Top Tips to Secure Media Coverage

PR can be an enjoyable and rewarding job. Sending press releases to the media is an important element that needs to be done to gain media coverage for clients.

We’ve put together a few top tips for selling-in to the press and how to maintain relationships with journalists.

Research

Before contacting the press, research the person you need to speak to and which department they are in. This is a great way to minimise the time you spend on the phone and maximise your chances of getting through to the right contact.

The publication that you are contacting has to have a reason to cover your news story or product, so make sure that it is relevant to the title you are selling-in to. Don’t contact the business press if your news story has nothing to do with business!

Short and Sweet

Journalists are inundated with press releases on a daily basis so whether you are pitching via the phone or email, it is important to keep it concise as the phone call will probably only last between 30 seconds to a minute. They will know if a story is relevant to their publication within a few sentences, so include keywords and a brief outline.

Don’t forget when sending further information by email to include your contact information so they can get back to you if they have any questions.

 

Be Patient

Once you have sent an email to a journalist, it can sometimes take a while for them to get back to you. Don’t phone them back half an hour later, they probably haven’t seen it yet! Follow it up the next day or two days after to make sure they received the information and any attached images. This follow up will give the journalist a reminder if they haven’t had a chance to look through the release but also will ensure you have done everything to get potential coverage for a client.

 

Building Relationships with Journalists

Part of working in the PR industry involves working with journalists so building relationships with them is useful. Having a list of contacts that you have consistently spoken to can put you in a good position to secure coverage for your clients.


How to gain more followers on social media!

Gaining followers on social media can be difficult, especially if it is for a client who is new to the Twittersphere and Facebook world. Increasing their follower base can be a great advantage as it can expose them to new customers and help establish them as a well-known brand.

Here are a few quick pointers that we have put together to help you gain followers for all social media accounts.

Consistency

Tweeting or posting a couple times a day lets your audience know that you are active on social media, which will make them more inclined to follow you. New and old customers want to be updated with news on the regular, so this is a great way to do it.

Make sure you engage with your followers by simply retweeting or replying to any mentions or queries. This shows potential followers and customers that you are making the effort to connect with your audience and that you are available to assist or respond to them instantly.

Actively Find and Follow Others

A good way to increase your followers is to actively find other accounts that are related to the target demographic. You should follow and engage with as many accounts as possible.  This again lets them know that the service exists on social media platforms. Even if they don’t follow back, engaging with them will increase exposure and if people like what is being posted, they will follow.

Timing of Posts

When possible, try to tweet during peak times or when Twitter activity is high as this will give your posts greater visibility. We recommend middays and evenings as most people will be either on a break or have finished work. It is also worth noting to avoid tweeting and posting too much, this can drive people away from your account if they are not interested in the content.

Hold Competitions and Giveaways

Offer freebies or rewards for followers, this will give people an incentive to follow the account if they are interested in the prize. If you hold competitions, make sure that sharing and liking the Facebook page or following the Twitter account is a requirement for entry, as this will boost the account's activity and followers.

Make People Aware

Don’t be shy about linking your social media accounts everywhere. Link it to your blog, email signature, website and anywhere else you have an online presence.  This will let people know that you actively engage with social media.

Share the media coverage that your client has been featured in and tag the publication. This is a way to show appreciation for the feature but also it highlights your latest news and shows that there is something interesting to take notice of.

If you need help with your business’ social media profiles, then just get in touch!


What makes a great press release

A press release is one of the key elements to any public relations strategy. They are a standardised way to communicate with journalists and usually entail details regarding product releases, event announcements and other newsworthy items a company produces.

Creating a great press release often helps to secure a magazine feature, which in turn will attract new customers. However, considering journalists are bomb-barded with potential stories and pitches on a daily basis, it is crucial to make sure yours stands out from the crowd.

Headline

A headline is the first thing that people see, whether it be a magazine article, book or leaflet. Therefore, it is no different when a journalist reads a press release, if it doesn’t catch their attention it is unlikely that they will read the rest of the piece. The headline needs to pull the journalist in, so make sure it is engaging as well as accurate.

