When flicking through the business pages of your chosen daily newspaper, scanning the pages of a business publication in your accountant’s waiting room, or studying an in-depth feature in a trade publication you subscribe to, you don’t often consider the journey of that article before it was printed on to the glossy pages in front of you.
A fundamental part of handling a company’s PR is their ‘Account Management’. We are regularly asked, quite rightly, what this actually entails. Account Management is the umbrella that constitutes for all the hard work that goes into boosting that client’s profile.
These are as follows:
In-depth research is required in order to write a significant and relevant press release that the media are going to want to use. Initially we carry out research into the products and services of our clients, and then we look at what is new/innovative/recent/newsworthy. Alongside this we will research industry trends and requirements from the press. This can be a lengthy process as there is a lot of content out there, and we find a way to hit the mark correctly.
Response to media requests
There is no possible way of determining how much time we will spend on a certain client’s activity. In fact each day in a PR office is quite spontaneous. We receive media requests from journalists sporadically throughout the week, which can consume the time you have originally allocated to another task. This then can lead to additional media coverage enhancing the profile of a client’s business further
Developing relationships with key journalists is the most fundamental factor in gaining coverage for a business. Much time is spent liaising with journalists to get them to recognise your company’s brand and services so that they are aware of whom to call on when they want information in a certain field.
Conceptualisation is integrated into all of our client’s Marketing Communications Strategies. This is the creative process that involves generating ideas for campaigns and stories in sight of raising the profile of a company. This is developed alongside the research element of account management.
Gauging your return on investment for PR activity is a grey area. Without paying extreme amounts for a full press clippings service then it is hard to know exactly every publication your content has been published in. Our team put many processes in place (Google Alerts, monitoring applications, individual searches, media relations) to decipher as much coverage as we can. We then measure this against the advertising charges for that publication/site. PR is arguably more valuable than advertising as it places you as industry leaders and experts in the field. The traditional method is to multiply the advertising value by three in order to work out an effective AVE figure.
Communication & Meetings
We ensure that we maintain regular contact with all of our clients, keeping them updated with activity and other things going on in their industry. We regularly make suggestions on things that they can be doing, i.e. answering questions on LinkedIn as an expert in their field. Every little helps!
We also ensure that we schedule in regular bi-monthly meetings face to face in order to keep everything up-to-date on their contract. Some of the best stories can come out of these meetings without the client noticing there is a story in something that may have happened. If two of our team members attend these meetings then it can take a significant amount of time out of our working calendar.
Many clients will hold events for various occasions. As their partner in PR we like to make sure we have a presence at anything like this. It shows support to our client and also gives us more of an insight into the type of company they are.
Hopefully this blog gives you more of a rounded view of what account management entails with regards to PR. Quite a lot of work, eh?
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Had there been no watchmaking in Coventry it is likely that there would have been very little in the way of engineering industries at all.
You may consider the above to be a bold statement, but it can be argued that Coventry did not directly experience the influence of the industrial revolution because there was no nearby source of iron ore, no limestone and the coal was deep and had to sourced via mines rather than obtained by opencast methods. It was not until the development of the railway networks in the 1840’s and 1850’s that many town and cities like Coventry were able to readily obtain bulk supplies of iron and steel for use in manufacturing industries.
In the 1600’s a clockmaking and watchmaking industry grew up in Coventry and the reasons for this happening are unclear but it may have been due in part to it’s central position and it is known that a stagecoach run linked London, Coventry and Liverpool which became the three major centres of watchmaking in the UK. There may also have been a Huguenot influence as Coventry had long been a place where immigrants had settled and a number of surnames of French derivation do crop up in watchmaking families.
Coventry did reach a position that it was known to have made at least 50% of all watches being made in England during the 18th and 19th centuries although it is difficult to accurately quantify these figures because many Coventry watchmakers were making movements and even completed watches which were not marked and were sold into the trade.
