We’re now seven weeks into Lockdown and it’s fair to say there has been a lot of change in the world in that time. We have seen great sadness but also great examples of community and togetherness from #clapforcarers to socially distanced street parties for VE - people are finding a new (safe) way of doing things and so too are businesses.
Nowhere is this more true than within the businesses of our clients, we’re fortunate to work with organisations who are open minded, ready to be creative and to adjust their plans in response to #VCOVID19
And so we wanted to share how we’ve worked with those clients to help them perfectly pivot their businesses to suit a new world…
At Tech Returners we’ve delivered a content first approach to support amping up our content production to create useful blogs and downloads to support businesses and individuals during COVID19 from parent resources to help with the homeschool juggle to insight on managing remote teams, career boosting podcasts, video interviews, the reasons to keep job seeking and more.
And we’ve brought our event knowledge to the fore successfully curating a series of eight events The C Word providing programme design, brand creation, comms, social messaging and event management. The sessions focus on the issues which are affecting businesses and people right now and are taking place throughout May, 60 minutes each and are just just 1 hour long.
Where physical events once were, virtual events have taken over and at Assenty we’ve brought together our brand and event experience to create Virtually Speaking, an event series focused on bringing community together to discuss issues in a collaborative forum, within a week of the UK lockdown announcement we’d created a vision, brand and planned events to address topics like wellbeing, keeping active and homeschooling and with events running through April and May we’ve also delivered communications and social media support including on the day live tweeting and social polling, post event follow up and video and seen Assenty appear in the press.
We’ve also supported the well established Female Tech Founder brand into the virtual event space with comms and social media support and a focus on multi channel post event experience.
For the team at Yobah, the lockdown and move to remote working meant that a product in the forward plan became the ‘right now’ as the team rapidly productionised their Remote Workplace product to meet the needs of their clients during COVID19 ensuring a seamless move to remote working for all involved. We were on hand to create brand and web presence for the newly launched product along with client engagement activity and a feature in the press for the newly launched product.
Want to learn more about how we work? Get in touch for an informal chat email@example.com
It’s not often I write a personal blog but since the lines between work and personal life have blurred almost unbelievably in the past week I thought that I would. I’m aware of so many families just like ours, adapting to a new normal and wondering how on earth this is going to be possible for the next however many weeks, this is not just about working with children alongside although as a Mum of one that does feature in this blog! But also about coping with the situation we find ourselves in right now.
So disclaimer up front this isn’t parenting advice, nor am I any sort of expert on anything (well maybe marketing!) but these are just some of the things, we have done this week to
We’ve kept as much the same as possible
You might read this and think ‘err how?’ what I mean by this is we’ve got up at the same time, eaten breakfast at the same time, got dressed for our day and been ready for action at the same time. This helps the days feel like they are normal, we are not on holiday, we are working/running a business and learning (a bit!) and I think this has really kept us all focused on the day ahead.
We have also relaxed the rules where needed
Let me be clear not ‘everything’ is or can be the same, there is 100% more TV and screen time where the little one is concerned! We’ve also relaxed on bedtime, he isn’t nearly as tired with no school day or activities so we’re flexible on that. We also took the view that he usually has school lunches - which means we actually have no idea what he eats daily! So he’s eating what he enjoys for lunch and had a Kinder Egg for supper the other day and that’s fine!
We’ve scheduled to avoid our pressure points
I’m a prolific planner and I couldn’t embark on this week without some sort of structure, let me tell you now it was not one of those multi coloured timetables that many parents are sharing on social media but I did need something that would help me work out when I was going to do my job! Daily calls with clients have equalled free time for the kid - so he’s off watching LEGO Ninjago or whatever and letting me do my call in relative peace, similarly in the morning, school wouldn’t start until 9am, so 7am - 9am he does what he wants and that’s clear work time for me.
