Don’t panic – Christmas is only 100 days away!

At this time of year PRs who do product PR are madly pitching their products to the many journalists, bloggers and influencers who are all compiling the infamous Christmas gift guide. If you read them all you’d need a Christmas sack the size of Britain but many offer great ideas when faced with ‘what should I get so and so for Christmas?) We’ve pitched many varied interesting, unusual and desirable (or so we think) Christmas gifts to many hundreds of journos in the years. But what makes a good pitch?

  1. Give them what they want – if they’re looking for gifts for kids don’t pitch alcohol! This may sound obvious but so often people pitch all sorts of irrelevant items
  2. A picture says a 1000 words – make sure you include a photo (can be low res to start but have the hi res ready) to illustrate the gift
  3. Provide a clear, succinct caption complete with price and link
  4. Make sure you have researched the publication so it’s for your target market
  5. Be prepared to offer samples, the odd competition prize, subscriber gift or giveaway as sometimes that may swing whether they use it or not
  6. And lastly be enthusiastic – if you love the gift and can sell it well, so will others!

So get that Santa hat on and start pitching!

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Getting a taste for this

If there’s one thing I love it’s doing food PR so I am delighted to be working for the tireless Sheetal Revis who’s created The Pakora Explorer. Sheetal is inspired by her Asian roots, and has started production of delicious fresh pakoras. All handmade in Scotland in small batches these really appeal to people who want ‘food on the go’. Originally a street food operator, The Pakora Explorer diversified during lockdown to get the products into convenience stores, farm shops, fine food shops, delis etc so that everyone could enjoy them. At the moment we’re launching to the trade but hope it’s going to go nationwide. If you’d like to stock them please get in touch. So impressed with the products and the enthusiasm of Sheetal! And please do get in touch if you want some food PR. The route to my heart is certainly through my stomach!!

https://www.pakoraexplorer.co.uk/

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Working from home – love it or hate it?
notebook written work from home text with stationary

Working from home – love it or hate it?

Are you into your tenth month of working from home and feeling the novelty has worn off? Or are you loving the flexibility it offers and not missing the photocopier chat? As a #WFH since I set up my own PR agency many moons ago, I relish the working from home. But there are some things that are a must to make it work well. Firstly make sure your set up is comfortable and quiet. There’s no way we can work efficiently if having to move locations a few times a day when others need the space so set up a small area – perhaps in the kitchen, a bedroom or living room that is dedicated to your “home office.” Get a comfortable chair and perhaps even a laptop stand to make it easier, and 2 screens give you space to move from one to another easily. Try and get the best wifi – this is easier said than done for anyone in rural areas – we have just gone to mobile broadband and it works well, with much higher speeds and costs the same as landline broadband … well most of the time. Give yourself coffee and lunch breaks at certain times to give structure to your day. Try and ensure your day has a definite start as you would in the office and don’t be tempted to work later than you would normally. And most importantly take plenty exercise – whether it’s going for a brisk 20 min walk at lunchtime or a HIIT session at 6pm, build that into your day. Given you aren’t seeing anyone make time for calls or texts to friends and family as that will ensure you stay in touch which is even more important if you’re in the house all day.

Enjoy it as the benefits of not being crammed on a crowded bus or train, having to deal with office politics and perhaps being able to get more fresh air and exercise are invaluable to a sane and fun life!

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Shop local, eat local, love local

If these unreal times have taught us anything, it’s the importance of family, friends and community. Many of us, unable or unkeen to travel any distances, have discovered what shops and services we have on our doorstep. Most of these will be small businesses, often run by just family members, and many will be struggling to make ends meet at the moment. However, they have been incredible in opening long hours, sourcing products or services people want or need, any even delivering to customers’ homes. Shopping at local shops is usually a much friendlier and more satisfying experience than a large faceless supermarket or store and even though you sometimes may have to pay a little more, it is worth every penny to know you are supporting a local business and a local family. If and when we even go back to a more normal life, remember those who have supported you during these tough times – in local shops, cafes and restaurants – and keep using them and then we may begin to see a revival of local town and village centres and there’s no doubt that will improve general well being. So in these particularly tough times try and do most of your Christmas shopping locally, your daily shopping locally and support your local businesses. #loveslocal #shoplocal

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What, where, who, why, when and how – the great 6!

Imagine the scenario – you have a new product and you want to generate sales. The product is all ready to be sold, the packaging looks great but how do you get sales? PR can be the answer but before you embark on that campaign you must answer the 6 questions that start any campaign – what, where, who, why and how.

What are you trying to sell and what is its USP?

Where are you selling it – online, in shops or in a marketplace

Who are you selling this to? Who are your target market? Make this as defined as possible to get the best results

Why should anyone buy this and what are the messages about the product that you’d like to transmit?

