Archive for the ‘Media Relations’ Category

24-7 Press Release celebrates 10 years with online PR deals

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My favourite news distribution network 24-7 Press Release has announced online PR deals in line with their 10th year in business – along with a new website packed with features including deeper integration of online PR and social media.

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The press release distribution firm has re-launched their website, now packed with new features designed to enhance distribution and make the submitting and distribution process more intuitive and efficient for users.

 
There are now additional news partners to bolster distribution, including Associated Press, more than 150 television stations most who post news directly to their websites, Acquire Media, and many other industry-specific websites.

 
For users, the new website has a Media Desk – a feature-loaded hub for journalists, bloggers and readers to use in tracking, searching and following stories of interest, through various search capabilities.

 
Statistics will be enhanced as companies can now see not just how many hits their release received, but also the source of those hits – whether it be journalists, bloggers, consumers, or freelance writers.

 
There are also significant increases in social media sharing tools, with an enhanced news widget for easy inclusion in users’ websites (including the ability to tailor the design and feel of the widget to integrate smoothly with a user’s website theme).

 
Marketing and PR agencies can take advantage of a new Agency PReferred programme, which offers discounts and priority customer service rates to those customers submitting high volumes of releases for their clients.

 

Additionally, tools such as the address book and image bank allow agencies to easily submit releases for different clients without having to re-enter or re-upload information each time.

 
“We have spent the last two years listening to what our customers want, which is better distribution to media and journalists, more social media interaction and better visibility,” said Michael Iwasaki, Managing Partner with 24-7 Press Release Newswire.

 
24-7 Press Release has also introduced online PR deals to celebrate, with these two coupons that expire June 30, 2014:

 

blgnew139 – Save $30 OFF their $139 Integrated Social Media Pro package

blgnew89 – Save $20 OFF their $89 PR Network Plus package

 

To check out the new website and access these online PR offers, simply visit here.

 



Exclusive mass media visibility offer now available

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It’s funny the way social media marketing can work – and I was reminded of this yet again this week.

Having posted another monthly article on leading social media industry website www.socialmediatoday.com, I was contacted by Michael Iwasaki from Vancouver-based press distribution company www.24-7pressrelease.com who’d read the article with interest.

These guys are one of the best in the business of mass media visibility, having been operating for more than a decade, and serving a diverse range of clients, including Gatwick Airport and NASA.

They specialise in helping clients to reach 1,000’s of journalists.

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What came from the conversation – apart from Bristol Editor being appointed as a blogging consultant for www.24-7pressrelease.com – was a special offer available exclusively through my blog for the company’s global press distribution services.

To access this, simply quote ‘cstreet139‘ when prompted to enter a coupon code for the company’s popular $139 Integrated Media Pro service for only $89. This costs, in conversion, less than £50 to give your press release global media reach.

The offer is available until 31st March, 2014 – so grab it with my blessings, and good luck with your online PR efforts in 2014.

There’s no commission deal for me on this one, by the way, just a straightforward and exclusive discount for you via my blog.

If you need assistance with press release writing, simply get in touch here.



Guest Blog: A PR’s take on social media engagement

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This blog is a guest post from Suzanne Boudier, founder of boutique media relations and events firm Firefly PR.

Having exchanged a few top driving tunes with Suzanne via Twitter, it was clear that on the basis of music choices and her Twitter feed that this non-traditional PR has a few top insights to share on the relationship between PR and effective social media marketing.

So, if you’re in PR, or are considering using social media engagement as a part of your latest PR campaign, Suzanne’s seasoned thoughts are worth considering. It’s good to see intelligent, non-broadcasting use of social media from a PR.

SuzanneBoudier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Coming from a traditional PR background, those days of stuffing press releases into envelopes and posting them to journalists, the past decade has been nothing less than a revolution in terms of business communication – and it’s all down to digital marketing and social media.

As an avid reader of the latest PR industry trends, when news broke of Twitter being the next big thing seven years ago, it was an instant call to action to sign up and start fathoming what this new communication platform had to offer.

Several years on, Twitter now has 288 million active monthly users worldwide. At the time, many businesses I spoke to were reluctant to adopt social media into their comms strategy, let alone devote resource to opening up a genuine two-way dialogue via social media.

