Category Archives: Communications
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.
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.
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.
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.
Public 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.
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.