Welcome to the Vision2Success digital marketing workshop, how to create a PR strategy and tactics that will help your business shine, which today will be presented by Gary Bramwell, the founder of PR agency Great Minds.
These regular workshops are designed to help you take your vision and realise it into a successful business.
The overall structure of the next hour will be a short introduction to who we are and what Vision2Success is all about; then, the educational presentation on there, Gary will be presenting.
Today I’m delighted to say we’ll be joined by Gary, with whom we work jointly on PR for some companies we work with.
The chance to ask questions at the end, but feel free to drop them into chat, and we’ll ensure we address them at the end of the presentation.
So if you’re on LinkedIn, YouTube, or Facebook, please put your comments there, and then we’ll pick them up. And Rachel will put those into chat, and then there’ll be an open floor to ask general questions about marketing or business.
Okay, so who am I? A few of you know me already. So I’ve done business and digital coach got qualifications, MBA, chartered ICT professional, etc. Founding Managing Director of KUB, and Vision2Success, our support company.
I was joined by my daughter, Charleh Dickinson, in 2014. And KUB is now a one-stop agency, which is run by Charleh and Rachel, who is with us today.
I have worked with over 500 companies across a wide range of sectors for the last 20 years and have been working with technology since 1984.
If you can get a review during the interactive session at the end, use mute when not talking. Ask questions through chat, please. And keep your video on if you can put it in the gallery view and then switch it off. But if you switch, switch it off if you don’t want to be recorded or busy on the live stream.
So why go through all this trouble? I’ve got masters of technology open here; running this thing takes quite a lot of effort. But it’s here to help you guys compete in the digital world.
We run an agency, so we’re at the sharp end of some challenges you face. And as part of our own training and development, we’ve developed free online courses.
So it’s to help build the knowledge here to help you solve your marketing problems and talk more about building a community to support your marketing, so Vision2Success, which is a brand of KUB, so we’ve got the free Wednesday morning workshops running monthly.
The next one will be on the 25th of January. We’ve now developed a free marketing community with free online courses and forums.
There is a paid membership Support Programme for those who want more handholding support. We are developing an app looking like a January launch now.
And there will be a very comprehensive course to go with that, an online course. So that if you want to do it yourself, you can. Or if you want to understand the theory behind the door, you can, which was priced at 95 pounds.
Then, we can do any marketing strategy development and implementation.
So we’ve got a book to back it up. Published also, it’s available on Amazon and on about 12 big online platforms, but it’s easy to find on Amazon; just type in Drive Sales with Digital Marketing, and it will pop up.
So this is the community if you go to vision2success.co we have got a lot of resources here you can ask questions.
I’m putting up regular articles on marketing, and then we’ve got free courses.
We’ve now got four free courses, and another two will go live by the end of the week.
So we’re making it easy for you to get the information you need to drive your business.
So I’d like to now hand it over to Gary, who will take over and give us a presentation on how to create a PR strategy and some of the tactics that will help your business shine.
Thanks very much, and over to you.
First of all, thanks for coming. It’s nice to virtually meet you all anyway.
So I’m just gonna go through this. It’s quite conversational.
So again, feel free to chip in if you’ve got any questions.
Why PR? It’s seen as dark arts, audience insight, strategy and tactics, and a snapshot of the coverage I have achieved this year for various clients.
So first, a bit about me. So I am an award-winning PR and creative director, an MD of Brazen PR in Manchester, and a content marketing director at MediaCom.
So throughout my career, I’ve developed and worked on PR campaigns for clients, which are only some of them.
But car insurance, Selfridges, Expedia, M&S money, Ronseal, Pinfold Pensions, Epson printers, Heinz, I could go on, but I’m not going to bore you.
I’ve launched some campaigns and got a mix of b2b and b2c experience, and I’ve helped develop those brands and have worked with many startups to help them with their growth plans.
So as well as PR experience, I understand paid content, PPC display, and other marketing tactics and how PR slots in and can support those things if that’s part of your marketing efforts.
