Category Archives: Communications

A picture tells a thousand words – Why good images make good PR

When was the last time you flicked through a newspaper or magazine and stopped to read an article after seeing an interesting image? Not too long ago we bet! Have you considered how dull and uninteresting a publication would be if it was just pages and pages of text with no imagery at all? Very few would read it. Even fewer would remember a piece they read in it.

The truth is good images make good PR. Take the upcoming Olympics as an example. The opening ceremony is set to be a visual extravaganza. All competing nations will put on their own parades, the Olympic Flame will be on view for all to see and there will be a feast of UK culture for spectators to enjoy. How many national newspapers will have picture specials? How many front pages will be adorned with Olympic images?

Your PR story may not be on the grand scale of the Olympics but that doesn’t mean your images shouldn’t be. A strong image can really add life to a story and persuade an Editor to run with it – even if the subject is not all that interesting. If an Editor has two stories of equal strength, then they are more likely to run with the one that has the better image. Not only do images fill space but they also add an extra dimension to news articles, so it is worth getting it right. Here’s what makes a good press image:

  • Make it relevant

If your story is shouting about how great your new product is then including a picture of your Manager smiling and playing golf isn’t going to suffice. Make your image relevant to the story. Particularly if your story is about a new product, you need to show people what the product looks like so they can recognise it next time they want to place an order.

  • Don’t be boring

Images of people sitting at desks in suits are just not interesting. Are you going to stop flicking through a magazine and read a story because there is an image next to it of someone sitting at a desk? Thought not – so why should anybody else?

  • Caption your photos

It all comes down to the ‘w’s. Who, what, when, where, why? If you are taking a picture of a person, then the publication you are approaching needs to know who it is in the image and how they are associated with the story. Images of random, anonymous people are of no use to publications so neither will your story be.

  • Framing

This is particularly key if you are going to take your own images. Make sure everything you include in the image is centred nicely. Make it tight, with the subject of the image almost filling the frame. Photo editors are busy – the last thing they want to be doing is cropping and editing images that have been sent to them externally.

  • No logos

Please, no logos. Nobody likes logos.  Sending a company logo with a press release is lazy and shows that you have not gone to the effort to put together some interesting visuals. Logos are traditionally associated in the press with advertorials – paid for coverage – they have no place in editorial space where your inclusion in a publication depends on the quality of your story.

  • Use the professionals

If you can’t take a decent press picture yourself, then get the professionals to do it for you.   We work with a number of professional press photographers up and down the country, and they have the knack of understanding what a particular newspaper or magazine editor is looking for, whether it’s the shot from a quirky angle, an action shot, or something more abstract.

  • Tagging images increases your visibility

Images very often make it into online media these days, and this gives you the perfect opportunity to tag images with keywords and phrases that describe your business.  These are searchable online and can drive traffic back to your website.  So when you take any image that is going to be used digitally, do take time to think about how you can also increase your search engine optimisation.

These are just some brief points about why good images are so important.  A good picture really can tell a thousand words. Perhaps that’s why Infographics are now so popular, but that’s a story for another blog.

5 tips on how to get the most from your PR agency

Recognising the value in public relations is fundamental to a series of successful campaigns and a significant profile raise. Many companies take a PR agency for granted and expect them to magic stories out of the blue. However, a strong relationship is needed between the client and PR if anything good is ever going to come of the contract.

At Bridge, we like our clients to be aware of the real value of PR, and understand what their responsibilities are – after all it is all about communicating the right messages correctly!

1. Develop a comprehensive PR brief

You wouldn’t jump into a pool without knowing how to swim and where you wanted to get to. Prevent your PR campaign from sinking by having a detailed brief on what your business wants to obtain from it. Also, be honest about your budget! If the financial perimeter is set then the agency will not go overboard on their creative proposal, resulting in the company being let down when they don‘t have the finances to support it. If the seeds are sown correctly with a clear goal ahead, then your business will only reap the rewards of a vibrant PR strategy.