Content

Another important aspect of a press release is, of course, the content. What you write about must be of interest to the journalist in some way, otherwise, they may not take any notice. Make sure the topic is newsworthy, this doesn’t mean that you should only send out press releases that would make the front page of a newspaper. It means that the topic needs to be current, it is either happening now or is about to happen. There is no point publicising an event that has been and gone.

The overall tone of a press release should not come across as promotional. It isn’t an advert to sell a product or an event to a journalist. It is a way of informing them about the company or brands latest exciting news and to provide them with the information they need to write a newsworthy story.
As well as keeping the content relevant, it needs to be straight to the point. Journalists are busy people, they don’t have time to read every single press release they receive. Therefore, make sure that the first couple of sentences of the release inform them on the message you want to get across. Then the rest of the paragraphs should be information supporting this.

Quotes

Adding quotes to a press release adds a human element to it, whether it be a comment from someone in the company or close to the product. They provide insight and opinion and they should sound like a real person has said them. Journalists will want to pull key parts from the press release to use in their own stories and including quotes gives them something extra to use in addition to the information provided.

Contact Information

It may seem obvious but it can be a common mistake to forget to include contact information for journalists to follow up with. If this happens, it looks unprofessional and you may lose the secure space in that title as the journalist will not know who to contact if they want more information. Whether it is you or someone else at the company who is the point of contact, be sure to include an email address and phone number.

 


Why you should embrace social media

Social media has become a worldwide phenomenon since the outburst of Web 2.0; it changed the way that people used the internet. Users now look online to share and connect with others around the world. Businesses may have been reluctant to this new wave of technology in the beginning; however, they are now jumping on the social media bandwagon and taking full advantage of the marketing opportunities it offers.

 

The list of benefits social media can offer goes on and on, so to make it easier for you, we have summed up just a few of the key advantages.

 

Increasing brand awareness

Social media is one of the most cost-effective marketing methods that can be used by any brand, not only is it (mostly) free, but it gives you the opportunity to reach a wider audience and increase your brands visibility.

 

Engage with others, by simply ‘liking’ or ‘sharing’ content. This instantly gets your brand name recognised by others. Once they begin to share your content, you are opening up to a whole new network of potential clients. Your boundaries are limitless.

 

Engagement and building consumer loyalty

One major beneficiary of social media, is the ability to engage with your consumers. When a brand is commenting, liking and sharing, it personifies the brand as consumers tend to prefer to communicate with people rather can businesses.

 

Developing a loyal customer base is a vital component for any business and by engaging with your consumers you are showing you care about customer service, which in turn generates loyalty.

 

Provide a better customer service experience –

Consumers now look to social media to find out information about a business and by having social media accounts for your brand, you are giving customers the opportunity to contact you instantly. People expect fast response times and social media enables you to respond to them 24/7.

 

#Hashtags

With the world of social media, along came the hashtag. This can be one of the most useful tools to incorporate into your social media strategy, if used correctly. By providing a relevant hashtag to your post it will send your message further, it can be seen by thousands of people across the world in a matter of seconds.

 

Gain marketplace insight

What better way to find out what your consumers want than by directly talking to them? Through social media you can communicate with your target audience and monitor their interests and opinions. All social media platforms give you the chance to see what is ‘trending’, allowing you to understand what people are currently interested in, how can you get involved and get a step ahead of your competitors.

 

Find out what your competitors are doing

One quick and easy way to find out how your main competition is doing, is to check their social media. All businesses tend to share their latest venture on their social media site, giving you a heads-up on what is happening.

 

Drive traffic to your website –

All of your social media accounts link to your website, so anything you post can persuade a potential customer to view your site. If you are using social media to promote products/services, attach a link to the post so your followers can be directed to the website, making a better user experience overall.

