With over 30 years’ experience of working in PR and marketing, we have found that there are still many companies who are confused by the plethora of services offered under the banner of PR.  This is hardly surprising given that whilst the Chartered Institute of PR (the professional body for the ‘industry’) defines public relations as follows;

Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say, and what others say about you.

Public Relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned an sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics

Interpretation of this definition, and how to plan and execute a PR campaign for your own business, can be daunting!  Hopefully the following hints and tips will help.

  • Decide what it is you want to achieve e.g. brand building, driving more traffic to your website, exposure in particular media, increasing enquiries, raising your own profile, engaging with your target market/s
  • List priorities for achieving these goals
  • Is social media important to your business e.g. Twitter, facebook, Linkedin?
  • What current marketing activities do you already engage in? e.g. promotions, exhibiting at trade/consumer shows
  • Do you have the skills/expertise in-house to plan and implement a campaign?
  • Decide whether you are looking for help with a particular project and/or want a sustained campaign
  • List your expectations of the PR agency you employ, goals/timeframe
  • Set a budget
  • Write a brief
  • Look for a PR agency that has experience in your industry/markets/areas of expertise, and establish who would be handling your account if appointed
  • A good relationship with the agency you employ is vital, work with people that you both respect and like. Good communication between agency and client is vital in achieving your objectives
  • Ensure you have regular contact with the agency and that monthly activity reports are issued by them. Meet face to face on a regular basis. Email is great, however what happened to picking up the phone?  So many misunderstandings from hastily sent emails, from both agency and client – after all we are talking ‘communication’ here!

Advice on Media Training

They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity… Well, frankly, ‘they’ are wrong. There’s a skill to getting your PR right. Getting outstanding coverage of your product in the press is never as simple as sending out a release… you need to target the right audience and the right journalist, at the right time and with the right information. I know it sounds simple but you’d be amazed at how many companies get it wrong. As the editor of a monthly kitchens magazine it’s amazing how many emails I received about bathrooms, baby clothes and gardens. Not only is that a waste of resources, it’s likely to annoy a busy journalist who has better things to do than delete emails that are of no interest to them! Although I’m not that difficult to please, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that a press release is sent to the right person, includes key information, is presented well and is easy to access.

But if you’re not currently in the market for a full PR service, how can you still ensure you are in the best position possible to get your message out there in a concise, informative and effective way?

If you are planning to deal with your own media relations, for whatever reason, then a canny first move is to take some advice from the professionals. In my opinion, it’s a false economy to think you can’t even afford to speak to a PR to get the benefit of their insight… you simply can’t afford not to. I’ll let you into a secret, as an editor there was nothing that dismayed me more than the sentence ‘We have an in-house PR’. Of course, there are companies that get it right but in my experience it’s rare and invariably because they’ve taken professional advice before they start.

So it stands to reason that if you want advice on developing a PR strategy, you should ask a PR. After all, they’re the people who have insider knowledge on who to target in the press and how and give you tips on the main dos and don’ts of press releases and how to get your message and imagery right. Big Bark’s PR training programme will help you to understand how the media operates so you’re as well-placed as possible to develop an effective media strategy for your company.  To find out more give us a call on Tel: 01306 731331

What to avoid

My top 3 PR nightmares

1 What’s it all about? There’s nothing more likely to annoy than a poorly written, incomplete press release. Remember you’re dealing with journalists, so badly written copy, vague information and spelling errors will instantly create a bad impression of both your product and your business.

2 Do they mean me? Releases sent regarding products that a writer or editor doesn’t cover are not just a waste of resources from your point of view. Spending time deleting press releases and having to remove themselves from contact lists is a waste of journalists’ time, too.

3 Are you there? Your key job as an in-house PR is to get your product coverage in the press, so if you are not responding to copy calls with appropriate information then you are almost worse than no PR at all. These days, journalists just don’t have time to chase up images and copy for features and if I’ll bet a pound to a penny that if you continue not to respond you’ll soon discover you’re off their copy-call list for good.