2. Maintain regular contact

PR is not intended for sales leads – that is what your sales team are for, however it is important that your agency are able to liaise with the sales team in order to sync the information that is going out in the public domain. If the sales team are regularly updated with info from the PR side then they can refer to it in their sales patter. Speaking to your PR agency regularly will keep your business at the forefront of the PR teams minds, and that foundation of a relationship will enable them to prosper in the work they carry out for you.

3. Frequent face to face meetings

In our experience the best stuff comes from meeting clients face to face. Although we currently live in a digitally dominated society, human nature can prevail all. Face to face conversations have the ability to develop a corporate personality more than any other medium. We have had recent meetings with clients who are very busy people, and some of the best stories come as we are about to walk out of the door and they say “oh did I tell you we’ve just won a massive contract…”

4. Tell them EVERYTHING

A PR agency can only be as good as the information they are provided with. Keep the PR agency updated with the happenings of your company as they will always be researching newsworthy angles in relation to what is going on in your marketplace. If you keep the PR team in the loop when it comes to news and business developments confidentiality will not be a problem as good agencies will always run content past you for approval first. Remember – they are working as part of your team!

5. Identify your ‘Bibles’

Whilst carrying out research on your PR campaign it is vital that you identify the key publications you want to be appearing in. Most publications provide media packs on who their readership is and what the circulation is. Maybe you are a local business and just want to appear in the local newspapers? Whatever the situation is you need to make the agency aware of this so that they can focus their material to the style and format of that specific publication. This way they will also begin to develop stronger relationships with the editors and reporters to ensure you receive regular coverage with them.

Five top tips for Content Marketing

We were delighted to be guest speakers at last week’s Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce event, where we shared our top five tips on content marketing. The attendance figures were impressive with local businesses also benefitting from tips on accountancy from Simpson Financial Services, and how to pitch to local government from Warwickshire County Council. For all those who missed it, here are our five top tips for content marketing…..

1 – Stories are the lifeblood of your business

Without great stories how can you tell people about your business, who you are or what you do?

Stories are in every business. Are you approaching a significant anniversary? Have you launched a new product or won an award for your services? Have any of your staff done something interesting for charity or championed their community in some way? Are your products quirky or unusual? Are there any general business issues that you can piggy back on? All these are stories that, when you find the right angle, people are interested in hearing and sharing. There’s no such thing as a business without stories to tell – you just need to find the right angles for the right audiences.

2 – Love your business strategy

Only when you really understand your business goals and strategy will your marketing follow suit. What is your mission? What is the purpose of your business and where do you see it in a few years time? How are you going to achieve your mission?

Once you have answered all of the above, that is where your marketing plan comes into play. It will help you to achieve your business mission and enable you to set targets for the number of contracts you need to win, the number of new customers you require and which sectors you need to target in order to enjoy growth.

3- Marketing communications planning

There is no substitute for good planning – make it a priority! Make sure you tie your planning in with your business and marketing strategy.

By understanding your target audience, you can plan for long term success. Often your audience will be your target customers but you might also want to target industry thought leaders with your marketing.

Prepare a plan of your monthly marketing activity. How many press releases will you create and send out? How many blogs will you write, and how many hours will you spend on social media?

4 – Content really is King!

These days there is no excuse for not having good content that will help drive traffic to your website or blog, or simply give you an opportunity to interact with your business communities.  It’s always better to generate your own original content about your company, its products and services and tell people the exciting things you are doing.  But you can also curate content to demonstrate your expertise in your industry sector. There are lots of content curation tools on the Internet, but why not try Scoop.it, for example.  Scoop.it allows you to put a few key words into your topic and then brings anything mentioned those keywords into your curation page.  This will generate many interesting stories about your industry which you can then share with your audiences – it really does work!

5 – Do your research

The internet and social platforms are an amazing store of knowledge, information and marketing intelligence for every conceivable industry sector.  Set up Google Alerts on every aspect of your business and industry and subscribe to RSS feeds and blogs so you are notified whenever a conversation is happening that you need to be a part of!

Listening is just as important as informing and sharing knowledge.  Listen to what your communities have to say on social networks and mine them for the gold nuggets that are potential content for you to convert into stories.

What is PR?

