The Beast from the East and agile PR

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A structured communications strategy should be part of any business strategy and will help to achieve key business objectives.

Producing interesting content which resonates with target customers and other stakeholders should be part of this plan.  Published material gives huge credibility to a company and can establish key company spokespeople as experts in their field.

However, having a great plan is all very well, but to derive the best results, it is necessary to be flexible and take both a proactive and a reactive approach to what is produced and when. Responding to topical news events and having something useful and informative to say on the subject can be a great  way to get great results. You can keep ahead of the competition by producing quality content that journalists and bloggers will find useful and which enhances or elaborates on a breaking news story in the media.

Tackling the Beast from the East

Be pro-active with your reactive PR. Think ahead to what might happen and produce content ahead of the game. Take the Beast from The East for example!

We all know that the winter weather in the UK can be miserable. Back in February, snow was being forecast to hit the country in a big way. Along with one of our clients, a leading law firm, we produced a tips article on what people’s rights were if they were unable to reach work due to adverse weather. This served as an advice piece for employees and highlighted employer obligations to staff in the bad weather. This was issued to a targeted audience of business and consumer lifestyle publications and web sites just before the snow arrived. The timing of the article lead to huge interest and the results were amazing. Local press, national papers, specialist employment sites and even BBC radio all wanted to run the article.

Timely PR, boosted by social media, will increase the likelihood that you will reach and resonate with your target audience.

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated communications strategy. We can help you boost your business, email hello@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

Twitter @PRexpertsUK  Linkedin: brookscomm  Facebook:brookscomm Website: www.brookscomm.com

Audience targeting: Walking the ethical tightrope

AdobeStock_118343721-min (2)Recent news has been dominated by stories which highlight the questionable tactics of some companies, in covertly harvesting user data from social media channels which informs their approach, enables them to target their communications based on profiling and, ultimately, influences opinion.

All of this is especially pertinent as we approach the looming GDPR deadline – in a timeframe where ethics, privacy and data protection are all issues of paramount concern to business.

The brookscomm approach
In our role as trusted counsel to a diverse client-base, we develop and deliver clear messaging to support each client’s value statement and inform their customers’ decision-making. Furthermore, we conduct thorough research to ensure we are targeting end-users and new business prospects as effectively, appropriately and ethically as possible.  This approach enables us to deliver consistency, add maximum value to the audience, whilst attaining optimal reach.
Whether in our PR, marketing or social media execution, our steps toward the most positive outcome are clearly defined and structured:

  1. identify each clients’ target audience/s (WHO do we want to attract?)
  2. determine their reading and influencer touchpoints (WHERE can we reach them?)
  3. develop clear messaging and information which illustrates the value proposition (WHY should they engage?)
  4. provide clear direction, highlighting the call-to-action (HOW do we meet our end-goal? e.g. sales / subscribers / etc in a GDPR compliant process.)

The methods we use to achieve these steps follow a careful and considered ethical pathway, with the utmost care and consideration to ensure compliance, authenticity and integrity – building a sense of trust with our clients and their audiences throughout the journey.

A recent example of this being the counsel we’re currently providing to both US, UK and EU clients on how to ensure that their business communication systems and processes are compliant with the incoming GDPR legislation.

Businesses must always question their data collection methods to meet their governance and compliance responsibilities and respect customer privacy. Hopefully this week’s news will only serve to improve data collection and analysis approaches, protecting the privacy rights of the end-user and strengthening ethical practice within organisations.

Get in touch on 01483 537 890 to discuss how we could help improve your business communications.

Intern Life At brookscomm!

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Ever wondered what life is like at brookscomm? Our latest PR and Digital Marketing intern Calum Ridgewell reveals all…

My time at brookscomm

As I’m a politics undergraduate, I am frequently asked “So, do you want to be an MP then?”. Whilst I absolutely love studying politics, a career in that field is not my calling!

However, it has influenced my preferred career path. Politics weaves its way into many disciplines, the world of Marketing and PR being one of them. After learning how imperative aspects such as branding, marketing and public relations are to political parties, I became intrigued in the workings, and found myself researching Marketing and PR career options.