In 1861 weaving and watchmaking were both in a deep slump, which was in part due to the American civil war, people were starving and soup kitchens were set up. Many people were leaving the city to emigrate and prominent citizens were deeply concerned that the local pool of skilled labour was being diminished. They therefore set up a company (The Coventry Machinists) to manufacture sewing machines and the watchmakers proved adept at this due to the similarity of the work in making gearwheels and assembling drive trains
A nephew of Singer, who was one of the directors of the Coventry Machinists, visited Paris and bought back with him a French “boneshaker” bicycle. this was a rather crude affair but the potential was recognised by James Starley who was a foreman at the company and he developed the machine to be the forerunner of the modern bicycle. It was not long before former watchmakers found themselves making bicycles; this even included former dial painters being employed to paint the fine lines and designs on the cycle frames. Other cycle manufacturers sprang up in Coventry and at one point it was considered to be the cycle manufacturing centre of Europe. The invention of the internal combustion engine soon led to the development of a motor cycle and then motor car industry and entrepreneurs and inventors followed the by now well-trodden path to Coventry.
The Coventry clock and watch industry did survive the 1861 slump and watchmaking continued until the outbreak of the second world war, when the major manufacturers turned their hands to the production of munitions and other military equipment, which was why Coventry was targeted by bombing raids.
The major manufacturer, Rotherhams and Sons was making parts for the automotive trade after the war but did re-commence the making of a range of clocks which were usually given as presentation pieces and this continued until the 1960’s. So there you have it, without watchmaking in Coventry, we could well have gone without engineering overall!
This blog post was written by Coventry Watch Museum. The Coventry Watch Museum Project consists of a group of people, many of whom were born and bred in Coventry, who are seeking to inform people about the history of watchmaking which was so important to the industrial development of the city. The Project is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity.
For more information about Coventry Watch Museum click here
By: Film Producer Gail Downey
From: Whirlwind Productions/Nose Art Films
This is the second of three blogs from our friend Gail Downey, the Director and Producer of Nose Art & Pin-Ups. Following on from her previous blog in which she told us how she got the idea to do the film, she tells us how she set the wheels in motion and the help she received along the way…..
Like so many things the idea to make a film about Nose Art and Pin Ups on the aircraft of World War Two came about by chance. I have made history programmes for the BBC and The History Channel before and while doing some research came across the title “Nose Art & Pin Ups.”
Curious to find out exactly what that was about, I read through the article and discovered it was the artwork on aircraft painted, sometimes by the crew, sometimes by commercial artists like Don Allen, who had been drafted into the United States Army Air Force in WW2.
What I found fascinating was what the images meant to the crews, fighter and bombers, who risked their lives every day in missions in which one in seven of them died. They were all part of the Eighth Air Force or “Mighty Eighth” when the USA joined the war against the Germans in 1942.
The article focused on their Nose Art and offered moving footage of aircraft, which to a film producer, was like gold dust. Here was the artwork on the actual planes in WW2 and provided I paid for the rights, I could use that filmed material.
But where to start on a subject which is so big? That is always the hardest part of making any film. Make the subject too niche and the audience will be too small. Make the subject too broad and you miss the point .
So being a Brit, I decided to tell the story of the American servicemen based here in England in World War Two and concentrate on the Nose Art on their aircraft rather than that of the RAF. For a start there was much more Nose Art on the USAAF aircraft and it was easier to find in terms of actual film footage. So now you see how a producer’s mind works.
What I really wanted to do though was to tell the stories of these young American servicemen, who saw friends killed and captured, some severely wounded and others who, to this day, have memories, which thankfully my generation, will never know.
Finding the servicemen was the first task. I had tried to get the BBC and The History Channel to pay for the film to be made but was told no – it was too niche so I decided to fund it myself (which producers should never do).
Thankfully I found Michael P Faley, an American who loves history and like myself, has huge respect for the pilots and crews and what they went through.
Mike is on the board of directors of the Eighth Air Force Historical Society and with his help found Don Allen, who was a crew chief looking after aircraft of the Fourth Fighter Group based at Debden near Saffron Walden in WW2……….he was and thankfully is, still alive. And so the journey began. More on that next week.
Please support this project and help keep these veterans’ stories alive.
Gail Downey, Nose Art Films
By: Film Producer Gail Downey
From: Whirlwind Productions/Nose Art Films
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
By: Work placement student Leona Daly
From: Nottingham Trent University
Studying: Print Journalism
Inspiration: Cherry Healey
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.
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.
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.