Blog Archives

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…”

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Bridgit Campaign sees Kermittment from famous ‘Muppets’ frog

Bridgit here, with a quick update on my Bridges campaign…..

As celebrity endorsements go, you can’t get much bigger or better than Kermit the Frog – the latest figure to support my Bridges campaign. A long time friend and supporter of mine, Kermit is in the middle of a worldwide trip but in the midst of it all, he still found time to take some images of himself in front of various bridges. Take a look at the Pinterest page – Kermit is on bridges in Sydney, Amsterdam and London.

Kermit is not the only interesting character to take part in the campaign. Miles Better, the brand new face of the Good Garage Scheme has also got involved. He sent us a picture over Twitter and has been helping support the campaign since.

It was Coventry Society who started the trend.  Once I had jetted off round the world’s bridges and the Bridge directors had ventured out onto their nearest bridge, Coventry Society was the first organisation to add a bridge image to our Pinterest board. Their representative Adam Mottershead sent us an image of himself on a well known Coventry bridge.

We have even got mum’s in on the act. Our Account Executive, Natalie’s mum sent us a posy image of her on a bridge in Tenerife to help us build momentum on our campaign. We now have a total of 16 bridge images on our Pin board and that is only the start. Still to come are images from national ERP providers K3 Syspro who have promised us an image of their marketing team on a bridge near Old Trafford once the weather holds out – and Tamworth’s premier community radio station TCRFM, who will get their presenters out on bridges for our campaign. Expect those images to be added to our board as soon as they are ready.

It’s a whole load of fun but there is a serious side to my Bridge campaign. We are, of course raising money for the charity FrogLife, who very kindly featured our campaign on their latest blog post.  Froglife is a national wildlife charity dedicated to the conservation of the UK’s amphibians and reptiles – frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards – and the habitats on which they depend. Naturally, they are helping to keep me and my relatives safe in dangerous times to be a frog. It’s simple – the more bridge pictures that are pinned to our board, the more money gets donated to look after my family and friends.

So, what are you waiting for? If you are already on Pinterest, follow my board and we will invite you to share it and take part in our campaign. If you are not on Pinterest don’t fear, share an image with us over email, Twitter or Facebook and we will Pin it for you! Go, on, hop on the Bridgit campaign!

Why you should be using social media before your competitors

Once upon a time the internet was deemed unnecessary, now it’s literally everywhere! So if your business isn’t using social media yet, why don’t you leap ahead of your competitors and make your mark…?

We’ve been working with businesses on social media for quite some time now and if we could have a pound for every time we have heard a company state “Social media isn’t for business, it can’t do anything for us!”, then we’d all be happily retired and tweeting from a beach in Mauritius. Unfortunately, reality works a little differently and we are still definitely all in Coventry. However, we have compiled a list of reasons as to why you need to be ahead of your competitors in the social media marathon.

1. Lead the conversations

If you get in there before your competitors then you can lead the conversational topics around things relevant to your business. For example if you are using Twitter then you can demonstrate your expertise through various hashtags regularly and businesses will begin to recognise you as a leader in your field.

2. You’re seen as forward thinking

Take yourself back to school. There was always a kid who was first to have the new trainers, or listened to a certain band before they were played on the radio. He was always deemed the ‘coolest kid in the school’ because he was setting a trend that others wanted to follow. Similarly, becoming competent with your social media repertoire before competitors will give your business a ‘cool factor’ and place you ahead of others as a forward thinking business.

3. Engage with customers

A massive 61% of UK adults were reported to be using social media in 2011, and this will have increased since then. Regardless of whether they operate personal or business accounts, that is a large sector of the population. You only have to see the huge increase of users each year to understand that it will not be long before it is saturated. Among all these users lie your customers – so why wouldn’t you want to be there too?

4. Be seen for free!

Social media accounts cost nothing to set up, however they have room to include all your branding and company news. It only makes sense to be visible in the social media spectrum.  It’s also one of the most cost effective marketing tools for raising the profile of your brand.

How has it helped some of our clients??

The Good Garage Scheme

Manchetts Garage based in Cambridge and Newmarket was already aware of the Good Garage Scheme but was unsure of the member benefits. The independent garage already had its own Twitter account, from which it regularly tweeted special offers and blog posts.  Upon seeing a number of consistently informative tweets from the Good Garage Scheme, Manchetts sent a direct message over the network to enquire about becoming a member.

Titanic Heritage Trust

The Titanic Heritage Trust has been part of an exhibition in Smethwick this year as part of the centenary to commemorate the sinking of the famous liner. We have been helping them with their social media, and they have had a number of visitors to the exhibition who became aware of it through its Twitter page.

Netmetix

In April one of our clients, which is an IT solutions provider, ran a seminar on cloud computing. This was publicised through Twitter and many of the attendees were able to sign up straight through the link in one of the tweets.

 

How you can get started in social media marketing

Bridge has been asked by Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber to run a FREE half day workshop on 3rd September to be held at the Quality Hotel, just off the A45.  This will give you all you need to get started on social media for your business.  More details coming soon, so keep an eye on this blog and our website.

Hop on the Bridgit campaign!

Hello – Bridgit here, taking over the Bridge blog…..

I’m on a quest. Maybe you can help?

I want photos of you on, under or by a bridge.  This could be anything from an actual bridge, to a road sign with the word bridge on it or even a building named after a bridge. The photographs will be published on the Bridge Pinterest profile, on a related pinboard.  If you can involve frogs on bridges too, all the better!  (Please don’t harm any of my frog friends doing this though!)

This is more than just a simple campaign.  The directors of Bridge are committed wildlife conservationists, and we have all jumped on board with this to help develop a campaign that will raise the profile for the conservation of us frogs, as well as just being a fun thing to do.

We want to start the ball rolling first by getting your photos in.  We will then get the visitors to the Pinterest pinboard to vote on which photos they think are the best ones.  The lucky winners will receive various prizes, and we will also be donating money to amphibian conservation projects to help my home stay looking nice.

This campaign is yet another demonstration of Bridge utilising the latest social networks to show clients how effective campaigns can be run online.

To take part in the game, simply email your photograph to me at Bridgit@bridgepr.co.uk or share it with Bridge PR over one of its social networks.

Twitter: @BridgePR/@BridgitBridgePR

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bridgeprmediaservice

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/bridgepr

Alternatively, this pinboard is a community board so to contribute, email john@bridgepr.co.uk with Bridgit’s Bridges in the subject line and your Pinterest username in the email body. You will then be added to the board as a contributor.

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.

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