 

 

 

 


Newsjacking – The ‘Copy-Cat’ Revolution

For those of you who work in the media, you’ll likely be aware of the term ‘Newsjacking’. If not you’ve probably been exposed to it.

 

‘Newsjacking’ is the process of taking advantage of a piece of news to increase awareness of your brand and/or product. It is an opportunity to increase brand awareness, at low cost. Newsjacking relies on the continued influence of social media, and the age that we live in. This digital forum is one of the most potent tools in increasing brand awareness.

 

This has been a fairly popular process, synonymous with increased sales and success since its popularity spike in the wake of the blackout at the 2013 Superbowl, in which Oreo jumped on the opportunity with this effort.

 

This initiative is not always effective and companies must be careful about how they approach it. There are many cases of ‘Newsjacking’ that have back-fired, for instance, this effort from ‘Spaghetti-O’s’.

 

The advert shows a virtual ‘O’ shaped character holding an American flag high in the air, the text above stating ‘Take a moment to remember #Pearlharbour with us’, which is not only inappropriate but completely disproportionate with the brand image.

 

Despite this, the practice of ‘Newsjacking’ is widely regarded as a ‘breakthrough’ in social media marketing, and here are three of our favourite examples on social media from the last five years.

 

 

MINI

MINI may only produce small cars, but company employees have shown themselves to be ‘big-hitters’ when it comes to seizing news-based opportunities. Their quick-witted slogans appeal to the average consumer’s concentration time, as well as their humour. The use of a national scandal as an opportunity to light-heartedly advertise the new car was brilliant.

 

It came at a time when the Tesco horsemeat scandal was prominent in the media. Tesco was found to be labelling ‘meat of horses’ as beef mince, and there was an uproar at the eventuality.

 

  

Kit-Kat –

Upon the launch of the Iphone 6+, the people at Apple found themselves in a rather ‘fruity’ situation. Its new flagship phone was once again being talked about by almost everyone on the planet, but not for the reasons the company would have hoped. There were widespread reports of the device bending under pressure, something which isn’t sought after when consumers are spending upwards of £500 on it.

 

Whilst this was clearly a huge problem for Apple (not that huge, they were recently announced as the first company to be worth $800bn), it did present an opportunity to the social media gurus at KitKat. The brand’s catchphrase has for a long time been ‘Have a break. Have a KitKat.’ The bending iPhone pandemic gave the company a much-needed opportunity for a resurgence, allowing them to prey on the misfortune of a global giant, for a spike in sales. A recurring theme throughout all the examples shown is not only the simplicity of them but the irony they provide. KitKat takes the biscuit with this one.

 

 

 Dunkin’ Donuts –

Cast yourself back to the days of February 2015 and you’ll recall a certain stripy-dress sending the world into a frenzy of furious debate. Whether you were team #blueblack or #whitegold, you’ll no doubt remember the way ‘The Dress’ took over the world. Whatever your views on the debacle, there’s no doubting that this ‘colour anomaly’ was screaming out to be ‘jacked’. Dunkin’ Donuts took the opportunity and produced an effort that increased its twitter followers by 3% in 24 hours. All ‘newsjacking’ has the potential to be a disaster if done wrong, but DD ‘dressed’ it up well.

The continued progression of Newsjacking shows that this is an effective way of attracting brand support. The use of up-to-date stories is a successful tool in many PR campaigns, and the most popular ones are generally associated with humour and wit. There’s no doubt it’s becoming more popular, and we can’t wait to see the next ingenious attempt.


Graduates: How to Stand Out to PR Employers

 

Graduation season is upon us and that means one thing for employers; intelligent and enthusiastic individuals are about to make their way into the competitive world of work with refreshing and innovative ideas. There’s only one problem – there are thousands of graduates, which means sifting through countless CVs and dissecting numerous cover letters to determine who’s the right person for the company. The job market is more competitive than ever for graduates, and if public relations is your choice of industry, standing out is essential. Therefore, here at Zeus, we have rounded up our best tips to help graduates get noticed.