We’ve kept up exercise
I know this is easier said than done! Particularly if you go to a gym and you don’t have any kit at home, we are fortunate that we have gym equipment at home and I was already doing home workouts - in spite of this I’ve felt tempted everyday to take that hour back, to complete client work or spend more time with the little one, it’s not a good idea and I’m glad now the week is almost out that I didn’t succumb, I really needed that break everyday not just physically but mentally, plus with no school runs, play dates, drum lessons or errands into town I’m moving a lot less!
We’ve got fresh air everyday
Again this has been a huge challenge, I’ve really felt the pressure to not do it and carry on working, but it has been really important, in line with the rules we’re not going out as a family but my husband and the little one take a midday walk and then my son and I go at 4pm and by that time it’s really required to clear my mind and attack the rest of the day - because there is a rest of the day beyond 5pm, work days right now are far longer and more fragmented and getting space to breathe in the mental sense are going to be key to sustaining this.
We’ve kept off social media
As a Marketing Consultant this is a tough one! But I’ve found I can manage the social requirements for my clients without looking at news or other distractions, I’m not easily distracted but this isn’t a usual time and we all want information, that’s natural. I’ve been tuning into the daily press conference with the PM at 5pm and that’s it.
We’ve had a gin where required!
Not at 10am in the morning or anything but generally we’re not ‘big’ drinkers in our house, we love a good G&T though and whilst it’s usually reserved for the weekend, we’ve definitely had a mid-week gin this week!
And for next week? well we're not thinking too far ahead, but we'll be trying to do more of the same and maybe finding some new ways too.
How are you getting on? Get in touch and let us know
It’s almost the end of 2019 and whilst it’s a time for festivities and relaxation it’s also a great time for reflection and for planning for the year ahead. Maybe marketing was on the to-do list for your small business during 2019 but never quite got to the top or perhaps you’re looking to accelerate your marketing plans in 2020 and need some structure around that thinking. Here I share useful tips on things you’ll need to consider in your marketing plans for the year ahead.
No, it’s not the most fun part of marketing but paying attention to your budget is essential. Did you set a marketing budget in 2019? If you didn’t you’ll still need to look back and see what you spent on marketing and how effective it was, and if you’re wondering what you should consider as marketing spend then we’re talking events, getting things printed, updates to your website, all of these are part of marketing. If you did have a budget (great!) take some time to look at where you spent it and whether it was a worthwhile return on investment? For example, did you pay to attend events and if so did you get any leads or client work from that? For your new budget think about what your goals entail and what cost that might attract? Do you need marketing resource to support your growth plans - how much will that cost?
What’s your goal?
What do you want marketing to do for your business in the coming year? What goals are you setting and why?, this is different for every business, ultimately all businesses will be looking for marketing to put ‘cash in the till’ but if you’re in the early stages of your marketing journey then this may not be your immediate goal and you may be more focused on brand awareness, PR, a great social presence or lead generation. Whatever your goal it’s important that you’re clear on what you want to achieve and the marketing activity which will help you to do this.
What worked well this year?
If you did some marketing during 2019 it’s important to take a look back and consider what performed well (and why) if you’ve been creating content then look at the content which performed best and use this to shape your plans for 2020, did you target a specific audience that responded well? What sort of content was most successful, did you write blogs or did video work better? It’s also important here to consider what ‘ working well’ means to you, much like goal-setting, this won’t be the same for every business, but the things you intend to repeat or grow upon in 2020 should be the things which have already helped support your overall goals.
What are your competitors doing?
I’m a firm believer that there’s room for everyone nonetheless it’s a reality of business that you will always have competition and you shouldn’t ignore it. Marketing is your opportunity to stand out and showcase the things which make your business unique, so it’s definitely worth looking at those with a similar offering to you to see what their marketing is like, what are they focusing on, and if your services are similar then why are yours different/better and how can you represent this through the marketing that you do?
Get some support
As a small business, it’s likely that you won’t have ‘in house’ marketing resource but you may still have a team around you who know the business and who will be able to work with you to help define what you want to achieve and align marketing strategy to your goals, plus if you’re going to make marketing a priority in the coming months you’ll need the whole team on board to support that. If you’re going it alone, there’s still input to be had on your marketing plans for 2020 whether that’s engaging trusted contacts or working with a marketing professional to help put some structure to your thoughts and work with you to get in plan in place for 2020.
