Do you have a license for that

Want to share your media coverage, but struggling to make sense of UK copyright laws?

CIPR Midlands’ Licensing Roundtable, chaired by CIPR President Rachael Clamp, brought together Reach plc’s Fergus McKenna, NLA’s Josh Allcorn, CLA’s Ossie Ikeogu, and Vuelio’s Chris Wheeler to provide a rundown of the ins and outs of copyright for PRs.

While ‘there’s nothing straight-forward when it comes to licensing’ – as Ossie admitted – here is our quick guide to keep you on the right track when sharing your coverage.

CIPR Midlands Licensing Roundtable panel

Why do PRs need to know about this stuff?

‘The way we get notified of coverage is completely different now – no scanning the papers in the morning for the right words,’ said Rachael.

As well as protecting PRs from sharing content in the wrong way (and racking up fees as a result), licensing protects publishing. And every creative industry, including PR and comms, needs published content.

‘Licensing is a very important part,’ said Reach plc’s Fergus. ‘Most people’s engagement with us now will be through an app, and not directly through our printed papers or our websites.

‘Publishers need to be wary of how they manage their IP, and get the most value they can from their content. That’s why licensing organisations are vital – I don’t know if publishers would have the bandwidth to do what they do for us’.

Josh added: ‘Publishers need the PRs for the content, the publishers need the licensing bodies because they don’t have the bandwidth – we’re all part of this content ecosystem. We need each other’.

Why are there two licensing orgs in the UK, and do PRs need to be members of both?

As the panel acknowledged, some other countries are served by one all-encompassing licensing organisation, but the UK has two. Why?

NLA initially began in the mid-90s as a venture between the Financial Times and the Telegraph in a bid to find an easier way of allowing PR agencies, among others, to reuse and share their content.

‘As a comms practitioner, when you send out PR, you want to hit as broad a market as possible,’ explained Josh. ‘For publishers, there’s a broad range of rights. The NLA became a more efficient vehicle to put all that activity in one place.’

The CLA is a complimentary service, explained Ossie. But don’t get the two confused.

Formed in 1983 on the basis of Government recommendations to standardise copyright and collection of fees, CLA covers ‘everything from printed to digital formats, books, magazines – that’s our remit,’ said Ossie.

The NLA, in comparison, covers newspapers and a selection of magazines and media sites.

Wouldn’t it be easier to just have one governing licensing body in 2024? Maybe – but as Vuelio’s Chris explained:

‘There are PR clients who don’t need everything, so there are benefits to having two – less unnecessary content; more streamed down. Anything that makes this a simpler process for all is better.’

How can Vuelio help with licensing?

For support with the above – Vuelio serves as an ‘intermediary for clients and copyright organisations,’ explained Vuelio’s Chris.

‘We deliver all those clips through. Our role is reporting back to the CLA and NLA for clients – that’s what we do on a monthly basis for NLA, and quarterly for CLA.

‘We become an advisor for many PRs in this respect. We help them decide what they need. Our clients may want to monitor themselves and their competitors, without everything else. It’s about focusing on what PRs need, and getting fairness and transparency in the pricing as well.

‘We catch up regularly with the licensing bodies to understand the difficulties for our clients, and be the voice of PRs. We’re aiming to get to the point where the pricing and structure is understood by all, so it doesn’t feel like one party is inflicting something on the other.’

Should PRs be wary of the NLA and CLA?

No, said all panelists – licensing organisations are here to help both sides of the PR and media ecosystem.

‘These organisations aren’t just waiting for an infringement – you can have a chat with somebody if you need help. Much like setting up with Vuelio, it’s about finding the right thing for each circumstance,’ said Rachael.

Where copyright gets complicated…

So far, so good – but what about the more confusing parts of copyright law? With the way content is shared constantly evolving, a number of scenarios were brought up during the session. The panel had answers for each:

Sharing coverage on social safely

‘The social media explosion a few years ago muddied the waters because of how the platforms share content,’ said Josh from the NLA point of view.

‘Sharing a link to digital content on socials – there’s no IP on that. And if I want to put a link on my site, that leads traffic back to the publisher, so that’s okay, too. On X, if you’re retweeting and sharing a publisher’s post, you’re absolutely fine.’

‘But taking a headline from the article when sharing – you do need a license.’

Reach plc’s Fergus agreed: ‘If you are amplifying a publisher’s communication, they’re going to welcome that. But using the IP yourself, that’s where there is a copyright issue.’

‘Unfortunately, the CLA license doesn’t cover any social media use,’ added Ossie. ‘From my understanding, that’s been something of a minefield, we haven’t got the okay from our publishers yet. But rest assured that’s something that’s brought up every year.’

As summarised by Rachael – if you’re sharing, liking, or reposting content – that’s engagement for the publisher, and okay. But if you’re sharing for your own engagement, like a quote repost on X, you’ll need a license.

When a publisher uses your press release

As explained by Josh – if the publisher makes an alteration to the copy, the copyright moves to the publisher. With no alteration to the press release, the PR would likely need no license for sharing.

However, speaking from Reach plc’s point of view, Fergus pointed out that publishing can change the ownership: ‘The act of publishing takes on certain copyright protections. If we publish it, those are our words, that is our article. We would see that as being our piece.’

But don’t worry – Vuelio makes this very simple so you won’t get into trouble:

‘There are websites that publish press releases word for word, but Vuelio excludes them from monitoring – that wouldn’t be considered content.’

The grey area of Google Alerts

Google Alerts has changed the way coverage is shared with PRs… and sparked yet more questions around copyright.

‘We would regard a snippet that does contain a headline, or some of the text, as sharing and, in effect, as copyright infringement. And that’s where the CLA license would come into effect,’ said Ossie.

Josh agreed: ‘We have to be aware of the changes and how content is pushed out into the market. Google is obviously a free service – we have to determine what should be protected by copyright and what isn’t. A link isn’t serviceable, but an alert from Vuelio is copyright protected.

‘We are constantly looking at how technology changes and making sure our licenses are fit for purpose.’

For how Vuelio can track your coverage and ensure you’re sharing with your clients and colleagues correctly, find out more about Media Monitoring.

Find extra on the NLA in ‘The PR guide to the NLA’.

WITA Powerlist reception

Celebrating powerful women in trade associations 2024

Vuelio was proud to be a sponsor of last week’s Women in Trade Associations Powerlist reception, celebrating the accomplishments of women making a difference throughout the sector.

Those acknowledged by the TAF, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)’s powerlist were invited to this celebratory event at Space14.

Emily Wallace TAF

‘What I am struck by is what an incredible opportunity we have in this room, with the most inspirational and powerful women in associations,’ said TAF CEO Emily Wallace.

‘There’s a real challenge for trade associations to support female entrepreneurs and female-led businesses. Let this be the start of something. What more we can do to become more powerful advocates for women in business in the UK and support ambitions for growth?’

Nicola Bates WineGB

WineGB CEO and head judge for the powerlist Nicola Bates highlighted the importance of gender balance within organisations, acknowledging that ‘we still have a huge amount to do in the industry’.

She also took a moment to highlight the work of previous generations of women:

‘On the personal side, I really want you to think about the woman who helped you the most in your life. She might be someone in your family, she might not. I believe we stand on the shoulders of giants.

‘We’re so fortunate to be born at this point, we’re so fortunate to be working in this country, in the West, at this time. There are so many problems in terms of women’s rights, and we happen to be here and able to advocate for our sectors.

‘Fifty years ago, this room would not be full.’

Ayesha Patel

Ayesha Patel, sector policy lead (domestic and international) at the Department for Business and Trade and judge for the TAF Awards, paid tribute to the hard work of everyone gathered in the room:

‘Not only does this event, and this list, shine a light on your extraordinary leadership, but also on the job that you do in representing your industries and sectors, as well as engaging with us in Government in the most invaluable and constructive way.

‘As a woman, may I also thank you for setting such a strong example of leadership, tenacity, and integrity for all of us, particularly in the most challenging circumstances and environments when the work is never, ever done. We all know the importance of representation, role models, and advocacy, so congratulations to all of you, and thank you for all that you do.’

Emelia Quist

Emelia Quist, head of policy research at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) spoke about the most positive parts of her job:

‘One of the things that I have to do in my role is look at survey data and see what women-led businesses are doing, and I also get to meet our members. It gives me energy to be in a room with women and drive policy change. I’m really glad to be here this evening, getting to meet so many wonderful people.’

Liz Banks CBI

‘We know how impactful trade association members can be, to drive policy change, to offer advice and support directly to businesses, and to overcome challenges, and seize opportunities – whether that’s meeting net zero targets, or meeting societal challenges in your particular sectors,’ said Liz Banks, campaigns & communications director for the Confederation of Business Industry (CBI).

‘Among the applications there were so many inspiring stories of real impact and ambition – folks rolling up their sleeves, not accepting the status quo, and getting things done.

‘On behalf of CBI and TA, thank you for creating this opportunity to celebrate all these women.’

Check out the full Women in Trade Associations Powerlist 2024 here.

How to navigate the storm of crisis

How to navigate the storm of a PR crisis

Is your organisation prepared to handle the top global risks predicted for 2024?

From the far-reaching impacts of geo-politcal conflicts, the threats of misinformation, or values-based mismatches between audiences, the possible sources of future problems are numerous. But they can be planned for.

As part of the webinar ‘Preparing for the unexpected – redefining communications strategy’, Wadds Inc.’s founder and managing partner Stephen Waddington shared extra pointers for navigating crises.

Read on for ways to get internal stakeholders onboard and how to bring international teams together.

How do you educate the leaders of an organisation about their roles in crisis comms planning?

Crisis response is part of any leader’s role. Planning, training, and regular testing for key management team members should be part of an organisation’s risk preparedness. The frequency of these activities depends on the organisation’s operational context.

Horizon scanning is a helpful tool to alert management to the range of risks around an organisation.

How do you manage risk in an environment where there is a high level of staff turnover?

An organisation’s governance should include a risk register and a robust training programme. These safeguards protect the organisation from operational issues such as staff turnover.

What are key observations on the dovetail between operational and reputational risk?

The nature of operational risk within an organisation should be well understood. Areas of crisis preparedness and response will typically be led and managed by operational teams. Reputational risk is more dynamic and depends on the operational context and markets in which an organisation operates. It should be reviewed frequently as part of the analysis for a risk register.

What advice do you have for helping global teams respond to crises and keeping teams joined up?

The robust capability of the corporate communications function to respond to issues and crises as part of an integrated organisational response is a legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic. Communications teams tested crisis plans and their execution in terms of technology, media, and processes.

How can you mitigate risk for organisations that are dealing with issues that have the potential to polarise stakeholders?

This is a critical contemporary issue for corporate communication and management teams. Political and societal issues must be balanced with business imperatives and values or purpose-driven leadership. We’ve developed a decision-making framework to support this activity.

Do you have a recommendation to manage a crisis simulation within a comms team?

We work with Polpeo, a UK crisis simulation company led by Kate Hartley. Its virtual environment can simulate a full-blown crisis in a safe setting. Polpeo combines technology and expert practitioners to train and test a corporate communications or management team.

For more on managing crisis, download the accompanying white paper ‘The evolving nature of crisis communications management’ and watch the webinar ‘Preparing for the unexpected – redefining communications strategy’.

Want to start scanning for crisis sources? Find out more about Vuelio’s Media Monitoring.

Spring Budget Briefing

Spring Budget Briefing: Will Hunt’s ‘boring budget’ make an impact?

Vuelio teamed up with the Trade Association Forum (TAF) for a Spring Budget Briefing at Space14 the day after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s announcement to discuss its impact on businesses and also the next General Election.

