Category Archives: Bridge PR

Are you ready for your moment in the sun?

I’ve spent the last week cutting the grass in my garden. Yes, it took me a whole week – I don’t even have a large garden. It’s not as simple as pushing a lawnmower up and down – my grass has been neglected since last summer. It’s that long, the rain doesn’t even make it down to the soil– even in a storm! In fact, I was surprised not to find a giant panda hidden in there somewhere, in between the long grass!

I used to laugh at my neighbour when he went out in the winter to cut his grass, trim the hedge and remove the weeds from his garden. I’m not laughing now because while I am tidying up my jungle in the hot weather, he is sitting back in his scenic garden enjoying a drink and soaking up the sun. If I had taken the all-year maintenance approach that he has, I wouldn’t be working so hard on my garden when the sun came out; knowing that by the time I finished everything, winter would be here and I’d have no time to enjoy it!

GardenIt’s the same with PR and marketing – it works best when you do it all year round rather than just when the sun comes out. Like my neighbour going out in the winter to tend to his weeds while I stay inside in the warmth, PR is a constant thing and has limited success when only done once for a short space of time. In this scenario, my neighbour represents a business using PR properly.

My neighbour has spent the year maintaining his garden, which in marketing terms means that for the past 12 months he has been building steady PR collateral and gradually getting his business profile raised among his target audience. Even in the winter when he didn’t want to commit to his garden, he went out and did some work on it. Even when he didn’t have time to spend on PR and other things became more important, he still kept that momentum going. Now the summer has arrived and he is sitting back in his beautiful garden and enjoying a drink in the sunshine. The flowers are blooming and he can clearly see the results of his hard work and effort. His business is having its moment in the sun – it is launching a new product, it’s won an award or is celebrating huge growth. Now he capitalises on the PR momentum he has building up for the past year and starts to experience some really huge benefits. People want to know about his moment in the sun because they have been reading about and thinking about his business all year round

Those that have not been tending to their gardens all year round are like businesses that have no PR collateral. When the winter was here it was easy to sit inside and stay warm and laugh at your neighbour as he braved the cold to cut his grass. When other things became more important than PR you did not raise your business’ profile. Now your moment in the sun has arrived and you are only just starting the work – it’s too late. By the time you have finished your garden, winter will be here and you will not have spent a single day relaxing in your garden or enjoying your hard work. When your business has its moment in the sun and you want to let everyone know you have just won an award or enjoyed a record breaking month, it’s really hard work. Nobody knows who you are because you have not been steadily raising your profile so your story is not as interesting to others as it could have been.

It’s a vicious cycle and just like if you want to enjoy your garden in the summer months, if you want to enjoy your business’ moment in the sun then your PR and marketing has to be constant, even when it doesn’t seem so important – to make sure it works when it is important.

I don’t know what you will be doing this winter but I’ll be joining my neighbour, outside in my woollies, cutting the grass in my garden!

Top Tips On How To Avoid A Public Relations Disaster

By Cynthia Mbugua, Second year Media and Communications student at Coventry University

cynthiaIn Public Relations, it is obvious to expect anything to come from it. This can be the good, the bad or the ugly. Any good PR firm has to be prepared to handle any kind of situation that comes along with it. At the same time, it is always good to be able to recognise some of the tips needed to avoid a Public Relations disaster.

1. The number one tip of how to avoid a PR disaster is to recognise that your employees are your social ambassadors. By this you should be able to know that brands, either small or large must face the fact that the people with your closest connection to your organisation are your employees. It is clear that your employees can either be your perfect brand advocates and evangelists, but they can also burn your reputation when they lose control on the social media networks.

2. It is always good to mitigate the risk of employee social media manual which clearly defines how employees should put the company’s messages across. As I said earlier, your employees are the highest percentage of your company’s reputation.

3. Another tip which should be considered is to think before sending off content, for example emails and tweets. Everyone working in the organisation should know that the heat of the moment is definitely not the best time to respond to your clients. During a moment of tension we tend to say things that we do not mean and this can in turn affect any kind of relationship with your clients and potential clients.

4. The issue of security in your organisation should be handled with exceptional confidentiality too. Safeguarding the reputation of your organisation should be everybody’s key responsibility . If your organisation has a clean responsibility then the more chances you are likely to get to work with more clients.

