PR Spotlight: Laura Sutherland, chief of Aura & founder of #PRFest

Laura Sutherland is the chief and founder of Aura, a Glasgow PR and digital marketing consultancy. With over fifteen years of experience in public relations, Laura is now a Chartered PR practitioner and a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). Laura is also the founder of #PRFest, the UK’s first festival for public relations and has co-written a best practice guide for the CIPR, which discusses ethical paid and earned media. In this spotlight, Laura, who appears on our top ten UK PR blogs by women, chats to us about how the industry has changed, why writing a press release and placing media stories does not guarantee success, the growing importance of analytics, demonstrating ROI, and how social media is opening up new opportunities for PRs.  

PRFest 1 SA : Pictures from PR Festival June 16th 2016 at Whitespace, Edinburgh. All images © Stewart Attwood Photography 2016.. All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is expressly prohibited without prior permission.

What do you most like about being the chief at Aura? And what are some of the challenges? Well, I work for myself. I can be flexible with everything! My time, where I work, how I work, what I charge and I am fortunate enough to be able to pick and choose the best clients to work with; brands which I can relate to and where I can make a real difference.

What I have found is a challenge is managing my time with Aura business and client work. I’ve found that segmenting my week and dedicating time to everything at the most appropriate time is essential. The accounts get done once a month so I’m always on top of them. I do my own invoicing and chasing for late payments. I have a new business funnel which I try to keep on top of and often involves a lot of chasing, for briefs to be completed, for dates to be set etc. Some people may say working on your own is hard to keep motivated, but because I work with such great clients, I don’t find that an issue. In fact, I could work from home, but if I did, I’d work longer hours!! I’ve fallen into that trap before!

I’m also involved with independent practitioners communities and lead one in Scotland and I have built a great network of practitioners far and wide, so there’s always someone to talk to.

As someone with over 15 years’ of experience in public relations, events and communications, how in your opinion has the industry changed? The industry has changed massively. It’s very exciting!

When I first started in PR I didn’t have a PC. I had a desk and paper. We used faxes to send out press releases (and resent them many times due to the amount of faxes news desks received), we used the post and couriers to send out images in 35mm format and design work.

I suppose I was lucky in my first PR job. It was an integrated agency so I got to work across media relations, design, advertising, events and all the client relations side. I worked with big brands such as L.K. Bennett, Patek Phillipe, Bvlgari and also did what we’d now call influencer relations, back then. It was a baptism of fire with little guidance and no training.

In terms of the industry now, there are different elements I can break things down to:

  • People – some practitioners are riding the wave and really enjoying developing themselves to be more relevant. To up-skill and learn new things all the time. I see this as essential. However, there are other practitioners who think they can just keep on doing the same thing as 10 years ago, writing press releases and placing media stories. The latter will soon find they don’t fit within the industry as they can’t offer the right skills or knowledge.
  • Business – businesses are slowly grasping the value which public relations has to offer, crudely speaking, the bottom line. We’re a long way off yet, but we’re making improvements. Partly because modern practitioners are leading clients and are offering the best advice. Partly because they recognise that public relations goes way beyond churning out stories and in fact, if it’s properly integrated into the business strategy, there are many more opportunities to help business growth. Everything from using analytics to understand more to using public relations to understand the impact their business is having.
  • Industry bodies and organisations – as the industry modernises, so must the industry bodies and organisations which interact and represent with practitioners. The bodies need to lead the way on behalf of the industry and crack the engagement with business for there to be better understanding of the value of public relations. The bodies have started to offer more modern courses and training which is essential to practitioner development. I see an opportunity for better collaboration as an industry and I think there is also an opportunity for practitioners to speak out and tell the bodies what they think they need. It’s a two-way conversation.
  • Business development – despite that fact we went through a recession, arguably we’re back in a bad place due to Brexit, clever practitioners and agencies placed themselves accordingly, continuing to bring in new business and retain clients. Yes, I did see an effect in Scotland but Aura was launched in a recession (November 2008) and is still going strong, eight years later. That’s partly to do with the changes I made in 2012 and 2014, recognising the need to modernise, for a better approach to developing business and defining exactly what it was I offered.
  • Media – yes, media of course still plays a part in what we do. Traditional print is not a major focus anymore. For me, it never really worked having a blanket approach to media relations. I’ve always worked in a more strategic and targeted way. However, media is slow to modernise too, which means public relations is slow to use some forms of media as there are more effective ways. Social media has developed in a big way with the introduction of live and stories. This has presented public relations with a huge opportunity.
  • Technology – with AR and VR making headlines at all the big shows and conferences, AR is more accessible to smaller brands. VR can be costly and I’m not sure yet that everyone is ready for the tech. I know the music industry is doing a lot of testing with VR for gigs and not getting such a great response. We need to look to tech to create experiences for brands which underline the brand in an authentic way but we also need to remember that evolving tech can only be used in PR as long as the end-user it using it!
  • Industry issues – there will always be issues in every industry, but we’re starting to make headway with gender equality, professional standards and more. What we need is for the industry itself to understand the issues and help each other do something about it.

What trends do you think we will see this year in regards to the PR industry?

  • Consumer loyalty, post-Brexit, is a major thing and brands need to start reinforcing their true values, to ensure the consumer is still loyal.
  • AI – Chatbots and automation are already here but I think we’ll see artificial intelligence. Driverless cars are already making huge advancements and I see one brand has already started developing a flying car! PR has an opportunity to use AI to make user experiences better across the board. Humans can deal with everything emotionally, bots can’t. Practitioners will need to upskill, understand and start developing new ways of using AI.
  • PR will call out fake news and make an example of it. It’s our duty as ethical public relations practitioners to ensure the businesses and organisations were work in and represent conduct any communication in an ethical way.
  • Forums were big in the early 2000’s and I suppose some examples like Facebook Groups are a forum. People like to have conversations as a group in a safe place. Slack has become an everyday tool for me. Perhaps we’ll see more and better use of private spaces for conversation, brainstorming and discussion.
  • I’ve been working with a retailer and I’ve started to get to know a lot more about retail tech which engages and interacts with consumers, but everything is personalised to the specific person. Using data and tech we can really drive home personal messages, offers and experiences to the consumer
  • Content will be considered a much more strategic element to a PR strategy with longer term benefits and across different elements of the business. It’s not as simple as writing a blog post and creating a pretty image! Machine learning will have an impact too, so the content PR has to provide needs to be clever, create, engaging and personal.
  • I’m a member of a Facebook group for PR practitioners which occasionally I love and occasionally I can’t believe some of the people on there even practice public relations! However, in the last six months I’ve seen a shift of conversation, from everyone talking about AVEs and bad reporting to people now asking for tools and advice. This group has helped some practitioners come out of the dark ages and use modern and more effective approaches to improve their work. For examples, AVEs is a common one. Now the group is discussing Barcelona Principles and AMEC’s new integrated framework. Now it may be down to a few of us being involved in best practice and actually leading in these types of areas of public relations, but it does show there is a want from practitioners to come away from fluffy metrics to sound measurement and evaluation proving ROI and impact.
  • In the world of social media – who knows! It was reported recently that Snapchat is seeing people moving to Insta stories. Instagram has now introduced live, which Facebook and Twitter (via Periscope) already do. Instagram has also announced a beta of sharing image folders, for more than one image. It’s coming away from the USP that platform built itself on. I’m not sure that’s what users want? There’s also Facebook’s Workplace which could transform businesses and how they work.
  • Influencer relations will only get bigger and influencers and practitioners will have to have better ways measuring and evaluating the success of campaigns.