I’m sorry to say but there are still a significant number of companies who insist on refraining from this great new social world online. As a PR, and understanding the communication benefits it can bring to a business, it quite simply makes me want to go and rock in a corner.

If your traditional, tried-and-tested offline marketing is working well, that’s great news and it makes sense to keep investing in those activities. But with the vast majority of people turning to the web for information, solutions, products and services, I would have to leave my PR engine room and seek alternative employment if I didn’t encourage you to reach out to potential buyers and audiences by implementing a social media marketing strategy.

Even traditional media such as newspaper groups, are having to step up to the demands of the digital age. Newspapers are facing a sharp decline in sales and print advertising, forcing them to restructure print editorial staff and invest in digital specialists to ensure their long-term position.

Increasingly, trade press titles are culling the printed magazine in favour of digital magazines and apps. There will, I hope, always be a place for traditional media, but social media and digital marketing have completely transformed the PR landscape.

No longer are we, as PRs, entirely at the mercy of editors and journalists: there are now a plethora of communication platforms that help businesses engage directly with their audiences and if you’re not engaging in social media marketing, you’re missing opportunities.

To get started:

  • Take some time to work out your objectives, look at the social media platforms available to you and get to know the social media landscape of building community and developing conversations.
  • Social media is interactive, it’s social, so don’t be afraid to put some personality into your efforts to engage and build relationships.
  • An integrated blog on your website is a great way to consolidate all your musings, news updates, interesting posts, videos and images. It is a big undertaking and I recommend having a creative, dedicated resource to generate content, participate in conversations and manage the day-to-day requirements of your social media platforms.
  • Be consistent and regularly develop fresh and interesting content that corresponds with the Four Elements of social media: Educate, Entertain, Engage and Empower.

People are hungry for news; it sparks debate, creates conversations, informs, entertains, builds reputation and generates sales.

Whilst this used to be the domain of PR firms, social media is providing a plethora of ways to get new messages out there and build long-term relationships with customers directly.

Are you taking advantage of successful social promotion?’

Firefly PR is a boutique PR agency with extensive international experience servicing B2B and B2C clients. The company delivers a hands on and attentive service to help clients build sales and reputation through digital and mainstream media.

You can find out more about Firefly PR here, and follow them on Twitter @FireflyPR. They know their stuff – thanks, Suzanne.

 



Is media relations training relevant anymore?

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The digital world we are increasingly living in could, on first inspection, leave media relations training as a redundant topic, given that so many businesses are now engaging directly with target audiences via social media.

Not so, as I discovered when delivering a media relations workshop in central London this week for a high-profile business figure in the energy sector.

In fact, given the increased exposure of companies online, it’s fair to say that media relations is more necessary than ever before for the preservation and protection of a company Brand.

 

 

 

 

 

The media relations training focused on three key areas for the client:

* Developing key messages for the Press

* Enhancing communication with the Press

* Delivering persuasive messages to the Press

This got me thinking – these areas are all highly relevant for surviving and thriving in a digital world, too. Without well-established key messages, good delivery of them, and persuasive content online, many a Brand or business will fail – and pretty quickly, too.

Just because a business is talking to customers or the media directly via social media engagement, this doesn’t mean that it’s being done well, effectively or staying on-message in line with the Branding, commercial imperatives and marketing strategy.

And, with more journalists than ever before looking for story leads on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, the need for solid media relations training actually, to my mind, increases – if the social media content is compelling, this will spark increased contact from the Press.

If you’re providing thought-provoking social media content and blogging outreach, it’ a short step for a savvy digital journalist to make the call and start a story interview.

During the media relations training, we looked at relevant interview clip examples, did review exercises of broadsheet and tabloid newspapers, examined how the media works, discussed the importance of soundbites in interviews, and much more. The training went really well, with superb feedback. I left central London satisfied.

So, in light of the growing influence of digital communication and social media engagement, it might be worth considering if you’re actually ready to professionally deal with a media call, should your blog or social media content catch Press interest.

If you’re looking for help with media relations, try ‘Media Relations 101‘ and ‘Create the Perfect Press Release in 3 hoursEbooks here for starters. Simple tips, straightforwardly put – and accessible here.

It was clear after delivering the media relations training that the need for being prepared for the Press will increase, and become more and more relevant – particularly for businesses engaging online and via social media.

