Have you ever wondered how a story about a company or brand ends up in a newspaper, on the TV or in a magazine? In most cases the starting point will have been a press or news release. This will have been written by the brand's PR team and then sent out to the media and it is the information in the release that will have caught the eye of the journalist and ultimately resulted in the story appearing in the media.
For your press release to catch the journalist's eye it needs to be news worth, topical and above all it has to meet the So What test. A good way of ensuring that your release meets these criteria is to ensure it has the 5 W's, Who, What, Why, Where and When, in the opening paragraph.
Keep it short and sweet, your release shouldn't be more than one side of A4 and always ensure it has your contact details on it, after all you need to let the journalist know how to contact you if they want to run the story. Finally make sure you have an image you can send with it, make sure it's print quality and relevant.
If you have as story to tell and need help to do it then get in touch by calling us on 01234 823700 or email email@example.com
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Blogging to name but a few are all being used by brands to communicate with their customers and followers. The challenge is learning how to use these platforms to engage effectively with your audience.
If you are just starting out then it’s worth taking the time to look at your competitors and see how they are using Social Media to engage with their customers. If you are taking over as a marketing manager for a company who already has a presence on various platforms it’s important to take some time to monitor how your followers and fans are engaging with you. Once you’ve got a feel for what your followers are saying and how they’re engaging with you then you can start to post.
It’s also important to look at how your followers interact with you on the different platforms that you use. If you have great product photography that can help sell your brand’s lifestyle then consider using Instagram. This platform is used by thousands of people to share photos of all sorts of things and it can be a really useful method of disseminating your brand story to a wider audience. You can use #tags to help with searching on the site, which helps to increase your reach.
With Twitter, you might well find that a direct call to action works best for you. Include links to a particular landing page on your website or a product page with new arrivals on your e-commerce site. Use images and #tags as appropriate just remember that with 140 characters you don’t much space to get your message out.
For Facebook it is worth taking the time to work out which posts help to create the most interaction. Do your followers like tips and advice, does a special offer generate an increase in your number of social shares, does a video on how a product is made get them talking, do they engage with you when you ask for their help with product development? Just make sure that you posts fit within your brand guidelines and also be prepared to respond to followers who contact you.
Before you embark on any of this though, you need to make sure that you have a robust brand strategy in place and that everyone in your marketing team knows what it is and what their role is within it. It is also vital that you know what your aims are for using social media, do you want to drive traffic to your website, increase newsletter sign up or engage with early adopters of a new technology. The choice ultimately is yours; just make sure that all your interactions fit within your brand story.
It is also really important not to spread yourself too thinly over Social Media. This is where listening really come in, if you find that your audience isn’t active on a particular platform don’t be afraid to ditch in favour of one that has lots of engagement. Similarly if your followers are active on a platform that you’re not, consider adding this to your armoury just make sure that you listen first and that you have the time and resources to be able to engage fully with your followers.
When it comes to the timing of your posts, there really isn’t a definite answer. Over time you should see a pattern start to emerge of the best times of day and days of the week to schedule your posts for. It you’re active on several social media platforms it is also worth looking at using either Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to help you manage your activity.
Social Media plays an important part in most marketing and communication strategies these days. The key to using it successfully to market your business is to post regularly and to try and actively engage with your audience. The challenge for most SME’s is how you resource this important element of your business.
If you are lucky enough to have a marketing department the chances are they have this side of your business under control. But what if you don’t? How can you make sure you are doing your business justice on Social Media. Industry experts say that ideally you should aim to post to your blog once a week, post to your Facebook page once a day and to Tweet up to 5 times a day. This does of course depend on who your target audience is and what you wish to achieve by using Social Media.
The key to achieving this is of course to plan ahead and there are lots of online tools, many of them free that can help you schedule your online activity. If you dedicate 1-2 hours per week to this side of your business you will be amazed at what you can do.
The first thing you will need to do is put together a content calendar as this will help you to keep track of what you’re posting where and when. Start by thinking about the key times of year for your business, and create posts about that, then look for topical or interesting articles that might be relevant to your audience, you might also like to comment on particular news issues if appropriate.
Hootsuite – www.hoosuite.com
Allows you to handle all your Social Media in one place, you can manage three of your profiles for free, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked In. You can schedule posts for each account quickly and easily and monitor all other activity for your accounts here. Depending on your business needs you might find their professional version useful as it also includes various measurement tools to help you track how your posts are performing.
Facebook’s scheduler tool allows you to forward plan your posts up to 5 months in advance. Your planned posts can be reviewed quickly and easily using the scheduled post tool and colleagues can also review the posts here too.
Tweetdeck – www.tweetdeck.twitter.com
Using Tweetdeck you can manage all your Twitter interactions. It is also possibly to manage several twitter profiles from the same Tweetdeck account.
Feedly – www.feedly.com
If you want to find online content then this is a great starting point. You can easily search for articles on particular subjects and keep them to use as and when you need them.
Don’t forget you can also Bookmark interesting web pages and content in your web browser so that you can return to them at a later date.
Canva – www.canva.com
If you need to create images but don’t have access to a designer then this website is a brilliant starting point. It will also help you create images that are perfectly sized for use on Facebook and Twitter.
So don’t be scared of Social Media, set aside some time each week to it and you’ll soon have a flourishing online community.