Why is an informed strategy, linked to business objectives the best way for public relations to grow businesses? There are two elements. Being informed, means you’ve done your research and you’ve used all the data available to you, to help inform a strategy. It’s not finger in the wind. Everything relates back to a rationale. For example, if I find data that says 100,000 people visit a website in a day, but there is 85% bounce rate on the homepage, I know the website needs to be changed. If the website is changed accordingly, people will stay on the site longer and possibly buy more products which, improves the business.

Why does PR need to be linked to business objectives? It’s a necessity. If a business wants to grow in a new market and to have £1million turnover from that market in year 1, then the PR strategy has to focus on the new market, the new audience and devise a strategy, with relevant activity/tactics, which will see that £1million turnover reached.

Public relations is not a ‘nice to have’. It needs to demonstrate ROI and it needs to show how the PR strategy and activity has contributed to the £1million turnover.

What is your definition of strategic public relations? I use the phrase ‘strategic public relations’ so that from the outset, businesses will know that I am strategic and will devise a strategy. I am not in the business of developing a tactical plan to execute, without having a strategy and relating it back to business objectives.

PRFest 1 SA : Pictures from PR Festival June 16th 2016 at Whitespace, Edinburgh. All images © Stewart Attwood Photography 2016.. All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is expressly prohibited without prior permission.

All images © Stewart Attwood Photography 2016.. All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is expressly prohibited without prior permission.

You are also the founder of #PRFest, the world’s first festival for public relations. Why was it important to you to set this up and why do you think it is important for the industry? I was frustrated with the lack of quality top-level events in Scotland for public relations – specifically ones that everyone would want to go to, not just members of an industry body. I like the diversity different disciplines and areas of expertise can bring.

There are many of these ‘big’ events for digital and marketing, but none specifically for public relations. I saw this as an opportunity to a) use my event skills to organise a great event and b) help practitioners modernise by giving them real actionable advice and learning.

I brought back the CIPR Scotland conference in 2012 and 2013, the first one since the 80’s I’ve been told, and there was a real appetite for a quality, learning event.

#PRFest was launched with an international line-up and I expected it to be well received, because I had worked with a group of practitioners to develop the topics. I didn’t think it would be a sell-out, which it was and I didn’t think people would travel from across the UK to attend, but they did.

It’s refreshing to have the festival in Scotland, not in London as per the normal big PR events, and it’s curated and run by me, not an organisation with a political or sales agenda. It also allows me to be a bit more controversial in my approach, with the aim of getting practitioners to react and think.

I think people like the fact it’s a festival and there is a bit of personality behind it. It’s also on my home turf, so it was easier for me to put together and engage the Scottish PR community initially. Start small and build from there.

There is a strong focus on learning, so every speaker has something worthwhile to teach and practitioners can literally go away and start implementing. It’s not about preaching and listening to ‘nice to know’ things.

It was great to have CIPR and PRCA on the same platform last year, demonstrating their support to a worthwhile event, which by the way, also counts for up to 20 CPD points! The PRCA is supporting the festival again this year.

You are the co-writer of best practice skills guide for the CIPR, which discusses ethical paid and earned media? Why was it important to you to write about this topic? Relating back to the Facebook group I am involved in, a few conversations had come up in recent times about having to pay for advertising to get editorial. At the same, the Competitions and Market Authority was coming down on ad agencies for not disclosing paid activity and influencers weren’t disclosing they were being paid to promote a product.

So, a skills guide was suggested by co-author Gavin Harris and he asked me to do it with him. It was done and dusted in no time but we waited to launch it at CIPR Ethics month.

It’s so important for practitioners to know the difference between paid and earned. If you don’t, here’s the skills guide, worth 5 CPD points.

PRFest 1 SA : Pictures from PR Festival June 16th 2016 at Whitespace, Edinburgh. All images © Stewart Attwood Photography 2016.. All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is expressly prohibited without prior permission.

PRFest 1 SA : Pictures from PR Festival June 16th 2016 at Whitespace, Edinburgh.
All images © Stewart Attwood Photography 2016.. All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is expressly prohibited without prior permission.

Aura is a PR & digital comms consultancy based in Glasgow? How would you describe the PR industry in Scotland?

The industry in Scotland is doing well. There was a period in 2015/16 of mergers and acquisitions but it seems to have settled…for the time being.

There are more independent practitioners in Scotland than ever, some of whom have turned to it when they have had a baby, some who have taken redundancy from public sector work and some who are doing it in early retirement years.

There’s a big opportunity for greater collaboration and connectivity.

I recently came across a large public sector organisation asking for AVEs as part of their funding grant reporting – I think this needs addressed pronto! For a large organisation like that to still be asking for irrelevant information is beyond me. Who’s to say more aren’t like that?

What has been the best campaign you worked on and why?

It has to be the launch of “Hello, My Name is Paul Smith” at The Lighthouse in Glasgow. The exhibition is owned by the Design Museum, London and it’s a travelling exhibition. It came to Glasgow before it went to Japan.

Paul Smith and his team were fabulous to work with and there was so much scope to drive a really creative campaign. There was massive awareness across Scotland and we covered every print, online and social channel you can think of, with the support of Paul Smith and Design Museum. That was a whole year ago!

What’s next for you? Are you working on any exciting new projects?

I’ve developed and am leading on an exciting project for the CIPR, which will see its 400+ volunteer community armed and better connected.

I’ve still to complete my 30 day challenge and when I do, I expect there will be further tweaks to Aura’s own strategy and development from there.

Of course, I’ve got #PRFest to continue with for the next six months, too!

At Aura, I’ve got some really great clients in retail, community engagement, health and wellbeing and the last week or two has been really busy for new business briefs coming in.

Everything I do, I do with passion, so I’m excited about everything I’m working on!

What are the most successful PRs using to monitor their coverage?

Are you tired of scrambling at the last minute to compile coverage reports and sleepless nights of monitoring your media? Sign up today for our latest webinar, News Monitoring for the Digital PR, so you can learn all about our news management tool which helps thousands of PR practitioners to monitor and track the effectiveness of their campaigns.