Having established a keen interest in Marketing and PR, I decided the next step was to secure some real-life exposure, and the best way to do this was through a summer internship. My research led me to brookscomm, an integrated PR and digital marketing agency. After exploring what brookscomm has to offer and their work in action I quickly realised that this company was a leader in Surrey in the field of Marketing and PR, and this was where I wanted to kick-start my career.

After a great phone call with the Head of Operations Jo McKenzie, I was invited in to the brookscomm offices, to discuss my aims and what I could gain from the role. I was given a fantastic overview of the busy workings of brookscomm by Head of Marketing Michael Bull and Senior Marketing and PR Account Executive Nirvana Wright, and I walked away full of excitement to start my summer internship!

First Day at brookscomm

From the first day, I was made to feel incredibly welcome by all the team, and the friendly, productive atmosphere of the brookscomm office was a pleasure to work in. Even after the first few hours of being at brookscomm I felt like I had learned a lot, which was a great sign!

I thoroughly enjoyed all daily activities, finding each task rewarding and insightful. Nirvana taught me a great deal about social media management and creative content creation, and after being given some top tips I found myself creating engaging blogs, tweets and Facebook posts for clients! Additionally, Nirvana showed me the ropes on sourcing and pitching to journalists using a media database.

Putting into practise PR, Digital Marketing & Social Media

Senior PR Account Manager Alison Scarrott talked me through composing and sending effective press releases to journalists, which was very interesting and an area of PR I was keen on learning more about and Ali certainly taught me a lot!

Michael, a marketing expert, gave me a fantastic insight into digital marketing, learning about SEO, Facebook targeting ads and how to use e-mail marketing tools. Michael was more than happy to answer my (many) questions, and the exposure I gained has given me a solid grounding in digital marketing.

My other daily activities included searching for press coverage of clients, sourcing new business leads and opportunities through LinkedIn, as well as working around the areas of Marketing and PR Alison, Nirvana and Michael had taught me.

I enjoyed all the tasks I was set by the team and was made to feel I was genuinely contributing towards the business, which is very rewarding!

brookscomm Culture and Ethos

brookscomm is a fantastic place to gain valuable experience in Marketing and PR, and I am very grateful to the team for giving me the chance to broaden my skillset, learn valuable aspects of the Marketing and PR discipline and develop a stronger work ethic. The organisation of brookscomm was flawless, and the effort and care they dedicate to their clients was truly inspiring.

Following the internship, I feel I am ready for the Marketing and PR industry after graduation, brookscomm has given me a firm foundation and deeper understanding of the discipline. One day in the future when I am a successful Marketing and PR Director (can’t fault my ambition!), I will look back at my time at brookscomm as a key stepping stone.

We absolutely loved having Calum as our intern!

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated, measurable PR and Digital marketing strategy. We can help you boost your business. Email hello@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

Twitter @PRexpertsUK  Linkedin: brookscomm  Facebook:brookscomm Website: www.brookscomm.com

 

GDPR: The Implications for PR & marketing professionals

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GDPR & the implications for PR & marketing professionals

Are you ready? Are you scared or fully prepared? The GDPR deadline may seem like a long way off, officially coming into effect from May 2018 for Europe. However, there is no time like the present to ensure you are fully versed with the legalities, implications and best practise to avoid brand damaging fines for breaching GDPR rules.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will replace the current Data Protection Act 1998, setting an even higher standard of consent protocols and data regulation. It’s sole purpose is to ensure that data and personal information is protected and not misused or passed on to other organisations without consent. Although such data is currently  freely available and accessible (on contact sections of websites for instance), these new measures prioritise individual’s privacy, the methods in which information is gathered, used stored and destroyed, with the ‘right to be forgotten‘ principle.

New opportunities and challenges arise for SMEs

GDPR isn’t just about data protection. Ensuring that customer data is a priority will create more opportunities for PR and marketing professionals to strengthen the relationships with customers, by engaging them with value-driven, insightful content which informs, educates and amuses. Being honest and transparent in digital communications will be essential going forwards.

The strategy behind generating prospecting lists for sales and marketing efforts will need to change as a result of GDPR. It will be harder and more expensive to promote your business to new, prospective customers if you are a start-up or SME, especially if you have a limited advertising budget. It will put larger corporations, who can afford to increase their ad spend and use different advertising tactics at an advantage. Yet, expensive ad campaigns targeting the masses could potentially be wasteful if the adverts are not relevant to customers wants and needs. Also, consumers may inadvertently pay more because of GDPR, as company’s look to increase prices to cover the cost of greater ad spend.

