

For more information about how Open Communications works with businesses and brands of all sizes please call a member of the team or email info@opencomms.co.uk.