News Monitoring_Webinar

During our webinar, which will take place next Tuesday, you will learn how to identify your coverage and save time with automated news discovery, categorisation and reporting functions. You will also learn about how our smart algorithm automatically picks up all your campaign coverage and turns it into comprehensive monitoring reports as well as understanding the strength of your brand and benchmark against your competitors through our extensive real-time analytics, and engage with the people influencing your audience by integrating your monitoring with our database of one million media contacts.

You will also learn about how our smart algorithm automatically picks up all your campaign coverage and turns it into comprehensive monitoring reports as well as understanding the strength of your brand and benchmark against your competitors through our extensive real-time analytics, and engage with the people influencing your audience by integrating your monitoring with our database of one million media contacts.

Sign up now and find our PR software can help you.

Vuelio partners with RealWire to offer new press release distribution service

Thanks to a new partnership between Vuelio and award-winning online press release distribution service, RealWire, our clients will now be able to publish and distribute their press releases to a carefully targeted online audience. 

The new partnership will benefit thousands of communications professionals who use the Vuelio platform to manage their relationships with key audiences through our media database and to track and analyse the full impact of their campaigns.

Vuelio clients can now use the RealWire press release distribution service to publish their stories online via sources such as Google News, Press Association and Dow Jones as well as extend their reach to an online community of industry relevant journalists, editors and bloggers.

Emily Gosling, Managing Director of RealWire, commented, “Vuelio has an excellent reputation within the PR and marketing community and we are incredibly pleased to be able to offer our services as part of the diverse portfolio of industry tools and solutions that Vuelio offers.”

Vuelio CEO Joanna Arnold said: “Although countless new channels for engaging influencers have appeared in recent years, press release distribution is still core to any successful communications mix. We’re delighted to be working with an outstanding distribution service in RealWire, which will ensure our clients have the tools to identify, understand and engage with the full range of influencers, from emerging voices to the most established journalists.”

Gosling continues, “RealWire has specialised in publishing and distributing press releases online for 17 years. We are looking forward to assisting Vuelio clients with our specialist skills and providing a dedicated service for their online distribution needs.”

PR in the Post-Truth Era

From fake news to alternative facts – the truth has always been somewhat of a moveable goalpost. Regardless of whether it has been sensationalised and twisted by a journalist or deflected and spun-out by a PR professional, there have always been multiple versions of the truth.

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In an era dominated by news of Brexit, the Trump presidency, a re-emerging Russian superpower and the rise of the far right and (equally) far left, post-truth news is very much (and rather ironically) fact rather than fiction. In our brand new White Paper, we ask how will the post-truth era impact the PR industry?

Entitled ‘PR in the Post-Truth Era’, our White Paper explores how PRs should engage with the media in this new age, the opportunities and the threats in the post-truth landscape; and how to survive the pitfalls of post-truth.

Download our guide for everything you need to know about fake news.

7 Top Stories of 2016

2016 was a big year for us at Vuelio! We launched a new website with a clean design and intuitive navigation, allowing visitors to find the information they’re looking for much faster, and it was also a big year in relation to the traffic we generated from the blog.

In celebration of this content, we have compiled a list of the top performing articles from 2016:

1. Stuart Campbell Speaks Out on Twitter Ban

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Back in September, pro-independence blogger Stuart Campbell found himself embroiled in controversy. Daily Express journalist Siobhan McFadyen said that Stuart had instigated a “hate mob” against her in response to an wrote she wrote claiming that Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, was risking “outbreaks of violence” by proposing another referendum on Scottish independence. Twitter swiftly responded to Campbell’s claim and suspended his account. By the time we interviewed Stuart his account had been reinstated, but Stuart spoke to us about the complexities of freedom of speech, his thoughts on Twitter’s suspension procedures, and his feelings toward First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

 

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2. Sunday Cover

Compiled by our research team, our weekly ‘Sunday Cover’ is our second most clicked blog post. For PRs wanting to know the journalist and desk contact details of who work for newspapers such as The Daily Telegraph, The Times, the Guardian, and The Daily Star, the Sunday Cover is a vital resource.

 

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3. Blogger Spotlight: Ella Dvornik

Following her appearance on our annual travel ranking, blogger Ella Dvornik opened up to us in a spotlight interview about what it feels like to have over a hundred thousand readers of her highly successful blog I Am Ella, why she decided to create a twenty-three-page media kit for PRs, and why she owes her success to her devoted following. Known for her eccentric style and her glamorous getaways, we are not too surprised that her spotlight generated a lot of attention.

 

 

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4. The Missing Women of PR: PR Bloggers react

Back in May we decided to take on the issue of female PR practitioners being sidelined into non-career roles after having children. The article came after research that showed one of the main reasons why women leave PR after a certain point in their career is that they feel pushed into leaving public relations after having children. Not holding back, Sarah Hall, managing director of Sarah Hall Consulting and editor of #FuturePRoof, and Sarah Pinch managing director of Pinch Point Communications, shared their thoughts with us about the inequalities faced by women in PR and how the industry needs to change to become more accommodating to women with children.

 

 

22/03/2016 Paul Clarkson, editor of the Irish Sun Photo Garrett White

5. Spotlight: Paul Clarkson, The Sun

Back in April, we managed to bag an exclusive interview with the then newly appointed managing editor at the Sun, Paul Clarkson. With an average circulation of  1,755,331 and as the second largest Saturday newspaper in the UK, The Sun is still in high demand. Despite the appalling performance of the Trinity Mirror title ‘The New Day’, Paul Clarkson spoke to Vuelio about why the newspaper industry is still the pulse of the nation, the challenges of growing revenue across digital platforms, why Facebook and Snapchat want the Sun’s content, and why the press still has a massive influence on voters. Following this interview, Paul’s sentiments were later confirmed when national newspapers saw a boost in both print and online readership before and after the 23 June EU referendum.

6. Media Updates

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Providing updates on all of the moves and changes at media outlets covering news, fashion, entertainment, business, science and technology, our weekly ‘Media Updates’ give our readers a comprehensive overview of the changes happening in the industry, making it one of the most clicked posts on our site.

 

 

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7. Vlogger Spotlight: Jack & Ben, Our Swirl Life

Back in August, we featured our first ever vlogger spotlight with influencers Jack and Ben, aka Our Swirl Life. Since launching their YouTube channel last year, the pair has racked up just under two million video views and have over 41,000 subscribers. In our spotlight, Jack and Ben spoke to us about why being a British interracial couple has been an asset to their brand, how they respond to homophobic and racist comments on YouTube, and why they want to use their channel to make a difference.   

The PR Software that will guarantee you success in 2017

Want to kick-start 2017 with a product that will make all the difference to your PR? Join us on January 31st at 11am to learn about the software most successful PRs use to get their story heard by key influencers and track and measure the effectiveness of their campaigns. 

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In our first webinar of the year, we will show you why our software is the only tool you’ll need, taking you through every step of your PR activities, from campaign planning to analysing results.