Are you ready?

 



How can PRs get the most from social media? Talk to journalists!

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Time to hand over the reins of the Bristol Editor blog to Simon Clarke, author of the superb Freelance Unbound site, to discuss social media, journalism and more.

Over to you Simon!

Like all the best affairs, PR and journalism has had a bit of a tempestuous relationship.

Lazy journalists take carefully prepared media releases, hack them to bits, lose all the important material, add ridiculous headlines, and then demand high-resolution photos with 30 minutes notice.

And sometimes, don’t even publish it.

Or, from another angle, time-pressed journalists take puff-laden rubbish from overpaid PRs, try to draw a real story out of a mass of client hype, attempt to hook the reader’s interest with an interesting headline, and find themselves on deadline asking for pictures the PR should have supplied in the first place.

And then get spiked, because someone’s come up with some real news at the last minute.

Then along came the explosion of social media. Suddenly, PRs could do their job without having to sweet-talk grumpy old hacks.

Brand communications was a whole new world of freedom and excitement.

But things are never as simple as that. Social media has transformed readers’ relationship with media content, and with brands. Readers are no longer just “readers” – they are active participants in conversation, and expect to be treated as equals.

Disgruntled readers can throw a spanner in the works of a carefully cultivated brand image in a heartbeat – just ask Kwik Fit.

What’s the answer?

Journalists are tiresome for a reason. We demand more from media releases than puff – we want a compelling story, and a reason for readers to care. We want to strip away the hype and the flannel, and to publish something that matters to someone other than ‘the brand’.

In the age of social media, those qualities are more valuable than ever.

Rather than seeing platforms such as Twitter and Facebook as a good excuse never to have to deal with journalists again, PR needs to embrace journalism’s skills – to tell compelling stories, without puff and hype, via those social platforms.

PR must make sure its own content passes the trust test.

How? Make sure you still work with editors and writers from the other side of the fence.

If you’d like to Guest Blog for Bristol Editor – and also put yourself in front of 1,000’s of creatives, marketing agencies, PRs, editors, copywriters and digital bods, get in touch here today. And, yes, terms and conditions do apply.



Newspapers are dying – how does this affect your business PR?

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Useful blog post here from Jon Slattery covering recent research on the decline of newspapers, which got me thinking about the impact on business PR.

Nothing revolutionary there, you might say – after all, we’ve been reading about the death of print newspapers for the last 18 months.

It’s interesting to note, however, the reversal of fortunes for newspapers online.

This article concerning the relative boom of user readership and visits to the Mail Online news site, whilst the Mirror has seen a 25% increase in online visitors. Good news?

Possibly, but what does the death of print newspapers mean for you? How does this affect your business PR? I have a few suggestions.

Let’s do the maths, and overview the route forwards based on the law of probabilities. These are my questions:

* If print newspapers are dropping like meteors, with tumbling circulation figures, is traditional PR virtually redundant?

* If online news sites are gaining more hits, interest and visitors, is it worth putting your business PR to them instead?

* If more journalists are using social media platforms such as Twitter to source news, is it worth being present there?

I am hoping you answered ‘Yes’ to all three questions – I know I did.

There’s still a place for offline PR, of course, but if it doesn’t compliment and acknowledge the increasingly-important part being played by online PR and social media engagement, I’d suggest your business PR could well suffer the same fate as British newspapers. Tired, worn out, irrelevant and unread.

 



More journalists are using social media – why bother hiring a PR agency?

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It’s a pertinent question, given this article from www.journalism.co.uk on the rise of social media usage by editors, news reporters and feature writers.

New research has highlighted a significant increase in the number of editors, reporters and Press representatives using social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to source news, contact rent-a-quotes directly, and engage with businesses – putting more pressure on PRs and PR agencies to engage more effectively with social media on behalf of their clients.

If I were a business owner, engaged on social media platforms, writing regular blog content, posting across Twitter and Facebook, I’d be looking at the expensive PR retainer fee many PR agencies charge and asking “Why bother hiring a PR agency?”

Particularly if more media folk are approaching contacts directly for stories via social media, cutting out the Spin merchants.