Looking to make marketing a priority for your business in 2020 and need some support to get started? Get in touch for an informal chat
Two weeks ago Natalie Asprey Marketing Consultancy delivered ‘ Reframe Women in Tech’ a one day conference on behalf of our clients’ Tech Returners, it was a truly amazing day and since then I’ve received a lot of praise and comments about how slick the event was, the high level of organisation and a little disbelief that it was the first time my company had ever delivered something like this.
Full disclosure, this wasn’t my first conference or event, I’ve worked on extensive events programmes and large scale stuff BUT it was the first time I’d delivered the entire end to end of a conference from creating the brand, delegate attraction and management to managing speakers and sponsors, budget management and the logistics of the venue and suppliers including AV, video production, photography and childcare plus running and planning the ‘on the day show’ and more besides.
Which brings me to the purpose of this blog, the biggest question people have asked me was
‘how did I do it!?’ pulling all of the elements together to create a successful event which goes off without a hitch is not easy but there are plenty of things you can do to make it look like it was!
Start earlier than you think
A lot earlier. Even for a small event, I’d recommend no less than an eight week lead time in which to attract speakers, delegates and put in place everything you need to ensure your event is successful. Why so long? Because whilst your event is at the top of your priority list, it’s not at the top of everyone else’s, it will take time to get responses from people, for people to book on and for venues and suppliers to get back to you and get things organised. For large scale events, my view is it’s never too early to start! Reframe Women in Tech took place on Monday 28th October 2019, we started planning in March 2019 and planning for the 2020 event is already underway, the more elements there are to keep hold of, the earlier you should start getting the things in place which mean the event can actually happen.
Deliver for your sponsors
Small events, large events or somewhere in between if someone is handing over cash for exposure in some way at your event then, you must deliver. I’ve been on the other side of this in marketing roles, paying for sponsorship where there was a lack of clarity around what the sponsorship really provided or where the elements of the package simply weren’t delivered and it’s hugely frustrating. For every sponsor, at every event put an agreement in place which clearly defines what they’re paying for and what you expect in return and stick to it! - events are expensive and sponsors can quite often be the difference between an event being an idea or becoming reality so never underestimate how important that sponsor relationship can be.
Brief, Brief and Brief again
You can never brief too many times in my view. When you’re choosing suppliers to work with for your event don’t be afraid to give a detailed brief it allows them to create proposals and provide quotes which are more accurate (which in turn helps you manage your budget) and it also sets out what you want clearly from the beginning.
The same goes for speakers and sponsors, your team and anyone else involved with your event in some capacity, providing a detailed brief of things you need to happen to make the event a success is key to executing a successful event - and don’t be afraid to brief repeatedly, it might feel a little bossy but it’s a reality that people need reminding of the details, when to arrive, where to go, what time things are happening, if you don’t ensure these details are in place things can easily go wrong.
Be obsessed with the budget
Even the smallest events will have some cost implication whether that’s time/resource or a few refreshments but when you go big, the budget goes big too and you’ll need to have a firm hold of it from the start, I could write another entire blog on budget management but some really important bits, to begin with, put in your venue cost including refreshments - you can’t run your event without a venue so this cost is an important one! put in any other costs you’ll have to cover and when you have your total you’ll be able to work out how to price tickets if you’re selling them, what contribution your own business might be making to the event financially or how much sponsorship you need to attract. Revisit and update the budget regularly, I’d recommend daily on a large scale event and triple check everything! once you get underway with the actual running of an event it can be incredibly easy to miss a line on the budget!