During the webinar you will learn how to reach the right media contacts, how to get your news read and shared, monitor your coverage across print, online, broadcast and social, and how to measure your PR impact.

So make sure you sign up today for our up and coming webinar if you want to smash targets this year with our PR software.

Boom Time For Newspapers – Yes, Really

Yes, that’s right – we’re starting the New Year on a positive note. The newspaper industry (or at least certain sections of the newspaper industry) are in rude health and are looking forward to real growth in terms of readership, advertising revenues and profits in 2017.

Leading the charge into this exciting era in newspaper publishing is The Washington Post which has recently announced it will be adding 60 newsroom staff to its editorial team in the near future.

According to media reportsThe Washington Post will add a “rapid-response” investigative team, expand its video journalism and breaking news team and make additional investments in areas such as podcasts and photography.

The Washington Post’s renewed success is largely attributed to its new owner, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who reportedly invested $50 million dollars into the company.

As you might expect from an organisation owned by one of the leading lights of the digital economy much of this success stems from online activity.

In a memo released to staff , The Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan said: “The Washington Post shattered all traffic records over the past year, passing traditional competitors and the largest digital sites. With monthly unique visitors pushing 100 million in the U.S. alone and 30 million more from around the world, our traffic has increased by nearly 50% in the past year, extending the reach of Washington Post journalism to a broader national and global audience.

On the subscription front, we’ve more than doubled digital subscription revenue in the past 12 months with a 75% increase in new subscribers since January.

Our Sales team has been very effective in monetizing this surge in audience, with special franchises, new products and innovations in the speed and quality of our ads. As a result, digital advertising revenue has increased by more than 40% over last year’s record performance.”

Ryan heaped praise on Bezos by saying: “Jeff has encouraged us to seek out “positive surprises” and to experiment in multiple ways. Today, we are witnessing progress as many of those experiments are yielding strong results.”

UK publishers will almost certainly be keeping a close eye on the success of The Washington Post, here’s hoping the Bezos effect rubs off on them and we see some equally “positive surprises” in the coming months.

Hyperlocal News Publishers Join Forces

Cardiff University’s Centre from Community Journalism has set up a new organisation to represent the 500+ hyperlocal news publishers across the UK to bid for a share of state support.

The organisation hopes to help small and micro-publishers work with organisations like the BBC, who help fund 150 journalists to cover local councils, and also attract a share of advertising revenues from statutory notices placed in regional newspapers by local government.

The move has been welcomed by proprietors of a number of hyperlocal news services.

Graham Breeze, co-founder of the news sites MyWelshpool and MyNewtown in Wales, told journalists: “We floated the idea of establishing a national body back in 2013 when we were chosen by Nesta, the UK Innovation Foundation, to be part of its Destination Local programme.

“While there was a great deal of support for our proposals the timing was probably not right. But the timing is perfect today with hyperlocal news sites popping up all over the country, changing the local media landscape and offering new opportunities.”

Breeze continued: “We have to lobby Government, along with county and town councils, for greater recognition of the hyperlocal sector. We will never be able to attract their revenues as individuals but together as a national body we will be able to convince procurement departments that there is another alternative to print.

“The hyperlocal industry would change overnight if only a small amount of Government and Council spend on public notices came our way. Forming a national body would ensure we can demand fair treatment.

“A hyperlocal news industry is not the future. It is here now, springing up in every corner of the UK with viewing and readership figures spiralling upwards while newspaper sales continue to crash downwards.”

While many hyperlocal news sites will undoubtedly cherish their independence, particularly as many have sprung up from the ashes of local titles abandoned by large publishing houses, this level of national co-operation is a positive step forward in securing the future of these titles which, many believe, are central to holding communities together and local government and business to account.

Top PR & Marketing Tips for 2017

This past year we have spoken to many high profile PR and comms practitioners, who have shared their thoughts and insights about the industry. In this article, we have compiled the best predictions given to us by our interviewees that will give you a headstart when it comes to getting ahead of the trends in 2017. Ranging from influencer marketing, the rise in content led campaigns, agency acquisition, the growing importance of reputation management to the integration between SEO and PR, our top tips will give you all of the inside information you need to know for the new year. 

With 2017 predicted as the year of influencer marketing, many PRs are now asking what the future holds for this relatively new phenomenon. In our first masterclass we spoke with Nik Speller, contributor to Buckets and Spades, who gave some great insights about why PRs will need to change their focus when it comes influencer marketing.  

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“This industry is changing so fast; but I think there’s a few trends bubbling up that will grow and continue into 2017. Firstly, I’ve noticed a few brands pay more interest in content, than in follower numbers. These brands have seen that working with the mega-influencers doesn’t always yield results, as they aren’t always the best fit. Working with smaller, creative influencers, with a specific and highly relevant audience, can be far more effective.

“Ads seem to be on the increase, especially on Instagram. With brands now allocating more budget to influencer marketing and the rise of ad blockers, both brands and their agencies have more cash to invest in influencer ads. I think this will grow, but ultimately fall, as these ads really don’t generate as much value as brands like to think. The more successful content is well-briefed, well-structured projects, that allow influencers to get more creative and deliver content with far greater impact.

“Finally, I do think we’ll see the industry shrink a little – or, at least, begin to specialise. There’s a lot of influencers out there covering the same general topic areas and the attention of the audience has a finite limit. Eventually, some influencers will drop out of the ‘game’, while others will turn their attention to areas of specific interest to them, perhaps having smaller, but more focused and engaged, audiences.”

In a spotlight interview Michael White, PR blogger and digital account director at Lansons predicts that there will be more PR agencies partnering with SEO agencies in 2017.

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“I think a lot of PRs have been slow to understand the close ties between media relations and SEO consultancy, which are absolutely critical. These days clients don’t just want print coverage, they also want to see SEO gains on their website. I also think there will be more digital activities in terms of PR companies being able to track a customer’s entire online journey in 2017. At Lansons we have done that for a number our clients. For instance, we did this for one client and they managed to track their customers right to the point of purchase, which is amazing. There aren’t many organisations where you can track to that extent, but with Lansons you can. I think we’ll see more agencies understand the importance of this and make use of it. I also think they’ll be more PR agencies partnering with SEO agencies.

“Another trend in 2017 will be digital advertising. Digital isn’t just a big umbrella term, it has its individual specialisms and to build up an online specialism alongside say a search engine optimisation specialism is tough, so I’d say that’s another growth area.”

Valentina Kristensen, head of comms at OakNorth, shared her predictions for 2017, stating that there will be a rise in corporate governance and accountability.  

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“When it comes to future trends that will have an impact on PR in the near future I think there will be an increase in smartphone and internet penetration in developing countries (which will open up whole new markets for media professionals to reach and target); changes to legislation such as the Right to be Forgotten; social media, but one that sticks out for me is corporate governance. Recent headlines have thrown corporate governance issues at the likes of BHS, Volkswagen, and Sports Direct into the spotlight. The accountability of senior executives is becoming an increasingly hot topic on the news agenda which means we, as public relations professionals, have our work cut out for us. Ten years ago, the C-suite could have hidden behind their media teams, deflecting questions with “no comment” but today, that won’t fly.

