Ok Google, is the future really Voice Search?

Ok Google, is the future really Voice search-

Technology is always evolving and the latest innovation, ‘Voice Search’ is gathering momentum, with the big players being Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, Ok Google and Apple’s Siri at the forefront. Ever asked Siri or Alexa what the weather is like? That’s voice search. Instead of typing and searching for a keyword or phrase, you can simply ask out loud where the nearest bar or coffee shop is. Utilising natural language processing, a computer science concerned with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, these artificial assistants can listen and respond to search queries almost like a real human.

Voice Search is one of the biggest SEO trends

Used by many consumers already, Voice Search is set to be one of the biggest SEO trends for 2017 and thus comes with many opportunities, as well as challenges to overcome. Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced during his Google I/O keynote that 1/5 searches made with Google Android App is a Voice Search.

How will this affect PR and digital marketing professionals?

Not only will clients want to be discoverable on a standardised search but also in a Voice Search. It will no longer be viable to just focus on short tail keywords, but with the nature of the conversational queries asked using a Voice Search, it will become imperative to monitor and maximise long tail keywords and phrases too. Furthermore, with the bulk of Voice Search queries based on proximity of a company or product, it’s essential to ensure your business location base is optimised.

However, despite how advanced artificial assistants are, they are still a long way off being perfect. The main issue is the mismatch between what is being asked and what the AI captures, often ‘hearing’ incorrectly, producing misspelt words and thus irrelevant search results.

Voice Search is here to stay

That said, Voice Search is only going to improve, so here are our main pointers for being agile and embracing AI into your digital marketing and PR strategy:

  • Longer, conversational style queries including natural language and question phrases are used more.
  • Location optimised results are paramount.
  • Voice Search queries amount to higher intent, as buyers are nearer the ‘decision, purchase’ stage.

Voice Search isn’t the future. It’s happening right now, isn’t that right Siri?

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

 

 

The Changing Landscape of PR & the Demand for Digital

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No More Stuffing Envelopes!

PR isn’t what it used to be. Traditional PR and its methods are still relevant, print is still in high demand, along with favorable reviews and recommendations proving to be incredibly influential. However, with increasing Social Media channels, The Independent moving to digital only, Vogue focusing on their digital magazine presence, and the rise of online influencers, the need for additional digital services is ever growing.

Utlising traditional PR methods has many benefits. Content published by reputable journalists is deemed timely, relevant, newsworthy and perceived as a trusted third party endorsement, therefore making it more credible, compared to Advertising. Explore our in-depth comparison here.

PR in the beginning:

Alison Scarrott, Senior PR/Media relations manager reflects on the changes….

alison “When I joined the world of publishing and marketing back in the 1980’s, reaching the media was fairly straight forward. You either advertised, or issued a press release. A press release would be printed out on headed paper and posted out to the magazine.  This process was extremely time consuming and expensive! Many hours were spent stuffing envelopes.

Advertising was also a popular means to get a message out to the market place. Advertisements were designed by hand by a creative artist, and colour separations with a proof on high quality photographic paper were produced. This was one of the few options available to companies to ensure a message reached a target audience. It also had a lengthy production process.”

Press material is now written and distributed electronically, at a click of a button, improving efficiency and enabling material to be supplied instantly to any journalist request. It has also become a 24-hour job, with a good PR agent able to respond at any time of day or night to a journalist request.

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New Team Members, New methods

PR in today’s market is no longer viewed as one entity. What is now being required by busy professionals encompasses aspects of PR, marketing, advertising, content creation and SEO. In a survey carried out by brookscomm last summer, clients rated a more measurable, strategic and results driven service, which aligns with their objectives, as a priority.

Joining the company last year Micheal Bull, Head of Digital comments,

michael-bull“PR and marketing professionals are seeing the benefits of providing an integrated service, and how digital tactics can be used to further amplify the reach and influence of existing content. Digital also provides much greater insight into which PR and marketing activities are achieving the best results.

When working on behalf of clients, it is an essential element of the service we provide, especially taking into account how much digital content is out there. Having a clear strategy combined with key performance indicators (KPI’s) built into a project timeline delivers the best results, which keeps everyone happy! It’s also really important to keep abreast of the latest digital PR and Marketing technologies and best practice. The landscape evolves quickly, especially when it comes to SEO and Keyword strategies, but, being a qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing is particularly valuable”.