Hosted by TAF’s CEO Emily Wallace, our panel included (pictured from left to right):

  • Shazia Ejaz, campaign director, Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)
  • Craig Beaumont, chief of external affairs, (FSB) Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
  • Kelly Scott, VP of Account Management, Vuelio
  • George Dibb, associate director for economic policy and head of the Centre for Economic Justice, The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)
  • Kevin Schofield, political editor, HuffPost

Spring Budget Briefing panel

Extra insight on polling data was shared by polling and research expert Andrew Hawkins, CEO of Whitestone Insight.

Before we get into the panel’s thoughts on the specifics of the announcement – let’s get to the question many will have been asking…

Will the Spring Budget have helped the Conservative Party’s prospects for the next General Election?

Not really, was the feeling of the panel, as well as the general mood of the audience in the room. This echoed how many of the UK’s major press outlets covered Hunt’s Spring Budget, with panelist Kevin Schofield summing it up as ‘boring’ in his reporting.

Pollster Andrew Hawkins reinforced this reaction:

Andrew Hawkins speaking at the Vuelio Spring Budget Briefing for 2024

‘Was yesterday’s event ever going to be a game changer? No. This was not a blockbuster.’

Andrew added that a decision to hold the General Election in May would be ‘political self-immolation’ on the part of the Tories:

‘There’s a bigger hill to climb for Labour. But climb it I believe they will.’

Referring to past voters who would pick the Liberal Democrats if unswayed by the Conservatives or Labour, Andrew shared the belief ‘that model is breaking down,’ with Reform and Green likely to scoop those votes up.

The decreasing level of under-45s planning to vote Conservative was characterised by Andrew as an ‘existential threat’ to the party, adding his view that ‘in a generation, they will be redundant’.

What did the Chancellor forget? The workforce

REC’s Shazia Ejaz felt that there wasn’t a ‘clear enough arrowhead on growth’ – especially when it came to the vital role of skill development.

‘We believe that central to any growth is people – workers. There wasn’t very much said on skills. There needs to be more investment.’

‘Context to consider is that we’ve had a really resilient labour market given the pandemic. There was a demand for people that kept employers hiring – that has tailed off.’

George added to the viewpoint that workers themselves weren’t centred in Hunt’s announcements on public sector performance. The Chancellor confirmed investment in AI to improve efficacy in public services, including the NHS, and that cuts would also boost performance.

‘I think it’s magic thinking that cutting budgets will improve performance – the low-hanging fruit of public sector cuts is already gone.’

‘We remember the last time the Government tried to do that,’ added Shazia on investment in technologies. ‘These things aren’t easy to do, and they cost more money’.

Craig countered that the Government’s plans could work in some sectors: ‘The civil service has only gotten bigger and bigger. Without taking these kinds of decisions, you get inertia.’

The mood in the journalist lobby?

HuffPost’s Kevin Schofield shared more on what happens at the post-announcement ‘huddle’, calling the process this year ‘quite dull’ compared to times before social media.

‘I’m old enough to remember when coverage wasn’t taken over by Twitter.

‘It was mostly pre-briefed this year – there was nothing for the Chancellor to announce that we didn’t know.’

‘It was a rambling, ill-judged speech, I thought.’

Vuelio’s Kelly Scott tackled the influence of new media during this election cycle – namely, GB News.

Kelly Scott on Spring Budget Briefing panel

‘Left-wing media tended to dominate the online conversation after the Budget, but we did see a rise for GB News. It’s seen as an untrusted news source, but had an important part in the conversation regardless.’

For more on this, download the Vuelio and Pulsar report ‘Spring Budget: Audience Reaction’.

Name checks for stakeholders

Kelly talked through Hunt’s careful acknowledgement of stakeholders, counting 12 name-checks – ‘along with some bizarre ones – Idris Elba, Keira Knightley? The arts stakeholders were gushing’.

Away from Hollywood and back towards day to day challenges in the UK, stakeholders were less excited – particularly those working in the anti-poverty sector:

‘The anti-poverty community mentioned by Hunt came out firmly that the packages there to “help” were just more sticking plasters’.

Craig backed this up: ‘We are positive about some of the specifics, but we are not gushing’.

What happens next?

Despite the pre-Budget feeling that this would likely be the last fiscal event before the coming General Election, some on the panel believed there could be more to come.

‘I think there will be two events,’ said Craig.

‘Take special care with planning your summer holidays,’ added Kevin.

Get a full summary of the Spring Budget 2024, including stakeholder reaction, in this downloadable report from the Vuelio Political team.

Spring on the Journalist Enquiry Service

Gardening, holidays and a new season: What journalists need from PRs in March 2024

The change of season is often one that journalists like to focus on, with articles on everything from what to do in your garden during the Spring months, to events and entertainment happening across the country.

Hundreds of reporters use the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service to find this information every week. Below, we look at what keywords and topics were trending during February and what the media industry will be focusing on throughout the rest of March.

Seasonal selections

While we might not be quite into Spring yet, it’s already proving popular as a keyword with just over 3% of the total requests in February including the word ‘Spring’. That’s over half a percent higher compared to this time last year.

The start of the new season also brings with it two bigger days in the calendar in Mother’s Day and Easter. 3% of the enquiries last month featured ‘Mother’s Day’, an increase from the 2% we saw in January, as journalists looked mainly for product recommendations. 3% was also the figure for ‘Easter’. The holiday falls slightly earlier this year, at the end of March, and writers have predominantly looked for eggs and other gifts to give.

However, there have also been requests for an Easter roast lamb recipe, Easter days out in London, and Easter craft ideas for grown ups. Journalists at the iWeekend,, Daily Mail, and Evening Standard have all submitted enquiries around Easter. There is likely to be many more in the lead up to the holidays, meaning a good opportunity for PRs especially in food and drink, travel, and arts and entertainment.

Holidays on the horizon

With the Easter holidays just around the corner, ‘holiday’ has become a popular keyword, too, appearing in over 2% of enquiries throughout February. The Travel category has seen a boost as a result. There has been a 16% increase in the amount of requests for the Travel category in February this year compared to 2023. This is likely due to Easter being earlier this year.

However, not all of the ‘holiday’ enquiries have been around Easter. There have been several requests for summer holiday destinations and advice on where to spend the Bank Holiday as well. Journalists have also been interested in information around cruises and looking for general travel experts to give their opinion, too.

The requests have come from outlets including GB News, PA Media, The Sun, Yahoo! Life, and HuffPost. The need for travel experts and information around holiday destinations and cruises will only increase over the next few months, giving plenty of chances to get featured in the national media.

Garden gurus, fashion fanatics, and AI experts

The start of the Spring season often coincides with an upturn in requests around ‘gardening’ and so it proved again this year, with over 3.5% of enquiries last month containing the keyword. These mainly came from consumer titles like woman & home, Homebuilding & Renovating, and House Beautiful. They tended to be looking either for an expert on gardening or general information and advice for seasonal plants and flowers.

Milan, New York, Paris, and London fashion week all took place in February and ‘fashion’ performed well as a keyword in just under 3% of the total requests. ‘Beauty’ featured even more regularly, featuring in over 3.5% of the enquiries last month. Journalists were mainly looking for experts in both fields and these types of request feature regularly on the service.

AI remains a popular subject for journalists to write about and it performed well again as a keyword in February. Over 3.5% of enquiries featured ‘AI’. These requests tend to come from trade titles, with journalists at Verdict, IT Pro and, the Next Web all looking for experts to comment on the emerging technology.

What journalists were using the service?

Staff journalists were the most prevalent users of the service in February, accounting for 54%, followed by freelance journalists on 27%. The majority worked for a consumer media title (37%), with national newspaper/current affairs publications second on 23% and trade/business/professional media just behind in third on 20%.

Journalists using the service were mainly looking for a spokesperson or expert to speak to as that made up 40% of the requests last month. 21% of enquiries were for information for an article, 19% requested review products and 11% asked for personal case studies. 

Opportunities for PRs in March and beyond

While Easter is earlier this year, there is still plenty of time to get products featured or information shared with the media during March, and ‘Easter’ will likely be our top keyword for this month. Seasonal content relating to Spring is likely to be in demand, too.

There could be a demand for sleep experts with World Sleep Day on 19 March. The Arts & Entertainment category could see a boost too with World Poetry Day (21 March) and World Theatre Day (27 March), and March being National Reading Month. The Environment & Nature category may increase too with Earth Hour on 23 March and Earth Day coming later in April. 

For more on how to connect with the UK media with the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service, check out this post on how to respond to journalist requests



Boeing brand blowout

When a crisis spreads to your brand: Free fall following the Boeing blowout

A robust plan can help protect organisations against future crises. But what happens when calamity hits another brand entirely, but your reputation is dragged into the fray?

This was the conundrum faced by brands including Airbus, Delta Air Lines, and even Tesla and Apple following a mid-air door blowout on an Alaska Airlines flight in January 2024. While Boeing’s 737 Max jet was at the centre of the story following the emergency landing, other names were pulled into the controversy as coverage and conversation grew.

Using X data from our sister audience intelligence platform Pulsar, we take a look at how the crisis spread from one brand to another.

Boeing’s brand blowout

Boeing was under fire quickly once the story was out and being shared on socials. An investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration ordered the grounding of over 170 Boeing 77 Max 9 airlines across the world pending inspections following the incident, and the Transportation Safety Board also began an investigation.

While Boeing quickly issued external and internal statements – promising publicly that ‘safety is our top priority’ and that ‘acknowledging our mistake’ would be the approach within the organisation – the impact of the crisis spread further. Press reports centred on share falls for Boeing and parts supplier Spirit AeroSystem, and the spotlight on Alaska Airlines only got brighter as footage of the cabin blowout went viral on TikTok.

Alaska Airlines social media reaction

Delta is dealt a hard blow

But Boeing and Alaska Airlines weren’t the only brands who would face the consequences of this crisis. Boeing customer Delta’s need to reassure flyers worried about a repeat incident faced setbacks early on. Additional malfunctions – including the loss of a Delta Boeing nose wheel while taxiing towards takeoff – would gain widespread attention.

Chart tracking Delta mentions across social media

Airbus gets airtime

Competitor Airbus became the subject of much positive online conversation, used as an easy contrast to Boeing.

Airbus would be highlighted as ‘competent’ in reporting from the New York Times – not the most glowing of descriptors, but certainly positive in comparison to its troubled rival. As summed up by Richard Aboulafia, the managing director of AeroDynamic Advisory in Washington, DC.

‘What used to be a duopoly has become two-thirds Airbus, one-third Boeing. A lot of people, whether investors, financiers or customers, are looking at Airbus and seeing a company run by competent people.

‘The contrast with Boeing is fairly profound.’

Airbus social media

Apple takes a bite of the coverage

One seemingly unrelated brand that came out with a PR win was Apple. An intact and still-working iPhone found in the debris of the accident boosted online conversation around its products for the positive –

Tweet about iPhone found in Boeing wreckage

-Well, mainly for the positive:

‘The No. 1 comment I’ve been getting every place I’ve posted the picture was that, “My iPhone drops 5 feet, and it shatters and this phone lands after 16,000 feet and is just fine,”’ said Sean Bates, finder of the phone, in an interview with the Seattle Times.

Apple social media mentions

Another PR tussle for Tesla

A brand that didn’t fare so well in relation to the story was Tesla. Unlike Airbus, this organisation wasn’t brought into the conversation organically, but instead inserted into it. By Tesla managing director himself, Elon Musk.

Elon Musk tweet on Boeing

Musk doubled-down on this claim with ‘People will die due to DEI’ in a subsequent post, and the criticism started.

But not just criticism hit Tesla – its stocks also began to plummet amid the latest controversy surrounding the brand.

Tesla social media mentions

Fixing the fallout

Months following that fateful door blowout, positive share results for Boeing match that of its Airbus for 2023. However, this isn’t the last time Boeing, Alaska Airlines – and perhaps the other brands pulled into the crisis – will have questions to answer on the incident.