“The rise of social media and public-led content means there’s nowhere left to hide – if you don’t respond, the public will draw you out. I think this trend towards an increased demand for corporate governance, accountability and transparency will continue and as a result, good public relations will become even more vital.”

Following our webinar about how to create a successful blogging career, entrepreneur, digital marketing strategist and publicist Natasha Courtenay-Smith returned to chat to us about her thoughts on the impact blogging will have on PR in 2017.   

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When I first started doing digital strategy combined with PR for my clients, I was quite concerned about having ‘two hats’ on. But I quickly realised that all of this is the same: whether it’s blogging, social media or publicity, it’s all about PR. And it’s all about getting people better known for what they do. Increasingly, we’ll see PR firms offering that broad spectrum of services covering traditional media and new media in 2017. So yes, you’ll be doing PR for a client, but at the same time, you’ll be running their content strategy. And meanwhile, to grow your own business, you’ll be running your own content strategy. So all round, people will be doing a lot more blogging.”

 

 

 

ed-leake_masterclass_vuelioIn our third masterclass series we spoke to Ed Leake, managing director of Midas Media, who said that when it comes to future trends for 2017, PRs need to talk less about ‘brand awareness’ and more about ‘brand advocacy’.

“Accountability and measurability go hand in hand. If you’re pushing social media as a channel that deserves marketing budget, then talk less about ‘brand awareness’ and more about ‘brand advocacy’.

“Having a process that you can map out step-by-step in detail, is a very healthy approach to any form of marketing. It keeps you on the straight and narrow, and it enables you to get milestones where you can attribute your efforts to results.”

NicolaSnell

Nicola Snell, managing director at Zero2one predicts a rise in the integration between Google analytics and digital measurement in 2017.  

“We are going to see an increasing integration with Google Analytics and digital measurement in 2017. SEO PR is a fascinating topic and something clients are growing to expect.  We are enjoying the process of developing reports and systems to meet these expectations.”

 

 

 

In a spotlight interview Mark Dandy, founder of Parental Influence, said that there will be an increase in influencer talent managers in 2017 as the industry continues to become more lucrative.

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“The biggest trend and probably my biggest worry, is the rise of ‘Influencer Talent Management’. If done correctly, this could be a great thing for some influencers, but I’m sorry to say there does seem to be an element of “there’s money to be made here so let’s get in on it”. I’ve seen fifteen-sixteen-year olds now with talent managers, tied into exclusive contracts with an agency, and with that some creative license has been taken away.

“I had a conversation with an influencer, who was offered the trip of a lifetime, all paid for by a brand, but with no payment: simply you come on the trip and blog about it. The agent asked for a £10k fee and when the brand said no, the trip didn’t happen. As an agent, your duty is to look out for the best interests of your client, and I think there is an element of looking out the best interests of an agencies bottom line, which isn’t right. I wouldn’t want that comment to be a tarnish on this practice as a whole, as I’ve met some wonderful talent managers, and some influencers who truly value them. I just have some reservations as to where this is going, as an agent is simply another barrier to a brand working with influencers.”

RachelMiller

With the growing popularity of Facebook Live and live streaming on Twitter, Rachel Miller, an award-winning blogger and the founder of All Things IC, says that live streaming will become an even bigger trend in 2017. 

“Now live-streaming has appeared on the scene, I think we’re going to see it constantly evolving as brands and bloggers experiment in 2017. I’m interested to see the impact video is having and the reappearance of shorter films. Now live-streaming has appeared on the scene, I think we’re going to see it constantly evolving as brands and bloggers experiment.”

 

Jim Hawker

We also spoke to Jim Hawker, Co Founder of Threepipe, who predicts that creative content and digital marketing will be the future of communication.

“I merged Threepipe with a digital marketing agency in 2012 to bring wider digital knowledge into the business. This expertise alongside our creative ability is the perfect platform to create more content-led campaigns which is the new model for PR. Having a content led approach allows you to distribute branded messaging through multiple platforms – be that media, influencers or paid distribution. It also allows PRs to much more effectively put a ROI against the work because it’s easier to measure.

“In terms of other trends that will impact and change PR in 2017 I think there will be a lot more agency acquisition in 2017 as the bigger groups look to buy scale and bring in creative expertise. More content led campaigns and greater emphasis on influencer marketing as the traditional media titles continue to wane. Greater emphasis of working in social channels to reach an audience not consuming traditional media.”

Sarah Pinch, managing director of Pinch Point Communications, believes PRs should pay closer attention to reputation management in 2017 and increase their efforts to create more diversity.   

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“I firmly believe that the industry is growing and we know from different research projects that PR professionals are being asked to get involved in more areas of work. In every job I have had, and now with every client I work with, organisations who get the importance of reputation, of relationships and of having a conversation, work with professional comms and PR people.”

“We must take advantage of the growing interest in the importance of reputation management and make it our own. EY has published guidance for boards, citing the financial significance of an organisation’s reputation. Integrated reporting is a very valuable and still relatively unknown tool.”

“Changes in how we can connect with people is something we all have to watch, be it a positive opportunity or indeed a greater challenge. The fragmentation of populations, and then the establishment of new communities is exciting, but it presents a real challenge for those organisations who are trying to connect with audiences on really important issues.”

“That said, there are some incredibly creative comms professionals, some of the best comunications work I have seen has come from the public sector when engaging with organisations can literally be a matter of life and death.”

“The diversity of our profession is a huge issue. We are still mainly white. I am very excited about the plans of The Taylor Bennett Foundation to improve diversity even further; but I want to see us do more. Plus, we lose women at an alarming rate. We pay them less, promote them less and then they leave. I am determined to keep drawing attention to this, it’s an embarrassment.”

When asked about future predictions for PR in 2017, Sarah Hall, managing director of Sarah Hall Consulting, CIPR President Elect 2017 and editor of #FuturePRoof said PRs need to keep up with the times and be open to changing the way they work. 

Sarah Hall three quarter

“As long as we evolve and adapt, we’ll be fine. Practitioners who think paid promotion isn’t part of the job need to think again. At Sarah Hall Consulting, we adopt a channel neutral approach. My belief is that’s what all sustainable PR agencies will do in future.”

Unafraid to speak his mind, Chris Hewitt, CEO of public relations company Berkeley said that most press releases are boring and in need of a desperate shake-up. While speaking to us about the future of press releases, Chris said PRs need to be more creative with their approach.

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“[My] point is that traditional press releases are still traditional and it’s time to stop. Often the business wants to get these ‘corporate’ messages out. But there is another way. Let’s breathe life back into press ‘story’ because there is a whole world out there distracted like never before. Let’s inject a little bit of Hollywood into our messages to stand out in a crowd.”