The reach achieved from a good piece of press coverage in a magazine can be greatly amplified through the implementation of a well thought out digital strategy. To achieve optimal exposure a multitude of avenue streams and tactics need to be implemented, from Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Blogging…. The list goes on!

At brookscomm, we offer our clients an integrated PR and marketing service, such as writing press releases and media relations, combined with additional services such as social media management, paid search and SEO.

Find out how an integrated PR and digital marketing strategy can complement your brand, raise its profile and achieve your goals, providing return on investment. Call us on 01483 537890 or, alternatively, email michael@brookscomm.com 

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

The Benefits of Outsourcing Social Media

1.pngSocial media isn’t just for teenagers! Whether you are a start-up company or an established brand, utilising a variety of channels to increase brand awareness and generate leads has many benefits. In fact, the possibilities are endless. Google aside, Facebook accounts for approx. 40% of website referral traffic.

Social media presents the opportunity to engage with your target audience, potential clients, easily become a thought leader in your sector and cross promote content. With 90% of businesses attributing increased brand exposure, and over half reporting improved sales just from social media, you should seriously consider optimising to reap the rewards.

Arguably, the most attractive aspect of social media is that it’s free! However, the consistency and regularity of posts is vital and an active social media presence is great for your business.

So, here’s why you should outsource your social media…

Messaging:

Although social media is a great tool for promotion, being perceived as too overtly salesy can do more damage than good. Therefore, it is imperative first and foremost to establish a genuine connection, listening and conversing with a human, empathic voice. Anyone can buy 1000 followers, but just as in real life, relationships aren’t built overnight and a loyal customer base evolves over time.

Quality, Consistency & increased ROI:

The best results are achieved by curating clever content which resonates with and benefits your target audience, in addition to joining in and responding to key trends and customer queries. A combination of commentary by a brand, mixed with agency input ensures the best of both worlds. An agency can organise and schedule PR and marketing activities to seamlessly align with social media efforts, generating an integrated campaign to achieve greater return on investment. Since content creation alone can take as much as 18.5% of the day, it’s worth outsourcing these activities, allowing more time to be spent on other areas of a business.

Paid Advertising:

Creating a social media account might appear to be free, but. in doing so the platform uses your profile and demographic information as currency. These social media platforms offer sophisticated segmentation tools enabling users to advertise, for a fee, to whoever fits the profile of their target customer. Additionally, the reporting features offer a wealth of metrics such as engagement, click-through rates etc. which provide valuable insight. Knowing how to set up advertising campaigns, how much to spend, which adverts work best and how to convert clicks into sales requires in-depth experience. When utilised correctly such strategies can be highly cost-effective in meeting sales and marketing strategies.

Efficiency:

It’s a fast-paced world, especially in social media, so it’s paramount to have a team who really know their stuff, from the latest Twitter updates to knowing which social media platform is right for your target audience. There’s no need to stress about self-teaching yourself the basics. Instead, leave it in the safe hands of an agency who can easily and effectiveness understand your goals, implement a blend of organic and scheduled tweets to grow your following, engage your audience and report back with key performance indicators.

So, what are you waiting for? Find out how you can benefit from outsourcing your social media right now.

Call us on 01483 537890 or, alternatively, email us hello@brookscomm.com and we can help you engage with your target audience successfully using Social Media.

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

Advertising is what you pay for but publicity is what you pray for!

Getting positive media brand coverage was recently rated as a priority business objective by tech PR & Marketing professionals in our survey.

This comes as no surprise as tech businesses can achieve rapid growth when their target customers are made aware of the benefits of their products and services. New consumer technology is desired by trend setters and new technology in the business sector can provide customers with substantial cost and time savings.

So, how does a business go about promoting itself to the media and potential clients? With this and other questions I decided to ask Mandy Brooks, our strategy director, and Alison Scarrot, Media Relations Account Manager at brookscomm:

What’s the difference in practice between PR and advertising? Which do you think is more effective?

Mandy says: ”Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.”

img_1264_lr-minThere are many articles and opinions on this but put simply, Advertising is paid media, public relations is earned media.