I’d imagine the kind of research published by www.journalism.co.uk is a major worry for traditional, offline-media-relations-based PR agencies, who have buried their heads in the sand and ignored the rise and rise of social media.

The Press have woken up to the power and connectivity potential of social media platforms – given the amount of time Twitter, for example, can save a time-pressed journalist putting a story together on deadline, it’s hardly surprising that the British Press are utilising social media.

Now, of course, there are some savvy PR agencies out there who have redefined themselves, embraced social media as a viable service offering to their clients, and are delivering outstanding work for their clients and to the Press via social media platforms – good examples of this can be found in We Are Social, Highlight PR and 10 Yetis.

Many PR agencies, however, have become effectively redundant – and this, I’d imagine, would help explain why many traditional PRs I’ve spoken to in the last 12-18 months don’t seem to “get” social media. I’ve heard: It’s a fad. It’s a waste of time. It’s chaotic.

The reality for these old-school PR guys is this – they can’t control the ‘message’ and it scares them. And here’s why.

It might be worth asking if hiring a PR agency is worth the time, effort, and weighty retainer fee – I’d be putting my cash into hiring a savvy social media marketer, an experienced blogger, an online PR supremo.

And definitely no fee retainer with a fluffy PR bunny who advocates long schmoozy lunches with editors and faxing press releases to newsrooms. Don’t laugh, this is actually still happening out there in PR-land.

Time, perhaps, to get tweeting and blogging instead – for real business benefit?

 

 

 

 

 



A Day in the Life of a Social Media Editor

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It might sound like all fancy bells and whistles – being a social media editor in Bristol.

And to be fair, on some days, it can be really exciting: such huge variety, with delivering social media content, client tweets, writing blogs, devising social media strategies, drafting SEO-enhanced web copy, posting competitions on Facebook for clients.

But mostly, A Day in the Life of a social media editor is all about this:

Juggling.

Here’s an average day, as I sit and write on a laptop in a hotel room before two monthly client meetings tomorrow.

* Morning

The day starts with a check of client blogs, Twitter feeds and Facebook pages, to see what comments have been submitted for moderation and approval, any new followers or fans, trackbacks of blog posts and where the content is being highlighted on other sites of potential benefit to my clients.

Then, checking emails to see what updates are incoming – I subscribe to a number of RSS Feeds, blogs and news sites online relevant to my clients industries and business sectors, so keeping up-to-date with their worlds is crucially important in the role of social media editor for them and their businesses.

Next, drafting a 1,200-word industry article to feature online for a coaching client on mentoring and coaching. The piece needs to be laden with relevant SEO-embedded keywords and phrases, so writing it with flow and context can be time-consuming.

* Quick lunch

At the desk in my home office – a habit I got into after more than a decade working in newspaper and magazine newsrooms, where lunch was always unfortunately (due to looming ever-present deadlines), eaten in front of the monitor – and then back to the next job.

* Afternoon

Writing a couple of blog posts for different clients – a corporate aerial imaging client and a hair salon (see, I told you it’s a hugely-varied day!) which are then emailed off to the prospective clients for reviewing and amending. So much copy, so little time.

Then, responding to two new pieces of potential client work – both in London, funnily enough. One is for a documentary production company needing a social media strategy, the other to Brief a new plastic surgeon on Wimpole Street, who is a referred client from a marketing agency in Bristol who has put together his new brand and website offering.

A call from a PR agency director in Bath who has a client for me to speak to about blogging and social media consultancy – I blogged for one of his clients last year, and have helped him put together social media elements of pitches. He returns the favour by providing me with a zero-cost-of-sale piece of potential new social media work, with blogging thrown in. Result!

Next, dealing with web development queries from the technical team of a new social networking client in Bristol, and helping them plan out some media relations activities to newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and the usual TV suspects regionally.

Finally, with the clock striking 6, time to fire off a couple of email responses for social media consultancy requests via the Contact Form on the site – one’s from an old schoolmate with an awesome-looking recruitment firm who wants social media support across the UK, the other for a workshop to a group of local businesses after an introduction to the world of social.

* Evening

Time for me to keep juggling – with my own social media content and blogging schedules. I’m lucky enough to be regularly featured on high-profile sites such as www.socialmediatoday.com, www.journalism.co.uk and www.marketingdonut.co.uk, but this takes effort and a rigorous blogging practice.