Three passengers who were onboard flight 1282 from Portland to Ontario, California, are now pursuing legal action against Boeing and Alaska Airlines. As of now, more difficult travels could be ahead for their PR teams.

To see this brand journey in video format, check out this LinkedIn post from Pulsar.

For more on how to handle a reputational crisis, check out our blog ‘Speak Up or Shut Down: The Value of Proactive PR in a Crisis’, featuring examples from the 2022 FIFA World Cup, UK airline strikes, and net zero targets in the Pharma industry.

Spring Budget Briefing

Spring Budget Briefing 2024

Jeremy Hunt will deliver his Spring Budget on 6 March, which may be the last fiscal event announced before a General Election.

With the Chancellor facing pressure to cut taxes to help improve the Government’s poll ratings and appease the right of his party, the Budget is a crucial political moment. Whilst speculation about cuts to income tax, national insurance and inheritance tax all continue to swirl, the state of public finances remain challenging and all eyes will be on just what Jeremy Hunt has up his sleeve.

We’ve partnered with the Trade Association Forum (TAF) to help you analyse the announcements and what they mean for the year ahead.

Join us at 8:30 am on Thursday 7 March 2024, for our Spring Budget Briefing at Space14, where our panel will discuss what was unveiled in the budget and its potential impact on businesses and individuals, and what this might mean for the upcoming General Election.

Driving the discussion will be our chair Emily Wallace, interim CEO at TAF and panelists:

– Kevin Schofield, political editor, HuffPost
– Craig Beaumont, chief of external affairs, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
– Shazia Ejaz, campaigns director, Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC)
– Kelly Scott, VP account management, Vuelio

Doors open at 8:00 am at 14 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3JA, with the event kicking off at 8:30am. Breakfast and refreshments will be provided.

Save your place to be a part of the discussion.

Preparing for the unexpected

Webinar: Preparing for the unexpected – redefining crisis communications strategy

Crises can force change where it could otherwise be resisted or pushed back to a later date.

But unexpected events are inevitable and unavoidable. How has PR and comms had to evolve to handle reputational and operational risks in 2024?

Join our next webinar Preparing for the unexpected – redefining crisis communications strategy at 11am on 5 March to hear Wadds Inc. founder and managing partner Stephen Waddington discuss how the aftermath of COVID-19, geo-political issues, misinformation, and the rise of AI have created a new level of complexity for crisis communications.

The session will cover:

– The top five global risks for 2024 and potential sources of vulnerability you may have overlooked
– How horizon scanning can help you identify risks and threats
– A checklist for your own crisis communication planning

Can’t join us live? Register and we’ll send you the recording.

Want more from Stephen Waddington? Catch up with our previous combined webinar ‘From pitch to published – a guide to media relations in 2023‘ and download the accompanying white paper ‘From pitching to getting published: A PR’s guide to media relations in 2023‘.

Getting payback on your PR in financial services

Getting payback on your PR in financial services

Working in the financial services sector and struggling to breathe life into your storytelling?

‘Ultimately we are communicators and storytellers so focusing on storytelling and creative messaging within the boundaries of regulatory constraints does have its challenges. But in these we find opportunities, too,’ believes Jonathan Williams, managing director for Rosely Group.

Working regularly with clients in heavily-regulated spaces like OANDA and Apex, Jonathan shares advice for building trust with your internal and external stakeholders and preparing for any potential crisis by monitoring what lies ahead.

What are the biggest challenges of regulation in financial services?

Adhering to strict compliance guidelines while still effectively conveying messaging is the obvious answer. But what this really means is trying to stay reactive and on trend and newsworthy while ensuring we have the correct sign offs and have adhered to all the rules. Ultimately, it’s balancing transparency with the need to protect sensitive information.

How do you stay reactionary to the news cycle with your comms, when sign-off from stakeholders can take time?

We always start by preparing pre-approved templates or messaging frameworks for rapid response situations. Then try to maintain open lines of communication with legal and compliance teams to streamline approval processes. Of course, we also start to get a good idea of what does and doesn’t work for clients as our work goes on. We also expect delays, so account for this in our planning.

How does your team keep campaigns creative?

Ultimately, we are communicators and storytellers so focusing on storytelling and creative messaging within the boundaries of regulatory constraints does have its challenges, but in these we find opportunities, too. By leveraging innovative formats such as infographics, animations, or interactive content to engage audiences and using our specialised film division Storyboard we are able to tell often complex stories in an engaging way.

We also place an emphasis on thought leadership and educational content that adds value.

How do you manage reputational risks in your comms strategy?

As an agency we, of course, have access to various social listening and media monitoring tools. But knowing how to use them is what’s important. Identifying risk or crisis before they happen, watching mistakes of others, and learning from them allows us to implement robust media and social media monitoring processes to track conversations and detect potential issues before they arise.

Also, by cultivating close relationships with stakeholders, including legal, media, and operational teams, we can try to anticipate and address reputational risks proactively. One of the benefits to our clients of working with us is the access to our senior consultants and leaders, who can provide clients with a huge amount of insight and advise on situations and through this we have their trust.

Of course, for all clients where risk exists, we develop comprehensive crisis management strategies with clear protocols for escalation and response.

Again, we also place an emphasis on thought leadership and build up a steady stream of content to underpin any reactionary comms that may be required.

Tips for staying up-to-date with regulation/legislative changes?

– Subscribing to industry publications, regulatory updates, and attending relevant conferences or seminars.
– Establishing internal processes for regular compliance reviews and conducting ongoing training for team members.
– Utilising regulatory intelligence platforms or services to monitor changes and interpret implications for communications.
– Regular sessions with clients and their internal regulatory teams to ensure we are on track for their specific needs.

What do you find most effective for tracking ROI and impact of campaigns?

By establishing clear KPIs aligned with client objectives, such as brand sentiment, website traffic, lead generation, or customer acquisition. We also operate an innovative Quality Score system for both opportunities, to showcase urgency and time that should be invested by the client and end result showcasing accuracy of coverage, reach, target audience, and if it’s on message.

We also conduct post-campaign evaluations and analyse data to assess ROI and inform future strategies.

Is there ever room for attention-grabbing PR ‘stunts’ in heavily-regulated sectors?

While attention-grabbing tactics may be more challenging in heavily-regulated sectors like finance, there can be opportunities for creative and impactful campaigns within compliance boundaries. Working with suitable on-brand partners and ambassadors, for example. Also, emphasising authenticity, credibility, and value proposition over sensationalism to resonate with audiences and maintain trust.

Any advice for grabbing journalists’ attention with pitches?

Tailoring pitches to the specific interests and preferences of journalists, demonstrating a clear understanding of their beat and audience.

Offering timely, relevant, and newsworthy angles that align with current trends or developments.

Providing concise, well-researched pitches that highlight the unique value proposition and potential impact of the story.

Are AI tools actually useful in PR and comms work yet?

AI tools can be highly useful in tasks such as data analysis, media monitoring, sentiment analysis, and content optimisation but they are no replacement for trained writers. In our case we pride ourselves on our ability to understand our clients and their tone of voice.

It’s essential to balance the benefits of AI with potential risks, including data privacy concerns, algorithmic biases, and ethical considerations as well as the fact that regulations and news changes and AI tools like ChatGPT tend to be out-of-date.

Ultimately, incorporating AI into workflow processes can enhance efficiency and effectiveness, but human oversight and judgment remain critical to ensure accuracy and ethical standards are upheld.

For more on customer loyalty and the role of AI in PR and comms, download our white paper ‘Reputation management: How to maintain trust in an AI-assisted future’.

Want to start tracking the effectiveness of your own campaigns? Try Vuelio media monitoring and insights.

What journalists want from PRs in February 2024

Easter, Mother’s Day, and day-to-day help: What journalists need from PRs in February 2024

It’s been a busy first month of the new year for the media with the Post Office scandal, the on-going Israel-Palestine conflict, and three storms hitting the UK to cover.

January is also, typically, the busiest month on the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service. Below, we look at what journalists have been requesting from UK PRs and what the media will be looking for throughout the rest of February and beyond.

New Year resolutions and trends

Back in December, journalist requests for trends and resolutions was particularly popular, with ‘2024’ the top keyword. That proved to be the same in January, with the year being included in 11.5% of the total requests. Journalists were still searching for ‘trends’ (which featured in nearly 3% of the January enquiries) and ‘resolution’ (which appeared in just over 1%).

The variation in what topic they were looking to cover though was wide. Enquiries included 2024 oil and gas industry trends; curtain and blind trends for 2024; maritime experts to predict industry trends for 2024; comments on tech layoffs so far in 2024; and possible trends for the year ahead.

Outlets looking for new year trends were diverse, too, with The Grocer, PA Media, IT Pro, GB News, The Independent, Verdict, and Red magazine all sending requests. The amount of enquiries with the keyword ‘2024’ will likely decline from now. However, there will still be opportunities to get experts and information around trends out, probably based around the seasons. Topics like fashion, gardening, travel, skincare, and technology could be focus points.

The healthy lifestyle

The prediction in last month’s overview that keywords like ‘fitness’ and ‘wellbeing’ would feature regularly turned out to be correct, but it was ‘healthy’ that appeared the most. Just under 11% of all requests in January contained the keyword as journalists focused heavily on lifestyle content. ‘Fitness’ was in over 3% of enquiries and ‘wellbeing’ cropped up in a little under 2%.

The Health category therefore enjoyed a big boost in the number of requests and was the second most popular on the service after Women’s Interest & Beauty. This is unsurprising as there was both Dry January and Veganuary last month. It meant lots of enquiries were looking for experts such as dieticians, nutritionists, personal trainers, and doctors.

Requests around mental health and experts in that field also did well, with ‘mental health’ as a keyphrase occuring in 2% of the total January enquiries. This could have been to tie in with Time to Talk Day. However, mental health and requests for experts in general on health are a regular occurrence on the Enquiry Service. If you are an expert or have a client that is in this field, there will be more opportunities in the next few months.

What journalists were using the service?

In January, 55% of the journalists that sent an enquiry were staff journalists. Freelance journalists were second on 27%. They mainly came from consumer media titles (39%), followed by national newspaper and current affairs outlets on 18%. Trade, business, and professional media accounted for 12% of the requests in January.

The enquiries for a spokesperson or expert made up just under 40% of the total last month. 20% of journalists were looking for information for an article, with 11% requesting review products and 9% trying to find case studies. Seven of the top ten outlets in January were national press with the other three coming from consumer media.

Opportunities for PRs in February and beyond

There is likely to be a big increase in the amount of requests around products and gift guides for Mother’s Day (10 March). 2% of requests in January already contained this key phrase. This will in turn mean a rise in the amount of enquiries for the Women’s Interest & Beauty category. Food & Drink could also see a boost and we will see ‘Easter’ as a new keyword as journalists look to get ahead with coverage for that holiday in March.

Experts will also be in demand with February being LGTBQ+ History Month. Plus, March is both Prostate Cancer Awareness and Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. That coinciding with coverage of the King’s cancer diagnosis means that doctors and medical experts should be in demand by journalists at both national press and broadcast outlets.

Start getting requests like these from UK journalists and broadcasters straight to your inbox by signing up for the Journalist Enquiry Service.

Want more information on getting the most out of the service? Read our advice piece ‘How to respond to journalist enquiries’.

Hannah Kapff on sustainable PR

Communicating sustainability with creativity: The challenges of sustainable PR

Sustainability continues to be a huge topic of conversation and source of consternation in 2024. Consumers are increasingly prepared to take their money, and loyalty, elsewhere when a business’ ethics don’t meet their own.

To add to this demand for demonstrable integrity are the constraints of regulation. Since moving from broadcast journalism in 2007, Curious PR Ltd (London)’s founder and managing director Hannah Kapff has worked in regulated sectors including healthcare and environmental sustainability, for global brands like Pfizer, to start-ups including The Naked Pharmacy.