In Conclusion 

Top tips for success in 2017:

  • Be smarter in your outreach – working with ‘smaller’, more focused influencers with an engaged audience can be more effective than targeting high profile influencers
  • Connect and network with new stakeholders – building relationships with influencer talent managers can help open new opportunities and secure work with bloggers and vloggers 
  • Integrate your media relations with SEO –  combining PR and SEO activities in the constantly evolving digital landscape will benefit each other and the business as a whole
  • Focus on content-led campaigns – this approach allows you to distribute and measure the success of branded messaging through multiple platforms – be that media, influencers or paid distribution
  • Take advantage of the growing interest in reputation management – more organisations are seeking help from PRs 
  • Be open to paid promotion – a successful content plan includes a promotion plan to ensure your message is seen by the right audience 
  • Don’t be afraid to jump on new trends – experiment with Twitter live streaming and Facebook Live
  • Step up your efforts to improve diversity within the PR and comms industry

Still time to apply for the most challenging job in PR

PR professionals looking for a challenging new role in the New Year might still want to think twice before applying for the job of head of communications at the Department for Exiting the European Union (DEXEU).

The job, which is expected to pay between £70,000 and £90,000, has been described as industry experts as “no small challenge” and “one of the most important jobs in present-day comms”.

The political leanings of the successful candidate will no doubt be under intensive public, media and government scrutiny.

However, Alex Deane, MD of public affairs at FTI Consulting, doesn’t believe this is an issue.

Deane, who also ran the Grassroots Out! Campaign group in the run up to the referendum told journalists: “Whilst many Brexiteers will instinctively feel more comfortable if this is a political ‘believer’ rather than a civil service lifer, that isn’t really the most important thing – the ability to deliver the department’s message and build a close relationship with the ministers and key press stakeholders is the vital thing.”

The role almost certainly isn’t for PR hotheads.

Simon Petar, associate director at iNHOUSE Communications, said: “This is the biggest communications gig in Whitehall and whoever gets it will need the patience of a saint, the strategic brilliance of a chess grandmaster and the ability to inspire confidence in Ministers and an army of PRs.

Petar continued: “Ensuring the Government’s narrative flows seamlessly to all corners of the UK in a concise and timely manner is an enormous challenge, especially given everyone from Holyrood to the Dog and Duck will have an opinion.”

If you didn’t realise already, Victoria Dean, who recently became a partner at Portland Communications and has spent some time working in DEXEU warned: “It’s not an easy place to work but it is, unusually for government, quite entrepreneurial in its approach.”

If you feel you have the character and nerve to handle one of the biggest PR roles in recent British history, the deadline for applicants is the beginning of January.

Best PR stunts and advertising campaigns of 2016

As we come to the close of the year, we look at some of the best PR stunts and campaigns, ranging from the John Lewis Christmas advert, Donald Trump pizzas by Pizza Express, right the way through to KFC’s chicken-flavoured nail polish.

KFC finger lickin’ good nail polish

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One of the funniest PR stunts of 2016 came from KFC who announced it was entering the beauty department with a range of chicken-flavoured nail polishes. Described as ‘finger-lickin’ good’, KFC offered its customers the choice of  between two flavours, original or hot and spicy.

The ghost prank that had audiences running for their lives

What better way to promote your new book than to pull a prank on an unsuspecting audience? At an exclusive reading of her new book, Michelle Paver brought the mountaineering ghost in her book to life, which left people running for their lives.

 Humanoids roam the streets of London

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It’s not often that you see Humanoids roaming on the streets of Central London, but that’s exactly what happened this past October. In a publicity stunt for Sky Atlantic’s new sci-fi show Westworld, twenty Humanoids descended onto Waterloo station, the Millennium Bridge and Westminster to help raise the show’s profile.

John Lewis’s #BusterTheBoxer gets everyone chatting on social media 

When it comes to festive campaigns, John Lewis always pulls out all the stops. Their latest Christmas offering is no different. Dubbed as the most hotly anticipated ad of the festive season, the star of this year’s ad is Buster the Boxer, who has already become a social media phenomenon with his own hashtag #BusterTheBoxer.

And then there was the unforgettable spoof 

The popularity of the latest John Lewis advert also inspired a spoof following the US election results, which left many people laughing out loud.

Juliette the doll becomes the face of McDonald’s UK Christmas campaign

McDonald’s UK’ took its biggest leap this year by launching its “biggest ever” Christmas campaign. Created by UK creative agency Leo Burnett London, the ad takes an unconventional approach, focusing less on the fast food but instead a wooden doll called Juliette who comes to life after being left on the shelf for a year.                                                                                                                                                                      

James Corden brings laughter and good cheer to Sainsbury’s Christmas ad

Narrated by Comedian James Corden, this animation offers a simple message – the best gift you can give this Christmas is yourself. Featuring jokes about transportation delays, disruption on trains, and managers twerking inappropriately at work, the new Sainsbury’s ad has been an instant hit with over 14 million clicks on YouTube.

Amazon ad seeks to bring people together 

At a time of heightened tension between different social and cultural groups, the new Amazon Christmas ad seeks to bridge the gap. Starring a priest and an imam, this ad shows viewers how we can connect despite our differences.

Pizza Express get political

Cashing in on the much-heated US presidential election, Pizza Express created Trump and Hillary pizzas with impressive precision.

PETA pulls iconic prank

 

That moment when Ghostbusters took over Waterloo Station

To celebrate the remake of cult classic Ghostbusters, the film’s Stay Puft Marshmallow Man ‘smashed’ through the floor and green slime was suddenly oozing all over the station. Hundreds of commuters passing through London Waterloo Station gathered to take selfies with the giant marshmallow head using the hashtag #ghostbusterswaterloo, run by teams of ‘Ghostbusters’ who had their own ‘Who You Gonna Call?’ business card.

And the winner of the bigget tearjeaker goes to…. 

Online auction website Allegro created a polish Christmas advert which has reduced millions to tears. With over 12 million YouTube hits, the ad pulls at the heartstrings. The ad shows a slightly eccentric granddad learning English so he can introduce himself to his British grandchild when he arrives in the UK.

To see more of our favourite publicity highlights of 2016, check out this Vuelio Canvas.

Could newsprint see a revival to match vinyl records?

Newspaper publishers and lovers of tangible reading material will no doubt be following the news about vinyl records outselling digital downloads and hoping for a similar resurgence in their fortunes. However, if the newspaper industry believes a return to getting ink on their readers’ fingers is on the horizon – they’ve really misjudged the difference between music lovers and news followers.

Newspapers are a throwaway product – which is why they are printed on relatively cheap newsprint and also why digital (virtually free) distribution makes so much sense. A daily newspaper has a lifespan of day (or less). Most people do not keep newspapers beyond their intended period of consumption and many are abandoned within minutes. As the old saying goes, yesterday’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip paper (it’s not even that anymore).