It’s a question that is commonly asked – particularly by businesses owners who think they need PR, but are unsure exactly what it is. Some people think it is a way of winning new business; others think that it’s simply an exercise that gets them in the local paper and others believe that it just enhances their reputation. The real answer? It can do all this and so much more.

Reputation

ImagePublic Relations is all about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. It’s about not only developing a good reputation for your business but managing that reputation once you have built it up – establishing and maintaining goodwill and mutual understanding between a business and its public.

How does it work?

PR comes in many different forms; marketing, social media, public affairs, corporate communications, event management, content marketing public information – all titles which contribute to the umbrella that is Public Relations and all topics that cover a part of what PR is.

It’s about establishing trust between a business and the public, which could be done through many forms. Telling stories to the local, national, global and trade presses will catapult a business in front of a large public base. Being active on social networks and engaging with customers; old, new and potential shows the public that a business cares about the public. By holding regular events or seminars, your business can help educate the public about what it is you do. Through research, feedback, communication and evaluation, a business can enjoy positive PR and subsequent positivity when it comes to sales and customer lists.

PR is a more credible source of promotion than advertising. An editorial in a local magazine, promoting your business is worth far more than the price of an advertisement in exposure and credibility. Adverts are paid-for pages, targeting a specific audience whereas an editorial is placed because you have a good story worth telling – not because you are paying for the pleasure!

Do I need PR?

Yes. PR can only be good for business. Your company need not be the biggest, the most profitable or the most powerful in your industry sector to reach out and build trust with the public. In fact, without this circle of trust, you may never be the best in your sector.

Just as it doesn’t matter how brilliant your services are or how ground-breaking your products are – if nobody knows about them, they aren’t going to buy them. Every inch of your business can be run to perfection but you will make no money of nobody knows who you are – they will continue going to your competitors. With PR, the public will know who you are; they will see for themselves the successes of your business and grow to trust your brand and its services.  If you communicate more effectively with the public than your competitors do, it will be you who the public turns to going forward.

Still not convinced?

Take a look at the question below and if you answer yes to any of them, you need PR!

  • Do I want to grow my business?
  • Do I want to build a foundation of trust with the public?
  • Do I want to be ahead of my competitors?
  • Do I want to move into new markets?
  • Do I want to win new customers while retaining my existing ones at the same time?
  • Do I want to win over my local community
  • Do I want to be recognised as the best in my field of expertise?

To kickstart your PR and marketing, give Bridge PR and Media Services a call today on 024 7652 0025 and we can work out a plan that works for you.

Should you be Pinterested in the next big social network?

Still questioning Quora? Found that Google Plus has turned out to be a negative? Then you are probably uninterested in Pinterest – the very latest in a long line of social networks that experts are citing as the next best thing. However, unlike the others, Pinterest actually has taken off and was one of the fastest networks to reach 10 million users a month. When it comes to sharing content and meeting people with similar interests to yours, Pinterest is perhaps the most useful social network of them all so why should you join in with the buzz?

Firstly, let’s myth bust; Pinterest is not a new social network. It has been around for several years but only recently has found itself blossoming in popularity. Unlike similar hyped up networks like Quora, Pinterest’s early adopters were not typical internet geeks but in fact, average everyday women with mainstream interests, opening up the passageway for a wide ranging audience of users. There is no intimidation factor here; no importance laid upon keeping up with the most influential users. In fact, unlike most social networks it runs at your own pace and can be about anything you want it to be about.

Bridge Pinterest

Your Pinterest boards can be about anything you want - we even have one for Bridgit!

The idea of Pinterest is that you share ideas online by pinning images from the web to virtual pin boards. Users then have the choice to follow a particular pin board or repin something of interest to their own pinboard – much like Twitter’s retweet facility.

Upon first visiting the website, the first thing to note is its appearance and usability. It’s very easy on the eye and very simple to use. Much of the content on the social network is about products; furniture, books, clothes and household items and it can at times seem like a large online shopping store – the female influence coming across heavily. However, leaf through the typical domestic boards, the wish lists and the clutter and there are some very interesting boards. Boards on social media, infographics, images of old newsrooms and even one board looking at hot businesses of the month. It is easy to see why Pinterest is attractive to advertisers – this is a place that they can promote themselves, with links back to their own website without ramming advertisements down a user’s throat.