Here, Hannah takes us through the challenges as well as the rich rewards that come from doing the work well.

What would you say are the biggest challenges for comms professionals working in the environmental sustainability space in 2024?

I’ve been predicting for years that it will become increasingly difficult to gain attention among the media (and thus the public) about issues of sustainability if the conversation is too negatively-framed.

In short, the ‘engaged public’ (and, remember, a certain fraction never engage, whatever the message) want to hear about tangible solutions to ‘the problem’ as opposed to more death, destruction, Armageddon. Internally, they are asking, ‘So, what can I do about this?’ Somehow, our job as communicators is to point to solutions, or risk losing the audience. That’s not to say that shame can’t be a powerful tool. Consider that just three years ago, many of us carried a single use plastic bottle of water in our bags. Now, pull one out at a meeting, and there’s a cringe moment, which is clearly to be welcomed. Our conscience has changed.

My team at Curious PR are involved in a campaign to save the pristine waters and Posidonia meadows of islands in the Bay Of Athens from mass invasion by multinational fish farming firms. The effects of open net fish farming on marine ecology are horrific, yet, we try to point to solutions: don’t buy farmed salmon, avoid bream or bass in a restaurant, go for sardines or smaller fish near the bottom of the food chain, sign the petition, tell your friends. Help #SavePoros. Likewise, when it comes to preventing extinction of British bird species, think ‘pragmatic’: If your cat hunts (mine’s too lazy), exhaust its hunting drive by playing with it for ten minutes a day. This is scientifically proven to work, thanks to the University of Exeter.

Positive tips now shared, I admit to being struck by the extent to which Davos – which I used to cover as a journalist at CNBC Europe – is being described as ‘The new COP’. I’m all for silo-breaking and knowledge sharing, which is what such forums are meant for, but is there still a home for NGOs focussed on environmental campaigns? I’m haunted by the Tower of Babel-like description of COP24 by Arlo Brady, co-founder of Blue Marine Foundation, via LinkedIn, which ends on a decidedly blue note.

How do you stay reactionary in this sector when getting sign-off can take time?

I think having former broadcast journalists on our team helps balance ‘the need for speed’ with accuracy, and helps frame opinions on the issue at play in interesting ways via succinct messages. We also design our PR assets to ensure the audience ‘gets it’ at a glance (The lengthiest sign-off periods I’ve encountered have involved medical professionals, for obvious reasons. I recall over 25 drafts of one report years ago, and don’t get me started on delays via ‘Can you wait for my new headshot please?’!) One tip: Agree on the one person who’ll be the ultimate approver for speedy reactions, such as for social media. Planning is all. If key messages are agreed, organisation-wide, plus banks of expert comments for simple tweaking, you’ll be halfway there.

How do you keep your campaigns creative when up against heavy regulation?

In terms of creativity, I’m an art lover and very visual, so one of my greatest loves in this job is handing over a brief and watching creatives breathe their imaginative oxygen or artistic beauty into a campaign – be that via animation, infographic, even a logo. A journalist often asks, ‘Do you have images?’, so be ready. We also love wordplay, hence our ‘What3Birds’ campaign with the What3Words geolocation platform for SongBird Survival.

Regulation is an interesting one. Working in healthcare and environmental comms imbues you with a science-driven, risk-averse approach. There will be new regulations emerging on how companies report their sustainability achievements, and the very language of this sector is changing fast. Terms such as ‘ESG’ have been somewhat hijacked, and as we know, words are everything. Control the language, and you control the people. Greenwashing and its nervous cousin, greenhushing, need to be tackled. These issues will grow new shoots.

How do you manage reputational risk in comms strategies?

Reputational risk is best handled by asking ‘what could go wrong’ – at all times, and in all areas of the business or organisation in question – and having a plan for each scenario. Crisis management is far easier without staring at a blank sheet of paper, or down the barrel of a TV camera. At Curious PR, our style is collaborative, rather than combative: it’s surprising how opening the door for an honest, open debate can influence opinions, even if it doesn’t elicit a 180 degree volte face from ‘rivals’.

When I first heard about the Horizon Post Office scandal around 12 years ago, I thought it must be April Fool’s Day, such was my horror and disbelief at this David and Goliath battle, and how unreported it was. I do believe that, had social media been around when those poor postmasters were first being prosecuted, they’d have ‘found each other’, and history may have been different. This is a case study in how not to do PR. Interestingly, it’s been argued that it was intervention by lawyers before consulting the communications team which set the path for a catalogue of errors, with tragic consequences. Of course we need legal experts, and they’re increasingly entering PR, but if they don’t first think, ‘What’s the right, the human thing to do?’ rather, ‘Defend the bottom line, at all costs’, we are in for more suffering and scandal. On the flip side, as a former documentary-maker, it was impressive to see the power of television to achieve positive outcomes.

How do you stay up-to-date with regulation and legislative changes in the sustainability space?

Probably like most organisations, by following the relevant media and regulator announcements. Recently, the European Parliament voted to delay the development of sector-specific European Sustainability Reporting Standards until 2026. This is relevant to some of our clients. In short, it’s always sensible to plan ahead and deploy best practice, rather than being the last to be dragged in. We’re lucky to have clients that think alike.

How do you track the ROI and impact of such campaigns?

We use the best measurement tools we can buy, but impact remains the million dollar question, and nobody’s got the perfect answer. If it’s a question of really moving the needle on an issue in health or environment, you have to think long term, and be generous enough also to factor in the efforts of other players working with the same goals. Alternatively, if a client is obsessed with numbers, you may want to advise them to go down the advertising route (we’ve only had to do this once). But look where that’s got advertising creativity in recent years (with brilliant exceptions of course): Bland, beige, and blocked.

Would you say there is ever room for attention-grabbing PR ‘stunts’ in heavily-regulated sectors like these, or is this a definite no-no?

I once worked on proposals for a sustainable women’s menstrual product (we’ve done a lot of ‘below the belt’ here!) and proposed building an art installation showing how many tampons a woman would get through in her life, versus one small, washable medical device. That was a stunt, and sadly we didn’t get to make it happen. So, yes, but make it relevant, not gimmicky, and mind the rules and regs!

How do you grab the attention of journalists with pitches related to this subject?

I would say this wouldn’t I, but the headline is all. Whether it’s for an infographic, an event, a press release, or social media asset. You have just nanoseconds to pitch. So put time into it. Ask a question, perhaps. Be original but concise. Definitely avoid ‘also-rans’. Be obsessed: Keep refining and distilling. Test it out on different audiences. And learn by reading the newspapers – they nail headlines every hour of the night and day.

What are the biggest rewards when working in this sector, despite its challenges?

Seeing your client on TV with a huge global audience brilliantly conveying information you know will get an ‘I had no idea about this’ reaction that sparks curiosity (hence our weekly #Fact2Life stream) or even action, such as a better habit. Getting recognition for a company, cause, or CEO when it’s eminently well deserved. We delight in putting people and organisations on the map who are brilliant, but simply need some help with a) Knowing where their uniqueness lies, b) Getting the word out there with excellence. I won’t lie: Being nominated for PR awards is wonderfully goosebumpy too. Especially when you’ve over-serviced that project to the ‘nth degree!

For more on sustainable PR, check out these four practical steps for building sustainability into your campaigns.

Jess Farmery Regulated Industries

Staying creative in regulated industries: How healthcare and biotechnology topics don’t have to hinder great ideas 

Brainstorming fresh ideas for new projects, and being adaptable to the needs of your audiences, are part and parcel of the PR challenge. How much harder does this get when working in heavily-controlled industries like healthcare and biotech?

Huge networks of stakeholders + constantly changing rules and regulations = extra issues, and less creativity? Not for SomX PR lead and account director Jess Farmery:

‘It is absolutely possible to deliver inspiring and exciting PR and comms work within a space that’s heavily regulated’.

Read on for more from Jess on how to keep creativity flowing while avoiding the potential pitfalls that crop up when working in healthcare.

Jess Farmery SomX

What would you say are the biggest challenges in the healthcare and biotech sector for PRs?

Where to begin! Staying on top of the constant stream of industry breakthroughs, landmark research, and new technologies is a daily mission, as is the need to be constantly learning about different niches and sub-sectors.

In addition to the knowledge challenge, every client project involves multiple stakeholders, multiple moving parts, and multiple parties. This means that you end up doing a lot of project management and coordination in order to deliver outcomes that satisfy all those different interests and objectives.

Unpredictability is a challenge that’s especially pertinent when you’re working with startups and scaleups; as a comms and PR partner, you’ve got a front seat on the rollercoaster right alongside their team. Planning more than a few months ahead can sometimes feel impossible – the secret to success is to expect chaos and to plan for it, building in room for plans and timelines to flex and pivot as the situation dictates.

My perspective is that the many challenges are what make it so interesting and fulfilling to work in these sectors. It’s impossible to get bored or stuck in routine, as you’re constantly learning, navigating novel situations and pushing yourself to deliver higher-impact results.

How do you stay creative when up against heavy regulation?

I think that frameworks and structure can aid creativity rather than constrain it. Yes, there are certain things you can’t say and do, but so many more things that you can. With persistence, you’ll find ample opportunities to get those key messages in front of the right audiences in a fresh and engaging way.

However, it is essential that you remain clear and up-to-date on the details of regulation. Content and plans must go through several sign-off stages, and be checked, double-checked and cross-referenced with the rulebook. It’s also important to work closely with the relevant experts and legal counsel as required.

How do you manage reputational risk in your comms strategy?

Acting ethically and transparently is the surest way to protect a client’s reputation, and it’s important to work in close collaboration and open dialogue with the client team to achieve this.

Monitoring both social and traditional media for real-time feedback and live updates is crucial in assessing risks and addressing issues before they escalate. Equally important is the establishment of content approval systems, which provide legal teams and senior leadership with oversight.

However, it’s impossible to control every variable, so having an up-to-date crisis comms strategy – and clarity on who is responsible for actioning the plan – is a non-negotiable.

How do you stay up-to-date with regulation/legislative changes in your sector as they evolve?

Setting up search alerts is helpful for real-time updates, but you can also stay up to date with the help of email bulletins, sector media, and relevant whitepapers and reports.

How do you track the ROI and impact of your campaigns?

Campaign success measures should be closely aligned with the client or company’s business success measures. Depending on the goals of the campaign, some of the following metrics can provide helpful insights into its success:

– Mentions in target publications/media
– Website traffic
– Customer acquisition
– Share of voice
– Brand awareness
– Brand sentiment
– Social media traction
– Lead generation
– New investor conversations

Benchmarking campaign performance against competitors can be useful for understanding effectiveness in the context of the broader market. However, don’t forget to track success over a long period of time so you can measure more than the quick wins.

What would be your advice for creating successful storytelling, when working with the smaller budgets that can come with work in regulated industries?

Focus on smaller-scale but higher quality work to ensure maximum ROI on a lower budget. For example, campaigns and outreach should be targeted at a tightly defined audience, using cost-effective digital channels and social media platforms. Monitor success carefully, and don’t be afraid to iterate or change tack if you’re not seeing the results you expected.

I’d also advise making the most of every asset you have to hand. Every company has a unique story to tell, and you don’t need a big budget to tease out newsworthy human-first narratives, or to shape them in a way that makes it easy for journalists to engage with. Leverage the expertise and experience that lie within company teams and amplify their voices through thought leadership, podcasts, and events. Finally, running collaborative joint campaigns with your client’s clients and partners is a great option to increase reach and impact whilst keeping costs low.

Would you say there is room for PR ‘stunts’ in heavily-regulated sectors, or is this a definite no-no?

In my experience, health and biotech companies invest in PR and comms projects to showcase scientific and technological excellence, shape the conversation in the sector, and amplify the profile of their leadership teams. When budgets are tight, traditional, headline-grabbing PR stunts are unlikely to achieve those goals, and the approach is likely to prove unpopular with the company board and investors.