Music on the other hand is something that is cherished and played time and time again. I’m still listening to music from my student days. Hell, I’m still listening to some music that was made before I was born.

Music is something that can be shared across generations and nothing helps cement that bond more than the ceremony of carefully placing a needle on the spiral groove on a piece of vinyl.

How many family memories or lasting friendships are created over a newspaper? Sure they are useful, informative and entertaining – but they are certainly not something that most young people connect with their parents over. If anything, (terminally uncool) parents used newspapers to physically hide from their children.

The Independent has already proven that a digital only newspaper can work and return a profit. I’m sure there will be no demands for a return to the halcyon (loss-making) days of print there.

So no, newspapers will find very little comfort in the resurgence of analogue music formats – but book publishers – well that’s a different story.

Public Affairs Awards: who were the big winners?

Last night 430 of the country’s leading figures in public affairs came together to celebrate the industry’s best and brightest at the 2016 Public Affairs Awards. The awards were presented by Vuelio and hosted by PRCA, GovKnow and Zetter’s Political Services, and winners were chosen from 22 categories ranging from Consultancy Campaign to Party Fringe Event of the Year.

The Outstanding Contribution award, which was sponsored by Vuelio, went to Iain Anderson, and the Douglas Smith Prize 2016 was awarded to Liz Laurence of Weber Shandwick. EEF walked away with both In-house Team of the Year and Trade Body Campaign of the Year.

Other big winners include the Royal Mail’s ‎Public Affairs Manager Michael Hogg, who won In-house Professional of the Year, and Consultant of the Year Chris White from Newington Communications.

The Enterprise Forum was handed Party Conference Reception of the Year for ‘The Enterprise Forum’s Business Reception’ campaign, while Party Fringe Event of the Year went to Connect Public Affairs. Royal Mail won Party Conference Stand of the Year for its ‘Royal Mail 500 Years’ stand. H+K Strategies won the Social Media Campaign of the Year award for its work and the Planning Campaign of the Year was awarded to Alpaca Communications for its work on ‘Bridge the Gap’.

A big congratulations to all of the night’s winners, and here’s to another fantastic year in public affairs.

Barcelona principles to AVE – measuring PR ROI

As the lines between PR, marketing, customer services and sales continue to blur, it’s never been more important for PR professionals to accurately monitor and measure the success of their campaigns and activities. 

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Today we have released our brand new white paper, ‘Measuring PR Return on Investment‘ which reveals how the PR industry currently measures success, the challenges it faces in order to remain relevant and earn cross-departmental respect and the various steps they now need to adopt to provide greater transparency and accountability.

From Barcelona principles to AVE, our new white paper essential guide lays down the law on measuring the success of PR campaigns to help you demonstrate the value of you work.

To find out more download our whitepaper now.

Digital Marketing Masterclass: Ed Leake, Midas Media

Ed Leake is the Managing Director of Midas MediaNamed one of the “top 5 rising stars” in the annual PPC Hero edition and one of the top 25 industry experts of 2016, Ed is one of the leading figures within his field. Highly focused on measurable actions, Ed’s experience in the industry is cemented by enabling his clients to achieve big returns on their marketing investments. In this masterclass Ed will explain everything you need to know about Google and Facebook advertising, how to maximise your marketing budget, and how having a social media advertising strategy will help you grow business in 2017. 

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What you need to know about Google and Facebook advertising

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“Google is for satisfying demand; that moment in time where someone is actively seeking out and looking for something. This is at odds with Facebook which is demand generation; people don’t typically visit Facebook with credit card in hand. If you take just one thing away from this interview, then it should be that marketing professionals need to respect this distinction.

“Treat Facebook like a first date, you wouldn’t go straight for the ring and proposal. Instead you need to nurture and entice people to your brand and offering, typically through supporting content that is either interesting and supports the purchase decision or helps remedy a specific problem. That goes for both B2B and B2C markets too.

“Don’t neglect the Google Display Network (GDN) either, it offers just as robust targeting methods as Facebook, and can be treated in a similar fashion. You take cold traffic and drive it to content first, instead of demanding a sale from people who’ve ‘never met you’.

“Don’t be a bad date.”

Maximising your marketing budget

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“The biggest issue with a small budget is that it restricts your testing. Not every campaign is going to be a winner. Thankfully there are options available to stack the odds in your favour. Firstly, if you have multiple offerings, take your bestselling item/service and focus your efforts on that. By focusing you can simplify your message, targeting and desired outcome. You can hone the persona and product fit until your results are valid and scalable.

“You should always be testing your message – again on a limited budget the simplest option is to cycle through headlines that satisfy either a demand or a desire of your target audience. You could get lucky on your first hit – but typically, finding the sweet spot is about continuous testing of assets.

“Ultimately you must have a desired and measurable outcome, the very specific thing you want to happen or the action you want your audience/visitor to take.

“If you can’t measure it, rethink your strategy, because if you can’t measure your efforts you can’t identify a baseline and scaling your budget becomes fraught with risks.”

Use internet advertising to grow your business

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“No matter your budget you need to be getting your message in front of the right people. Your competitive edge boils down to your proposition and positioning. If you look and sound the same, you’ll be treated the same as your competitors. Then it becomes a price comparison for your prospects. That’s not a good place to be.

“If you visit our website you will see we don’t look or sound like any other PPC agency, which many see as a risk. But I’m a bit of a contrarian and quite frankly we’re not targeting everyone, so I want us to be different, and go hard against the herd.

“That’s positioning sorted, next you’ve got to get out there and in front of people.

“Persona driven content isn’t just buzz. If you understand your market and create the right content for them – content that satisfies an itch – then you will attract buying interest.

“Instead of taking the loud, louder and loudest approach (firing out content as if you were unloading the magazine of a machine gun), focus on a specific audience and promote the content where they hang out. It could be YouTube, or LinkedIn, it might be Facebook or Twitter. Wherever they be, a small advertising budget on any of the major platforms can stretch a long way when you know specifically who needs to see it.”

Drive traffic to your website and campaigns through Google and Facebook advertising

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When it comes to driving traffic to your website through Facebook and Google advertising I’d use a simple, three-step approach:

  1. Create persona driven, specific content targeted to a niche audience on Facebook. Offer loads of value upfront because the market is crowded with crappy content.
  2. Educate first, then remarket an opt-in on Facebook such as a guide or free resource that offers a lot more value. Offer enough value that they could literally do it themselves. Why? Because those that want free were never your customer anyway, those that value deeper advice will start taking you seriously.
  3. Remarket on Google for more sales oriented search terms via Search and Display. Ultimately if a prospect that has already read your content is actively searching for your ‘thing’, you need to be appearing!”

What not what to do when it comes to Facebook Ads

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“The common mistakes PRs make when it comes to Facebook ads is talking about themselves far too much.

“Look at all the awards we’ve won! Look how good we are! Look at our amazing services! Look at me, me, me! It’s a big turn off.