In terms of content marketing, Pinterest could well become the most useful and important social network of them all. Of course, a lot depends on the user and that is the beauty of Pinterest – it can be about absolutely anything you want so as long as people share interesting content it will always have a purpose. However, unless you are specific, your individual boards may well become lost in translation. Millions of users will be following pinboards about marketing so make yours niche. Title it content marketing, digital marketing or b2b marketing and allow it to stand out from the crowd.

Make sure you are repining interesting content to your own pinboards and sharing it with your own network of followers. As with any social network, following the right people can bring new content to your attention which you can then, in turn share with other creating a chain of content marketing practitioners. 

As a business you need to curate your content properly and organise it into different areas of your business. If you are a retailer, just as you organise shop shelves, you need all your products categorised and displayed together. If IT is your industry, sub categorise the genre into different factions; network systems, new innovations, mobile devices and web devices. The key is to make your content unique, niche and interesting enough for others to repin and share.

Above all else, have fun. Pinterest is unlike any other social networks in that there is no pressure to be seen as an industry leader. It moves along at its own pace and can be personalised to suit your needs. As well as serving as a platform for content marketing, Pinterest can also be your own personal pin board of interests, products you want to look at further and links or diagrams of particular interest.

Pinterest is unfortunate in that it has been tipped for success by the experts and predicted as the hot new social network of 2012. However, unlike fellow victims to this hype like Quora and Google Plus, Pinterest is causing enough of a stir to actually live up to its expectations. The interface is simple, the idea effective and the reasons for using it plentiful. In fact, Pinterest could just be the most (P)interesting thing to happen to content marketing.

Follow Us on Pinterest

Top Content Marketing Tips

Content Marketing: An umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential customers…..

It sounds simple doesn’t it? But in practice, there are actually few companies out there who can create good content for their different marketing channels.   

Effective content marketing requires a strategic approach followed by detailed planning to produce “stories” that are engaging.  By engaging we mean stories that offer something to the reader through being interesting, informative or entertaining.  If they can be all three, then even better!

Identify your target audience…

Who are you looking to reach out to and connect with? What kinds of things do they want to be reading, watching and hearing? Just as any new retail outlet needs to find the right situation to construct a new store, you need to find the right networks to reach certain people. A DIY store is not going to open up shop right next to another DIY unless it has an impressive USP to attract new customers, just as you shouldn’t be sharing the same old content with the same old people time and time again.

You want people to be receptive to your content so find out what their interests are. Get to know the kinds of topics that excite them and create targeted content aimed at their needs.

Get your marketing strategy right…

You need to know your platforms well. These days, there are more social networks than ever before, and this market is still growing.  So make sure you are using the right network to get a specific message across. For example, if your subject is controversial, you can measure its response much easier through blog comments or Facebook comments than you can through Twitter responses. If you are after short promotions or quick web visits though, it is Twitter that can make an immediate short-term impact.

Develop your key messages…

What is it exactly you are trying to say? Find out what it is that your target audience is searching for on the web and cater your content around that. Much like when adding META tags to web articles to enhance SEO, search Twitter for relevant hashtags and buzz words to add to the content you share.

Do something different…

If you go to a Star Wars convention dressed as Harry Potter, you will attract attention whether you want to or not so why not try some different to enhance your content marketing? We are one of the first PR and marketing companies in the region to introduce video PR into the content marketing plans of our clients and offer a brand new way for consumers to view content. Text and images are all very nice but who wouldn’t rather watch a video of something of interest than read about it? Video is the latest way of communicating your messages with your audiences and is fast becoming one of the most shared content forms in the online world.

Build relationships…

Remember that the key to effective content marketing is not only creating your own content but sharing relevant articles too. Make sure you get to know those in your social networks and take every opportunity to engage with them regularly. We have set about creating an exciting new networking event that was born out of a joke on Twitter, which will see us meet some of our social networking peers and put faces to their names, thus adding a touch of familiarity to our social networking activity.