Make 2013 the year to put your business in the spotlight

The first quarter of 2013 has been of the best ever at Bridge after securing five new clients in just four new months. You may have seen in the press news of our biggest ever client win following a successful pitch to independent garage scheme: Trust My Garage. This came amid new contracts with Obsession Salon & Spa, atg airports, BAKER and most recently, logistics company, BDA.

It seems that businesses throughout the UK are starting the year with ambitions of growth and in order to achieve this growth, they are taking a fresh look at their marketing strategy.  Financially, it continues to be a very difficult time to be in business in the UK, but the latest quarterly findings from BDRC Continental’s Business Opinion Omnibus reveal that SMEs continue to remain optimistic about the UK economy, posting a net optimism score of +10% in Q1 2013, more than twice the level seen in the same period last year. This optimism is backed up by the large number of enquiries we have been receiving for our own services so far this year.

business_spotlightThere has never been a more important time for businesses to market their products and services. Competition is fierce and the UK economy is proving tough for traders. By investing in specialist marketing support, you can make sure that your business is always ahead of the game and the first name on the lips of potential customers. Here are our top five reasons why you should be proactively marketing your business, and how great PR can help:

1. If nobody knows you exist, how are you going to win new business?

Whatever line of business you are in, one of the biggest challenges remains the same and is crucial to business success – how do I attract new clients and win new business? You can have the best company in the world, but if nobody knows that you exist how are they going to buy from you? PR is all about raising your profile and getting your business in front of the people that matter most, whether that be fellow businesses or consumers. We employ a mix of traditional and digital PR services to help put your company name in front of your target audiences includingarticles in trade press, local consumer press, social media activity and e-marketing. By developing  a robust marketing strategy and taking the care to understand your business and your audience we can make sure that you are getting seen by potential new customers.

2. Get ahead of the competition

Competition in business has never been more fierce and the battle for business remains difficult to win, whatever industry you operate in. PR and marketing can help. If you keep seeing your competitors’ names everywhere then perhaps it is time you looked into doing some PR and marketing of your own?  Why not put your business in the spotlight and be the one that is always being seen!

3. Win the support of your local community

When it comes to success in business, it helps to have your local community on your side. If you don’t already have the support of your local community or you want to strengthen this support, now is the time to join millions of other business in planning some PR and marketing activity. Utilising local press to tell positive stories about how your business is injecting cash or jobs into a local community can be really useful in winning over your local area.

4. Attract commercial partners or investors

These days, the banks are rarely generous when it comes to lending so an alternative source of funding is commercial sponsorship or investment. If potential investors do not know about your business, however, they certainly won’t be investing any money into it any time soon. Trade press can be a really useful way of reaching out to potential investors and letting them know all about your business by sharing some of your success stories.

5. Move into new markets

You have already saturated your existing markets and are looking to branch out somewhere new. PR and marketing is the answer. By employing a mix of traditional and digital PR, you can help create a name for yourself in markets that you have otherwise been missing out on or that you have not yet explored.  Whether your new market is a geographical one, or in different sectors, we can help by targeting your key messages specifically to these audiences.

It is said that the editorial endorsement of PR is so powerful that a page of PR coverage is worth 3-5 times a page of advertising. We have welcomed five clients so far this year with ambitions to grow, attract new business, saturate markets and get ahead of the competition. Join them and give us a call on 02476520025 to discuss where we can take your business with a successful strategic PR and marketing campaign.

Top five tips for strong media relations

It is quite possible that right at earth’s creation, had Adam been a journalist and Eve a PR Manager, then none of us would exist today. The first two people on earth would also be the last, such is the awkward relationship between PR experts and journalists, according to many stereotypical views. In truth, it’s not like that – it  never could be! Our jobs, responsibilities and interests are too similar and we co-exist to help each other out. Without PR people, journalists would spend an awful lot more time sourcing interesting stories and without journalists, PR experts would have nowhere to tell the stories of their clients.

News Microphone Computer Online PodcastAt Bridge, we pride ourselves on good media relations. Just the other day we had a reputable trade publication call us up, asking for more stories from our clients. We build long-lasting, positive relationships with the media for our clients, investing time in getting to know them, understanding what stories they look for to include in their publication, and working with them to secure valuable coverage for our clients. To many, the way to get a journalist on side is to send them food or wine, or take them out to lunch. It’s not (although it is a nice thing to do) so put away those fancy canapés, put the fancy biscuits back in the tin, cancel your ‘informal’ meeting you had booked with your local newspaper and read our top five tips for strong media relations.

