contact +44 (0)131 669 5190 - e-mail

CIPR Accredited Practitioner
PHPR animated banner

News

Saturday, 31 December 2011

On the 12th Day – Get Talked About







There’s nothing more credible than a happy client referring you. They’ll tend to do that immediately after using you, so give them the tools to do that and encourage the referrals. You may even manage to capture some on video for the website.
Oddly, most cash rewards for referrals don’t work too well. Some people feel awkward and that inhibits the whole referral process. If they sound you out on incentives, that’s a different story. Especially if they are genuinely enthusiastic and have a suitable client base. They are in a position to spend some additional effort on marketing you. They may be exploring turning into part-time sales agents for you.
Otherwise, a bunch of flowers or a bottle of something nice might work better than cash – especially if it is unexpected. The more you can find out about people’s preferences the better and this is a case where social media could well help you.
Need inspiration?
We have over 100 ways to generate referrals on offer at the Publicity Clubs. It’s the fastest and most credible way to boost a business. We even know of companies that write referrals into their contract or Terms and Conditions, provided that the customer is satisfied, of course.

PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.ukPHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtvPHPR Ltd on LinkedInFollow PennyHaywood on Twitter

Labels: , , , ,

posted by Penny Haywood Calder at > 0 Comments

 

Bookmark and Share

 

Friday, 30 December 2011

On the 11th Day – Tell Stories

Once Upon A Time

It’s one thing to have nailed a clear succinct description of what you offer. It’s quite another to develop and sustain interest in the company and its brands.

Fortunately people have sat around campfires for millennia entertaining each other with stories and songs. While singing might be a marketing step too far for most of us, we are hard-wired through evolution to remember stories.

Sooner or later you’ll need to develop or capture the cracking tales that make up the backstory about your company and add them to your Blog Inspiration Folder.
How it all came about.
The passions that inspired the products or services.
The lengths you went to develop them so they inspire others in the company to emulate you.
The epic first breakthrough sale that nearly got away.
The quirky start-up premises.
The people that went the extra mile (with examples).
The idea that got you out of bed to create this.
The reason why your company is different.
And why it is so darn good.

All to support the big inspiring vision. That core ethos and the stories around it will carry the company and ensure that people within the company know intuitively how you go about things as you grow.

Plus all this makes for a far more interesting and memorable read than most website About Us pages. In an era where people see thousands of corporate identities every day, unless they are in a very remote rural area without electricity, standing out means being memorable.

Stories are the stuff to kick-start inspiring blog pieces, or enliven newsletters and stimulate chats around the coffee pot. It’s the personality of the company. And the stories will march on in the imagination of everyone that hears them if they are vivid enough.

Stories are heep big company magic. Use them well. Need inspiration? Did you know that there are only 7 basic types of stories? The archetypes?

PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.ukPHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtvPHPR Ltd on LinkedInFollow PennyHaywood on Twitter

Labels: , , , ,

posted by Penny Haywood Calder at > 0 Comments

 

Bookmark and Share

 

Thursday, 29 December 2011

On the Tenth Day – Get Social!






You know that writing you resolved to do yesterday, or the blog pieces the day before? Well, today’s top tip you can do right now to help get you and your company better known in 2012 is to resolve to re-cycle your blog pieces and articles into social media posts that you can use to drive traffic to your blog or media article. Or get someone else to do it for you.




There are thousands of social media sites, many with good traction to provide heavy duty SEO links to your website or blog and those links will boost your search position on Google.
Social media posts (excluding blogs) fall into three size categories and you can post to a several sites at once, grouped according to size, using Ping.fm or HootSuite (which uses Ping.fm and adds scheduling and monitoring tools to your armoury.




The three sizes are:
1) Status updates (like Facebook) which usually offer c 256 characters plus a photo or video option, plus a link
2) Microblogs like Twitter with 140 characters (suggest using 120 so you leave room for someone to re-tweet). You can add a photo plus a link to the blog or article
3) Social Bookmarking sites like DIGG, where you just post the link.




You’ll notice that I haven’t addressed engaging with followers on social media. Engagement is the real point of social media, but you need to develop a presence so you get noticed first.



That's why we suggest generating and recycling appropriate content so that time-pressed small business owners get going time-effectively: with minimum effort for maximum exposure. Doing more with less effort.



Get notifications from your social media accounts to your inbox to stay on top of engagement until you can justify hiring or outsourcing help.