There are of course many opinions on which is best and in what measure but I like the thinking of Steve Cody of Inc. magazine , also quoted in Forbes, who notes: “Countless studies report that, next to word-of-mouth advice from friends and family, editorial commentary (usually generated by your friendly, behind-the-scenes PR practitioner) carries far more weight than advertising.”

“It’s not difficult to understand why,” Cody says. “Advertising continues to embrace an antiquated, top-down, inside-out way of communicating. It reflects senior management’s view on what a consumer or business-to-business buyer should think is important. PR, on the other hand, depends upon listening to the conversation and understanding the who, what, when, where, why and how of engaging in the discussion. Public relations executives excel in storytelling and, typically, present a perceived problem (i.e. childhood obesity) and their client’s unique solution (i.e. a new type of fitness equipment designed by, and for, pre-teens).”

Alison adds: “In practical terms, PR is content in the form of a story or news article that a media editor deems timely, relevant and newsworthy to the audience. When printed or posted, it is perceived as a trusted third-party endorsement of a brand. Whereas advertising is the method of paying the publication to ensure a brands messaging will be included. Through advertising, brands can control the exact wording and image of their brand and it’s guaranteed exposure.

However, advertising is always perceived as a company endorsing itself and therefore has less credibility than PR.  In our experience a combination of both is very effective and maximises the reach and credibility of the brand but if I had to choose, I would say that PR is more effective as its more sincere and relevant to the reader. And also because people are accustomed to glancing over advertising.

How can the results of media relations be measured?

There are different ways to measure the impact of media relations.

Mandy notes: “We always provide details of the circulation and readership figures for publications plus the demographics of the reader where this information is available. Although we can’t be sure that everyone who looks at a newspaper or website reads in detail, this gives us a good guide to how many people have had your story put in front of them. We work closely on the right messaging with our clients, ensuring that we include information that resonates with the target audiences. We measure how often these messages are included in PR coverage.”

Alison adds: “A good specific example highlighting how our tech PR campaigns measurably and successfully bring in leads is that we work with some specialist tech businesses whose products are featured in trade publications. In the articles we have published there are reference codes for interested parties to quote if they enquire about the products. Our customers have been very happy with the sales from these enquiries. We provide all of our clients with monthly reports on media inclusion, from these they can see a correlation between media coverage and traffic to their websites. We encourage all our clients to ask where leads heard about them. It’s always nice to hear during review meetings that a client has converted a lead that PR coverage has generated for them!

If I was to consider hiring a Tech PR agency how can I tell if it is good?

alisonAlison says: “Domain expertise is vital when it comes to appraising agencies. If the agency doesn’t understand the product or the industry it may struggle. Likewise, if the agency doesn’t have media contacts with relevant publications, it might not be able to get the brand noticed effectively by the publications and the target audiences and potential customers the client is looking to engage.

Clients should look and ask for testimonials and examples of work to gauge the suitability of an agency. Other factors to consider include how long the agency has been in business and its size.

The most important factor to consider is the strength of the relationship with the account manager you’ll be working with. With some larger agencies, it’s possible that the senior person you meet with won’t be working on your account, this can cause misunderstandings and quality issues.”

What changes in trends have you noticed in Media Relations during your career?

Alison says: “When I started my career the Internet didn’t exist! We relied on print and post for correspondence with journalists and clients which although slow, certainly made life simpler in some ways! The advent of digital technologies has vastly widened the range of media publications and the potential reach of our clients’ brand and messages. The old forms of media (print, radio, TV) have diversified which has provided us with further possibilities with digital publications and the opportunity to harness the power of blogging and online reviews to promote products and services.

The variety of media formats available now is amazing and provides so many more opportunities, although with so many options, it can sometimes be a challenge to determine which publications to target. This is where knowing the publications in detail and understanding your client’s products and objectives comes into play.

Digitisation has also had a significant impact when it comes to influencing journalists. An editor recently told me he receives over 2000 PR requests each day. This means we need to produce articles for clients which are clear, concise relevant, attention-grabbing and newsworthy. When you are writing about complex technology this is even more important.

Mandy adds: “I’ve also seen client’s expectations change, especially during the last 5 or so years. Clients need a more strategic service which aligns with their business objectives and provides measurable results.  They like it that we’re able to integrate media relations, PR and digital marketing services. For us this has made the role more strategic and entrepreneurial, more measurable and more enjoyable.