1.       Understand the publication, its audience and its editorial team

Never mind if a client is telling you they want to be seen in a particular publication, unless you find a story from them that is relevant to that publication, it’s not going to happen – and journalists hate nothing more than being given inappropriate stories. Before pitching a story, read through the publications you are approaching and make sure the content suits their topic area, tone and style. Following up on previous topics covered is always a good way to get a journalist interested in your story as it shows that you are paying an interest in their publication.

2.       Engage with journalists away from work

No, we don’t mean invite them out to clubs, get them drunk and make them sign a contract stating that they will publish your client’s story on pain of death. You don’t need to be a stalker to be sociable! Follow journalists on Twitter, connect with them on LinkedIn and respond to the discussions they start. We regularly feed into conversations with journalists on Twitter that they start, just being friendly without pushing any of our stories down their throats. Remember, journalists are human beings too.

3.       Don’t harass journalists

So you’ve sent over a press release to a journalist? Don’t call them up a day later and ask them if they have used it. If they are going to use it, they will – bombarding them with phone calls will only put them off the idea. Would you like it if you bought your weekly shopping from the supermarket and they rang you up a day later and asked if your milk was tasty enough? Then they rang the next day and asked about your bread? You wouldn’t – so don’t do it to journalists.

4.       Work with journalists strategically

Make sure you give journalists what they want. Trade press often release details of forward features – get yourself a copy and see what topics they are covering throughout the year. Relay it to your client and come up with a suitable story that meets the feature’s needs. Journalists are always looking for stories so make their job easier, and provide for them exactly what they want.

5.       Have patience

Not everything you send to a journalist will be published – that’s just life. Sometimes there is no room, or other stories are just more important. That’s no reason to blacklist them and cross them off your Christmas card list – they are doing their job. You never know, it just might make it to the next issue instead. Journalists work to tight deadlines and often have a lot of work to do and a lot of PR agencies to deal with. No matter how many stories you have that are interesting, you have to remember you are just one of many.

Take advantage of our media relations skills and place your PR and marketing efforts in our capable hands. Call us today on 02476520025 and we can maximise your PR coverage through our media friends.

Don’t give up the ghost on traditional PR

Print publications have been going through a rapid reincarnation as they turn to digital media. Newsweek magazine is the latest to axe its print edition after 80 years and move to a digital-only format from 2013 onwards. The Guardian is another household name that has recently announced its intention to become totally digital. In addition, social media platforms have completely transformed the way we access news and information.  It seems that the whole PR landscape is changing to digital communications. With this major shift, it is imperative that businesses also incorporate a digital strategy into their PR and marketing.

HOWEVER, this does not mean that traditional PR has died a gruesome death. At Bridge, the digital side of PR is fundamentally supported by the good old fashioned “traditional” approach to PR. In essence, it is all about channelling your message through the right networks and also making the connections directly with your audience. But good PR is more than just channelling your content.  We have always maintained that media relations are central to effective communications, and this is also one of the most traditional approaches to getting your brand known.

As a business, these traditional approaches should not be seen as dead and buried, or ghosts of the past.

What is it good for?

Local Markets – If you want to sell to a local market then traditional PR is great for getting you in your local press and gaining local business credibility.

Sector specific – We have manufacturing and IT companies who rely on the traditional side of our PR services to get them seen in their industry ‘bibles’. By this we mean the trade magazines that go out to their target audiences. For one client in particular we have achieved over £50,000 worth of coverage in just five months in trade magazines, using the format of traditional PR.

At the start of this year 8.12 million adults had never used the internet. So where are they obtaining their news from?  It would be very short-sighted for companies to write off traditional media communication as it offers companies the potential to reach across new markets and audiences. Traditional PR should be crafted into your marketing strategy alongside all the online activity.

Traditional PR is not dead – it is simply re-incarnating.

For a strategic blend of traditional and digital PR, give us a call today on 02476 520025
Or email us: info@bridgepr.co.uk

The first Bridge in my career

Natalie Hunt, Bridge Account Executive one year on…

“Metaphorically speaking, a career is like a journey of bridges which you have to cross. Some long, some short, and some overwhelmingly high. A year ago I had just stepped foot upon my first real ‘Career Bridge’… at Bridge PR & Media Services.

“You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”

By applying for an internship at Bridge, I was taking a huge risk. At the time of graduating I was getting paid to do some communications work at a company in Manchester. However it didn’t completely fulfil my appetite for creativity. Bridge was enrolling for an intern, and the prospect thrilled me. I knew that if I wanted to get to the other side then I had to be prepared to take a risk, as I wasn’t going to land my dream job in PR if I possessed diddly squat experience in it. So I moved back down to the Midlands and propelled myself into the world of PR – something I had only experienced within a module at University.