Picture credit: tungphoto:http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1708


PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.ukPHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtvPHPR Ltd on LinkedInFollow PennyHaywood on Twitter

Labels: , , , ,

posted by Penny Haywood Calder at > 2 Comments

 

Bookmark and Share

 

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

On the Ninth Day – Get Writing!






You know that Blog Inspiration Folder you started yesterday? Well, today’s top tip you can do right now to help get you and your company better known in 2012 is to resolve to re-cycle your best blog pieces by re-writing them in an article format – or getting someone else to do it. But check first before spending time or money.




Look out for relevant publications your potential customers might see. Maybe trade publications or members’ magazines for organisations you belong to? Plus relevant specialist magazines and local media. See where your material might fit in, then email a short note to the editor outlining your article idea and why their readers might find it useful. Add a couple of sentences about you and your company, so that they can see you know the sector.




Quite often, an editor will respond saying they’ve just covered that angle, but suggest another idea. This is important - this idea has been suggested because they know their readers are interested, so you have a high chance of publication. Accept if you can and ensure the article sticks to the editor’s brief in terms of length, tone and content, including any graphs or pictures. You can always re-purpose this piece later for your blog – but not before the publication that commissioned it has appeared. It was their idea after all.




The rule is to avoid overt advertising: you are aiming to demonstrate expertise. Offer insight so that people are drawn to you for advice. It’s their paper and ink or web presence they’re investing in your article. If you supply advertising copy, or text with too many search terms and links (for online copy) you’ll be passed to their advertising sales team and are unlikely to be given a second chance at supplying editorial copy.




Need inspiration?



Seek it in the publications you hope to conquer!






PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.ukPHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtvPHPR Ltd on LinkedInFollow PennyHaywood on Twitter

Labels: , , , , , , ,

posted by Penny Haywood Calder at > 0 Comments

 

Bookmark and Share

 

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

On the Eighth Day – Get Blogging!












Today’s top tip you can do right now to help get you and your company better known in 2012 is to resolve to blog regularly.


Start a Blog Inspiration Folder in a spreadsheet or Word table, or collect references in EverNote, a Wiki, or a mind-mapped knowledge base like FreeMind. Whatever suits you best.


Collect links to articles and snippets of info, notes, quotations, diagrams and pictures (but watch out for copyright conditions). It will become a resource for any sort of content, whenever you need ideas for a newsletter, an e-book or an expert guide. A special report or a survey. Articles or press releases.


A big tip is to research or develop picture or video ideas at the same time so you can illustrate the ideas well as opposed to scrambling around for a generic and dull library shot at the last minute. Just remember to fully re-write any text that has inspired you if you are not acknowledging it as an attributed quotation because copyright is usually automatically invested in the originator.


Blog ideally once a week, whether that’s outsourced or done in house. According to the inbound marketing experts: Hubspot.com companies with blogs attract 55% more visitors to their websites than those that don't have them. That’s double the opportunities to convert visitors into sales.

Companies with blogs also have 97% more inbound links which signal authority to search engines, increasing the chances of getting found in search engines. Plus a staggering 434% more indexed pages. More pages improves your chances of being found in search engines.
However, that’s blogs with content going onto your own domain name (as opposed to going onto the blogging software site). Make sure the blog is set up on your own domain.


Blog content goes into Google really fast: within an hour or so, compared to weeks or months for a static website, so you can use your blog to boost traffic quite quickly.


Need inspiration?

Enquire about the Publicity Clubs – one of our months involves a blog-a-day challenge. Even if you don’t manage to finish it, you’ll have 30 ideas for blog pieces to write or outsource: that’s more than 6 months’ worth if you have decided to post one a week!







Picture credit: Pixomar: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=905












PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.ukPHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtvPHPR Ltd on LinkedInFollow PennyHaywood on Twitter

Labels: , , , , , , ,

posted by Penny Haywood Calder at > 0 Comments

 

Bookmark and Share

 

Monday, 26 December 2011

On the Seventh Day – Get Engaged With the Media!










The access that key media and bloggers provide is so important that today’s top tip you can do right now to help get you and your company better known in 2012 is to resolve to help the media and bloggers whenever you get the opportunity. Even if it’s not obviously going to boost your business – that will really impress them that you are helpful and get you into their address books.




