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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How to utilise social media effectively

A brand new report from Digital Marketers E-Consultancy has found that only ten per cent of UK businesses actually monitor their ROI from social media. This is despite the fact that more than three-quarters of respondents to the survey said they are either running an online community or plan to do so in the next 12 months. We have been promoting the value of social media and helping our clients utilise it effectively for the past couple of years but this report reveals that very few UK businesses are still not utilising the medium effectively enough to enjoy company growth Further figures state that 29% of marketers had set up their company’s own social media accounts in the last 12 months while 35% had been using social media for more than a year. Only 23% of businesses asked quoted social media as a part if their online presence. Those unable to monitor their ROI through social media must not be using it accurately so we thought that we would share our top five tips to effectively utilise social media marketing.

1. Plan

What do you hope to get out of your social media activity? Business growth and profit are one thing but which audiences are you looking to reach out to and connect with? Once you have niche audiences in mind, sit down and list as many keywords and phrases as you can that are dedicated to those audiences and your own business. Set up Google Alerts for those terms too – its free and provides valuable information with which you can monitor and measure you social media activity. By setting out with a clear plan in mind, you can execute a social media campaign that will bring the kind of results you want to see.

2. Build communities

From your list of words and phrases, research which ones would be good hashtags for Twitter and use them whenever you tweet about relevant content. Search for these hashtags within Twitter and follow those tweeting similar stories and information to you. Most importantly though, let people know that your business has entered the social media world and show them where to find you. Have follow icons on your home page and include your social media URLs on your business cards and promotional literature. Nobody will join your community of they don’t know it exists.

 3. Broadcast

Get conversations going on Twitter. Ask people their opinions on topics relevant to you and your business. Make sure you only provide valuable content for people to engage with. They don’t care about what you had for breakfast but may want to discuss popular topics in the news with you.

 4. Content

As we have been saying for years, good quality content is the secret to successful social media. Create a blog and blog regularly on topics that matter to you and your audience. Share your blog posts with your social media collectives and encourage them to comment and share within their own circles. When sharing content though, make sure you are consistent. Pay attention to your tone and style and be consistent with this. If you suddenly switch things around, people will just lose interest.

5. Convert

Get in your call to action. Offer a free ebook or catalogue for example or invite them to read your testimonials to get an idea of the kind of successful work you have done in the past. Without an effective call to action, very few people will actually consider your business for a service; many choosing to keep you as a social media associate instead.

To get the most out of your social media activity, give Bridge PR and Media Services a call today on 02476 520 025

Social Media Reflection

Where is social media taking business?

2011 has been an exciting year for us all at Bridge PR, with social media making a prominent presence in all of our clients’ marketing strategies, and we have seen some fantastic results because of it.

These statistics of the 3 main social media outlets illustrate the rapid growth in popularity:

  2010 2011
Facebook 500 million 750 million
Twitter Number of monthly users is up by 82% since the start of the year
LinkedIn 85 million 135 million

The business uptake of social media accounts has massively increased over the past year and the pace looks set to continue unabated. As we expected, Twitter has been the most talked about social network of the year, beating the largest network Facebook which only came fourth.

These days, businesses are questioning just how they coped without social media. Gone are the days when sending an email to a client was a novelty! Costly adverts in the local paper, sending out direct mail or purchasing expensive billboards used to be the only ways to promote business to mass audiences. However, today all it takes is 140 characters – one Tweet or one slightly longer Facebook update and you can reach no end of potential customers – FOR FREE!

According to Mediabistro, 50% of small business owners reported gaining new customers through social media indicating that it is creating leads for companies. As larger cities like London, Manchester and Birmingham continue to dominate social media usage in the UK, Bridge PR has been helping put Coventry on the social media map by getting our clients online and engaging with customers and industry leaders.

At Bridge, we have helped drive the social media presence of the Good Garage Scheme, and from a standing start they are now one of the biggest influencers in the UK social media scene for the automotive sector.  In the IT sector, our social media marketing activity for Netmetix is getting the company noticed in what is typically a noisy and competitive sector online, and we have been helping Advanced Carbon Energy Solutions (ACES) with setting up all their social media profiles ready for a relaunch of the company in 2012 (watch this space because ACES is going to be a great one to follow next year).  We have also trained and mentored quite a few Midlands SMEs on how to get the most from their social media marketing, and they are now starting to reap the rewards   Our own campaign using a red-eyed tree frog as a mascot also attracted a great deal of interest, and Bridgit, as she was later named is a favourite with our social media audiences.  Whilst other PR firms in the city continue to offer traditional mediums of PR, we have embraced new media and helped propel our clients into the 21st century.