If Social Media is not your thing and you’d like some help then give me a call on 01234 823700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A company brochure is a great sales tool, but they can be time consuming and costly to produce. Good project management of the process is vial to ensure that it delivers the right message for your business, that deadlines are met and budgets kept to.
If you are starting from scratch we recommend spending some time putting together a plan listing the areas that you want to cover in the brochure. This will help you focus on the areas of the business you want to promote and the story you want to tell. Whilst you're doing all of this remember to keep the end recipient in mind. Your plan might include some or all of the following areas:-
Once you have your content plan you can start thinking about the images you are going to need. Start by looking at what you already have, and make a list of what you need. Next think about how you are going to source those additional images, do you need to employ the services of a professional photographer, or can you source them through an image library such as Shutterstock.
When it comes to laying your brochure out we recommend working with a graphic designer and or printer. Before you start though make sure they have a clear brief and you have met with them to discuss design and print options. Their expertise can help to transform your brochure into something really eye catching.
Clear and consistent communication is vital during this type of project, and even more sore if you are working to a tight deadline and budget. The more collateral (copy & images) you can get to the designer before they start work the quicker and more straightforward the design process will be.
Try to allow a few extra days in the time scale as a contingency. You might realise you need to add extra copy or photography and this will give you the time to do this. Before you sign off on the design side make sure you proof read the content. When you brochure is print ready, make sure you check the printer's proof to ensure that all the colours in your logo and the images are correct. Then all you have to do is wait for the finished version to arrive.
If you need help putting together your next brochure then why not get in touch to see how we can help.
Having worked with Colour Me Beautiful, the image consultants for a number of years we were aware of the importance of making the right first impression. In particular we knew that how you dress not only impacts on an individual's self confidence but that it can also be a key element in how others see you, and more importantly whether you'd fit in with their organisation... something to remember the next time you go for an interview.
An article from Inc magazine though provides an interesting take on how our physical appearance can impact on your leadership skills. If an individual is perceived by others to be attractive then they are likely to be seen in a positive light which often leads to other benefits such as increased pay, increased responsibility and opportunities for promotion.
The article also looks at the clues people can gain about you just from looking at your facial structure, something to consider the next time you update your Linked In profile picture perhaps.
In our blog post last month we outlined the difference between, PR, Marketing and Advertising. In this article we are going to delve a little deeper and list some of the tools that you can use to PR your brand or business.
As we have already explained public relations helps to drive awareness of your business and create brand loyalty. Put simply the more people who are talking positively about your brand, the more people who are helping to spread the word about your product or service. But how can you get your message out.
If you would like to learn more or find out how we can help with your public relations and marketing please feel free to contact us .
Marketing, Public Relations, Advertising ...... a common misunderstanding is that these terms are interchangeable; they are not. When we meet clients for the fist time they are often confused by these terms so we thought we'd try and explain the differences between them.
Think about your favourite brand .... what made you decide to buy their product?
According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing "Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably."
In order to get your favourite brand to market, the company will have undertaken market research, focus groups, branding exercises, photography and a myriad of other things all designed to create a story around the product and make it attractive to you, their consumer. Having identified that there is a demand or a need for their service, the company now needs to get their messages out to you. This is where Public Relations and Advertising play their part.
According to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, "Public Relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics."
Going back to your favourite brand, what spurred you to make that purchase? If it was a technology product or fashion item, had you seen reviews of the product in your favourite magazine or website? Do you ever wonder how the journalist found out about the product so that they could review it? This is where the company's PR will have been involved; they will be responsible for getting the brand's key messages out to the media, so that you, their target market, can find out about their products and services.
PR also works in other more subtle ways, if you follow a brand on Social Media, have you ever stopped to question why? The chances are it's because what they post resonates with you, it might be because they share great tips and advice, photos of their latest products or simply things that you are interested in. All of this helps them to build a relationship with you and maintain goodwill and understanding.
Lastly think about how the brand engages with you directly. Every time you visit their store do you receive great customer service? Are you able to buy what you want? Do you get annoyed when they charge you for a bag? Each staff member you interact with plays their part in promoting the brand and developing your relationship with the company, the more positive your experience the more likely you are to recommend them, all of which is good for their PR in general.
Advertising differs from Public Relations in one key way. An advert is a paid for announcement that appears in the print, broadcast or online media. With PR, there is no direct financial transaction between the brand and the journalist, a journalist or blogger will have featured the product because they feel that it is something that their readers will be interested in.
However there are occasions when these lines are subtly blurred and that is when a company pays for advertorials and sponsored posts. This is where a brand pays to get an article into a magazine or onto a website. The brand pays for the advertising space but can then use it to publish a piece of promotional editorial. In these instances the articles are, usually, flagged as either advertorials or sponsored posts so that readers are aware.
In summary then, Marketing can be viewed as the canopy of an umbrella that uses Public Relations and Advertising as its ribs which in turn helps to create demand for a product and service that ultimately results in profit and sales for the company.
So you've taken the plunge and booked an exhibition stand at a trade show, but now you're wondering what on earth you should be doing next. In my experience planning ahead pays dividends. When you're spending your hard earned cash on a stand you need to make sure you get value for money.
What to do before you go
What to do during the show