 

  1. Be RelentlessWhen it comes to that initial after-graduation job search, you have to be persistent. Successful job searching is often about timing, so don’t expect to find your ideal opportunity immediately. Check job websites daily to ensure that you never miss an opening but remember that not all companies will advertise on these sites - use social media as a searching tool and research PR companies in your area (they often post vacancies on their websites), send across CVs and cover letters if possible. Job sites such as Indeed, Reed etc. are great but exploring other avenues will increase your chances of success.

 

  1. Perfect that Cover Letter – Graduates often do their best to perfect their CV but then accompany it with a very generic cover letter that does nothing to sell themselves. Employers who ask for a cover letter are doing so because they want to know more about you and why you are interested in their company. The PR industry is about personality and creativity so don’t be afraid to show who you are. Also remember to always include a section focusing on the business you are applying to; why that company? Why that role? What can you bring to the table that they don’t already have? One of the worst mistakes made by graduates is sending the same CV and covering letter to hundreds of potential employers who can tell. They need to be personal.

 

  1. Find your unique selling point and use it – When you leave university, you are in the same position as many others up and down the country. Find something unique and use it to sell yourself to potential employers. Are you an English graduate with incredible writing skills? Are you a marketing graduate with an extensive range of experience? Are you a journalism graduate with a portfolio of published work? Are you a blogger with a huge social media presence? Whatever your USP is, sell it!

 

  1. Don’t Oversell Yourself – Following on from the previous point, selling yourself is essential but so is honesty. Don’t oversell yourself or your experience because the employer will know straight away. Instead talk truthfully about the things that you have done and express a desire to learn more – this will show ambition and a passion for the industry; two things employers love to see. Further to this, applying for the right level is essential. Unless you have exceptional circumstances, most graduates will only be considered for entry level positions and applying for jobs above your station is a waste of everyone’s time.

 

  1. Experience speaks volumes – In order to stand out from the thousands of other job seekers who have also attained degrees, you need some relevant experience in the PR field. This is not always easy to come by and so, by having that experience, you have already showcased to potential employers that you are hard-working, determined and have a passion for the industry. Here at Zeus, we prioritise relevant experience above anything else when recruiting. In the PR industry, no relevant experience can often mean no interview.

 

  1. Use social media carefully – Excellent knowledge of social media is essential in this industry because digital marketing is the future. However, the way in which you use social media will be checked by employers. Blogs are a fantastic way to show off your work, and having an online portfolio makes it easier for employers to see samples. Sites such as LinkedIn are also great for networking. However, your personal use of social media is often checked by your future boss who is looking to gain an accurate perspective on your character. Therefore, it is imperative to keep your social media free from anything that you would not want potential employers to see.

 

There is no use in pretending that making your way in this industry after university is easy; it’s not. It takes commitment, determination and a desire to succeed in public relations. But with this (and our top tips) there’s every chance you will be successful.

 

 


What is SEO and why is it so important to your business?

It must be said – we admire anyone’s bravery at pushing themselves to understand the curious three-letter acronym that is SEO. So, we extend an approving handshake and encouraging nod for getting yourself to this article.
Now that you’re here, you’re in tremendous luck. At Zeus HQ, we’ve taken the time to dissect the inter-web’s various sources to come up with the most straightforward explanation of the dreaded “Search Engine Optimisation”.
To get our bearings, let’s take a look at the official definition of SEO as quoted on the What Is SEO website:

 

“Search Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website on organic ("natural" or un-paid) search engine result pages (SERPs), by incorporating search engine friendly elements into a website.”

 

 

And breathe in. It’s quite the mouthful, isn’t it? Let’s break it down in simpler terms.

Our definition of SEO:

SEO is all about where you rank on the pages of search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. For example, if you were to Google “Best restaurants Manchester” you would find that the website ranked the highest in that search is www.restaurantsofmanchester.com. Similarly, if you Googled “Interior design company Manchester” you would see www.curveinteriordesign.co.uk is top of the list.