Evaluate your strategy…

Like with anything, it is important to constantly evaluate your content marketing strategy. Is your content being shared within the right circles? If not, why not? What can you do to make sure that next time you blog or tweet, it is seen by the right people?

Everybody has unique methods of content marketing that works for them, whether scheduling in content or sharing content at specific times. Only through evaluating your marketing communications activity will you find a method that suits you, and one that you can utilise in future.

Do you need some help with your content marketing or are you intrigued about just what our video PR service can offer your business? Get in touch with us today and see how we can help you get the best out of your business.

Want to know more about the networking event we are planning? Stay tuned to our blog and keep a lookout on Twitter for the hashtag #warwickcookieparty and all will be revealed…..

A New Year, New Challenges, New Opportunities

BridgitWith 2011 now behind us, we have had time to reflect on what Bridge has achieved in the last 12 months and what we are looking forward to achieving in 2012.

The past year has seen some major changes in our company with the development of new products and services, and the addition of new team members to support our growth. We have also developed  our partnerships with clients and now represent customers across a wide range of industry sectors. 

This has given us a very firm foundation for 2012, and we are very excited about the coming year, especially being a Coventry based agency with all that is about to happen surrounding the 2012 Olympics and Euro 2012.   

New ways of working in PR were very much to the forefront throughout the whole of 2011.  Social media gained in popularity with the majority of our clients and we spent a great deal of time providing training support around this and other marketing communications topics.   The new raft of digital technologies certainly helped us to raise the profile of our clients, a number of whom enjoyed national media exposure.  This was underpinned by having really great stories to tell.  Content is the lifeblood of marketing communications campaigns, and every one of our clients had interesting and topical stories in 2011.

In the summer months, we launched one of our own campaigns based around, Bridgit, a rather engaging red-eyed tree frog, who became the centre-piece for a social media workshop titled “Making the LEAP”.  Bridgit very quickly took on a life of her own after a successful campaign to name her, and we then set about creating her identity as our social media mascot.  You will see a lot more of Bridgit in 2012, so watch out for her.

As we headed towards Autumn, we increased our team again and welcomed our new account executive, Natalie Hunt.   With a breadth of experience across journalism and broadcast media, Natalie is a great addition to our team, and very quickly established herself with a number of our clients as well as building relationships with editors and journalists up and down the country. 

 

Looking Ahead

 It’s going to be great to be in Coventry

It’s particularly exciting to be in Coventry as we head into 2012.  The buzz surrounding  the 2012 Olympic Games is now starting to heat up in earnest, and Coventry will be in the thick of everything with some of the major games being hosted in our City.  In addition, local Company, Imagineer Productions, has created a magnificent spectacle in “Godiva Awakes” which will shine  the spotlight on two of the city’s home grown industries:  Lady Godiva and cycling.  The bicycle was invented in Coventry so what better propulsion to use to take the enormous Godiva puppet on her journey from Coventry to London.  Another Coventry coup is the Olympic torch.  This is yet another Coventry creation that will focus attention on the region, and especially when the Olympic torch relay wends its way through the Midlands on its way to the Olympic Stadium.    In among these major events is an anniversary that also has strong Coventry connections:  the centenary of the maiden voyage and sinking of RMS Titanic in 1912. Bridge client, Titanic Heritage Trust, is hosting a series of events throughout 2012 commemorating this event (hyperlink). 

New ways to boost your business

 As we have mentioned in a previous blog  ‘Boost your Business with “Video PR’, videos are 53 times more likely to generate a first page ranking than traditional SEO techniques, which means more visitors to your website, more calls generated, and ultimately more sales.  Just a short video about your products and/or services that you offer could increase the calls generated to 18%.

Working with our partner, Whirlwind Productions, we are keen to make you aware of the benefits of Video PR and how this can move your company forward, whether it be a short, sharp video release, or a larger budget corporate video.  We will be bring you more information on how you can boost your business through video PR through our own training and workshops, e-shots, and blogs.

 Social Media will continue to grow and develop

 Building on the great successes of 2011, we will be helping more businesses to make the most of social media.  No more can businesses say “Why should we be using social media?”, and finding reasons not to engage with their online audiences.  Instead, we are now hearing “Why would we not use social media, it has so much to offer?”  We predict that the social media revolution will continue to grow, and for some of our clients it will be a case of their social media activity maturing as they reap the rewards of early engagement after spending time building their following and creating and curating great content for their stories. 