I started Great Minds in 2019 to bring the best minds together to deliver PR work for clients. And for my sins.
I’m still at a certain age, an avid gym goer, and despite my own coming years, I can still give people 10 years younger than me a run for their money at the gym. Of which is where I met Charleh.
Moving on to the next slide, or why PR. So give you a bit of a history here.
PR is often misunderstood as a marketing discipline.
Many years ago, it was a vanity project for brands and businesses. So it was like, ‘make me famous, make me famous.’ And advertising was the main driver. And this was me, which now will show my age, but for like 15/20 years, PR was seen as a secondary tactic.
But times have changed over my PR career; the discipline has come full circle, and it’s sat in front and centre of any marketing campaign or brand-building activity.
Why? Well, PR is about engaging with and building relationships with key audiences and stakeholders to influence public perception favourably.
This activity is essential to building a brand and raising its awareness and puts you as a thought leader within your competitors and the media landscape.
Telling an engaging story will inform your customers, drive sales, and, more importantly, build trust.
So they’ll buy from you rather than your competitor down the road.
There are many layers to this discipline, such as news generation, of which I’ll show you some examples later.
Crisis communications, if you’re in a particularly risky industry, we need to have a plan in place to make sure that you’ve covered internal communications because staff must be on board as a business and understand what’s going on as a business as well as whatever you’re projecting outwardly as well.
Investor Relations is something we need to do some investor relations if you’re a startup, as I mentioned before, or looking to raise funds. Launch events obviously got a new product; you want to launch it, give it a big bang, and get it seen everywhere through suitable media. Content creation, influencer marketing, which has just become a thing over the last few years, and celebrity endorsements and social media.
So there’s quite a lot of facets to it, really. But there’s more. And this is going back to my point before it comes back full circle.
When I started in PR, it was very much friendly to have. But now it’s very much front and centre. And here’s why, as the world is evermore online, Google searches for relevant content from credible sources, links, and citations, another word for brand mentions, to help push your site and business up the rankings to gain visibility.
So rather than doing paid ads, which is part of the marketing mix, organically, you want your site to rank for keywords, and therefore that’s where we can help.
And now the buzzword is a kind of digital PR. And that means that getting the news story in, you know, a key title or whatever it is, is trying to get the link back to cite.
It pushes you up the Google rankings and helps your site be more visible. So via PR, you’ll get brand coverage on a national news site.
For example, say we developed a news story, whatever that might be, and we got it on the BBC, which is a rare occasion.
But if we did get that, and it linked back to your site because there’s a creative behind it that intrinsically linked your brand back to the story, so you can get away with not linking to it, then your site will go up the Google rankings like nothing before.
So there’s a science, but also creativity towards it, to make sure that we come up with good news stories that can get those links, but also given is relative to your brand.
So you’ve got that excellent brand awareness. PR is now intrinsically linked to online marketing efforts.
I always take an audience-first approach. So understanding your surroundings helps you find a message that will resonate with your audience. So getting a grasp on basic demographics.
So who are we targeting? It’s obvious, isn’t it? Gender, age, geographic location, etc. But to fully understand who we’re speaking to, we must go deeper than that to create our strategy.
So you’ll need to get a sense of what moves them, what troubles them, and what excites them to craft messages that resonate with them, and then we can map the right media communication strategy going forward.
When it comes to establishing the key messages you can have, and this is something that I’ve dealt with several clients in the past, you need to move away in some way from talking about your product.
It needs to be there within the story and when the communications are, but it doesn’t need to be ‘sell, sell, sell’ unless it’s a product placement campaign where you’re launching a new product.
When developing a story, I always wonder what’s in it for them? What’s it, you know, if I’m reading this story, what’s in it for me? Who cares, to be honest, in terms of why would we? Why would we care about this story?
What’s the reason for it? You just want to avoid putting out messages for its sake and making a spray-and-pray approach where you go out to loads of different media, which can cultivate a story.
