Saturday, 12 April 2014

Why US PR is best handled by US PRs

Guest blog: Just so happy to be doing transatlantic PR again, here’s a post from our US PR partner, Lorraine Russell on why it's not easy securing the US column inches. 

Lorraine Russell,
US PR & mountain hiker
It doesn’t matter where in the world you want PR coverage, you will find the journalists you need are a busy lot. Their publications are under competitive attack, staff have been cut, acquisitions and closures are commonplace, everyone is doing more with less and covering more areas and, well, it all sounds rather familiar doesn’t it?

Journalists and their organizations face many of the same issues you do in your business. And just like any busy company expert, journalists want only the most insightful and relevant information and sources to ensure they do the best job possible. That makes getting their attention, building a relationship and winning their trust all the more challenging and important.

The U.S. journalistic landscape is similar to the UK although larger. According to Pew Research’s “State of the News Media 2014” report there are 38,000 full time journalists employed within the traditional U.S. newspaper industry alone (not to mention TV, magazines, etc.). Comparatively, the European Journalism Centre reports similar full time newspaper journalists in the UK. Digital native sites are growing on both sides of the pond, yet still employ only a small numbers with about 5,000 full-time U.S.-based editorial jobs at nearly 500 digital news outlets.

Whether traditional or digital, one big difference is ownership. Certainly there are U.S. conglomerate owners, however the UK newspaper market is generally far more nationalistic with fewer owners.

What does all this mean to you? Obviously you aren’t after every US journalist. You want only a logical niche of decision makers to notice your new product/service or entry into the market. As you should. But that doesn’t necessarily make it easier.

Here’s why. Think about your competition. How many companies will you compete with in the U.S.? 10? 20? 50? More? How many of your European competitors are also entering or active in the U.S.? How many non-industry companies are nipping at your heels trying to steal the same potential customers?

Each of those and all the ones not yet identified are engaging PR to contact the same journalist you want. Whilst there are about 50,000 PR professionals in the UK, there are nearly 230,000 PR professionals in the U.S. Talk about competition!

Now think back to that busy journalist looking for someone to validate or negate the premise of an article (yes that has a lot to do with it). The journalist must be accurate. And the editor and the publisher need them to have a differentiated story than the other media outlets in their niche. After all, eyes on their story and their publication translate into revenue for survival.

So, who does the journo turn to? Someone they know will deliver. And yes, despite journalistic outcry, the line is blurring between editorial coverage and those who do or could buy advertising or sponsorships. Remember how different the ownership of US media outlets is compared to the UK? That can increase in importance when those paid and earned media lines blur.

So the number 1 reason it is trickier to get your story told by a U.S. journalist is pure and simple -competition.

And #2? Your story absolutely must be relevant to the U.S. reader/viewer. It is not enough to believe your product/service is right for them. It means understanding U.S. centric issues and trends – not just of your potential customers, but of the journalist as well.

Your chances will significantly improve if you can produce a U.S. customer. Some journos won’t talk to “vendors” without one. If you don’t have a U.S.-specific example, the challenge for coverage is even greater. Not impossible, but challenging. It is very likely you will share the story with one of those U.S. competitors you identified.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Truly, it’s not. You just need the experienced insight of localized PR. That’s the same in any country. A world view is quite important strategically but localized insight is invaluable.

As for the U.S., remember those growing digital outlets? Turns out, whilst mainstream U.S. media are sharply decreasing their global coverage, digital is on a quest to include more global coverage. And that spells opportunity! Plan your strategy wisely. This is the perfect time to think global and act local.

Post Script: Here's one we preaperd earlier: a recent UK/US PR project we worked on together, where actully we made it look really easy!

What a perfectly formed team, if I say so myself


Saturday, 22 March 2014

The future of marketing – five reasons why digital marketing is important

Guest blog, courtesy of Anita Jasser, MD of full service digital agency, Sofarbeyond,
 
Is this the future of marketing?
It has never been more critical for companies to embrace digital. Why? Because that’s where the majority of your audience lives – online. In today's world your audience can always stay connected, access content and compare services online, at any time of the day or night, on an increasing range of different devices.

The sheer volume of new digital trends can be overwhelming - from the horizon-expanding technology of Google glass to the hot digital currency Bitcoin, which allows you to buy a burger in east London using just a phone and QR code – let’s keep it simple.

So, here are five good reasons to go digital:

1. Reach your audience. Whether you’re in B2B or B2C marketing, the first place a visitor goes to find out about you or to find a company like yours, is online. In fact, 92% of B2B buyers will visit a technology website before buying (IDG tech buyer report 2013).

2. Understand your audience. The power of digital marketing means that you can gain more knowledge about your audience and learn what they’re looking for, in real time. Once you decipher a visitor’s digital body language, you can use these insights to build a relationship with them based on what they’re interested in. This means marketing can finally become a service – not just a sell.


3. Grow your audience. Digital marketing is a fantastic way of growing your audience quickly and effectively. Why? Because we all love great content, so if yours is engaging, interesting and relevant, your audience will spread the word for you, allowing your business to reach more prospects than before.


4. Know what’s working. As marketers, we spend time investing in many different marketing activities, but do we always know what’s working for us? Digital marketing will always give you a valuable insight into which marketing activity is driving people to you. Once you have this knowledge, you can begin to work out your ROI and your cost per lead acquisition (e.g. what spend did you put in to get a new potential prospect back?).


5. Be reactive. We’re often told that it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive in marketing. With digital marketing, which includes search, social, online PR and content, we say that it’s best to be reactive. By this we mean once you know what your audience is interested in, you can feed those interests back into your marketing plan and respond to them effectively.