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?
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
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.
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.