Media usually need unique quotes to differentiate their version of your story from their competitors, but many larger organisations are slow to get back to smaller media outlets, so that often gives helpful spokespeople from smaller businesses an opening to get media mentions. Just one media mention opens the door to thousands of people and gives you a lasting claim to boost your credibility on your home page and email signature (and any other marketing materials) : "as seen in ...." It's almost as good as winning an award!


Need inspiration?

We do our best to help the media with enquiries if we can think of anything useful to offer. Even when unsolicited. I remember helping a key writer on a top national newspaper with a communications project he’s been asked to do for a not-for-profit organisation. I found his information and spotted a gap. I sent an unsolicited draft to fill it and politely explained why, thus flagging and fixing the problem in one go.




I didn’t have any press releases relevant to that writer after that for some 18 months, then one day, we included him in a press release distribution. I got almost instant feedback, a piece on his influential blog plus a long exchange in the comments section. He still answers my emails personally.



Several times, I have helped editors of new publications by providing articles at a time when they were unproven and not even on the radar of most media database providers. It’s always created a great vibe and my calls and emails get replies years later.



Top Tip: get in early!




If you encounter a new start-up blog or publication in your space and the content and attitude seems reasonable, remember that getting in early creates a warm glow that lasts if the new venture takes off.






PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.ukPHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtvPHPR Ltd on LinkedInFollow PennyHaywood on Twitter

Labels: , , , , ,

posted by Penny Haywood Calder at > 0 Comments

 

Bookmark and Share

 

Sunday, 25 December 2011

On the Sixth Day – Getting Personal








The media and certain key bloggers are able to deliver a personal recommendation from a trusted source to thousands of people.


So today’s top tip you can do right now to help get you and your company better known in 2012 is to understand what individual writers are writing about and personalise your cover note when you send them a release.



Need inspiration?If we’ve seen a writer addressing a topic relevant to a client we’ll put a note on the release maybe saying:
"Liked the piece you did last month on XYZ. If you’re revisiting the topic, our client has some good points to make on this – including the following - see attached release."


How do you research a media list?It's worth capturing the names of people that are writing on areas that impact your business. It's also possible to Google your key industry sector + magazine.




But even if you have a press list already, we find we usually double and sometimes treble clients’ lists, adding hundreds of thousands to your potential audience. It’s amazing how many extra relevant media opportunities we can find using the “stated interests” provided to our pro media database researchers by individual writers, broadcasters and bloggers.




We can break down both online and offline media not only by geography and publication frequency, but also on key consumer or business sector interests.




We’re giving Publicity Club members press release distribution to pro press lists six times a year (or an equivalent article distribution to online sites).






Picure credit: Stuart Miles http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2664








PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.ukPHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtvPHPR Ltd on LinkedInFollow PennyHaywood on Twitter

Labels: , , , , ,

posted by Penny Haywood Calder at > 0 Comments

 

Bookmark and Share

 

Saturday, 24 December 2011

On the Fifth Day - Getting Real or Selling Yourself Short?










Exaggeration may make you feel good at the time, but it is a super-fast turn-off for everyone else and you’re kidding yourself if you think that anyone else actually believes you. Or if they do at the time, they’ll feel let down later and you’ve broken their trust. Exaggeration also fails to describe what you do actually offer, so it costs you relevant sales enquiries.


So today’s top tip you can do right now to help get you and your company better known in 2012 is to run a word search on your own web copy for terms like solutions, architecture and outcomes.



I’ve noticed solutions and architecture are used in pretentious and exaggerated copy when the terms are not being used literally.



Google “architecture” – a recent search produced on p1: “enterprise business architecture” – what they meant was: software.



‘Solutions’ can mean anything from contact lens cleaning solutions to problem solving, so the term is so general and so widely used as to be virtually meaningless. It’s a cop-out word that replaces what you actually do with a meaningless term. It did have a purpose when IBM went from selling computer hardware to focusing on consultancy. The first appearance of IBM adverts claiming to sell solutions certainly jolted me out of my preconception that they were a hardware provider, so it did the job stunningly well.



Selling Yourself Short?At the opposite end of the scale, are you accidentally under-claiming? Beware using the term “outcome” or “outcomes” because many outcomes just happen regardless of causes or intention. So unless you want to sound ineffectual, ban the word from your vocabulary. If you feel you have to use outcome(s) because it is ingrained in your clients’ culture, qualify it by adding the word ‘positive’ in front to remove any doubt.



PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.ukPHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtv
PHPR Ltd on LinkedInFollow PennyHaywood on Twitter

Labels: , , , , ,

posted by Penny Haywood Calder at > 0 Comments

 

Bookmark and Share

 

Friday, 23 December 2011

On the Fourth Day – Get to the Point


















We’re all busy and most of us skim instead of reading. If the first sentence or two doesn’t deliver much that is useful, we’re off to the next website, newsletter or email. So today’s top tip you can do right now to help get you and your company better known in 2012 is to cut to the chase and deliver the facts without a long preamble.




That’s especially true of the media and influential bloggers who may be piling through 2,000 emails a day. Grab attention in the subject line. Then deliver the key facts they need to create a story. Don’t know what they are?




Then you need inspiration!




The key facts that must be delivered to create a satisfactory account are the answers to six questions: the 5 Ws (Who? What? Where? When & Why?) + How? The formula is used so often that many readers will feel that something is missing if a question is skipped.




A good editor will immediately spot exactly what is missing. They also know it will take precious time to fix. With deadlines looming, your press release will be passed over in favour of someone who understands they need to deliver the story basics.




Answering the 5Ws + How is a useful discipline that will sharpen up most writing, and is an absolute necessity when it comes to a press release.






4 Ws can be answered in a single sentence:
London-based ABC Ltd today announced a new social media site called XYZ.



That breaks down as:



Where? London-based



Who? ABC Ltd



When? today



What? a new social media site called XYZ
The above Ws can be answered in any order.




Then address the Why? question - often best wrapped up with a quote from a key spokesperson.
The How? question may involve a sentence or two of background explanation.




To turn this into a press release, add 24/7 contact details (and ensure that someone is available 24/7 to handle queries) plus the company background notes (often called “the boilerplate”) - a few bullet points about the company:
Who founded it?
When?
Where?
What does it do?
Plus key milestones only: awards, household name clients – with their permission, flotation or significant investment tranches, kite-marks attained, outstanding anniversaries, national/ international achievements, major market domination, significant hires.



Need more inspiration? Check out our short guide here.









Photo credit: Salvatore Vuono:
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=659






PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.ukPHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtvPHPR Ltd on LinkedInFollow PennyHaywood on Twitter

Labels: , , , ,

posted by Penny Haywood Calder at > 0 Comments

 

Bookmark and Share

 

Thursday, 22 December 2011

On the Third Day – Seeing is Believing




















Great visuals really are better than the proverbial 1,000 words. I can read all the technical specifications for something, but seeing it in action says it all. For example, a camera may have all sorts of bells and whistles, but a picture that couldn’t be captured by an ordinary point and shoot camera shows me that it will enable me to take extra special pictures, like this strange burred water flow picture.




Another great example is the brilliant “Will it blend” series of videos that took a small company that made robust food blenders into the major league. The videos showed the CEO blend everything from billiard balls to iPhones. There was absolutely no room for doubt about that blender. It was clearly exceptionally robust and likely to stand up to daily commercial use. If you want to see whether an iPad will blend, click here!



Videos are particularly powerful. Forrester Research shows video as being worth more than 50 text pieces online. Given the massive dominance of TV over print media, it’s not surprising that, now that downloads speeds can accommodate video, most people prefer video online.



So today’s top tip you can do right now to help get you and your company better known in 2012 is to use good pictures and videos to liven up websites and blogs.
Swap bullets points for cracking pictures and videos will also save you from the dreaded “Death by PowerPoint,” making you stand out by adding a new dimension to your presentations.





More importantly, you can use video online to bottle those fleeting micro expressions that allow people to work out whether they can do business with you. Our US attorney associates have boosted business 500% using video alone to pull in well-disposed sales enquiries.





Need inspiration?Our blog piece (HERE) shows a simple trick to generate pictures from the most abstract of subject matter.



PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.ukPHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtvPHPR Ltd on LinkedInFollow PennyHaywood on Twitter

Labels: , , ,

posted by Penny Haywood Calder at > 0 Comments

 

Bookmark and Share

 

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

On the Second Day – Pass the WIIFM Test – WIIFM?


























Most people are not interested in how something works. They want to know what it will do for them. In short: What’s In It For Me” (WIIFM).

Will it save them time? Make them more money? Save them money?

So today’s top tip you can do right now to help get you and your company better known in 2012 is to put yourself in a customer’s shoes every time you make a publicity claim, and ask “If I was the customer: What’s In It For Me?”