The Drum reports that the fine for breaching GDPR alone would force 17% of UK companies out of business. Therefore, taking a proactive approach and ensuring your organisation is GDPR compliant will mitigate the risk of being fined.

Personalisation & data

A brand needs data-rich insight to fulfill a personalised ad experience to a consumer or to offer content and services that provide value and are useful. Without this data, a company’s lack of customer insight and tailoring of the wrong types of content could frustrate customers and weaken the connection. Keeping customers in the conversation always and providing valuable, personalised insights & updates will overcome this issue, encouraging  customers to become brand advocates.

While it is imperative to be planning towards next May’s GDPR deadline, it’s worth knowing that the regulations are yet to be finalised. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) are currently seeking clarification on a few aspects and are requesting amendments.

There is a plethora of information available, we advise the best place to seek specific information and to avoid confusion is to visit the official Data Commissioners Office website.

 

 

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated, measurable PR and Digital marketing strategy. We can help you boost your business. Email michael@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

Follow us: Twitter @PRexpertsUK  Linkedin: brookscomm  Facebook:brookscomm Website: www.brookscomm.com

How PR can be measured

PR misconception

Unlike Marketing or Advertising, which have clear, measurable ‘tick-box’ outputs and results, PR is considered by many as ‘fluffy’. A common misconception is that it’s difficult to quantify and thus measure.

Often, people measure the financial equivalent cost of Advertising vs the earned media achieved. However, with the convergence of PR, Marketing and Advertising, there are a multitude of ways to measure the impact of PR.

It’s important to establish your key performance indicators, what tactics and tools you want to implement and the goals you want to achieve. Do you want to be considered as a thought leader or have your brand mentioned in the top ten UK technology oriented magazines and websites?

Demonstrating the success of positive earned media and return on investment can be achieved when you quantify the following:

Press clippings:

Track the number of times your press content is used in your target media to gauge success. However, it shouldn’t just be a numbers game. Try and focus your efforts on ensuring the targeted media outlets are read by your target audience.

Media Impressions:

It is importance to measure reach and brand exposure. A good media database can easily and effectively measure readership and website traffic unique views per month (UVM), which are independently verified. However, you should not take these statistics purely on face value.

Take the time to delve deeper into the engagement rates of online influencers. With the increasing use of bloggers and services such as Instagress, anyone, for a small fee, can easily and quickly ‘buy’ followers. Using these tactics to cheat algorithms and artificially increase followers is very misleading, undermining the influence of others who have built their following organically. Does the influencer have an engaged audience? Are followers actively discussing, sharing and buying the products or services the influencers are promoting?

Content:

Read all the press coverage achieved, as it will provide a clear overview of the positive, negative or neutral sentiment of the brand or product. Obviously, the more positive the coverage is, the more successful the PR efforts. If there are spelling mistakes or inaccuracies, don’t be afraid to contact a journalist or influencer to have the content rectified, to ensure it’s not ambiguous.

Click-Throughs:

Calculate the number of click-throughs gained from social media and blog posts. Monitor the website traffic to landing pages and general acquisition through Google Analytics, and delve into spikes in sales and whether they correlate to coverage or scheduled competitions. This will provide great insights and show return on investment. If you have high conversion rates and you know the coverage has increased sales, then the PR efforts have been worthwhile.

Social Media:

There are many social listening tools available which offer in-depth analysis on conversations involving your brand or product. Regardless of your budget, you should at the very least be monitoring brand and product mentions, general conversations, your brand advocates and influencers.

The value in PR is that you have a third party, trusted endorsement, which holds much more weight than a salesy, expensive advert. The reach achieved using PR can go above and beyond traditional marketing channels. However, an integrated combination of all three aspects of PR, Digital Marketing and Advertising will achieve optimum results.

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated, measurable PR and Digital marketing strategy. We can help you boost your business. Email michael@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

Follow us: Twitter @PRexpertsUK   Linkedin: brookscomm  Facebook: brookscomm Website: www.brookscomm.com