0 comments on “Identifying the right communications practices for your business”

Identifying the right communications practices for your business

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A communications strategy isn’t something that any business would doubt is important, but the reality of developing it is a lot easier said than done when there is a wealth of tools and practices at a company’s disposal, with their own benefits and risks attached.

This month’s issue of the Law Support Network’s Briefing Magazine features some invaluable insights from Peter Rogers, Director of Risk at Bevan Brittan, as part of the feature entitled ‘Brain Training’.

While focused on the legal sector, the piece gives a great analysis of the challenges faced by many businesses when choosing the most appropriate internal and external communications tools, due to the wealth of them on offer. Rogers also offers interesting anecdotes on the evolution of information transfer – from a telex machine that occasionally spurted into action to a more recent scenario where emojis were used to instruct a lawyer!

Overall, the piece encourages businesses to maintain a view of evolving trends, ensuring enough assessments and measures are implemented by your risk, communications, HR and IT teams to appropriately mitigate potential issues across your workforce ahead of time.

This evolution of communications channels is something we know all too well working within the PR and marketing industry. Gone are the days when our focus was placed squarely on traditional PR – we now maintain relationships with our friends in the press, while also building a reach with other, less-traditional influencers across a wide variety of outlets and channels.

This is proven to be a more realistic and time-efficient approach to communications and opens a huge opportunity for our clients, but also requires that we offer clear counsel to help manage the potential risks associated with spreading your message too broadly.

Much like Rogers’ own recommendations in the Briefing article, we work with clients to determine the most appropriate methods of sharing information, with key considerations including:

  • Which of your target audiences do you hope to reach with this information?
  • What communications channels do you plan to use and why? How do these fit with your targets?
  • Is this information time-sensitive?
  • Has the information been approved by all stakeholders, both internal and third-party?
  • How will you manage any follow-up, especially relating to enquiries or feedback? Have you considered the impact upon your internal team and put plans in place to manage this?

Rogers also makes recommendations for implementing best practice within your organisation, including carrying out a review of how staff currently disseminate information internally and their experiences with this. Here are some additional thoughts from us on implementing communications best practice:

  • Consider running internal workshops, to inform and promote communication policies and practice.
  • Implement guidelines to cover the use of tools which may increase informality or indiscretion, e.g. social media or messaging apps.
  • Ensure that your workforce understands potential communications risks and are well-versed on the importance of protecting both your business IP and corporate reputation with appropriate, responsible activity.
  • Raise awareness of any relevant legal implications – especially where something might be considered as innocent or informal by your employees.

If you would like to discuss this in more detail, or learn how brookscomm might help your business to implement similar communications practices, please do get in touch.  

0 comments on “Think BIG with your communications strategy”

Think BIG with your communications strategy

Since its inception, PR has involved managing and enhancing the reputation of an organisation to its target audience via influencers such as key stakeholders, partners, analysts and the media. The overall objective is to raise the organisation’s profile to support the sales and marketing cycle. Though the core principles haven’t changed, the methods of communicating with audiences and stakeholders have dramatically.

When the main way of communicating with the media a few decades ago may have been franking a press release, we’re now in an always-on environment where accessibility to audiences and influencers has transformed the day-to-day role of a PR professional. Despite these considerable developments, many organisations still devise traditional PR campaigns that don’t make the most of integrated communications, new technology and measurement techniques.

Here’s some recommendations from us at brookscomm to ensure that whatever industry you’re in, you’re thinking big with your communications strategy.

1. Be reactive

By developing articles or commentary in response to changes occurring within your market, or in response to national breaking news stories, you don’t have to be reliant on having your own news to secure press coverage. Sometimes these can take the form of thought provoking and quite controversial commentary, which will create a “buzz” within your area of specialism.

Talking about national issues at a regional, trade and national level will help to establish your reputation as an expert in your field. It also provides a level of reassurance to your existing client base, and future clients, as they will see you as an organisation with an opinion that is respected by the press.

2. Spread the word

Social media has a big part to play in an integrated communications strategy. Once your articles have been published, either in the media or on your website, further reach can be achieved via social media platforms. People may not be reading the publication or browsing your website on the day that your content was published, but we can safely assume now that people are regularly checking their own social media and absorbing new content in this format.

What’s more, sites such as Twitter and Facebook have brilliant SEO qualities. This means that if a prospect is googling you, there’s more chance that your name will appear higher in their results as social media sites are pointing to your name or website.