Last year was a great year for us and we enjoyed every minute of it.  We are very excited by the prospect of continuing to work with our clients, partners and suppliers. 

 If you haven’t already signed up for our e-newsletters, then please take the time to do so now, and we will keep you up to date on the latest in PR and marketing and how you can use the lifeblood of your business (your stories) to really get noticed in 2012. 

 A Happy New Year. 

Boost your business with “Video PR”

With the New Year just around the corner, businesses need to be looking at their strategies and trends for the forthcoming year. Specifically, which channels to allocate their marketing budgets. 

One of the most exciting marketing channels to watch next year (quite literally and pardoning any puns) is video PR.  All our sources tell us that this is the fastest growing area, with the UK being the third on the list for the highest number of videos watched in 2011, so far.  This equates to a staggering 166 billion videos viewed in the past 12 months with only America and Canada ahead of us in the viewing statistics.

From a consumer’s perspective, video is a much more accessible format in such a congested media.  It gives the story far more impact through both sound and pictures, and has the potential to go viral if the subject matter is entertaining enough or it catches an emerging trend.  When you think about it, are you more likely to switch on your mobile device/TV or travel to the shop to buy a newspaper? Technological advances are the biggest influence on the way society operates. Marketing departments therefore need to stay ahead of the game.

Brands using video as a promotional or point of purchase tool are enjoying significantly higher conversion rates than those using static content, therefore if your business does not currently include video in its strategy this is a strong indication it should be included for 2012.

Video also massively helps your SEO opportunities attracting the attention of search engines, especially when supported by a keyword-rich title and a paragraph about its content.  This needs to be taken very seriously when you consider that Google now owns YouTube,

If you need any further convincing that video PR needs to be part of your business marketing mix for 2012, then here are some of the facts and figures:

  • A total of 1.2 billion people watched 201.4 billion online videos in October 2011 alone.
  • 85% of marketing brand managers currently use online video on websites for promoting products and services.
  • Videos are 53 times more likely to generate a first page ranking than traditional SEO techniques.
  • If a small business adds a video to their website’s business profile:
    • Profile views are increased by 100%
    • Profile clicks are increased by 30%
    • Generated calls are increased by 18%
    • The ecommerce site receives an increase of 55% in its flow of traffic, increase of 30% in the physical site, and incidence of purchases gets an increase of 24%.

What can video PR be used for?

Video can achieve all the usual PR angles and more. Here are a few examples of videos your company may use:

  • VNR (Video News Release) – must be newsworthy and strong to send around television stations
  • Product Launches
  • Video of conferences and events
  • Video for conferences and events
  • Vox pops
  • Client testimonial videos
  • Video tour of your company office
  • Short interviews to introduce personnel
  • “How to” videos to demonstrate your expertise

Where can these videos be seen?

The internet offers many destinations for video to be posted including magazine/news websites, blogs, company websites, micro-blogs, forums and direct emailing. In fact if you have produced a video for your latest release you are more likely to get covered by local and national press due to their current demand of video content. The traffic to newspaper websites is continuing to surge despite a decline in print circulation and editors are embracing video for higher SEO in a media where convergence journalism is an absolute must.

At Bridge we already have magazine and news editors crying out for video content, and we predict this will be a growing trend in 2012. 

How can you market your business with video?

Bridge has a range of video packages to suit every budget and every need, from a straightforward short, sharp video news release to a bigger budget corporate video. 

To find out more, just get in touch.

Harness the power of social networking with LinkedIn

There are now over 120 million professionals all over the world using LinkedIn to help grow their business by harnessing the power of online social networking.

Make the LEAP

Originally, LinkedIn was created as a recruitment resource, but has evolved as a major player in business networking and helps businesses in a number of ways…

  • Generating leads
  • Finding suppliers
  • Finding new employees / headhunting
  • Gathering market intelligence
  • Finding answers to questions
  • Staying on track with industry trends
  • Raising awareness of your business, products, services and much more…

 

LinkedIn gives the ability to broaden your networks and connect with people you might never have had the opportunity to link with previously. Since the Internet really took off in the 90s, people have been able to maintain contact with each other far more easily, and it was only a matter of time before people began to make business contacts with the same principle.