Studying a Journalism degree equipped me with the tools I needed to succeed in the world of PR. With my news head firmly screwed on and my research skills fresh from 12 months immersed in my dissertation, I began crafting press releases with relevant and interesting angles.

After a month interning for Bridge, I was offered a permanent position which I snapped up straight away. I already felt part of the team.

Relationships are essential in the world of PR and marketing. Initially I was daunted by networking events in suits, and calling journalists to see if they would be interested in a story. But then I realised, each client, journalist, or prospect I deal with is a person too, and developing a relationship with them, makes the object so much easier to achieve. For example spotting the stories in a business, getting specific requests from journalists, or getting your services noticed comes far easier if there is already some form of a relationship established. And a lot of this can come through social media. You can start generic conversations with the people who you want to notice you! (@natters4 follow me ;))

I think a common misconception of PR is that you just send a press release out to the masses and expect them all to pick it up. Each publication has its own style and identity (something I learnt on work experience for a local newspaper) and it is important that as a PR professional you mould the story to fit their style.

Since working for Bridge, I have learnt far more than just public relations. For example I have learnt about business strategy, marketing, and social media.

Working for Bridge has allowed my business sense to develop into an exciting direction. My client base includes a B2B market and I have had to learn a lot about business processes etc. I have attended many networking events and more recently an economic Chamber conference where I learned a great deal about the business economy, and I’m now even being asked to talk about my experiences at undergraduate seminars in journalism, media and communications. I’m also currently working hard to further develop my business knowledge academically outside of the workplace.

Right now I love coming to work every day to eat up every challenge that I face. Bridge is a stimulating place to work at the moment, and we face some big and exciting Bridges as a company. Watch this space to see what I write in my second year review…”

Nose Art – actually not a New Age ritual….

By: Film Producer Gail Downey
From: Whirlwind Productions/Nose Art Films
Twitter: @NoseArtFilms

One of the recent press campaigns we have been involved with here at Bridge is Nose Art and Pin-Ups. Directed and produced by Gail Downey, Nose Art and Pin-Ups is a documentary which follows the stories behind the art and images painted on the noses of aircraft by servicemen from the United States  in World War Two.

Gail has written a series of guest blogs for us. In this, her first, Gail outlines a little more detail about the DVD; the topics it covers and why she was inspired to tell such an interesting story……

For those of you who know what Nose Art is, the idea of making a film about the subject probably requires little explanation. For those who don’t I have had all kinds of questions. Is it piercings? Is it some weird form of artwork you have painted on your face? Is it a New Age ritual?

The answer is no to all of the above. Nose Art is simply the artwork which is painted on aircraft, whether it be during wartime or peace. Think Memphis Belle – the famous aircraft which flew from England in World War Two and made its name, and that of its crew, by becoming the first to survive 25 missions – no mean feat when the chances of survival for servicemen was one in seven. Can you imagine that? One in seven of you didn’t come home? Think about that on the way to work today. As you are sat in a traffic jam the seventh car doesn’t make it. Terrifying thought.

So for crews to have Nose Art and Pin Ups (pictures of girls) painted on their aircraft, it gave them a morale boost, something to “pat” when they got back from missions flying across Europe and into Germany – ten hours and more at a time. I bet the English Channel looked like a piece of heaven as they came home. No wonder the wartime song “White Cliffs of Dover” still resonates with that generation today.

So why make a film about Nose Art and Pin Ups? Well although there have been books written about the subject and pictures on the internet, I wanted to find out what these images actually meant to the crew. Why and how did they chose Our Gal Sal? What and who was Miss Dallas? How did the images actually get put onto the aircraft?

Along the way the crews also told me their amazing stories of friends lost, battles won, capture and escape. These were so fascinating that I had to include them in the DVD and in my next blog, I’ll tell you how I did it.

Please support this project and help keep these veterans’ stories alive.

Gail Downey, Nose Art Films

Nose Art and Pin Ups is available from Amazon UK http://amzn.to/Sw2BuW and Ebay UK http://bit.ly/PqFDHd at £15.99 plus p and p.

Why it’s important to understand your clients in PR….

By: Work placement student Leona Daly
From:
Nottingham Trent University
Studying:
Print Journalism
Age:
20
Inspiration:
Cherry Healey
Twitter:
@LeonaDaly3

After three weeks at Bridge PR & Media Services I have learnt that in order to be successful you have to get to know your clients and understand their specific marketing needs.

