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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Top Content Marketing Tips

Content Marketing: An umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential customers…..

It sounds simple doesn’t it? But in practice, there are actually few companies out there who can create good content for their different marketing channels.   

Effective content marketing requires a strategic approach followed by detailed planning to produce “stories” that are engaging.  By engaging we mean stories that offer something to the reader through being interesting, informative or entertaining.  If they can be all three, then even better!

Identify your target audience…

Who are you looking to reach out to and connect with? What kinds of things do they want to be reading, watching and hearing? Just as any new retail outlet needs to find the right situation to construct a new store, you need to find the right networks to reach certain people. A DIY store is not going to open up shop right next to another DIY unless it has an impressive USP to attract new customers, just as you shouldn’t be sharing the same old content with the same old people time and time again.

You want people to be receptive to your content so find out what their interests are. Get to know the kinds of topics that excite them and create targeted content aimed at their needs.

Get your marketing strategy right…

You need to know your platforms well. These days, there are more social networks than ever before, and this market is still growing.  So make sure you are using the right network to get a specific message across. For example, if your subject is controversial, you can measure its response much easier through blog comments or Facebook comments than you can through Twitter responses. If you are after short promotions or quick web visits though, it is Twitter that can make an immediate short-term impact.

Develop your key messages…

What is it exactly you are trying to say? Find out what it is that your target audience is searching for on the web and cater your content around that. Much like when adding META tags to web articles to enhance SEO, search Twitter for relevant hashtags and buzz words to add to the content you share.

Do something different…

If you go to a Star Wars convention dressed as Harry Potter, you will attract attention whether you want to or not so why not try some different to enhance your content marketing? We are one of the first PR and marketing companies in the region to introduce video PR into the content marketing plans of our clients and offer a brand new way for consumers to view content. Text and images are all very nice but who wouldn’t rather watch a video of something of interest than read about it? Video is the latest way of communicating your messages with your audiences and is fast becoming one of the most shared content forms in the online world.

Build relationships…

Remember that the key to effective content marketing is not only creating your own content but sharing relevant articles too. Make sure you get to know those in your social networks and take every opportunity to engage with them regularly. We have set about creating an exciting new networking event that was born out of a joke on Twitter, which will see us meet some of our social networking peers and put faces to their names, thus adding a touch of familiarity to our social networking activity.

Evaluate your strategy…

Like with anything, it is important to constantly evaluate your content marketing strategy. Is your content being shared within the right circles? If not, why not? What can you do to make sure that next time you blog or tweet, it is seen by the right people?

Everybody has unique methods of content marketing that works for them, whether scheduling in content or sharing content at specific times. Only through evaluating your marketing communications activity will you find a method that suits you, and one that you can utilise in future.

Do you need some help with your content marketing or are you intrigued about just what our video PR service can offer your business? Get in touch with us today and see how we can help you get the best out of your business.

Want to know more about the networking event we are planning? Stay tuned to our blog and keep a lookout on Twitter for the hashtag #warwickcookieparty and all will be revealed…..

A New Year, New Challenges, New Opportunities

BridgitWith 2011 now behind us, we have had time to reflect on what Bridge has achieved in the last 12 months and what we are looking forward to achieving in 2012.

The past year has seen some major changes in our company with the development of new products and services, and the addition of new team members to support our growth. We have also developed  our partnerships with clients and now represent customers across a wide range of industry sectors. 

This has given us a very firm foundation for 2012, and we are very excited about the coming year, especially being a Coventry based agency with all that is about to happen surrounding the 2012 Olympics and Euro 2012.   

New ways of working in PR were very much to the forefront throughout the whole of 2011.  Social media gained in popularity with the majority of our clients and we spent a great deal of time providing training support around this and other marketing communications topics.   The new raft of digital technologies certainly helped us to raise the profile of our clients, a number of whom enjoyed national media exposure.  This was underpinned by having really great stories to tell.  Content is the lifeblood of marketing communications campaigns, and every one of our clients had interesting and topical stories in 2011.

In the summer months, we launched one of our own campaigns based around, Bridgit, a rather engaging red-eyed tree frog, who became the centre-piece for a social media workshop titled “Making the LEAP”.  Bridgit very quickly took on a life of her own after a successful campaign to name her, and we then set about creating her identity as our social media mascot.  You will see a lot more of Bridgit in 2012, so watch out for her.

As we headed towards Autumn, we increased our team again and welcomed our new account executive, Natalie Hunt.   With a breadth of experience across journalism and broadcast media, Natalie is a great addition to our team, and very quickly established herself with a number of our clients as well as building relationships with editors and journalists up and down the country. 

 

Looking Ahead

 It’s going to be great to be in Coventry

It’s particularly exciting to be in Coventry as we head into 2012.  The buzz surrounding  the 2012 Olympic Games is now starting to heat up in earnest, and Coventry will be in the thick of everything with some of the major games being hosted in our City.  In addition, local Company, Imagineer Productions, has created a magnificent spectacle in “Godiva Awakes” which will shine  the spotlight on two of the city’s home grown industries:  Lady Godiva and cycling.  The bicycle was invented in Coventry so what better propulsion to use to take the enormous Godiva puppet on her journey from Coventry to London.  Another Coventry coup is the Olympic torch.  This is yet another Coventry creation that will focus attention on the region, and especially when the Olympic torch relay wends its way through the Midlands on its way to the Olympic Stadium.    In among these major events is an anniversary that also has strong Coventry connections:  the centenary of the maiden voyage and sinking of RMS Titanic in 1912. Bridge client, Titanic Heritage Trust, is hosting a series of events throughout 2012 commemorating this event (hyperlink). 

New ways to boost your business

 As we have mentioned in a previous blog  ‘Boost your Business with “Video PR’, videos are 53 times more likely to generate a first page ranking than traditional SEO techniques, which means more visitors to your website, more calls generated, and ultimately more sales.  Just a short video about your products and/or services that you offer could increase the calls generated to 18%.

Working with our partner, Whirlwind Productions, we are keen to make you aware of the benefits of Video PR and how this can move your company forward, whether it be a short, sharp video release, or a larger budget corporate video.  We will be bring you more information on how you can boost your business through video PR through our own training and workshops, e-shots, and blogs.

 Social Media will continue to grow and develop

 Building on the great successes of 2011, we will be helping more businesses to make the most of social media.  No more can businesses say “Why should we be using social media?”, and finding reasons not to engage with their online audiences.  Instead, we are now hearing “Why would we not use social media, it has so much to offer?”  We predict that the social media revolution will continue to grow, and for some of our clients it will be a case of their social media activity maturing as they reap the rewards of early engagement after spending time building their following and creating and curating great content for their stories. 

Last year was a great year for us and we enjoyed every minute of it.  We are very excited by the prospect of continuing to work with our clients, partners and suppliers. 

 If you haven’t already signed up for our e-newsletters, then please take the time to do so now, and we will keep you up to date on the latest in PR and marketing and how you can use the lifeblood of your business (your stories) to really get noticed in 2012. 

 A Happy New Year. 

Boost your business with “Video PR”

With the New Year just around the corner, businesses need to be looking at their strategies and trends for the forthcoming year. Specifically, which channels to allocate their marketing budgets. 

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.