Why it's so important to your business:

And the significance of being top of any search result on Google doesn’t warrant explanation. Google processes over 3.5 billion searches per day, which is around 40,000 searches per second. Per second. It’s fair to say being in Google’s SEO good books has its perks.
Of course, aiming for your business to be top of Google’s search result – while an admirable aim nonetheless – isn’t always feasible. At least not when you’re just starting out. Increasing your ranking takes a lot of time and effort; something many business owners don’t see the value in investing in.
As an agency with specialisations in content and digital marketing, we’ve seen first-hand what putting time and effort into SEO can do for a business’s results. So, maybe it’s worth dedicating that Wednesday morning slot to brainstorming blog post ideas after all.

 


How content marketing can grow your business

For anyone who is yet to hear the news, let us break it to you gently: businesses need content marketing like humans need oxygen. If you don’t know a whole lot about content marketing, take a read of our last blog post and then come right back.

Trust us, if you want to keep your company ahead of your competitors you’re going to want to start thinking about why you should invest time into nailing content marketing. Here are just a few ways this strategy can grow your business:

 

  1. Raising public awareness

In order to successfully make an impact on your target market, you must first exist to it. In other words, if people don’t know who or what your business is, how can you expect them to buy into it? Content marketing provides a platform through which real interactions can be made on social media and in return, developing an audience that knows your brand.

For example, if you are an interior design company you could produce content (in the form of blog posts, videos, infographs, etc.) on the following:

  • Top tips on how to pick a colour scheme for your bedroom
  • Behind the scenes of refurbishing a kitchen space
  • List of favourite retailers to buy from
  • How to accessorise a mantelpiece or coffee table

Those suggestions might not blow you away but it’s a starting point, and every business needs a starting point to build a successful content marketing campaign.

  1. Showing your customers that you know what you’re talking about

One of the biggest assets of producing quality content is that your audience can see you know more than just a thing or two about your area of expertise, making them more likely to trust you and your company. And as we all know, trust between a company and its customers is crucial especially when even the most niche of markets are ever-expanding and becoming more competitive.

  1. Providing useful information without expecting anything in return

It’s going to seem like a slow and unrewarding process at first, and you may start to resent handing out free information without getting anything in return. However, patience is a virtue and patience is certainly a must-have when it comes to building a relationship with your audience. Nobody is going to jump ship from one brand to another unless you give them good reason to. And if the content you’re producing is good enough, you should see plenty of jumping in the coming months. Letting the customer come to you is far more attractive than hunting them down and begging for business.

  1. Improving your SEO and Google search rankings

If nothing else, content marketing is the one sure-fire method of boosting your rankings in Google’s search engine. Basically, someone is more likely to find your website or social media if they search for particular keywords that may have featured in your content, as Google rewards you by placing you higher in its search rankings. How kind, eh?

In all seriousness, SEO and content marketing go hand-in-hand like two newly-wed lovers, and one will always compliment the other. So, even if you don’t see the immediate benefits of implementing content marketing strategies, stick with it and you’ll be rewarded in time.

Here at Zeus we work hard to ensure our clients have quality content to provide to their audience at all times, and on a daily basis we see the effects a successful content marketing campaign can have on business growth and customer satisfaction. So, take it from us - it works!


What is content marketing?

For those of you mind boggled by the term “content marketing” but hesitant to admit it for fear of societal rejection, fear not – you are in company. Content marketing is an overwhelmingly vague term that has become all the rage for successful businesses in 2017, but what does it actually mean?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, an online encyclopaedia for all things content marketing-related, the definition is as follows:

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Having the definition doesn’t always provide a clearer understanding of the term though, does it? However, there are two keys words we should take from the above definition: valuable and relevant. If your content isn’t providing value to your consumer or isn’t relevant to your business, you won’t reap the rewards content marketing can earn you.
Another great way of understanding content marketing is by simply looking at examples. Below is a list of the most effective types of content marketing we work on with clients:

• Infographics
• Blog posts – e.g. ‘How-to’, lists,
• Articles/case studies
• Videos
• Images
• Testimonials
• Podcasts
• Email newsletters

Something many of you may be wondering by now is what the difference is between content marketing and traditional marketing strategies.