How would you handle a comms crisis in the media?

When an organisation is in trouble, their public-facing actions and behaviours are what will dictate the extent of their reputational damage and how quickly they recover.

Weathering a crisis requires swift action to take control of the narrative, and to clearly communicate the facts and the actions being taken to resolve the situation. Compassion and authenticity, as well as accountability, is key.

By establishing a clear chain of command, delegating responsibilities, and practising and preparing for various crisis scenarios, the risk of suffering lasting damage after a crisis situation can be kept to a minimum.

AI is a huge topic of conversation in the PR and comms industry – would AI tools ever be useful in your work in the healthcare and biotech sector, or way too much of a danger?

I think that generative AI tools can help comms professionals to work more efficiently, but only when used consciously and carefully for a limited set of purposes. For example, it can help draft meeting agendas and report summaries, proofread copy and suggest hashtags for social media posts.

However, the well-documented factual inaccuracies of the technology means that I would always source external validation and sources for AI-generated content. As a rule, relying on AI to generate press releases, copy and ideas results in bland and sterile outputs, so I avoid using it for this purpose. Confidential or commercially sensitive information should never be entered into AI tools such as ChatGPT, so this puts a limit on the extent of its usability for data analysis or trend mapping.

AI should be used strategically by experienced professionals as part of a digital comms toolkit, but never to replace human intelligence and creativity.

For more on communicating in the healthcare sector, download the Vuelio white paper ‘Medical misinformation: How PR can stop the spread‘ and track the success of your campaigns in the traditional press and social media with Vuelio’s monitoring solutions.

Media opportunities for PRs in 2024

How to get press coverage in 2024: Media trends to prepare for

The unpredictability of the news cycle means that trends in the media can be hard to anticipate. As a PR, that makes knowing when to release certain press releases, or promote a new product, even more difficult.

However, some topics are easier to forecast. For example, journalists will look to get information on back to school products from June, and start compiling Christmas gift guides in August. The way that many journalists get this information is via the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service. Here is a look at what was trending with the media in 2023, and predictions for what will be popular this year and, most crucially, when.

Christmas number one

It might only be one day in the calendar year, but requests relating to ‘Christmas’ content proved the most popular last year, featuring in over 6% of all enquiries from the media to PRs in 2023. The first month that ‘Christmas’ started featuring regularly as a keyword in requests was July, becoming a top keyword each month from August onwards.

Enquiries around Christmas tended to focus around the consumer categories of Women’s Interest & Beauty, Men’s Interest, Consumer Technology and Retail & Fashion. These requests were often looking for gift guides or advent calendars.

Prepare for… another wave of Christmas-related requests in 2024. Get ready for the first flurry of enquiries from journalists in July, increasing from August. Any products, information, or experts you want to get featured in the media over the festive period will need to be ready by the summer to make the most of these opportunities.

We’re all going on a ‘Summer’ ‘Holiday’

While Christmas content is only confined to the latter half of the year, journalists are regularly looking for information about popular ‘holiday’ destinations. This featured as a keyword in just over 2% of all enquiries last year. It performed consistently well across April, May, June, and July, where it cropped up in over 2.5% of enquiries each month. Its best month was July, becoming the second top keyword on 3.7%.

It was only beaten in July by ‘summer’, which appeared in nearly 5% of all requests that month. Across the whole of 2023, in fact, ‘summer’ featured in around 3% of the total enquiries. June proved the most popular month for journalists to use this keyword, as over 7% of requests contained it, with enquiries ranging from holidays, to activities for kids during the break from school, and topics like summer skincare.

Despite the good performance of both ‘summer’ and ‘holidays’ as keywords, ‘hotel’ was even more in demand with over 3.5% requests from last year containing the word. These enquiries were usually journalists looking to stay in a hotel and review it. This helped lead to an increase in the amount of requests in the Travel category compared to 2022, with a rise of 4%.

Prepare for… travel-related content taking off from late Spring, so get your press releases and extra information ready by late March or early April. Journalists will need travel experts across the summer months to give tips and advice. Any news of new hotel openings or places to stay should remain popular throughout the year, but peak interest will be from June until August.

AI on the agenda

Artificial intelligence, or AI, has become a real talking point over the past year. This meant it was a regular keyword on the Journalist Enquiry Service too and appeared in over 2% of the total requests for 2023. Its best performing month came in November, when it appeared in over 3% of the enquiries from journalists for that month. Perhaps unsurprising, as the UK held its AI Safety Summit at the beginning of November 2023.

The consistency of requests around AI meant a good year for the Computing and Telecoms category. This increased by 6% compared to the amount of enquiries in 2022.

Prepare for… the conversation around the various forms of AI technology continuing throughout the year. It will present constant opportunities to get experts on AI featured in the press, seeing increased interest in May and November when more global summits are scheduled around its safety.

Other trending keywords

Another keyword which proved pretty consistent across the year was ‘gardening’. It made up 3% of all requests for the year, with a peak in the Spring months of April and May, where it appeared in 4% of the total enquiries for both months. However, it still cropped up regularly with journalists looking to cover what to do with the garden during Autumn and Winter, too. The Home & Garden category performed well as a result and had the fourth largest amount of requests.

‘Fitness’ also had a good year, with just under 3% of all the requests in 2023 containing the keyword. Journalists tended to focus on this topic at the beginning of the year, with just over 3% of the total requests in January, but also at the end of the year as they looked to get ahead with features, leading to it appearing in around 5% in December. The two topics usually selected when looking for experts or information on this topic, Health and Leisure & Hobbies, both featured in the top five categories in second and fifth respectively.

The category with the most requests though was Women’s Interest & Beauty, with Food & Drink coming in third place, meaning the top four categories used by journalists looking for help with their features remain unchanged from 2022.

Prepare for… consumer themes to be popular in 2024 as well. If you have any experts, information, or case studies covering women’s interest, beauty, health, food & drink or home & garden, then there should be plenty of opportunities to get them featured in the media.

Media opportunities for PRs this year

82% of the journalists that sent enquiries for PRs in 2023 were either staff or freelance journalists. 36% of them came from consumer media, with national newspapers the next biggest media type on 26%. Most often they were looking for a spokesperson or expert (37%), with requests for information for an article second on 27%. Despite consumer media being the top media type, eight of the top ten outlets using the service last year were national press.

The different percentages of journalists using the service has largely remained the same for a number of years now. It’s unlikely this will change in 2024. Any experts you have on your roster have a strong chance of being included in national press titles like The Daily Express, MailOnline and The i Paper, or in top consumer titles including Ideal Home, SheerLuxe, or Pick Me Up!

Prepare for… two major events happening this year that the UK industry will be covering in detail. In July, we have the Paris Olympics – so prepare for a boost in the sports-related requests. And in November (or in the second half of the year according to Rishi Sunak), there will be a General Election in the UK. Get ready for a demand for experts and information around the major parties’ policies, and ‘politics’ cropping up as a popular keyword.

If you’d like to know more about how Vuelio can help with your media planning and outreach, get in touch.

Why 2024 is the year to start paying it forward with your PR

White paper: Why 2024 is the time to start paying it forward with your PR

Are you making a difference with your PR? If you’ve considered teaming up with local charities, collaborating with community groups, or fancy taking on pro-bono work – 2024 is your year to start.

‘The times are calling for bold, brave action [and] authentic, purpose-led communications is the way forward,’ said PRCA Global Ethics Council co-chair Nitin Mantri as part of the group’s 2022 annual perspective. Cause-led comms have become even more important since, highlighted as a key trend in our round-up of industry predictions for the year ahead.

‘These days consumers are far more savvy when it comes to where they are spending their money and publications sometimes have a quota to cover a certain amount of sustainably responsible brands,’ said Francesca Cullen and Rosie Lees, co-founders and directors of Nineteen94 Communications Agency.

‘This leaves a really big opportunity for purpose-driven brands to succeed.’

Not sure where to begin? Our new white paper ‘Paying it forward with your PR’ offers pointers for building purpose-driven campaigns into your comms plan for 2024.

Download the paper to learn from experts in social impact PR working across different sectors, including:

Full Fat account director Clara Pérez Miñones and partner Paul Joseph on becoming a pro at pro-bono
Little Red PR CEO Victoria Ruffy on the benefits of becoming a B Corp brand
Sefton Council communications officer Ollie Cowan on ensuring unprepared voters won’t get turned away at the polling station
– The Royal National Institute of Blind People’s Lindsay Coyle and Gorki Duhra and the Commission for Victims and Survivors for Northern Ireland’s head of communications and PR Alana Fisher on fighting for legislation change

‘Paying it forward with your PR’ can be downloaded here.

For more on advocacy campaigns and cause-led comms, read our interview with GivingTuesday digital director, strategy Kathleen Murphy on how brands can give back and these four examples of brands making a difference with social impact campaigns.

How the RNIB empowers communities through advocacy campaigns

How the RNIB empowers communities through advocacy campaigns

Want to speak up for your community in Parliament and in the press? Take note from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), which successfully campaigned to overturn the UK Government’s proposal to close almost all ticket offices across England and Glasgow Central last year.

As part of our webinar ‘Empowering communities through advocacy campaigns’, the RNIB’s local campaigns manager Lindsay Coyle shared extra advice on making an impact and what happens after a cabinet reshuffle…

What was the most impactful and the least useful part of your campaigns?

I think for us the most impactful was social media. Just having people be able to share their own experience of arriving at a station, trying to navigate and use an inaccessible ticket vending machine seemed to get a lot of traction. RMT were retweeting us, too.

Similarly, having people talk about why they use ticket offices and being able to compile that and share as a video was great. Equally, having people write to their MP – at the Westminster Hall debate, MPs were reading out the experiences of blind and partially sighted people and we managed to reach 9 out of 10 MPs, which was pretty awesome.

Least impactful – we did try and engage with Conservative MPs who had spoken out against this but we didn’t have a lot of success with that.

How can a charity successfully campaign on the issues they are passionate about?

As an organisation, we have a very good reputation with MPs at Westminster level, backed up by polling. We are seen as a credible and trusted source of information so it’s about not doing anything that may be a detriment to that but equally being able to build allies where you can. That is possibly the reason why we were able to secure a meeting with Shadow Secretary of State for Transport Louise Haigh.

I also think it is hugely important to engage both direct beneficiaries as well as the wider public in your work. To empower individuals affected by an issue so they have the confidence and tools to make change where they wish – not only is it empowering for the individual but it also allows charities to extend their reach so messaging is carried to an even wider audience.

On a wider note, and purely a bit of a personal crusade, I think there is some work to be done around civic engagement. We want people from lower-represented/marginalised groups to be able to fully participate in civic engagement – from being able to vote, through to standing for public office – so councillor, school governor, even an MP. We need wider representation within decision making.

Be social media savvy. Use platforms in an engaging way.

Nothing can replace the power of personal stories so really use those – in the media, online, with MPs, etc.

How does the RNIB team up with other groups for campaigns?

We’re part of a number of different consortia – the Disability Benefits Consortium – who we have worked with to shine a light on the impact of the cost-of-living on disabled people. We are also part of the Disability Charities Consortium, made up of senior reps from the biggest disability charities, We have worked with them on wider issues such as feeding into the Government’s disability strategy.

We are also part of an organisation called Visionary, which is an umbrella body of organisations supporting people with sight loss – so national orgs such as ourselves, Guide Dogs, Glaucoma UK, etc., as well as smaller local sight loss charities. If an issue we are working on affects people with sight loss specifically, such as the availability of vision rehab, then we would work together through Visionary.