I post fresh content on the blog three times a week – because it is the main source of new work to me as a social media editor, and has been for 18 months. Quite simply, giving great content works. Plus, I try and spend 25% of each day on new business tasks.

And so, finally, reviewing and sourcing top content relevant for my audiences on Twitter and Facebook, scheduling it all onto Hootsuite for the following day, and drafting a blog post or two, based on what I’m reading, experiencing, or being inspired by.

Time to stop juggling. Not a bad day, huh?

 

 

 



Have you caught your monster client yet?

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If not, taking a few tips from this guy might be useful.

Watched an incredible documentary last night, in which extreme fisherman Jeremy Wade traversed up and down the Congo in search of a monster fish called a Goliath Tigerfish – basically, a six-foot-long piranha hybrid which has been responsible for the deaths of people getting in its way.

The moment of glory can be seen here – when Wade catches a huge Goliath Tigerfish in the Congo river. Awesome.

And what a journey our extreme fisherman had hunting down and landing this monster fish – one which made me think about searching for an equally tricky beast – the monster client.

Have you ever caught a monster client? Was it a good experience? Was it enriching for you, or an absolute nightmare?

Let’s look at Wade’s experience for illumination:

* He spent more then three weeks of fruitless fishing, almost catching a monster fish and losing it

* He researched extensively, speaking to villagers and local fisherman about the elusive Goliath Tigerfish

* He consulted an esteemed witch doctor, gaining powerful potions and competitive knowledge to win the catch

* He patiently returned to the hunt – catching a fine specimen of a monster fish, the Goliath Tigerfish

What happened next? Did Wade get fame and glory? Riches beyond his wildest dreams in the world of fishing?

No – in fact, the Tigerfish died at the riverbank within 30 minutes, having been exhausted beyond reason by the struggle. And so, despite having caught his monster fish, Wade was resigned to taking it back to the witch doctor’s village, where it was eaten.

Have you ever tried to land a monster client?

Invested in extensive research, jumped through all the right hoops in order to get the prestigious monster client you think your business needs to succeed?

Have you given blood, sweat and tears to catch the monster client, only to see it die on you when you’ve won it?

Life can be like that.

Three years ago, I had a monster client. Key account, 80% of my revenues all tied up in the one piece of business.

Trouble was, after 18 months of brilliant account management, great results, and a fantastic relationship with one of the Directors, the Managing Director of the business (not my main contact point) put the firm into overnight liquidation.

Lost all that revenue with the death of the monster client within 24 hours. Gone. Never to return. Sunk without a trace.

My point is this – if you’re chasing the big account, the moneyspinner business win, the monster client – beware.

If the prize fails you, it could become an expensive mistake, as our extreme fisherman Wade finds out with the Goliath Tigerfish.

My monster client died on me, too, and taught me an amazing lesson. Never hunt for a monster client again – it’s not worth it. Instead, work with a group of more consistent clients, all with roughly equal revenues.

Today, I work with corporates on the odd project, repeat campaigns and one-offs. But it’s not regular work, just nice additions to the portfolio. It doesn’t pay the bills.

My rosta of 6-9 ongoing clients, all accounting for up to 15% revenues each of total revenues (maximum, ideally) form the bread and butter of my catch.

These smaller fish are easier to handle, easier to take care of, easier to catch, and rarely die on me after being landed.

Think about it.

Now – are you sure you want to land that monster client? Why not let it go, and hunt for more profitable fish instead.



Is there a right time for a freelancer to sack a client?

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It’s one of life’s difficult questions, which luckily as a long-term freelancer, I’ve only had to ask myself three times in nine years.

I usually post about interesting, positive, useful things to do with social media, blogging, editorial best-practice, media relations strategy and similar areas of core expertise – with the odd bit of funny, unusual, business experience thrown in for good measure.

There’s been the odd bit of consumer injustice covered, such as the ongoing debacle with life-threatening service from Kwik Fit, but mostly it’s all pretty upbeat content.

I’ve covered off the odd negative item now and then, as necessary for readership benefit.

So, returning to my initial blog post question – Is there a right time for a freelancer to sack a client?

My answer is Yes – and on the three occasions in the past nine years where I’ve been forced to do it, each time was the right time.