Don’t scrimp on the AV
Never, ever, ever. This is a golden rule if your delegates can’t hear the people on the stage or if your presentation fails or the ‘in house’ screens or speakers aren’t up to scratch everyone will notice, an AV company who understand events and what’s required to deliver a slick ‘show’ element are your best friends particularly when it comes to large scale events, for reframe Women in Tech there were multiple microphones, music requirements, 43 slides worth of presentations some including videos, 10 panellists and 4 keynote speakers. The smooth running of all of that simply wouldn’t have been possible without an AV Team, so my advice on this one is to never scrimp on the AV, never assume the ‘in house’ facilities will do and always use a team you can trust.
Have a backup plan
Why is this important? because sometimes things happen which are out of your control so it’s essential to have in mind how you might overcome these things if they do occur. I had a few back-up options for reframe WIT including if speakers didn’t turn up! And anyone who attended will know that situation did actually become reality for the afternoon session and so, the back-up plan played its part! I’d intentionally chosen those rooms on the basis there was additional space and delegates simply joined the other two sessions - to be fair it did get a bit cosy in there! but it’s a good example of a moment which could have been stressful had a little thought not already been given to the ' what if' moments.
Want to learn more about how we work with our clients to deliver successful events and other marketing objectives? Get in touch
Roll back around 10 years, Barack Obama has just become President (ah golden times), Avatar hit cinemas, we all wanted to be part of the Glee Club and blogging is BIG news.
Savvy marketers have followed the trends of fashion, cooking and lifestyle blogs before them and realised that blogging is a hugely effective tool to share your voice and drive traffic to your website via search.
Return to 2019, we’re all consuming more online content than ever and there are so many options, videos, podcasts, social media you could be forgiven for thinking that the humble blog or the act of putting pen to paper (or rather fingers to keyboard) has become a bit old hat or out of style..
But has it?
Well, you’re reading this so the short answer is no, it’s true that there are now lots of other sources out there where people can find information - but that’s the thing because there’s more choice than ever, more information than ever - we have more questions than ever!
People want answers to their questions online and never is this truer than when it comes to consumers and we’re not just talking B2C here either, in 2018 71% of B2B consumers said they used blog content to inform during their decision to purchases and more than 60% of marketers who use blogging generate more leads than those who don’t.
Great news then, keep on blogging!?
Absolutely! But it’s important to recognise that blogging has changed a bit since 2009, no longer can you simply write a blog, chuck in a few keywords and then be done, there’s been ten years of people just doing that - and that’s a lot of blogs!
To stand out you need to be certain of who your audience is and really consider the questions they want answering and the information they want to consume, it’s useful to have a strategy around your blog and content which includes other methods of increasing your reach like email marketing and social media but it’s important to remember whilst the way search engines and people find and consume your content will be something which continues to change your goal to provide high-quality useful content to your target audience should not.
Looking for support with blogging for your business? Let’s talk firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming up on the blog
So we know blogging is here to stay - but what on earth to write about? In my next blog, I share practical tips on planning content - don’t miss out sign up here.
Video is everywhere!, so much so we can sometimes forget how much of it we actually consume via social media and other platforms but the statistics don’t lie, mobile video consumption increases by 100% every year, 55% of us view online videos every day and 72% of us would rather learn about a product or service via video, so it’s unsurprising that over 81% of businesses use video as a marketing tool.
But what about small businesses and video marketing? My experience has been that the appetite is there but it’s often overwhelmed by uncertainty on how to get started, which tools to use and whether the finished product is going to look any good, as a result it can often be something that simply doesn’t happen as part of marketing but successful video marketing is easily achievable, here I share a few tips on getting started and the steps to take to make your video marketing a success.
Understand what you can use video for
Before you get started with using video as part of your marketing strategy it’s important to consider what you’ll use video for, video marketing can take a number of forms from explainer videos, tutorials, client case studies, product demonstrations, interviews, opinion pieces to camera and more so it’s worth thinking about what form your videos will take. Depending on how confident you feel you may also want to plan out your videos before you film anything so you have an idea of what you’ll say.