Additionally, we may proactively seek to work with other organisations on very specific issues. For example, for the past couple of years, we have been campaigning for improved accessibility of the built environment and have put together a guide called ‘The Key Principles of Inclusive Street Design’ which covers things such as accessible crossings, making consultations accessible. We reached out to other organisations such as Brake, the road safety charity, to ask them to endorse this guide, which they did. This then gives it more weight when we go to local authorities to press for change, as it’s seen as less of a niche issue.

What happens on your teams after a Cabinet reshuffle/times of political unrest?

We have a Public Affairs team who constantly monitor activity at Westminster. Once we know who is in which role, they tend to produce a briefing outlining each person and their background which is shared with relevant colleagues such as Policy and Campaigns, Directors, Trustees. We may then also write to welcome Ministers into their new role, particularly if there is an issue we are currently campaigning on. For example, we are working currently to push for the update to the NHS England Accessible Information Standard to be released (it has been delayed for a while) so we have written to the Health Secretary Victoria Atkins to ask her to do this, as it should be a relatively quick win – for them and us.

We are also proactively preparing for the forthcoming General Election. We are working with an external agency to get us election ready as an organisation with a communications roadmap set up, so the wider work of the organisation can be coordinated, as well as identifying key campaign moments. This will involve coordinating work with PR, policy and campaigns, social media.
We will also be looking at how we can bring our supporters into this work e.g. holding training sessions on what MPs and candidates want in the run up to a General Election. We will also have an organisation-wide manifesto.

For more on cause-led comms and making a difference, read our interview with JustGiving’s director, digital strategy Kathleen Murphy. Want more on UK politics? Sign up to Vuelio’s weekly Point of Order newsletter.

What journalists want from PRs in January 2024 and beyond

New year trends, fitness, and Valentine’s help: What journalists need from PRs in January 2024

The start of a new year in the media often means fresh content calendars, updated feature lists,  and new projects. January is also one of the busiest months on the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service as the media want experts, information, and case studies for content.

Many journalists were looking to get ahead with their content for 2024 by making use of the service in December. Here are the trending keywords and what will be popular in the media throughout January and beyond.

Final Christmas flurry

‘Christmas’ has been a keyword on the Enquiry Service since back in August. Unsurprisingly, December was no different, with final festive requests making up just under 13% of the total sent last month.

These enquiries asked for last minute Christmas gift ideas, information on how to carve a Christmas turkey, and requests  for a vet or expert on animals to give advice over dogs at Christmas. This wide variety of requests came from titles including PA Media, The Guardian, BBC Food, Prima, and This Morning.

New Year, new keyword

For the first time in four months, Christmas wasn’t the top keyword. ‘2024’ appeared in just over 13% of the total requests in December – around 0.5% higher than ‘Christmas’. It’s also an increase on last year when ‘2023’ was mentioned in 12% of all enquiries.

The majority of 2024-related requests involved trends or predictions for the new year, but also interior trends, health and wellness trends, predictions for web development, railway industry trends, food and drink trends, and much more.

Travel enquiries also proved popular for media pros looking for destinations to visit in 2024. Journos also wanted information of events, activities, and experiences, and news of new openings or launches within entertainment, food and drink, and leisure.

January’s trend pieces offer a great opportunity to get experts featured in outlets such as The Independent, BBC News, Stylist, Women’s Health, lovePROPERTY, Country & Town House, and The Times, who all regularly use the Journalist Enquiry Service.

Focus on fitness

A new year means  health-related ‘resolutions’ (a keyword that appeared in 2% of all enquiries), and ‘Fitness’ performed very well in December, with just under 5% of the total requests featuring the keyword.

On a similar note, ‘diet’ featured in 2% of the enquiries in December. These requests focused on   experts such as dieticians, doctors, and nutritionists to comment on what plans were good or what foods to eat or not eat. Plus information on certain challenges that could help with this as well, such as Dry January and Veganuary. The latter also did well as a keyword and appeared in 2% of requests too.

There was a mix of consumer titles and national press outlets sending these requests such as The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Express, The Sun Online, Woman & Home, Positive News, and Men’s Fitness. Nutrition, fitness and health are all likely to remain popular throughout January and experts across any of these fields should be able to get coverage in the media.

Which journalists were using the service?

In December, over half of the journalists using the Enquiry Service were staff journalists (54%). Freelance journalists were the next biggest users with just under 30%. The journalists mainly came from consumer media (35%) with national newspaper and current affairs (30%) not too far behind and trade/business/professional media, the third highest media type at 18%. 

41% of journalists were looking for a spokesperson or expert last month, making it the most selected enquiry type. This was followed by requests for information for an article, at 25%. Review products were third on 15% and then enquiries for a personal case study in fourth on 10%. Six of the top ten outlets in December were national press and the other four were all consumer titles.

Opportunities for PRs in January and beyond

Consumer categories such as Food & Drink, Fashion, Home & Garden and Travel are all likely to perform well in January, with trends and predictions in these areas for 2024. The Health category will likely see the biggest increase with challenges such as Veganuary and Dry January and journalists in general looking for more information and experts around fitness, wellbeing, and nutrition.

The amount of requests around Valentine’s Day will see a big boost in January in preparation for the big day, with enquiries likely to focus on products and gift ideas. With LGBT History Month in February, we could see plenty of requests for experts on this topic, too, so be ready to help the media with your contacts.

For more on what journalists want from PRs, and how Vuelio can help, here are requests from media professionals themselves at outlets including The Daily Telegraph and Marie Claire. 

The PR winners of 2023

Barbie, Airbnb, and Octopus: The PR winners of 2023

It’s time to look back at some of the biggest PR wins this year as well as the campaigns and comms strategies that could have gone a lot better for brands, media personalities, and sports organisations making the headlines.

Bravo to Barbie’s team, Ryanair, and Octopus Energy, but there’s room for improvement from companies working with oil clients and those who still haven’t sorted out their gender pay gaps…

Amazing work from Amex, says Sarah Woodhouse, director at AMBITIOUS PR

Winner: ‘I still love Amex’s Small Business Saturday campaign. It’s purpose driven, it has a narrative, and it becomes more relevant every year.’

Could do better: ‘The example of crisis ‘losers’ comes from within our industry, Clean Creatives targeting major PR companies at Cannes who still work with oil clients despite their ESG commitments. That hit me hard as a business owner, you must really ensure your clients align with your values and those of your team.’

An A+ for Airbnb’s comms, from Sarah Danzl, CMO at Skillable

Winner: ‘A clear winner was Airbnb and its pledge to offer housing to Ukrainian refugees. In doing so, it gave a clear demonstration of its mission “to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere”. In times of crisis, being mission-driven and supporting society in a unique way for your brand can help you stand out for the right reasons.’

Could do better:Silicon Valley Bank is a good example of what can go frightfully wrong when communications are vague and mistimed, or when a CEO isn’t prepped well enough for an interview.

The Gender Pay Gap Bot, created by Francessca Lawson and Ali Fensome, called out companies that jumped onto the International Women’s Day hashtag online without creating true gender equity in their organisations. It is a good lesson for being authentic and not DEI-washing in your communications as these things will always be found out eventually.’

Mental health campaign was meaningful for Rachel Gilley, chief client officer at Clarity

Winner: ‘A campaign that I’ve loved this year is Norwich City Football Club x Samaritans for World Mental Health Day. A visually-led campaign, which encourages individuals to check in on those around them, it reminds us that sometimes the signs are hard to spot when people are struggling.’

Could do better: ‘A campaign that could be improved upon was this year’s Sports Direct and Getty Images ‘Equal View’ campaign, which highlights the lack of diversity in sports imagery. A brilliant idea, the partnership campaign could have gone a lot further using social media to drum up user generated content to highlight the “real” face of sports fans.’

Ryanair continued to ‘kill it’ with comms, says Beth Turner, head of PR at ilk Agency

Winner:Ryanair is a brand that kills it for me. They understand their offering and their audience 100% and their comms reflect it wholeheartedly. It’s funny, well-done and has that shareability factor that is always so important with PR.’

Could do better: ‘One that sticks out to me for being pretty poor this year is Ticketmaster. When every man and their dog were trying to get Taylor Swift tickets, they came under scrutiny at every corner, especially when their site crashed and they cancelled ticket sales for some of her upcoming dates. Fans were furious to say the least, and it even led to a debate in the US Senate and Taylor Swift herself condemning the company and how they handled the situation. Ticketmaster stayed relatively silent on their part, didn’t seem to care about the millions of fans left empty-handed and simply blamed ‘demand’ for their wrongdoings. That is a lesson in how not to do crisis comms!’

Barbie’s PR was in the pink, for Jane Whitham, director of Altitude PR

Winner: ‘When it comes to PR winners in 2023, there’s only one choice, the Barbie movie’s entire promotional campaign. Using every dollar of its undoubtedly colossal marketing budget, Barbie collaborated with a variety of companies – Microsoft, Balmain, and Bloomingdale’s.

‘Far beyond collaborations, Barbie’s marketing team also used the ‘Barbie Dreamhouse’ on Airbnb and a themed boat cruise in Boston. The marketing campaign was a resounding success to the extent there was a worldwide shortage in pink paint reported. Or was it just opportunistic PR?

‘Barbie’s successful campaign was also at the forefront of a global newsjacking campaign. Everyone wanted a piece of the campaign, adding their point of view and jumping on the Barbie bandwagon. Warner Bros’ not only advertised the film, but it was also used by countless other companies for their own marketing campaigns.’

Could do better: ‘On the other side, easyGroup has been flexing its corporate orange muscles for quite some time but the company’s battle with indie band Easylife leaves a very sour taste.

‘The owner of the easyJet brand filed a lawsuit this summer claiming the Leicester band’s name infringed a trademark. Unable to financially defend a lawsuit, the band changed its name. The PR machine behind easyGroup insisted the band were brand thieves.

‘The upshot was condemnation from media, musicians, and MPs. It’s also upheld easyGroup’s reputation as aggressive and litigious. It’s a definite PR own goal.’

Football crossovers were fun for Darryl Broadfoot, head of sport PR at Frame

Winners: ‘ESPN, Walt Disney Company and the NFL have set the standard in sports and entertainment crossover with Toy Story Funday Football: making sport [and live sport broadcast] relevant and relatable to a younger audience. The first-of-its-kind animated live version of the Atlanta Falcons v Jacksonville Jaguars replaced the stars of the grid with the stars of the Toy Story franchise – with the action replayed in Andy’s Room, the iconic main setting of the movies.

‘It was more than a stunt: using cultural relevance to take sport beyond its established and traditional audience, while showcasing the innovation of broadcasters ESPN as they seek to safeguard future TV audiences.’

Could do better: ‘The crisis that engulfed the Spanish Football Federation and its now former President following the FIFA Women’s World Cup final will remain a case study in how to make a crisis situation worse for years to come. The universal reaction from the progressive majority across the men’s and women’s game at least showed the journey towards equality and equity can be strengthened and not derailed in times of crisis.’

More love for Barbie and Airbnb from Hayley Knight, co-founder and communications director for BE YELLOW

Winner: ‘I mean, I can’t answer this question without mentioning Barbie! They absolutely smashed it and even small brands can learn PR and marketing strategies from the team behind it.

WeAre8 is a fantastic example of a brand that’s ahead of the curve. A new social media platform that helps people do good, and breaks the habit of doom scrolling. They’re marketing has been marvellous and has understood the assignment when it comes to marketing B-Corp initiatives.

‘Airbnb is also a great example of creating emotionally relevant campaigns, and we saw this in their campaign to house 100,000 Ukraine refugees, and they did this at a loss in profits, showcasing authenticity and meaning.

‘I also absolutely love the Recycle Your Electricals hypnocat advertising campaign. It ticks all of the boxes – it’s catchy, memorable, has a social impact and is outright hilarious!

Could do better: ‘I know it got a great response, but for me the Just Eat campaign with Christina Aguliera and Latto didn’t land for me. It felt dated, and a brand trying to be relevant for the sake of it. I didn’t feel like it connected to its audience and fell a little flat.’