So what’s in store for 2012?

The trend for 2012 seems to be that the market is wide open for a new social network that will offer competition to the big three.

Google Plus is seen as the network with the most potential to mount a challenge to the likes of Facebook and Twitter and as Google’s domination of the world wide web continues, the likelihood is that businesses will be able to take advantage of direct tagging, analytics, advertisements and SEO rankings within Google.

Facebook Upon their recent purchase of Gowalla and integrated timeline renovation, 2012 is all set to be Facebook’s year of dominance as it continues to be the most used social network for business and pleasure.

Ownership As arguments continue over who owns photographs shared on social media websites; the issue of ownership itself is likely to once again come into the spotlight. How far away from plagiarism is a Retweet on Twitter and how many times should you be able to edit and share content? What’s more, how much should social networking websites reflect your business’ point of view rather than your own and how deeply should we read into the concept of sharing content?

Social media has become one of the most popular and effective free forms of promotion that takes out the hassle and hours of traditional forms of PR. All you need is a push in the right direction and you are ready to allow your content to drive your social media strategy and move your business forward in 2012.

We would really like to help put Coventry and Warwickshire on the social media map in 2012 as well as helping businesses up and down the UK to make the most of this great channel for marketing.  To find out how we can help your business raise its profile with social media contact Denise, Louise or Natalie on 024 7652 0025 or email us at enquiries@bridgepr.co.uk

Social media and PR – evolution and revolution

Digital and social media are turning how we access our news on its head and I’m often asked is it a PR evolution or revolution.

The simple answer is it’s both. Digital and social media’s interactive nature is having a huge impact on the way news is delivered and in online advertising.

Many newspapers are finding this out the hard way at the moment but many businesses are embracing the digital age as they look to new and cost-effective ways to market themselves.

At a recent presentation I delivered to 38 SMEs on the importance of a digital presence, I was surprised at how many start-ups had already started to use social media as a cost-effective marketing tool.

They are already using the likes of Twitter and Linked In to great effect – something which we at Bridge PR have long been advocates of.

So yes, the revolution has started as SMEs evolve their marketing approaches. By defining their marketing mix, which includes social media, digital PR, traditional PR and search engine optimisation, businesses, however small can make real inroads in creating their brand identity and raising their profile.

Many have made a start and our aim at Bridge PR, as one of the of the forerunners in helping businesses with new media and new media training, is to help them make the most of these new marketing tools which can give them a more competitive edge without breaking the bank.

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Digital age Marketing Mission

New customers are the lifeblood of small and medium-sized companies but staggeringly nearly half don’t know how to market themselves effectively.

The Barclays Local Business Survey, launched with The Times earlier this year, revealed that 44 per cent of the survey’s 3,675 respondents said marketing was the skill most lacking in their business.

And that can cause a major problem for SMEs struggling to survive and claw their way out of the recession. So where do they turn for cost-effective help to get themselves noticed by the widest possible audience?

Our approach at Bridge PR goes beyond the traditional realms of public relations, using the most sophisticated tools to help clients maximise their potential. As is often the case, keeping up with, and keeping on top of technology achieves the best results.

Digital marketing is emerging as an increasingly important tool across a range of industry sectors, with the internet opening up host of opportunities for business owners to access wider markets. Bridge PR is leading the way in helping clients nurture social media and digital marketing to get noticed.

With our expertise and as an established member of Business Link, we are ideally placed to provide information on funding opportunities available to companies to market themselves better in the digital world.

Business Link’s Director Development Programme (DDP) is awarding £500 to firms with five or more employees (but it’s up to a total of £1500 if you put in £500) and we are providing PR and Social Media courses and strategic plans for directors to develop their businesses.

Through our courses, we are helping even the smallest companies embrace the internet and tap into new opportunities.

With more than 70 per cent of the UK population now online and spending an average of 33 hours a month surfing the internet, the opportunities for business are clear and Bridge PR is ideally placed to help SMEs seize them and emerge stronger from the recession.

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