That’s got meaning, basically. And a lot of that is what is the solution to that problem that your brand can provide? So whether that’s given insight to a trend, whether it’s that it could be a new product that’s going to make life easier, it could be a thought leadership piece, advising the industry about X, Y, Zed for 2023, which is I’m working on that for a couple of clients at the moment.
So it’s focused on your target audience’s reality and tries and create news around the problem. Offering a solution or device also gets the conversation going.
Because obviously, what I do is I don’t just do a standalone piece of PR; it runs through different channels as well.
So if we come up with a campaign about giving back in some way, shape, or form, then it’s going to run through your social channels; it might inform the website, blog, or something else. So we’ve looked at it as a multi-faceted approach, basically.
Insights, I like that picture.
And you need to map out your environment and, you know, you can’t just say, ‘Oh, we’re going to do this because it’s a good idea.’ It needs to be tracked into research and insight so that we know it will resonate with the audience.
So that means figuring out what your industry looks like, what the trends are, what you learn from your competitors, and what they do, and finding ways to stand out and do things differently.
I’ll come on to an example later and determine what the narrative and channels are correct. But, you know, everybody thinks you’ve got to be on every channel, social media. And that’s not right.
You don’t have to be on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, or whatever. Because different things mean different things to other people. And there may be better channels to put your efforts into.
We can look at the competition and determine where you could stand out from those channels and that differentiation.
There are some nifty tools and some cost; I’m just going to throw it in there. But like SEMrush, and Buzzsumo, you can use them to figure out what your competitors are, where they’ve got coverage, where they’ve got links, where they’ve been seen, basically.
So you can use those tools and, of course, Google. This is the obvious one. Before you go out to market, I can run past ideas through the media regarding anything you decide to launch.
So, for example, this morning, I had a mortgage broker client, and I started looking at 2023 trends in the mortgage market.
And, with trusts and everything that’s happened, the mortgage markets have been in disarray. So I went to a call centre.
We can comment on this, and we can comment on that.
What do you think? And you know, I’ve got two journalists come back to me today saying, yeah, if you can pull that together, we’ll run it.
So it’s understanding the landscape and asking how we can help journalists and titles. And I’ll also get a link to my client’s sites.
And yeah, research requires effort, which is incredibly important because you will get a campaign that resonates with the audience you’re after.
And the key word here resonates. You know, as a business owner, you may feel, and I’ve dealt with this in the past, you might think you’ve got a fantastic product and unique story to tell because it’s your business.
And I might look at it and go, ‘Oh, it’s not that amazing. But if we added this or that, it might start to fly in key titles and media.’
Sometimes, you might need a little hand developing the narrative to show that you punch through because I know what journalists look after.
And you might think it’s incredible what you’ve developed or what product you’re trying to sell.
But it needs some tweaking to ensure we can get the journalists to rise around it.
And also looking at what journalists have done before. So again, so I know, the mortgage example back, they’re gonna be making predictions for next year and doing predictions and interest rates and all the rest of it.
So you can go out and say, ‘right, what can we help you with? We’ve got data here; we’ve got stuff we can share with you to get that coverage and those links back.’
And that will obviously help you define your strategy and tactics going forward. But the takeout is, as a business or a business owner, what is the solution that I can provide that will make me and my product
On strategy, then, I’ve got an example here that it’s straightforward, but it gives you an idea of what I’ve done for this particular brand. And I’ve chosen one that was very dry to show how we can make it less dry.
But now we’ve got an understanding of the audience. And the markets directly to create a strategy.
The strategy is a position in someone’s thinking, what USP is and what your business and brand want to be known for. And then we can hang the tactics of that.
Let’s put this into practice briefly. I worked for a technology IT business called Grey Stone. And they basically, I’m sure you’ve all got it, providers, they are literally like everybody else out there, they will sort it out.
Your ins and outs that your email, our site, your server out, whatever it might be, nothing is exciting or different about them, they talked the way that everybody talks, basically.
So the insight is that most people aren’t bothered about it; they don’t understand it. They just want it to work.
It’s like Utility, it’s like getting water, it’s like, you know, it’s just since your house or whatever.