Tone and Timing
There are no rules as such when it comes to video length but if you’re looking to keep viewers engaged then it’s recommended that around a minute is an ideal length for an explainer video particularly if it’s just an individual talking straight to camera, if there’s more content in your video then up to two minutes will hold the viewers’ attention but it’s likely to drop off after that although interest does pick back up between 6 and 12 minutes. It’s worth thinking about your tone too with 83% of those consuming video content preferring a chatty approach to video voiceovers and presenters.
Get some kit
You’ll see lots of videos shot on a smartphone from people sitting in the car doing a quick explainer to sharing opinions on the latest news whilst walking the dog so the good news is, if you have a smartphone or tablet then you’ve got the main part of your kit, BUT if you do want a bit more professional slick for your videos it’s easy to achieve, two pieces of kit which are really affordable and make a massive difference are a microphone, particularly a lapel one which will reduce background noise and increase audio quality on your videos and a tripod or stand for your phone or tablet which will allow you to film without any wobbles and to set up your shot before getting started.
Edit it, just a little bit
Don’t worry! It’s not as terrifying as you think, there are lots of video editing programmes out there and the majority of them are pretty intuitive if you’re a mac user then iMovie is free to use for video editing, HotFilm, VideoPad or Movavi are also simple for beginners and include tutorials. But why edit at all? I’m recommending you try it because it takes your video marketing to the next level, you can cut out the bits you don’t like, insert graphics, add a music track, adjust colour and sound and add brand elements like your logo or URL into your video and really make your video how you want it - but start slow and don’t expect your first edit will be amazing - it probably won’t! But that’s ok.
Know when to use a professional
On that note, there is always a time when it pays to use a professional and I’m a firm believer that some videos do require an expert touch, those gorgeous corporate videos you’ve seen? They definitely weren’t filmed on an iPhone, producing amazing video is a skill like any other and whilst it’s simple to learn the basics and boost your marketing efforts through video marketing it’s also a wise decision to have a good video production company to call upon when you need to take your video to the next level.
Want to include video in your marketing strategy and need some support? Get in touch for an informal chat email@example.com
Schools out for summer, the weather is warm (ish) and every other email seems to get an ‘out of office’ response, it can start to feel like everyone is slowing down but the same shouldn’t be said for your marketing efforts. I’ve experienced businesses where things seem slower during the summer but it’s largely driven by people and their lack of momentum not by clients, more people are on holiday during summer certainly but have you ever worked with a business or had a client that just kicked back for the whole of July and August?
No, didn’t think so! Business happens in summer, contracts are signed, projects are delivered and when it comes to marketing cooling off because the temperature is rising is a mistake.
Here I share just three benefits of keeping your marketing efforts consistent this summer
Increased Customer Buy-In
Whilst I don’t adhere to businesses completely switching off during summer, things are quieter, as such the customers and clients you do work with may actually be more ‘bought in’ than the ones you work with at other times of the year, they’re still focused on their goals and are engaging with your product/service as a result despite the lure of summer and they're likely to be clearer about their objectives which makes for a great working relationship.
Whilst it may be more difficult to follow up leads and move prospects through your pipeline in the summer months, it’s still important that you continue to follow the same processes for your prospects and existing clients and customers and for your marketing activity as a whole, this includes keeping campaigns running, producing fresh content, keeping up on communications and ensuring it's 'business as usual' with consistent marketing efforts.
I’ve been asked if it really matters if we don’t do any social media for a few weeks? Don’t send our email newsletter - will anybody really notice? YES, and yes again, your engaged audience will almost certainly notice, but not for long, we live in an age of lightning-fast communications which means scaling back or cutting out brand communications is a sure-fire way to get forgotten fast. In fact during the summer months - the opposite is true, there’s actually less noise in email inboxes and across social media making it the perfect time to increase brand visibility
Want to make the most of your marketing this summer and beyond? Let’s talk firstname.lastname@example.org
“ For every minute spent organising, an hour is earned’ Benjamin Franklin
It’s possibly a bit cliche to start a blog with a quote but this is a good one and one which I wholeheartedly believe is true. For every business, I’ve worked in or with there has always been someone who has commented on how organised I am and how much I get done. In the early part of my career, I didn’t think much about this but as I’ve progressed I’ve realised the former has almost certainly been the catalyst for the latter and has laid the foundations for the thing I now make a living doing, successfully planning and executing marketing activity for businesses.