Unlike traditional marketing which is all about pushing your product or service in the customer’s face in the hope they bite, content marketing focuses on enticing the customer by offering them information they can relate to, and as a result, they become more aware of your business and its services.

Content marketing allows the consumer to feel in control of the information they are digesting rather than feeling like it’s being forced down their throats. And with a population that has the shortest attention span in recent history, it’s always more effective to entice your audience rather than force. If you don’t believe us, have a look at the following statistics published on marketing advice website, Smart Insights:

As well as being a reliable source of traffic to your site, content marketing goes hand in hand with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), resulting in higher Google search rankings for your website. It’s a win-win, right?

Here at Zeus, we work with clients to deliver effective content marketing to an increasingly demanding online audience and in doing so, we improve your visibility to potential customers.

It’s safe to say 2017 will see an even bigger growth in businesses using content marketing strategies to their advantage, so we say hop on board the bandwagon now while it’s still rolling past!


Social Media Healthcheck for B2B Businesses

Not many businesses today would doubt the value of a good social media strategy to developing their customer base. Offering a great opportunity to engage with potential, as well as existing customers, social feeds should be integral to any B2B PR & marketing strategy.

Well populated social media feeds are highly valuable for publishing and targeting specific content, building brand awareness and driving traffic to your website.

To assist you stay on track, we have listed below some pointers which we hope you will find useful:-

  1. Firstly, identify who is your audience - who are you looking to speak to? Work with? Are they searching for advice? Or simply some relief from their heavy workload.
  2. Which social feeds will your target audience be following / regularly engaged with? Unless you are a major B2B brand, the opportunities to grow your Facebook following are particularly limited - despite its seniority in the social hierarchy Facebook is still viewed as largely a personal network.   Twitter is maturing however is still growing its user numbers, a great tool for businesses, offering the opportunity to heighten brand awareness, boost your SEO, promote your content, and so forth. Looking at the value from a pure business network - LinkedIn, the main recruitment vehicle for the vast majority of recruiters, company page subscription is restricted, with person to person individual interaction taking by far the lions share of engagement - use this to your advantage, and encourage your motivated team members to engage, engage, engage!
  3. Focus on the major B2B social feeds for the biggest impact - Twitter and LinkedIn- and save Instagram, Pinterest, What's App, etc for social use. Make the most out of LinkedIn Company Pages, and Twitter feeds  and also enlist your workforce in sharing on their own feeds your good news,  company insights, press coverage, surveys, industry comments, and include links back to your website where relevant.
  4. As you work hard to build up your follower bases, ensure your social content isn't one way traffic or too promotional. No one likes being sold to, so gently does it. Mix up the content as much as your can whilst ensuring anything you post remains on message with your brand and taking care not to offend. Use images and infographs for added interest.
  5.  Tag in and reference other brands / suppliers etc, to build your network, earning yourself as you go brownie points from other accounts with greater follower numbers - share and comment on their content and the likelihood is they will start to do the same for you. Being positive and supportive can develop for you a strong digital fanbase, who one day might need to contract or refer your services!
  6.  Use social media as part of your competitor monitoring activity - who are they following and engaging with? Are they using their feeds to promote specific messages or promotional offers? This allows you at first hand to monitor their competitive strategy, and ensure you are ahead of the pack.
  7. Finally extend your media reach - published articles editorial features or news pieces on your business, are a great form of secondary endorsement, however in today's increasingly hectic society, your target audience is not with the-best-will-in-the world going to be able to read every trade title or regional business title, so take time to share your press coverage as you go, generating excitement and again driving interest in your proposition and offering.
    We manage for many B2B clients a proactive, hard working social strategy, designed to support their business objectives, and are more than happy to offer a free consultation to businesses looking to enhance their social media and content marketing strategy.