‘And let’s be honest, we can all learn a little something of what not to do from Elon Musk and X.’

Warm feels for Octopus, from Susannah Morgan, deputy managing director of Energy PR

Winner: ‘Wins go to businesses bucking their industry norms and understanding what their customers really want from them. Octopus Energy is a great example of this. By offering customers free electricity when there is the least pressure on the network, the company is helping its customers in a way that really matters, building valuable goodwill in the process.’

Could do better: ‘This year has seen what feels like an unusually high number of reputational crises caused by the behaviour of individuals. Think BP’s Bernard Looney, and the CBI’s Tony Danker. The damage inflicted by an individual can hit at the very heart of an organisation’s culture. If bad behaviour is tolerated at the top, or the organisation deals with it poorly, it calls into question the values and ethics of the whole entity.’

Girls run the (PR) world, says Caroline Miller, founder and managing director at Indigo Pearl

Winners: 2023 was the year that women ruled the world – and boosted economies globally. From Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster Barbie movie success, to Taylor Swift and Beyonce taking live music to the masses on a scale never seen before, women are shifting the creative and economic dials. The summer of 2023 saw London turn pink with Barbiecore everywhere – the Barbie PR machine was inescapable and we were 100% there for it.’

Could do better: ‘Keeping on the female theme, one of the worst PR losers of this year was Conservative MP Gillian Keegan’s ITV News microphone rant over the Raac concrete scandal. While we don’t know what was going through Keegan’s mind at the time of the outburst, it’s PR 101 to always maintain dignity and composure in front of the media. A lesson learned the hard way, and a reminder to all PRs when briefing clients.’

Want to be a winner in PR for 2024? Take note of these 19 key trends for the PR and comms industry coming up this year. 

Vuelio's top 10 blog posts of 2023

Our top 10 PR and communications posts of 2023 

As part of our overview of 2023, and a look forward at 2024 in PR and comms, here are the most popular posts from the Vuelio blog this year. From effective media outreach to data-driven reporting, crisis management to brand personality, here are some of your favourite guidance pieces from the last twelve months…

Want more on what’s happening in your industry? Sign up to Vuelio’s newsletters

1. PRs on PR: How to pitch to the media

In this best practice piece from May, we called in some of the industry’s top PRs to share insider tips on how to pitch to the media.

Categorised into preparation, creation, sending, and following-up sections, this piece has what you need to connect with journalists and get them sharing your story.

‘Gone are the days when a pitch sent to a list of hundreds of journalists would result in instant links or coverage’ said JBH’s senior digital PR manager Lauren Wilden —here is how to get results in the modern media landscape. 

2. 5 predictions for PR in 2023 

Prohibition’s founder Chris Norton added to our 15 PR and communications trends you need to plan for in 2023 post with his own five predictions for what was ahead in the second half of the year.

An increase in use of ChatGPT, the continuing popularity of influencer marketing, and even more emphasis on social media were just three of them. No mention of Elon Musk’s efforts to ‘reinvigorate’ Twitter/X, though, but no one could have seen that coming, probably… 

3. Six evidence-backed ways to survive a PR crisis 

This year has seen its share of crises across the world, as well as some difficult times for brands, businesses, high-profile personalities, and politicians that found themselves in hot water.

In this write-up of the Vuelio webinar ‘Speak Up or Shut Down: The Value of Proactive PR in a Crisis’, we examined different brand responses issued in times of trouble to find out what works and what should be avoided at all costs. Check out examples from Coca Cola, Virgin Atlantic, and more. 

4. Autumn Statement 2023 speculation

2023’s Autumn Statement was, as ever, highly anticipated by the public and press. But in a year where the cost-of-living crisis racked up financial pressures for so many across the UK, extra pressure was on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

Before the announcement, the Vuelio political team shared speculation from the media and high-profile politicos. Topics tackled – tax, ISA updates, fuel duties, and net zero goals. Were the predictions spot on? Check out our coverage of the Autumn Statement itself here and here

5. International Women’s Day 2023: How can the PR industry evolve for the better? 

Despite efforts to improve equity in PR, comms, marketing, and the media, the creative industries still have a problem with gender equality. For International Women’s Day, we spoke to women working across PR sector.

‘When misogyny is still allowed to breed in our society, at the highest levels and most trusted ranks, we need counter pressures to dismantle toxic views which seek to constrain and harm women,’ said Ketchum’s Alicia Solanki.

Don’t be part of the problem in 2024 – read the post to find out how. 

6. How to build a social presence when your audience isn’t there

Social media is a major part of almost every campaign strategy in modern PR. But with the emergence of the Metaverse, Web3,  and a myriad of tech innovations,, which ones do you invest in? How do you optimise ROI with a small or not-so-technical audience? For how to build a presence on social media, and find your audience, here is how a strong set of Insights tools can help with snapping up earned and owned content, save you time and help you smash your KPIs.

7. Getting to know you: How to build a brand personality

Trust was a key component brands and businesses had to get right in 2023, and will continue to be important for keeping customer and community loyalty in 2024. What will help? Building a brand personality consumers will want to interact with.

In this post, PR experts from agencies including Pace Communications, Sweet Digital, TeamSpirit, and Sway PR explained how to get started, from brainstorming what your brand is about to assembling your assets.

8. Tips for spotting the best newsjacking opportunities

In this guest post, strategic and creative freelance digital PR Alice James gave tips and tricks for successful newsjacking.

For keeping your own brand and your clients in the public eye, here is how to spot the best opportunities by immersing yourself in the news cycle, getting ahead of the curve, and connecting with journalists.

Once you’ve refreshed yourself with a re-read of Alice’s advice, check out tools to help, including the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service

9. How to create key messages that actually land with your target audience

Numbers can only tell part of the story when measuring the performance of campaigns — especially when it comes to everyone’s favourite, Share of Voice. You may have gotten a lot of coverage, but what was the quality? Was the commentary passive, or even negative? Is all PR really good PR?

This post offers a five-step guide for getting started with Key Message Penetration, enabling you to measure brand awareness and assess how well your brand messages are being delivered.

10. How has TikTok impacted food and drink content and how will it dominate in 2023? 

Finally, we’re finishing up this year’s highlights with another expert op-ed from our PR and comms community. 

Hatch Group’s social media lead Jack Moore gave the lowdown on how Tiktok has influenced food and drink content and key trends for 2023. With up-and-coming influencers like Keith Lee, B. Dylan Hollis, and Mr Grubworks offering up what’s worth putting on plates, how has short-form changed the world of food and drink PR and what does this mean for the future? Jack shares his predictions and advice – take note, and, given his accuracy over the last year, get ready for a jam-packed 2024.  

To keep up with content from the Vuelio and ResponseSource blogs, sign up to our Media Bulletin, PR Pulse, and Point of Order newsletters here.

Ready for 2024? The Vuelio Insights team is here to help, with reports designed to show you gaps in your media strategy, help you hit your targets, and demonstrate your successes. Learn more here

Bad PR habits to leave behind in 2023

Bad PR habits to leave behind in 2023

It’s not quite time for New Year’s Resolutions yet, but to give you a start on yours, here is a rundown of bad PR habits to break for 2024, according to the experts…

Sloppy procurement processes

‘Bad procurement habits. Brands need to stop inviting agencies to pitch then kicking the decision back or ghosting them. It’s bad form and disrespectful.’
Sarah Waddington, director of Wadds Inc, founder of #FuturePRoof, and co-founder of Socially Mobile

Vanity metrics

‘At the top of the list is vanity measurements or what I call ‘red herring metrics’, which encourage practitioners and teams to become distracted by the wrong things – like generating a set number of media articles, regardless of quality, or chasing engagement at all costs on social media. We need to get better at using the frameworks at our disposal – like AMEC – to support us to measure the impact, value and outcomes of our work.’
Leigh Greenwood, founder and managing director of Evergreen PR

All talk and no action

‘We’re all tired of reading similar blog content. Those that win will be able to show how they are tangibly making AI, for example, work for clients and their business – making their team more efficient and using this to make their service more attractive.’
Sarah Woodhouse, director at AMBITIOUS PR


‘We use an excessive amount of jargon. One of the biggest culprits is the word ‘strategy’. More than a buzzword, the strategy should be based on in-depth research and analysis of a brand, its customers, competitors, and the overall market landscape. How can we get people to take our industry seriously if we can’t meaningfully use vernacular that actually explains what we do and the value of our work?’
Rachel Gilley, chief client officer at Clarity

Surveys, surveys, surveys

‘Personally, I am tired of seeing constant survey-led stories, and I do think journalists have cottoned onto these as I see less of them covered than I have done previously. People want real news, and real stories, and survey-led stories do not always reflect reality. I still think they have their place when done right, but I do think agencies and brands should start to shift from these and think outside the box in upcoming ideation sessions. I think they’re already on their way out, but dream job and best places to live stories are also a little ‘done’ now. I would never see one of these campaigns nowadays and be shocked or intrigued by them – unless the data was really mind blowing!’
Beth Turner, head of PR at ilk Agency

Not enough diversity

‘We have seen in the past campaigns/strategies that have a complete lack of diversity, or that are completely tone deaf. As PR teams continue to hire a greater diversity of employees, campaigns/PR strategies will continue to incorporate representation from a wider range of people who are from all different backgrounds, cultures, socio-economic backgrounds and experiences.’
Francesca Cullen and Rosie Lees, co-founders and directors of Nineteen94 Communications Agency

Words without meaning

‘I hope 2024 will see an end to “content marketing equals words”. A recent Hubspot report found the top use case for generative AI by marketers (48%) has been content creation. 2023 was indeed the year of content marketing. But for too many PR pros, content just equals words. But they’ve now found that ChatGPT can do that at the touch of a few keys.

‘Content marketing in 2024 must start to be creative – words are just the toolkit. For content marketing to work it must have the vision and ideas of humans, crafted into messages by humans, because these messages are being read by humans – the buyers of your products and services.’
Jamie Kightley, head of client Services for IBA International

Shallow, surface-level support

‘I hope to see the back of shallow PR. Tactics just for the sake of securing earned coverage. Often brands fall into the trap of ‘purpose PR’ but consumers are savvy and can see through a tactic unless it has real substance and genuinely makes a difference. That doesn’t mean brands have to invest heavily, many small businesses just can’t afford to do that, but it does mean brands need to think carefully about making a difference to the charities and communities it supports and ensure tactics are implemented for the right reasons.’
Alison Downs, head of consumer PR at Frame

‘Time needs to be called on companies pushing for quick PR wins that amplify hollow Corporate Social Responsibility activity. It’s no longer enough for brands to give a nod to vague values written on a wall. Consumers are quicker than ever to call out companies for greenwashing, sportswashing or any sort of PR laundry.’
Jane Whitham, director of Altitude PR

AI for AI’s sake

‘As a specialist tech-sector agency, we’re always the first to welcome and
embrace smart innovation, but smart is the keyword. Using a tool that compromises our quality of work or adds more tasks to our to-do list is definitely not smart. Unlike the metaverse craze of 2022, AI is certainly here to stay – we just have to remain mindful we’re in the middle of an AI goldrush and we don’t need to jump on every new tool that’s launched. Not every PR presentation needs AI-generated cats driving cute cars.’
Caroline Miller, founder and managing director at Indigo Pearl

And finally… a death knell for spray and pray

‘We’ve been hoping for the end to the “spray and pray” approach to media outreach for years. Perhaps 2024 will be the year? From the journalists and bloggers we speak with, it sadly doesn’t seem to be on the wane. My fear is that it is coming from SEO agencies doing digital PR that don’t care about the integrity of the process, they just want the links. They’re probably charging the clients peanuts and doing ill-thought through mass-mailings, but it gives the whole industry a bad name. Not to mention how ineffective it is. It’s stupid and pointless.’
Susannah Morgan, deputy managing director of Energy PR

And on that note – great work in 2023 everyone, and we wish you a productive 2024! To help you get started, here are 19 trends in PR and comms to prepare for.