But how do I do it?
I set out priorities and how I’ll achieve them
At the start of every project, week and day, I set out priorities and tasks to be completed but I also take into account how I’ll achieve them. If I’m setting up a campaign for a client that could be considered one large priority or task but I also set out all of the elements underneath that task so that I can clearly see what needs to be achieved, there’s little point just putting ‘report writing’ on your to-do list if the reality is there are twenty-five different elements needed to make that one task happen. It’s also likely that there’s more than one priority on your list and that’s particularly true for me when working with different clients, so breaking down priorities into smaller tasks means I always know what I should be achieved on any given day and importantly my client always has clarity on where their project is up to.
I finish one thing before I start another
This may seem quite obvious but with emails pinging, slack notifications, reminders and more it’s very easy to become distracted however one thing I’ve taught myself is that task completion is incredibly important when it comes to being productive. From working in marketing departments where my attention was always divided to working with clients who are able to contact me irrespective of whether I’m working on their project that day or not, I’ve learned that completing a task before moving onto another one provides a clearer mind and it usually means that the next task runs more efficiently and smoothly too.
I tidy up
Tidy desk, tidy mind. I fully subscribe to this and really don’t believe you can work efficiently if you don’t know where anything is or you are distracted by clutter. As such, I regularly ‘tidy up’ both in the physical and electronic sense. I don’t keep reams of paper or documents I don’t need and I keep my laptop tidy. I file documents electronically every week and I do my accounts weekly, I file receipts when I get them and I delete things I don’t need from my computer and inbox.
I review things
When you are busy it can be easy to just get on with the ‘doing’ and not take a minute to review and reflect on whether things can be improved but! It’s really important particularly if you’re looking to improve how organised you feel and how productive you are. I regularly review the work I do for my clients, in the form of reports or updates, often they don’t ask for this information but it allows me to get a clear view of how I’m working and how I can improve and refine for next time, which in turn makes me more productive when I deliver similar work or projects.
I know things can change
I am incredibly flexible to the changing needs and demands of my clients - and why, because I am a prolific planner! Whilst planning everything can seem rigid, what it gives is, in fact, the exact opposite, because I know my priorities and what I need to achieve at any given time, it’s very easy to quickly assess how things can be amended to accommodate an urgent client request or those times when something just takes priority, as a result, I’m able to absorb changes to my schedule whilst remaining productive.
We work with our clients to create and deliver strategic marketing plans which provide clarity and direction for marketing ideas to become reality. Get in touch email@example.com
Events can be fantastic for business, raising brand awareness, generating leads and showcasing expertise but they can also be time-consuming, costly and hard to measure in terms of ROI, for small businesses so if you’re considering including events as part of marketing strategy where do you begin?
Here I share five tips on getting started with events and how to make them work for your small business.
Know your goal
What do you want to achieve by engaging with or hosting events?, what benefit do you think this type of marketing activity will bring to your business and what results are you looking for, are you looking to raise brand awareness by getting out to as many events as possible or are you using events for lead generation meaning you’ll need a more targeted approach? Do you anticipate that events will bring revenue into your business and if so how do you plan to achieve that?
Try it out
The great thing about business events is there are literally hundreds of them happening every month, that’s also the downside how do you know which ones are any good? Ask colleagues and business contacts which events they attend and which organisations they’re a part of. There are also lots of networking and business development organisations out there delivering events to help businesses like yours grow and engaging with just one of them can mean you then have access to lots of different types of events allowing you to see what sort of events work for you and why.
Becoming a speaker at events may make some of you want to run a mile but! it doesn’t have to be terrifying and it can be an incredibly useful way of getting your business in front of an audience and demonstrating your expertise and it can be done in a multitude of ways. It doesn’t have to be just you on a stage, consider workshops, round tables or panels all of which are much more low key and provide the confidence buffer of other people being part of the speaking experience with you.