Everyone at Bridge has been using LinkedIn for some time now and between us we have acquired a lot of knowledge and expertise about how to get the most from it.

Here are our top tips…

Create a company profile that grabs attention Using the company profile facility means that you have another marketing channel where you can showcase your business and its products and services.  Everyone who connects with you will be able to see what your company offers.  The beauty of business social networking is that it taps into one of the key marketing principles that “people buy from people they know and trust.”

Make your profile 100% complete LinkedIn monitors how complete your profile is on a percentage scale based on work history, education, skills, connections, and recommendations. You should aim to be 100% complete as this optimises all of the functions available.  The aim is to raise the profile of your expertise in your particular industry sector.

Constantly leverage your contacts LinkedIn is very much based around the maxim of ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, and the connections you make are integral to your business development. There is a ‘degree’ gauge built into the site, where you will be shown how many degrees apart you are from any one contact. For example 1st degree means you know them personally whereas 2nd degree is you know someone who knows them and 3rd degree means they’re a friend of a friend… and so on. This is built on the old adage that everyone is connected by six degrees of separation.

Join relevant groups Another important part of LinkedIn is the ‘group’ section. Arguably one of the most powerful aspects of the networking site, groups allow you to engage with like-minded people in discussions relevant to your aims as a business and your sector as a whole. It can also be a mine of information about your industry, and will help you to keep up with the latest trends. It is a good idea to create your own group as this helps to drive traffic to your site and encourages more people to connect with you as the ‘community leader’.

Become a ‘LinkedIn expert’ Exploit the facility of offering expert advice on LinkedIn as this can help build your profile as an expert in your field, and adds an element of reality to the profile, giving connections reassurance about your business. Regularly check the ‘Questions’ section for subjects relating to your field, and when the person who posted the questions brands you as the best answer you gain a badge on your profile. The more badges you gain then the higher your level of expertise.

Get valuable recommendations These add a level of credibility to your profile or company. The more recommendations you have on your profile, the more people are likely to trust it. However, it is important to gain ‘valuable’ recommendations such as clients and customers who have been involved with your company or have used your services of products.

 

If you would like to become completely ‘social media savvy’ in order to boost your business, then Bridge PR & Media Services are running a series of Social Media Workshops which will teach you the principles of social media marketing, how to use the tools and platforms, and how to measure your success.

Make the LEAP into Social Media – 27th September 2011

Measuring Success – 04 October 2011

Making a Blogging Influence – 11 October 2011

LinkedIn for Business Success – 18 October 2011

Twitter for Business Success – 01 November 2011

Facebook for Business Success – 08 November 2011

 

For further inquiries all you need to do it contact Bridge on 024 76 520025 or email info@bridgepr.co.uk

 

‘Funding cash flows again’

It’s great to see that funding for SMEs is starting to flow again following the recent changes to replace Regional Development Agencies with Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Denise Taylor commercial director of Bridge PR & Media Services Ltd

 

 

Leadership & Management funded training support is now available for company directors and leaders for their personal development and to help them become more effective leaders in their businesses.

 

 

Most of us are fully aware that good communication is vital for every business, irrespective of its size, helping everyone work towards a common goal, reducing sickness absence and reducing staff turnover.  With this in mind, we have created a modular training programme to help businesses develop and implement a highly effective communications strategy.

 

The programme is certainly welcome news, offering up to £1,000 matched grant funding for companies employing 2-249 staff who can demonstrate growth or growth potential. MDs and CEOs of businesses employing less than 50 people are eligible while other senior management will be considered from companies employing more than 50 people.

 

We have a proven track record of helping companies access funding for training, and the latest developments really do offer SMEs the chance not only to just to understand the principles of communication but also arm them with the knowledge to run fully integrated marketing campaigns.

 

Please give me a call on 024 7652 0025 or email me at denise@bridgepr.co.uk to find out more.