When do you want to market it – is it ready now or will you wait? What is the best timing – for example don’t bring an ice cream to market when it’s cold

How do you want to market it – are you doing advertising, or just a PR campaign? Is your target market on social media and should you use this.

If you can answer all these 6 key marketing principles in full then you’re ahead of the game and ready to start a good marketing campaign. Good planning at the beginning will ensure you’re focused and know what you want to achieve, which will probably result in success. So work out your 6 ‘whs – and how’ and you’ll be well on your way to sales.

 

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10 top tips on how to write a press release

Journalists are inundated daily with 100s of press releases so how do you write one that will grab their attention. Here’s top 10 tips on writing a good press release:

  1. Start with a captivating title – it must catch the eye and want the journalist to read on
  2. Plan the content so its well written, doesn’t use jargon and is likely to appeal to a reader or journalist.
  3. The first paragraph, and especially the first sentence should be punchy, informative and draw in the reader to read on.
  4. Start with the most important information first and end with the least important.
  5. Remember the 5 base points – Who, why, where, when and how. The press need concise, factual information and not paragraphs of waffle and fluff.
  6. Embed up to 3 good photographs (in low res) into the copy.
  7. Preferably go for 1.5 spacing for clarity and no more than 2 pages for a news release.
  8. At the end put your contact details and any boring but necessary information can go in ‘Notes to Editors’.
  9. Research who you are sending it to and ensure they are your target audience.
  10. Email the release out embedded in an email or by mail chimp but don’t include big attachments – these will block journalists’ inboxes and will be discarded. They can always come back to you for more information.

If you want help with writing a press release please contact us.

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Are you ready to trade again post lockdown?

There’s no denying it that these last few months have probably been the toughest most people have, and hopefully ever will, experience in business. But as lockdown slowly eases are you ready to reach out to your customers and clients and get trading again. Here’s a quick list of tips to ensure you’re “marketing ready”:

  • Communication is key – do you customers know you’re open or when you will be open – keep them informed by direct mail or via social media
  • Prepare, prepare and prepare again – time spent now having everything in place to open and do business safely will give you more time to sell
  • Re-define your marketing and PR strategy. Most likely you need to re-define your messages for the new normal so do it now.
  • Increase your social media activity as this is by far the biggest way to communicate to customers and potential ones. If you’re unsocial on social media then it’s a waste of time being there
  • Check your social media profiles and images – are they up to date, are opening times correct, or should you update it all
  • Check your website – go through every detail and update or improve it so the ‘face’ of your organisation is looking its best
  • A picture tells a 1000 words so use images and videos to illustrate your business
  • Train your staff – ensure they’re all Covid-19 trained for interfacing with customers and that they’re coming back to work feeling re-invigorated and brimming with enthusiasm
  • Try doing some ecommerce – online shopping is here to stay so if you can set up an ecommerce platform

Use this time as a fresh beginning when you can make your company more efficient and effective but it will take time, energy and creativity to get there. So take the risk, step out of the box and you’ll find you’re ahead of the game!

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Is marketing a waste of time in this pandemic? NO!

With the economy crashing about our ears and businesses really struggling to survive, many will say that marketing is no longer a priority. But how wrong they can be as this is a perfect time to build a brand. With so many businesses just trying to get through there is a void in the noise that is being transmitted from companies and brands. So use this void to shout about your brand or organisation. Given that many people are furloughed or just stuck at home social media usage has probably never been bigger. In this new slow life that is emerging people are looking for interesting stories and have time to browse products that they might never have even cast a second glance. For example, interiors brands are gaining much interest as people have time to look at their tired kitchen, or their past-it’s-sell-by bathroom, and they need daydreams to fill their days.

Creativity and sensitivity is crucial in these strange times. You mustn’t depart from your core company values and messages but adapt them to raise interest in your products. Post daily or every two or three days with different messages and use your imagination to give variety. But be warned, don’t over-post – no-one wants to be bombarded with posts 3 or 4 times a day saying virtually the same thing. And be sure to respond to questions and comments to show you really care. Those organisations that go the extra mile with customer relations in this lockdown will be remembered once we go back to some sort of normality and loyalty is huge in a crisis. On the other hand those companies that are tricky, silent, or un-accommodating will also be remembered and disliked.

Communication has never been more important than it is now so get out there and take your share of the noise and keep your brand alive! Or if you need help with it, we’re still open and happy to work with you.

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Covid-19 and PR work

In these uncertain and worrying times, the team here hope everyone stays well and safe. It is as important as ever to maintain remote social contact – by email, social media, phone or facetime – so we can all get through this as best we can. We understand how tough it is for every business both large and small but we are here to help with PR in whatever way we can. So if you need some PR or crisis management done please do contact us. We all work remotely so can continue working whatever. There will be life after Covid-19 – not quite sure what form – but rest assured we are keen to do what we can to see our clients and any potential clients back on their feet as soon as possible. Stay safe and healthy.

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