More than ever, we feel that we are a vital part of our clients team, very much focused on achieving business outcomes for each  individual client by utilising a specifically tailored integration of PR, marketing and lead generation services to achieve the best results.”

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Social Media & Digital Marketing Glossary

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Clueless on SEO, unsure of whether you should #FF or scratching your head at the prospect of writing a meta description? Fear not, as we have compiled the ultimate jargon free Social Media and Digital Marketing glossary, ensuring you have a better understanding of these rather technical terms! With Social Media & Digital Marketing becoming more useful and influential, it’s worth keeping up-to-date on these concepts!

Breadcrumbs – A navigation trail for somebody who visits your website, giving direction of how to return to the homepage from any given page, e.g. Homepage>About Us>Careers.

Direct Message (DM’s) – A method of contacting privately other Twitter users, often only achieved if there’s a mutual follow, yet, depending on privacy settings this isn’t always the case.

Embedding – incorporating an external web link into your digital platform which displays content from a different location. i.e. a video from YouTube, slides from SlideShare video or photo which is hosted outside of your publishing platform.

Engagement rate –  a metric which shows the number of interactions with your digital content, i.e. visiting a webpage, clicking on a link, expanding a photo, likes, retweets, commenting: interacting in general. The higher the metric, the better the content!

Geotag – Twitter & Instagram allow people to ‘tag’ or pinpoint a location e.g. London, which involves the directional coordinates to be attached to content like a picture.

GIF – aka Graphics Interchange Format, a series of pictures or animation/clips from movies used to illustrate an emotion or even in response to a live event.

HTML – ‘Hypertext mark-up language’, programming language used to build and edit a website.

Impressions – the number of times content is viewed without it necessarily being searched or even clicked on.

Live streaming & live tweeting – delivering content over the internet in real-time, i.e. Periscope (Twitter) & Facebook Live. Tweeting, in real-time, live updates or events.

Meta description – description of your website or page which appears in the search results.

Ow.ly & bit.ly – tools that shorten the original URL of a webpage to considerably less characters. Highly beneficial to Twitter , where a maximum of 140 characters can be used in any post, which also includes analytics to determine click-through.

Promoted/sponsored content – content that is promoted and paid to appear by advertisers, in targeted publications or as the primary result from a search engine query. Often used to quickly raise the profile of a brand or product in association with a topic, keyword or service.

PPC – ‘Pay per click’, a fee is paid every time someone clicks on the advert.

Page rank – in a Google search ,it is where your page appears in relation to a relevant search query. Ranking is determined by Google’s algorithm which includes factors such as: relevance to search term, frequency of clicks, freshness of content, how long visitors spend on the page & HTML structure. Ideally, it’s best to ensure you appear on the first page of results, as 80% of searchers won’t click past the first page Page (reference?)

SEO – ‘Search engine optimisation’ is the practice of affecting the visibility of a website within search engines. Broadly speaking, methods to improve SEO can be categorised into two areas:

On-page SEO – Relevant, fresh, concise content which visitors spend time reading, and hopefully sharing, tells search engines that your page is valuable and your website is current. Seamlessly weaving keywords into well written content that loads quickly, is easy to navigate on any format, whether on a computer or mobile, helps with on-page SEO.

Search engines constantly crawl and index websites. Displaying quality content in a structured format that search engines recognise, improves ranking. So make sure page attributes such as meta descriptions, alt tags and sector titles are all present.

Off-page SEO – Simply put, this is the process of having links to your website from credible web sources. Search engines rank websites in terms of authority and relevance. This is where reviews, professional affiliations,  PR, social media and customer endorsement online can be used to help boost your ranking.  I.E. If you are a member of a trade organisation, have a link to and from their website.

Scheduling – using a social media platforms advanced functionality to schedule the publishing of content in advance, often used to target individuals in different time zones.

Trending topic – a list of the topics that are currently generating the most interest on social media. Clicking on the topic link reveals the most popular associated content.

We hope these explanations are helpful, if you are interested in other definitions do let us know!

At brookscomm we have over 20 years’ of PR expertise and a proven track record of success. We can aid you and your business, call us on 01483 537 890 or, alternatively, email us hello@brookscomm.com

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