What do your products of services do for them?
Need inspiration?
The So…….. So what? Game.

Get a buddy to challenge you by saying “So….?” Or “So What” in response to you making a publicity statement. They don’t engage in any other conversation. Just “So….?” Or “So What”. Then you respond, and they say “So….?” Or “So What” again. That cycle of explanation and challenge continues until you both agree that you are expressing the key benefit that the client will get from the offering promoted by your original statement.

Line up your publicity statements, and go through the challenge/response process for each of them, one by one.

If you nailed the client benefit in the first sentence every time, then today’s exercise was easy and you deserve an extra wee break to dream up more good publicity ideas.



PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.ukPHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtvPHPR Ltd on LinkedInFollow PennyHaywood on Twitter

Labels: , , , ,

posted by Penny Haywood Calder at > 0 Comments

 

Bookmark and Share

 

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

PHPR Publicity Club’s 12 Days of Easy Tips to Boost Business in 2012 - Day 1






















Forget the 12 days of Christmas! There’s only 12 days left to the New Year. So get 2012 off to a great start with 12 day’s worth of easy publicity tips.

Even outside a recession, businesses on average lose 10% of their custom every year through no fault of their own. People move on. Businesses come and go. So publicity is not optional: it’s necessary to stand still, let alone grow. So resolve to get you and your business get noticed in 2012 with 12 easy things to do in 12 days.

You don’t have to do it all at once. A lot of the tips are designed to re-vamp and re-use existing material, so you get maximum exposure for minimum effort.

We know that shoe-horning extra stuff into your day won’t work as we all revert to habit as soon as the going gets tough. If you can’t beat habits, you might as well harness them. That’s why we encourage you set up a publicity habit in January. Get to get into the habit of doing a little publicity each day. Just make it a habit to get more visible every day, even if you only invest an extra 10 mins a day: that’s nearly an hour of extra publicity a week. c3.5 hours a month and a full 40 hours – a whole working week – a year. It all adds up. You could call this a tip, but it's just a starter bonus.

TIP NO I – Communicate Clearly
No matter how complicated your product or service is, no one has the time or the will to work out what you mean: and that is especially true of potential clients or customers, reporters and influential bloggers.


From winning new business to clinching awards or securing funding, clarity inspires confidence by communicating clear focus and direction.

Plus a short phrase is dead easy to pass on, especially if it has an emotive hook to make it memorable. People like recommending people, so help them to help you by making it easy, so you get the lion’s share of recommendations. This is very important because word of mouth is particularly powerful.

So today’s top tip you can do right now to help get you and your company better known in 2012 is to sum up what your business offers customers, in just seven (or less) words, including an emotive word to pull in people who need your service. Not just want: need.

Just ask yourself, how can I sum up the benefits of using us? Then keep noting down things that pop into your mind during the day.

Once you’ve nailed what you do clearly and succinctly, communicate that on everything you put out: from the home page of your website, email and forum signatures, social media profiles, marketing materials, to the answer you give when people ask: “What do you do?”

Need inspiration?Edward de Bono wrote a great book called Simplicity on the huge business advantages simple clarity brings. Our blog piece
(HERE) won’t take so long to read and it shows how entire disciplines and businesses are summed up in just 7 words. And the power of the emotive hook.

What are Publicity Clubs?

Briefly, the idea is the idea is for small business owners to club together to get:

Monthly publicity generation and planning meetings and on-going email support
Pro PR support for planning and strategy to maximise publicity efforts and create rolling 90-day Publicity Action Plans,

Plus hands-on support to produce:
1) Clear sales messages
2) Effective web copy with website clinics - including testing each others' sites out
3) Marketing materials
4) Online content generation for Google domination with easy to use templates to give us the details we can knock into shape for releases etc.
5) Social media on steroids: why post to one when you can reach scores with a few more clicks? We show you how.
6) On and offline press releases and/or article marketing
7) Video training
8) Online name protection

All proven to get the businesses noticed online and in the media.

Plus

9) Structured peer-group support
10) Guest expert insights
11) Discounts and deals
12) A working lunch



PR blog posted by Penny Haywood Calder at PHPR Ltd, Edinburgh, UK. URL: http://www.phpr.co.ukPHPR TV Channel on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PHPRtv
PHPR Ltd on LinkedInFollow PennyHaywood on Twitter

Labels: , , , ,

posted by Penny Haywood Calder at > 0 Comments

 

Bookmark and Share