Consider running your own events
If you want to be really targeted then you may consider running your own events, the upside here is you are completely in control of the content and the audience. If you do decide to run your own events, do your research before starting out, don’t just assume what your audience wants to hear about. Take some time to really plan your event, in particular, consider how much it will cost your business, it’s not just the coffee and croissants at a breakfast event that you need to put in the budget but consider how many of your team it will take to execute that event and whether it will attract additional costs like printing or room hire.
Keep the momentum
Whether you’ve been an attendee, on the speaking panel or you were the event host, the work isn’t over once the event is finished. If you’ve collected business cards or details from people you’ve met then follow up after the event with a quick email whilst you’re still fresh in their mind, if the event was yours then straight after the event is the perfect time to connect with the audience and if you haven’t done so already introduce your product or service or even just invite them to your next event!
We run effortlessly executed events for our clients from small intimate gatherings to conferences, from planning through to delivery. If you’re considering how to integrate events into your small business marketing then let’s talk firstname.lastname@example.org
PR can be a great way to spread the word about your business, to put yourself out there and to generate new business but for many businesses I’ve worked with it’s also seemed like a bit of an unknown force, something that only big businesses did and something that couldn’t be achieved with the time and resources available.
As a result, it’s a marketing channel which is often overlooked for small businesses but that’s a mistake!
Here I share some practical tips for utilising PR in your small business marketing efforts
Know the difference between Earned and Paid
There are lots of definitions but for the purpose of this blog I like to keep things really simple, if you submit a press release to a media outlet and they publish it, that’s earned PR, you created the content and distributed it and it got picked up - for free, Paid PR, is where you’ll pay for the pleasure, lots of media outlets offer the opportunity to place adverts and editorial for a fee, it’s generally something I’ve seen SME businesses shy away from but my view is it’s worth considering particularly as part of a targeted campaign.
Do your research
You know your business so you’ll know what your press releases are going to be about, what you don’t know is who is likely to feature them and why. Read about the same topics you’ll be covering, take note of the publications and journalists which cover them, follow the journalists on social media and engage with them on these channels. You can also go for the direct approach and email them! They will not bite!, and it opens the channels of communication, you can even ask outright if they’d be interested in hearing from you about the topics in question.
Get the press release right
There are plenty of online resources available on writing a press release, writing styles vary but some important things to remember, journalists are time poor so help them out! Firstly a press release isn’t the same as a blog post or announcement on your website, give them all the information, who are you, what does your company do, why do they want to be reading this - get this covered in the first paragraph. Don’t cram too much in, even if there’s loads of stuff going on right now in your business, keep it focused and don’t forget the useful stuff, include a photograph, some quotes and your contact details.
Take advantage of online tools
When it comes to getting your PR out there I’m a firm believer in the direct approach you to the journalists that you’ve already identified as targets but if you’re looking for a more widespread approach then news distribution services like PR Web or Real Wire can be a valuable tool at an affordable cost. Tools like HARO (Help A Reporter) allow you to register as a source meaning journalists can contact you when they’re looking for an expert in your field, the #JournoRequest hashtag on Twitter is also a great resource for those looking to increase PR reach by connecting you directly with journalists actively looking for input.
Don’t take it personally
Not all coverage will land. Not everyone will pick up your press release. This is ok. It’s easy as a small business (I know, I’m one too!) to take it personally, why is there no interest in what we’re doing? Why does no one want to cover it? But the reality is there can be lots of reasons and unless you work in that newsroom you’re never going to know what they were. The key here is to ensure the strategy on your side is sound, make sure you’re targeting the right people with the topics you know they cover, keep working on developing those media relationships you know will be useful and the coverage will come.
And one final tip, do not repeatedly follow up. Journalists hate this. Seriously don’t. Following up once is fine, after that stop.
We create purposeful PR which informs audiences and delivers tangible value to our clients.
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