How to write a PR brief
When considering the appointment of a PR agency at some point the issue of preparing a
brief will raise its head. And to get straight to the most obvious point, there is no single right
way to brief PR agencies. Put simply, every business is different, targeting different
audiences and sectors with wildly differing objectives and communications challenges that
need to be overcome. Furthermore, every agency, as well as the teams within those
agencies, is different so expectations of how to be briefed will also differ. So it would be
entirely disingenuous to suggest that this whitepaper could define the perfect brief.
How to make the most of Social Media Newsrooms
This whitepaper explores how PR professionals need to understand social media newsrooms as content hubs to engage with customers, prospects and stakeholders. Written by best-selling author and PR trainer Stuart Bruce
What PR professionals need to know about SEO
The worlds of search engine optimisation and public relations have been converging , and the pace of change seems to be accelerating. What can PR professionals do to capitalise on these changes? This whitepaper explores how PR and SEO interact and explain some of the ways those from a public relations background can pick up tactics and techniques from search marketers.
Content marketing - the challenges for PR professionals
The increasing pressures on conventional marketing techniques are well documented. It will come as no surprise to many in marketing or PR that 99 per cent of marketing messages exposed to the average London commuter during their 45-minute journey to work have no impact, according to a recent study.
At the same time traditional media’s stranglehold on audiences is waning, thanks in part to the growth of digital and social media, which provides marketers with a plethora of new and sometimes confusing techniques and channels to reach consumers.
As companies accept that traditional methods of influence are failing to hit the mark and technology increasingly allows organisations to side-step traditional media, content marketing is becoming a major communications priority.
The smart PR's guide to blogger outreach
PR agencies and brands overlook blogs at their peril. The most successful blogs in the UK have readership figures that eclipse many newsstand magazines, and have extremely loyal and engaged readers who trust the information they read on blogs.
This whitepaper will provide advice for PR professionals on how to identify blogs in specific niches and locations, and how to evaluate blogs to identify the most influential bloggers in any given community.
Social media in the public sector
The public sector is facing unprecedented challenges – not least huge financial pressures. At the heart of these challenges lies communication. Research carried out by Ipsos-Mori shows that the more the public feel informed about their services, the more satisfied they are with an organisation.
Communication becomes more complicated with the changing media landscape. Newspaper circulation is in decline both nationally and regionally while online audience share continues to grow apace.
In the face of real change in the public sector, communication has undergone its own quiet revolution. Where local public services need to find more efficient and effective ways to engage with people, social media is proving to be an invaluable new tool.
How social media is changing the role of journalists
Over the past five years journalists have had to adjust to a new digital media ecosystem. Many more people can participate in the content-creation and agenda-setting functions that journalists previously exclusively owned — including their sources and audiences. In the 2004 book We The Media, Dan Gillmor described this as journalism transforming “from a lecture to a conversation”.
An introduction to social media monitoring
There is an unparalleled level of conversation happening in social media and with it potential opportunities for organisations to engage with consumers and generate brand loyalty. Subsequently a plethora of online monitoring tools is available on the web, from the free services which are often basic, yet functional, right up to the comprehensive, in-depth and expensive paid-for services. This whitepaper is designed to offer a brief explanation and appraisal of some of the online monitoring tools available.
An introduction to blogging for PR professionals
The world of blogs offers PR professionals a fantastic medium for reaching and engaging with their target audiences. But how do you set up and generate content for client blogs with measurable results, what advice can you pass on to clients about how to blog themselves and what are the best strategies for communicating with and influencing bloggers?
PR for small businesses
This whitepaper provides practical advice and resources for owners of small businesses and startups who want to promote their product or service to potential and existing customers using press relations. PR is certainly not just about sending out an occasional press release – it is about using a whole bag of tools to establish and maintain relationships with the press and feeding them a regular diet of material that’s useful and timely.
Online PR in action
Search for the term "online PR" in Google and you'll get 1,300,000 results. Similarly with "digital PR", you'll get 162,000 (correct as of 6 February 2009).
It therefore isn't surprising that many people are rather daunted and overwhelmed when attempting to put together an online or digital PR programme. There is no shortage of information and material about the subject - quite the reverse. But most of it tends to talk about theory rather than practice. Or focuses on one particular aspect such as search engine optimisation or press release distribution.
This whitepaper is an attempt to provide a step-by-step and practical guide to creating an online PR programme.
Working with freelance journalists - a guide for PRs
You wouldn't hesitate to invite a staff journalist on a key, target media outlet to your client's press event, or to tip them off about a story you know is right up their street. But do you honestly reserve the same treatment for freelance journalists? The fact is too many PR professionals continue to underestimate and undervalue the clout of freelancers even though they break some of the biggest stories around, often have a reach far broader than your average staffer and put some of the best ideas into the heads of commissioning editors.