“A bit like that self-obsessed person you duck and dodge at a party, hiding in the bushes to avoid having to listen to them.

“We usually opt for 80/20 on social media, where at least 80% of what we do is about educational, insightful and useful (high value) content. Updates that offer something for nothing, or simply share interesting items from around the web. Even competitor’s stuff!

Use metrics to identify success of campaign

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“Metrics are great for optimisers and analysts. The business on the other hand rarely cares for them, they add noise to an already complex arrangement.

“Focus on the input and output, in other words how much you spend to get to your goal. In fact, I go one step further and target a specific ROI or ROAS based not on vanity numbers such as total revenue, but your profit numbers and real (net) return.

“The biggest success in a campaign is knowing when you can confidently turn on the taps and scale, without losing money. Having that level is confidence is like a eureka moment in marketing”.

Having a social media strategy

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“Accountability and measurability go hand in hand. If you’re pushing social media as a channel that deserves marketing budget, then talk less about ‘brand awareness’ and more about ‘brand advocacy’.

“I wrote an article for Mention where I ran through each step of the social media map in detail. Just having a process that you can map out step-by-step in detail, is a very healthy approach to any form of marketing. It keeps you on the straight and narrow, and it enables you to get milestones where you can attribute your efforts to results.

“What’s not to like?”

How can the PR industry save Black Friday for the high street?

Black Friday is dead – at least as the high street is concerned. It’s now almost exclusively an online phenomenon owned by the likes of Amazon and…, well is there anywhere else people do the bulk of their online shopping?

The sad thing is, the high street retailers have nobody but themselves to blame for the demise of “the sales event of the year” and, I’m afraid to say, the buck stops with the retail sector’s PR and communications bosses. They really should be hanging their heads in shame.

In an attempt to highlight just how exciting their previous Black Friday events were, retailers staged and released footage of baying crowds, literally fighting to get their hands on amazing (but limited) bargains.

While a sizable number of people might be willing to trade punches to save a few pounds on a large screen television – it did more to turn people off the high street (with all its associated problems – parking, public transport, queues and the weather) and send them online in their droves. It’s almost as if the major online retailers had planted a double agent in ranks of their high street competitors.

And so Black Friday 2016 was a damp squib. The bargains were there, the promotion signs in place and sales assistances and security primed for the rush that didn’t happen.

The problem is, once let out – you cannot put the genie back in the box. Directors and shareholders expect to see an uptick in revenues in line with previous years’ events. Anything less is a failure.

What would your strategy be to bring the hoards back to the high street on Black Friday 2017? Fist fights and unobtainable bargains are so last year – so better get your thinking hats on.

As a PR pro – the ball is in your court. I’m not sure if the high street could survive another winter if you drop it again.

 

Karen Booth chats to us about winning a #VuelioBlogAward

Last Friday Karen Booth, author of Lavender and Lovage won the coveted best food and drink prize at the #VuelioBlogAwards. Following her victorious win Karen Booth chats to us about why it feels good to be recognised and why she thinks her win will open new doors for her.

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I am delighted and so pleased that all my hard work over the last few years has been recognised by a prestigious company such as Vuelio!

“It was a huge surprise! I’m hoping that finally I’ll be approached by a publisher to offer me a chance to write my own cookbook – I do have a literary agent and have several proposals written and in the pipeline, but it would be nice to be asked to write something that’s unique to my writing and recipe style. I’m constantly asked by my readers and social media followers when my book is coming out. I’m also looking forward to working with more British brands on recipes and writing work.”

“Vuelio is such a prestigious platform, and my win endorses my hard work, creativity and engagement with all of my readers and followers as well as helping me to gain new and exciting projects in the future, hopefully!”

Top Fashion blogger Victoria McGrath opens up about winning a #VuelioBlogAward

On Friday, Victoria McGrath, who regularly features on our blog rankings, won best fashion blog at the #VuelioBlogAwards. Speaking exclusively to Vuelio, Victoria reveals how winning best fashion blog for In the Frow has boosted her confidence.   

“I’m over the moon! It’s an honour to have been nominated and I am so pleased to have won such a great award! It was a huge surprise. I had no idea that I would win against such great nominees. It’s a great confidence boost for myself, to almost feel like the hard work pays off in some ways. And I hope it will maybe introduce some new people to read my blog!

“The awards are a great way to highlight a number of bloggers in the industry who are really working hard to create wonderful content! I’m so thrilled to have won!”

Vuelio Blog Awards 2016 The Brewery London 25.11.16 Photo: Pradip Kotecha ©Fotowales

Photo: Pradip Kotecha
©Fotowales

Daddy blogger John Adams speaks of his win at the #VuelioBlogAwards

Last Friday John Adams, author of Dadbloguk.com walked away with the best daddy blogger prize at the Vuelio Blog Awards. Having recently appeared on our parenting ranking, John shares his thoughts on winning best dad blogger and what it means for his career.      

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“I was stunned when my name was read out. I was convinced one of the other guys was going to win so it came as a shock, albeit a very pleasant one! It feels fantastic to get recognition in this way from Vuelio. The judging panel was formidable and it means a great deal that they rated my blog so highly.

“Winning will raise the  profile of my blog and YouTube channel. It is great to have recognition in this way from people that understand blogging and marketing. I hope the award will increase my appeal to any brands or organisations that wish to work with a dad blogger or blogger that writes about the subjects I cover (family life, parenting, motoring, photography, men’s grooming and style etc.).

“As an aside, my eldest daughter wrote a note saying ‘Well Done Daddy’. It was pinned to the front door when we got home. The kids were so proud, as was my wife and mum! It’s helped me personally, not just my career.

“Vuelio has made a huge effort to understand bloggers and it is the marketing leading blogging database. It is the only media monitoring company of its size to hold a blogging award ceremony. As a result, the Vuelio Blog Awards are a firmly established fixture, despite only being two years old.

“I also think the method of judging, via a panel, means the awards are not a popularity contest. The panel is made up of bloggers, analysts and marketing specialists. There is a balance between the creative bloggers and those who need to work with them.”

Winner of top #VuelioBlogAwards prize Kate Watson-Smyth talks to us about her triumph win

On Friday Kate Watson-Smyth took centre stage at the Vuelio Blog Awards, winning best UK Blog & best UK Interior Design Blog for Mad About the HouseSpeaking for the first time since the event, Kate shares with us what winning means to her and why the Vuelio Blog Awards is important.

“I was thrilled to win the best interior design blog and completely stunned to win the best UK blog. They say that it’s not the winning but the taking part but I think a win does help your blogging career. The internet’s a big place and having an award can make you stand out from the crowd and bring new opportunities that you might not otherwise have had.”

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“Blogging is a relatively new industry and there are ever increasing numbers of people doing it. The blog awards is a way of giving readers a starting point to some interesting, well-researched and written blogs. It’s also great for bloggers to have some recognition for what can be a solitary world.”