As a freelancer, you choose who to work with. And who not to.

I had one of the three ex-clients, a one-man-band video and podcast producer, sending one of my trusted and very happy current Agency clients in Bristol, a personal message across LinkedIn last week, saying a few inaccurate and slanderous comments about my delivery to them of media relations services over a short (emphasizes the word short) period of time in 2009.

I won’t name the ex-client, as the point of the post is to highlight a bigger issue than one individual’s name, of course.

It was also, for your information, a short period of time, as I was forced to give them Notice of Termination of Contract, after it became painfully clear that the ex-client thought that they knew more about media relations than I did – a newspaper and magazine Editor of more than a decade’s experience, no less.

Not to mention the PR stints I’ve delivered for the likes of Apple and Mitel Networks.

The warning signs? They were, and in no particular order, as follows:

* Ex-client spends nearly the entire first meeting telling me how to deliver media relations (the service they’ve hired me to do for them)

* Ex-client makes six sets of amendments to the first press release copy (this has never happened before or since: even Apple, with their meticulous and orchestrated global PR machine, only ever made minor tweaks to copy I produced for them in the past)

* Ex-client is consistently verbally aggressive, bullish, and generally unpleasant when everything else isn’t dropped immediately for them (bearing in mind, I usually work with up to nine clients at any one time, giving excellent service to all, not just one)  – I also found out soon after that the ex-client had taken the same aggressive approach (just prior to hiring me) with a large, well-respected, and long-established PR Agency in Bristol…

* Ex-client threatens not to pay due consultancy Fees if certain things aren’t done the way they want them to be done – rather than as is Contractually agreed (trying to financially blackmail an established media freelancer with a great reputation is obviously a bad idea)

* Ex-client dismissed Contractual obligations of any kind (at the time, I was offering a Guaranteed Results Programme over a six-month Campaign period: if clients didn’t get at least their Fees paid back in press coverage terms in the six months, the Fees were returned in full, without quibble. The ex-client had not completed even half this time, when I was forced to sack him)

* Ex-client threatens to go legal if all Fees are not returned (even though I reminded the ex-client they were liable for another three months’ Fees, as per the Contract, and that they hadn’t completed the full six months, thus nullifying the Guarantee anyway)

Yes, you’ve guessed it – the ex-client was sacked. And I learned some incredibly valuable lessons.

It got me to review the services delivered at the time, and to gain some important and positive insights: I discovered that every single client who had previously engaged in and completed a six-month media relations Programme had gained significant and multiple press coverage.

Every single client.

There was a consistency in delivery from that fact-finding exercise which I’m still extremely happy with, and proud of, even though I don’t deliver much in the way of offline media relations anymore: the market is all about blogging and social media now.

I also learned: If it walks and talks like a bad client from day one – it’s probably a bad client. Sack them and move on. Consider it, in every sense, a Bad Debt. Align your freelance time and efforts with the clients you really want to work with.

I think the issue of when to sack a bad client also comes down to the confidence of the freelancer.

Let’s face it, if as freelancers we all worked with any kind of client, and chased only cash cash cash, what would be the point of actually living a freelance working life in the first place. One may as well be working for ‘The Man’ and resigning yourself to a gold watch in the future.

My business model revolves around a freelance-style delivery because it suits me, and the clients I work with, on a longer-term basis. I’m in the incredibly fortunate position to be able to say the following of all of my current clients:

* I like the client

* I admire their company

* I respect the way they do business

Returning to last week’s little incident from the ex-client and the message they posted to one of my current clients, I must conclude by adding that the current client immediately emailed the ex-client, to tell him how surprised they were to receive such a message, and how incredibly happy they were with everything which had been delivered by Bristol Editor.

This, of course, made me very happy. My current clients are absolute gems of integrity, good working practice, and professional conduct.

But then again, I make a point of inviting my clients-to-be the opportunity to talk to all of my current clients before they sign a Contract with me. Nothing to hide, nothing to fear – that’s my working motto.

So, if you’re in the position as a freelancer – whether it’s a freelance editor, freelance PR, freelance copywriter, or similar – and you have a client from Hell like the guy I’ve described to you above, ask yourself this question.

Is now the right time to sack them?

More importantly, can you afford not to sack them.



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