Screen-Shot-2013-03-13-at-15.23.43A crisis can hit any business, at any time, no matter what its size or type.  Having a Crisis PR plan in place to help manage a situation will not only help protect a company’s reputation, but ensure its survival.  A crisis can take many forms but how well it is handled will help determine the final outcome.

Here are a few hints and tips from the team at www.bigbarkpr.co.uk about handling a crisis;

  • Make a list of all the things that could potentially cause a crisis for your business e.g. a customer complaining on social media channels, a product recall, an employee behaving inappropriately, a production problem, large scale redundancies.  Then devise and agree a strategy as to how you might deal with each.
  • Create a crisis management team, no matter how large or small your company, two heads are better than one.
  • Appoint a media spokesperson ensuring that they are fully briefed on the situation and have a planned statement/press release.
  • Never be drawn into an argument, and especially not online.  Responses to questions and/or criticisms should always be well considered, in some circumstances it may be better to say nothing.
  • Monitor what is being said about you online, via forums and social media channels. If appropriate, address/reply to the issues raised.
  • Ensure that you keep staff informed of what is going on – inaccurate gossip and rumours can do further harm.

If you would like help to create a Crisis PR plan contact Alex at Big Bark PR   Tel: 01306 731331   E: info@bigbarkpr.co.uk

dos-and-donts_thumbs

When dealing with the media, success is determined by not only what you say, but how you say it.  Whilst what you do or don’t say will be relevant to an individual scenario, there are certain dos and don’ts that can be applied to every situation.  Here at interiors and lifestyle PR agency Big Bark PR we recommend the following:

Dos

1.       Respond quickly to requests as journalists usually work to tight deadlines and time is of the essence.   Journalists will be more inclined to come to you first if you always respond quickly and give them the information they require.

2.       Ensure the facts that you supply are correct.

3.       Be prepared, when organising an interview ask for a list of questions and subjects for discussion in advance, and ensure you know the ‘corporate stance’ on all topics.

4.       Remember to include key messages about your products/services wherever possible.

Don’ts

1.       Don’t fail to respond to requests, letting journalists down builds a negative perception of your brand with the media.

2.       Don’t make promises that you can’t deliver.

3.       Don’t guess at facts and figures as this can lead to inaccurate reporting.

4.       Don’t comment on issues involving rival companies.

5.       Don’t speak off the record, assume that everything you say will be broadcast and put online.

If you’d like to learn more about media relations, we offer an in-house training service, so give us a call to discuss on 01306 731331

www.bigbarkpr.co.uk

How To Create A Media Kit

September 16th, 2014

Media-Kit

A Media Kit (also often referred to as a ‘press pack’) is a collection of written information designed to introduce a company and its products/services to the media.  It can be presented in a hardcopy or digital format (on a USB) and should typically comprise;

  • A short summary about the business, when it started, what it does, and where it is based.  Don’t forget to include, a postal address, telephone numbers, email addresses and website details.
  • The name of your press officer/PR agency including their contact details.
  • A biography of the business owner, managing director, or key personnel.  This can include relevant information such as a summary of their career to date, the reasons they started/joined the company.
  • A press release – this is pertinent if launching new products or services.
  • A copy of your brochure/literature if you have one (if producing digital press packs you can include a PDF version of any literature you may have)
  • Photography – This needs to be in a JPEG format at a minimum of 300 dpi (dots per inch) the file size should be no less than 1Mb.  For product photography www.bigbarkpr.co.uk recommends both cutout (on a plain white background) and lifestyle/insitu shots.  For personnel, a mixture of head and shoulder and longer shots should suffice.  Other photography to consider may include external images of your business premises, internal images if you own a shop or restaurant, or the workforce on a production line.

If you need help creating a media kit then give us a call on 01306 731331