I’ve also learnt how to send a press release by contacting a variety of media publications and  interacted with clients in order to ensure the PR they receive is relevant and beneficial to their business. By maintaining a good level of communication with your clients, it allows you to have a range of information which can then generate positive attention from the media.

In addition I have also gained an insight into an avenue not many companies venture into. GrowthAccelerator allows growing businesses to receive funding to achieve and even exceed their goals. Bridge has started work as a training provider to help provide strategic training and support to new and existing clients, and I have been assisting to develop marketing collateral around this.

After initially thinking PR and journalism were worlds apart I can now see the skill-set is actually quite similar. In the end, it’s all about finding the newsworthy stories.  In PR it is about understanding your client well enough to mine the stories from their business. By doing this strategically, you can make the most of media opportunities and get your client’s positive stories heard by the right people, and really increase the impact and reach.

After just three weeks at Bridge I am now even more determined to make this learning curve the start of a new career and complete my degree with the mind-set that PR will definitely be a part of my future.

Why good media relations is more than fine wine and cake…..

It is quite possible that right at earth’s creation, had Adam been a journalist and Eve a PR Manager, then none of us would exist today. The first two people on earth would also have been the last, such is the awkward relationship between PR experts and journalists, according to many stereotypical views. In truth, it’s not like that – it could never be! Our jobs, responsibilities and interests are too similar and we co-exist to help each other out. Without PR people, journalists would spend an awful lot more time sourcing interesting stories and without journalists, PR experts would have nowhere to tell the stories of their clients.

At Bridge we pride ourselves on good media relations. Just the other day we had a reputable trade publication call us up, asking for more stories from our clients. We build long-lasting positive relationships with the media for our clients, investing time in getting to know them, what they look for in terms of content for their publications and working with them on coverage. To many, the way to get a journalist on side is to send them food or wine. It’s not (although it is a nice thing to do) so put away those fancy canapés, put the fancy biscuits back in the tin, cancel your ‘informal’ meeting you had booked with your local newspaper and read our top five tips for strong media relations.

1.       Understand the publication, its audience and its editorial team

Never mind if a client is telling you they want to be seen in a particular publication, unless you find a story from them that is relevant to that publication, it’s not going to happen – and journalists hate nothing more than being given inappropriate stories. Before pitching a story, read through the publications you are approaching and make sure the content suits their topic area, tone and style. Following up on previous topics covered is always a good way to get a journalist interested in your story as it shows that you are paying an interest in their publication.

2.       Engage with journalists away from work

No, we don’t mean invite them out to clubs, get them drunk and make them sign a contract stating that they will publish your client’s story on pain of death. You don’t need to be a stalker to be sociable! Follow journalists on Twitter, connect with them on Linkedin and respond to the discussions they start. We regularly feed into conversations with journalists on Twitter that they start, just being friendly without pushing any of our stories down their throats. Remember, journalists are humans too.

3.       Don’t harass journalists

So you’ve sent over a press release to a journalist? Don’t call them up a day later and ask them if they have used it. If they are going to use it, they will – bombarding them with phone calls will only put them off the idea. Would you like it if you bought your weekly shopping from the supermarket and they rung you up a day later and asked if your milk was tasty enough? Then they rang the next day and asked about your bread? You wouldn’t – so don’t do it to journalists.

4.       Work with journalists strategically

Make sure you give journalists what they want. Trade press often release details of forward features – get yourself a copy and see what topics they are covering in the future. Relay it to your client and come up with a suitable story that meets the feature’s needs. Journalists are always looking for stories so make their job easier and provide for them exactly what they want.

5.       Have patience

Not everything you send to a journalist will be published – that’s just life. Sometimes there is no room or other stories are just more important. That’s no reason to blacklist them and cross them off your Christmas card list – they are doing their job. You never know, it just might make it to the next issue instead. Journalists work to tight deadlines and often have a lot of work to do and a lot of PR agencies to deal with. No matter how many stories you have that are interesting, you have to remember you are just one of many.

As well as investing heavily in the time it takes to develop personal relationships with the media, Bridge also invests in press distribution software and systems to ensure our clients’ stories achieve a much greater reach through newswires and social media activity.

Take advantage of our media relations skills and place your PR and marketing efforts in our capable hands. Call us today on 02476520025 and we can maximise your PR coverage through our media friends.