Our Senior PR Account Manager Alison has also been sharing advice with legal firms around making more of your press coverage. Check out our latest article in the Hampshire Law Society magazine, Hampshire Legal.

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3. Go bigger

It’s easy when you’ve been serving a specific set of customers to stick with the same communications approach and focus on them as your target audience. While it’s wise to prioritise this audience, messages you’re promoting to those customers could be replicated to another potential market without much extra work.

Whether that’s a different industry or a region, thinking outside of your existing strategy could reap huge dividends. High quality and informative written material is worth its weight in gold, so if you’ve written it, make the most of it!

4. Track your progress

Whenever you’re completing any communications activity, it’s crucial that you measure the success of your efforts. Not only can you learn the most impactful ways to reach your prospects, you can also discover what content resonates the best and what approach is most beneficial for your sales and marketing strategy.

By utilising online tools such as Google Analytics, you can track what content is bringing the most traffic to your website, and what pages on your website are of most interest to your prospects. Analytics are now also embedded in social media platforms so you can track how many people are viewing or engaging with your tweets, and how your LinkedIn likes have increased overtime.

Whatever your communications strategy, make sure you’re maximising every opportunity to raise your profile by developing creative and relevant content, considering new audiences, showcasing your hard work and measuring your success.

Want to find out more? Get in touch! 
If you have any questions about your communications strategy or how we can help you secure media coverage, please check out our strategic communications offering or get in touch. We’ve helped several organisations raise their profile with their target media resulting in increased sales. Call us on 01483 537 890 or email hello@brookscomm.com

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0 comments on “How to maintain high standards in business”

How to maintain high standards in business

In light of our Managing Director Mandy’s new role as a client PR advisor to the Chartered Institute of PR (CIPR), Carys grabbed her for a quick chat on how to establish and maintain high standards for the benefit of your customers, and how this can be put into practice to make a real difference across all elements of business.

With over 20 years’ experience as an agency leader Mandy has built brookscomm from the ground up, gaining a wealth of knowledge on how having high standards within your company can lead to longlasting business success.

Where does your commitment to high standards come from?

A phrase that my parents always said to me growing up was: “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well”. It’s encouraged me to have high standards and has stayed with me. Now I realise it’s shaped my approach to most things in life, including business.

The question isn’t just around why we choose to focus on getting the best quality in business, but also how. The ‘why’ is clear – we want to put our best foot forward and in a business environment, we know that this is the way to offer the best service to our customers. It’s the ‘how’ that takes a little more work.

What can be a barrier to businesses maintaining such high standards?

If you speak to any business leader, they will undoubtedly say that they want high standards. We all do. But often the focus is put more on practical details. It is far more a state of mind than it is in the logistics like how people work, or who is working and when.

There’s a lot of misconceptions out there – perhaps that enabling people to work remotely or part-time means they’re not working as hard or to a high standard, or that if you take a lean approach to your business your quick decisions may be ‘knee-jerk’, which compromise your output. But that’s not the case; in fact, in some scenarios it can even be the opposite of what you’d expect. Working smarter and staying agile means you’re quicker with your processes or working setup, not dropping on your quality.

What are some of the best ways to focus on quality within an organisation?

If high standards are lived and breathed, then the concept is always at the top of your mind. It’ll shape all your decisions, from recruitment and processes through to strategy and business development. 

By committing to excellence in your industry, you’re able to provide the best possible service for your clients or customers. Explore new qualifications, make it a priority to stay up to date with latest trends impacting your market, invest in training for your team and stay in touch with likeminded contacts in your industry. This way you can offer accurate and reliable consultancy to your clients and understand your position in the market that much better, helping you finetune your offering too.

What can industry leaders do to drive higher standards?

The CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) is on a mission to develop a level of excellence for our industry, bringing a new level of rigour for PR professionals through its qualifications, events, training and other CPD related activities. I’m playing a role in helping them develop this by operating as a Chartered PR Client Advisor, which means organisations can request support from the CIPR to appoint either an external agency or recruit a communications member of staff.

It’s great to see that through programmes like the CIPR’s Client Advisory service, organisations are committed to maintaining high standards and are bringing in expertise to help with that. By applying the same rules to communications as they do to any other element of the business, leaders can focus on getting value for money and stay focused on maintaining a high-quality standard for customers.

Learn more about how Mandy and the team can support your integrated communications activity here.

0 comments on “How PR can be measured”

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. 

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