Press release writing and distribution
Smaller organisations often have high expectations when it comes to marketing. They need value for money when spending on any kind of promotional activity. They also appreciate that more and more business is coming from the web - they know the one way smaller companies can compete with the big boys is to be 'visible' online.
Writing and issuing press releases scores on both counts. The cost of researching, writing and distributing press releases is low compared to other forms of marketing such as advertising and direct mail. When it works well you can get noticeable returns. And if you issue press releases regularly and make sure they are available online, they can help drive traffic to your website.
Public relations versus search marketing
The year is 2017. The Chartered Institute of Search Marketers (CISM) has just celebrated its 20,000th member, more than double the peak membership of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) ten years earlier. There are only three national newspapers still publishing a daily print edition. The tabloids are now weekly glossy magazines that generate less advertising than their online versions. Research reveals companies are spending in excess of 50 per cent of their marketing budgets on online activity and PR spending is at an all-time low. Leeds Metropolitan and Bournemouth universities are considering closing their public relations courses because of a shortage of applicants.
This is, of course, a work of total conjecture. And no doubt it is a work of fantasy too – as the public relations industry will ultimately adapt to a world where traditional media becomes subordinate to online media. But the speed at which this adaptation happens will dictate whether or not PR becomes...
Getting results with press releases
The press release remains one of the staple tools of the PR professional. To most, it is still viewed as one of the primary ways to communicate news about a company or client to the media. The accepted wisdom says that reporters, editors, and broadcasters are hungry for news, and depend on press releases to tip them off to new and unusual products, company trends and other developments.
The sad fact is that the vast majority of press releases issued completely fail in their objective. In this Daryl Willcox Publishing Public Relations Whitepaper, we look at the ingredients that go into creating a press release that stands a real chance of delivering on its objective - of gaining positive coverage and providing relevant information to appropriate journalists.
It is probably worth discussing why you should go to the trouble and effort to produce and distribute a press release in the first place...
Responding to email enquiries from journalists
Every journalist new to using the information request service Response Source has experienced that tingle of delight after their first enquiry when their inbox fills up with those subject lines: "RE: Response Source".
How quickly that delight can turn sour if half the messages come with huge, unsolicited attachments that clog up their system and others start "I know you're writing about MP3 players, so I wondered if you'd be interested in writing about...instead".
Response Source is a useful tool for journalists and PRs, but like any other tool – including standard email – it needs to be handled skilfully.
Five Golden Rules
The Golden Rules may seem obvious, but most PRs would be amazed how many times they are broken:
- Read the enquiry carefully
- Follow the instructions about preferred contact and deadline
- Keep it short and to the point
- Provide full contact details
- Don't send attachments unless clearly requested to do so
All these are important, but the single point that causes more ill-feeling than anything else is...
Doing tech PR in the UK
Irish writer George Bernard Shaw once said England and America were two countries divided by a common language. How true. I have lived in the US for several years and stumbled over something as simple as ordering tuna for lunch. I was served chicken.
The language issue is just one of many cultural subtleties, and these of course extend to journalism and media relations. Despite common interests in technology and publishing, a host of subtle differences mean you must treat a British journalist differently to an American journalist to win coverage.
Let's take an imaginary scenario: US customer relationship management (CRM) company SoftwareHub Inc wants to launch their ebusiness suite in the UK. That should be easy: dust off those existing press releases, email the editors on some leading UK trade titles and they will follow up with requests for interviews...
How to charm commissioning editors
Why do feature writers appear to hate PRs? Because they've all had too many conversations like this:
PR (cheery tone): Hallo, Ebeneezer! Just calling to see if you wanted any more information on that piece you're doing for Miser Weekly on the humbug market!
Grumpy journo: What piece?
PR (less cheery): Well, it says here you're writing it and the deadline is the 1st...
Grumpy (but now also triumphant) journo: For one, that's actually Jacob Marley's feature, and second, it was printed in last week's issue – does that mean you don't actually read MW?
SOUND EFFECT: Slam of phone and four-letter imprecation
Etcetera, et inglorious cetera. End result: crushed and discouraged PR executive, and writer with worst preconceptions about the flack industry seemingly confirmed.
Does it have to be like this? Not at all. There is every reason why such exchanges can flow like honey...
Getting mentioned in feature articles
Not long before the publication folded, an article appeared on the back page of the UK edition of Information Week purporting to contain advice for hi-tech PRs seeking to gain coverage in editorial features. The back page of Information Week was reserved for invective, a place where senior editorial staff could let off steam after a hard week attempting to present news and views from the IT world in a more appealing way than the magazine's rivals Computing and Computer Weekly. Situated where it was, this article was never going to be pleasant. In fact it laid into PRs mercilessly, accusing them of being ignorant of the workings of journalism and the needs of journalists. Who could tell, grumbled the writer, how many interesting stories went unreported because of the persistent, not to say wilful, inability of public relations professionals to comprehend or respond adequately to the features list so kindly provided by the magazine...