PR and comms trends for 2024

19 PR and communications trends you need to be ready for in 2024

Being ethical, sustainable, and honest were key to keeping client, consumer, and community loyalty throughout 2023. What should your focus be for 2024 in PR and comms?

Here are predictions from comms professionals for what you should expect in the year ahead. Get ready for collaboration, creativity, and keep in mind that the UK election season won’t be all bad…

1) Making the most of election season (even if it is a slog)

‘An election year always offers a lot of opportunity. Check out each of the party’s policies – what change is potentially coming round the corner for your organisation or clients? Make sure you’re horizon-scanning and planning accordingly.’
Sarah Waddington, director of Wadds Inc, founder of #FuturePRoof, and co-founder of Socially Mobile

‘This will open some interesting opportunities (beyond the Public Affairs remit and in line with the rules) for clients looking to increase brand awareness and be a central part of the media conversation and narrative when it comes to backing funding for their specific industries. Think infrastructure projects such as EV, telecoms, transport, as well as healthcare services i.e., mental health.’
Niki Hutchinson, founder and managing director at LarkHill PR

2) Collaborating with clients on content

‘I hope that 2024 sees more communications professionals work with customers to understand what messages resonate the most, and even co-create some campaigns, events, and content together. This will put an end to irrelevant messages that, at best, waste resources, and at worst, damage a brand’s reputation and customer loyalty.’
Sarah Danzl, CMO at Skillable

3) Being truthful

‘One of the biggest challenges is credibility and ensuring we are placing our clients in publications and on platforms which value truth and transparency. And although we seem to talk less about ‘fake news’, that challenge remains.

‘We have already seen, with Russell Brand’s large social media following and reach, along with Boris joining GB News, that alternative platforms create and groom loyal fanbases that are often less interested in fact, and instead value that feeling of community and belonging. As PRs, it’s important that we take note of their position and influence, while also remembering our duties to be truthful and to operate ethically.’
Victoria Moffatt, founder and managing director for LexRex Communications

4) Focusing on audiences

‘For any outcome to be achieved we need to persuade specific audience groups to take specific actions. Skills such as stakeholder mapping, behaviour science, prioritisation, and relationship building have become increasingly valuable and, when married to excellent planning and measurement, enable us to generate value and evidence it.’
Leigh Greenwood, founder and managing director of Evergreen PR

5) Becoming more results-driven

‘The evolution of PR into a more results critical model will continue. This perhaps being (as we are seeing) a 70/30 split between digital PR campaigns and brand PR – the former in the pursuit of increased organic keyword performance to drive much needed leads for clients. Basically, most businesses need double the sales leads to convert business as usual in this increasingly troubled market.’
Trevor Palmer, director/founder of Tank

6) Being purpose-driven, too

‘These days consumers are far more savvy when it comes to where they are spending their money and publications sometimes have a quota to cover a certain amount of sustainably responsible brands. This leaves a really big opportunity for purpose driven brands to succeed.’
Francesca Cullen and Rosie Lees, co-founders and directors of Nineteen94 Communications Agency

‘As many working in the comms industry know, the rules around the eco messaging companies can legitimately use to sell products and services is continually evolving. This is likely to continue to present sensitive and complex issues for brands keen to communicate green initiatives and innovations to target audiences, without falling foul of greenwashing claims, as we head into 2024.

‘For example, we expect to see a decline in the “big but difficult to prove” eco claims of the past – e.g. that a certain product or service is completely ‘carbon neutral’ – in favour of brands adopting a more honest and open dialog with audiences, that shows how they are improving things, as well as the work that still needs to be done.’
Alice Regester, CEO and co-founder of 33Seconds

‘In my opinion, this actually represents an opportunity for brands. The ones who are prepared to be transparent about their challenges – where they’ve fallen short and where they’ve needed to pivot – will be the ones who are seen as more authentic and trustworthy to their consumers, but will be the ones most likely to drive change – inspiring stakeholders and other brands.’
Lucy Newson, deputy managing director at Alfred

7) Using your brain

‘It’s time to focus on the most powerful tool PR and Marketing pros have – brain power. Hyper-personalisation is a key element within Industry 5.0 and we’re seeing it reflected in B2B buyer behaviour.

‘Be creative not bland, hook on to the ideas that are stimulating buyer behaviour, get strategic about your brand equity.’
Jamie Kightley, head of client Services for IBA International

8) Freshening-up content with video

‘PR that incorporates short form video will provide plenty of opportunity for more creative agencies and professionals. Younger audiences don’t want content dictated by centuries-old media companies. Fresh, original content via brands and organisations’ own channels will continue to dominate.’
Jane Whitham, director of Altitude PR

9) Increasing creativity when budgets decrease

‘Smart PR agencies will revel at the creative challenge of tighter briefs, smaller budgets and the need to, finally, nail campaign ROI. Most PR practitioners are problem solvers by nature, and it’s amazing what can be accomplished when you’re forced to think differently. Creative content is the perfect partner for PR. Today’s consumers of all ages are much more open to seeing creative content everywhere. We will see further integration of PR and social media in the years to come.’
Caroline Miller, founder and managing director at Indigo Pearl

10) Using human voices (that means case studies)

‘The rise in fake news, misinformation and the use of AI in comms is making audiences sceptical. As a result, they are turning to sources of information that feel authentic, relatable and human. This is a great opportunity for excellent PR – accurate storytelling that really resonates with the audience. Hard data adds to the feeling of trust, so a human voice coupled with decent data will be a winning combination. Putting the human voice at the centre of communications will be important, so thought leadership, expert content and influencers will be key players in 2024 strategies. So much so that Google is prioritising the proven experiences of individuals over branded content.’
Susannah Morgan, deputy managing director of Energy PR

11) But there’s no escape from AI just yet…

‘Since AI makes producing new content so much easier, content flooding is an unfortunate side-effect of this. Nevertheless, I believe that this repetitive content flooding our social channels will make us aware of the worthlessness of a great portion of the content we kind of got used to in the past and make us more discerning about the content we consume.’
Peter von Kageneck, DACH PR director for Life Size Media

‘The industry as a whole needs to acknowledge that the marriage of human creativity, strategic thinking, and data-driven AI insights can create an unprecedented and unrivalled level of impact when used correctly. Together, they will usher in a new era where PR is not just about communication – but more so understanding, influencing, and adapting to an evolving digital landscape.’
Sheridan Okey, head of digital PR at Tribera

‘News is cyclical and data can inform stories that have exceeded performance metrics in the past, and with AI further embraced in newsrooms we’ll see past content repurposed and reused throughout the year in line with regular trends and seasons. Cut-through for this type of activity will be much harder unless something really unique or compelling is offered, which could include reputable voices, rich in expertise or new supporting findings and data.’
Damian Summers, head of Digital PR at Impression

‘While for some this may be seen as “the robots taking our jobs”, it in fact provides opportunities for PR agencies to demonstrate their worth and how invaluable their insight is, by showing that we know our clients, have good relationships with the media and provide that crucial human element that AI just doesn’t have.’
Holly Daulby, managing director and founder of Honest Communications

12) Teamwork

‘Integration is a big one here. Utilising different services within PR campaigns is a great opportunity to maximise the reach of our stories, and allows clients to get more bang for their buck. Working across departments and cross-channel will be something agencies should be doing.’
Beth Turner, head of PR at ilk Agency

‘Harnessing the power of the team, working together, digging in, sharing the load and holding people’s hand to tackle the challenge together to me seems the best way to respond to the challenges ahead. Bring on 2024 – another year of challenge, change and opportunity.’
Rachel Roberts, CEO of spottydog Communications (part of Leopard Co

‘Further integration between marketing channels. Budgets are tight and brands are looking for the maximum return from their investment. A multi-channel approach across PR, SEO, social and paid can support and increase results across all channels.’
Sarah Ross, account director for R&Co Communications

13) Shared experiences

‘I think we’ll continue to see the rise of community-driven experiences. The Barbie movie plus the Eras and Renaissance tours showed us that shared experiences are still top of people’s wishlists.’
Sarah Henderson, managing director of PrettyGreen Group and chief client officer

14) Equity

‘I, for one, am very much hoping that 2024 will be a year when the PR world starts to address equity and diversity. CIPR has made strides in this, and I am set to be the EDI Champion in the Southwest, but with figures showing that 9 in 10 UK practitioners are white, and 25% are privately educated—around four times higher than the UK national average—we need to do better.

‘We can no longer work in an industry full of offices that look like the cast of “Emily in Paris”, instead, we must make a commitment to a truly diverse workforce that reflects clients, campaigns, and stories.’
Natalie Trice, career coach, PR and media expert trainer

‘It’s no longer going to be acceptable for brands to simply give a small nod to their corporate values and responsibility to their communities. Consumers are more savvy and will actively call out brands whose messaging doesn’t seem sincere, and this can have a huge impact on the brands’ reputation.

‘It’s time for brands to be more consistent about where they stand on big social issues and be more authentic in their messaging. Next year, brands will need to start dedicating parts of their PR activity to show how they’re making a positive impact on the planet, their workers, and their communities.’
Gareth Hoyle, managing director for Coveragely

15) Zeroing in on Gen Z

Brands need to understand the Gen Z demographic, and target them through short form content and video, meaning that they need to be tapping into TikTok, and influencer marketing, and understanding how they engage. Taking time to learn this now will put your brand ahead of the curve come 2024.’
Hayley Knight, co-founder and communications director for BE YELLOW

16) Keeping our Google Overlords happy

‘Not only are trust signals such as customer reviews and testimonials, client lists, and industry accreditations important for today’s more cautious customers, but they’re also incredibly important to Google. Google is consistently trying to determine how trustworthy a brand’s website is in the same way that potential customers are in order to rank its search position. Third-party endorsement is going to be a requisite for brands in 2024.’
Sarah Woodhouse, director at AMBITIOUS PR

‘As the industry evolves, there’s a growing emphasis on what we call “search real estate”. Brands are investing in SEO and PR expertise to construct a digital presence that cultivates trust, thereby enhancing brand value and measurable conversation metrics.’
Lexi Mills, CEO of Shift6 Studios

17) Podcasting

‘If PR and communications professionals haven’t recognised the impact and reach of podcasts yet, they need to do this in 2024.’
Stephanie Mullins-Wiles, director of Bluesky Education

‘Multimedia content will also continue to grow over the next year, serving as an opportunity for agencies. According to Demand Sage, in 2023 there will be 464.7 million podcast listeners globally. This number is predicted to reach 504.9 million by 2024. Podcasts are no longer simply audio recordings, but video too, to provide visuals for listeners who are keen to consume content cinematically. According to Sprout Social, YouTube Shorts get 30 billion views daily from users around the globe; it is a platform not to be overlooked.’
Rachel Gilley, chief client officer at Clarity

18) Making use of insight tools

‘2024 has the opportunity to be the year where the PR industry really gets serious about listening to audiences as well as talking to them. The continued blurring of the lines between PR, digital, and social, and the myriad of tools both free and paid that we have at our disposal, mean the availability of insights to strengthen our work has never been greater.’
Ewan MacGill, associate director, consumer, at Frame

19) Optimism

‘Overwhelmingly, our research and audience profiling are showing that people want brands to spark joy, and make them smile. In the midst of multiple crises and distressing news cycles, people are looking to brands for a bit of escapism and lightness.

This needs to feel natural an authentic, as our audiences are more sensitive than ever to performative tactics. With this in mind, there will be an opportunity for brands that naturally fall in the spaces of humour, escapism and joy to truly amp up the fun, and shine bright in 2024.’
Dana Hanna, senior creative strategist for Ready10