It’s something that people expect now just to work. And if it doesn’t work, it’s a massive problem because all your businesses and daily lives rely on it.
So, it’s expected now. So everything that’s been talked about around it and tech businesses are very similar.
So the audience was medium to small business owners and operation directors. And what the competition was doing was talking like IT consultants.
So they were talking about things that, you know, the everyday Joe doesn’t understand.
So even if it is your IP address, or whatever it might be, that’s the top way of looking at it.
Only get it if you’re just trying to run a small business selling coffee and you want, you know, you want to take orders online or whatever, you just don’t want to work.
So then we repositioned them and said, making sense of it and software solutions. And that was what they’re now using today, as their strapline than everything off there is simplifying the IT process and trying to talk about whether it’s social, whether it’s in PR, whether it’s thought leadership, how to take out the jargon and just make things simple.
Understanding the small and medium businesses with what you are trying to attract or the things to consider when developing your overall strategy.
It’s timing with any PR campaign, or even if it’s simply issuing a news release, it’s all about the timing.
You’ve got to look at the news agenda. You know, its budget will be released next week; you don’t do anything around that.
For example, if Christmas is coming up in his book, Christmas depends on your news release.
If a World Cup is going on, you don’t want to launch a new sporting product.
So you’ve got to look at a calendar of events to find the best time to go out with the news.
And some clients are like, I want to go, I want to go now, and I’m like no because it’s just not gonna it’s not gonna fly.
So there’s an element of timings that need to be considered, and the media landscape is more diverse than ever before.
There are loads of bloggers and influencers.
Now, these key titles, there’s all sorts of differences outside. It’s such a noisy place to try and get some cut-through for you, your business, or your brand.
So in some ways, it’s best to kind of develop stories for particular titles, as well as the press office, as I call it, where you go out with stories to every single press, but like today, and I keep saying that because obviously, it’s morning.
Still, with a mortgage client, I went out to Mortgage Solutions, a key title for them, and said, what can you help me with some more developer’s story, especially for that title? She knows that there’ll be exclusivity for her. So that’s how it needs to blend exclusive content and your day-to-day press office.
This is just giving you a synopsis of all the tactics that I do anyway, and it falls under the banner of media relations, and content is your day-to-day stuff.
So that’s like Feature Ideas, case study placements, thought leadership articles, product placement, reactive stuff.
If somebody you know says there’s a budget announcement, my client might want to comment more on that.
Getting the links as well as coverage. So as well as getting a nice piece.
On Daily Mail, for example. We’re also after that link, not that the Daily Mail link back, but the Express deal, for example.
So you know, he’s looking at that and doing supporting online assets that can go with the story to make it more visual.
As we know, we’re in the world of social media, and everything needs video and imagery.
When developing a story, we want to give it the best chance of getting picked up by media outlets.
We’ll make expert comments or give them something, an asset, or an image that makes it more visual for the publication or the site.
So yeah, here, I’ve preempted myself, but this is the backbone of the PR campaign.
There’s other stuff, like news, announcements, appointments, and thought leadership, in terms of profiling CEOs or MDS of companies. Product placement, newsjacking and featured in key media, and social media, you know, sometimes I own social media accounts myself; otherwise, I’ll feed into the social team at whatever company is. So if we’re doing media relations and content, there’s quite a lot of stuff.
If we get a really good placement on, you know, a significant title, we want to share it through social media and sing our own praises.
So it’s working hand in hand with the social teams to develop new ideas to show what I’m doing and dashing what they’re doing. And we can maximise that.
And again, coming up with ideas for the social team, sometimes, usually, the social team is just focused on one piece of business.
So to have somebody come in, like me, for example, to come up with some good ideas, just give them a kind of, you know, a bit of energy, then that’s kind of what I do as well, but I don’t actually launch some of the social channels.
That’s a good way of supplementing what I do daily, event creation, new product launches, and press conferences.
Depending on your business, a new product launch is perfect. COVID changed that a bit because everybody went online, but I still organised online press launches.
So everybody dowels in and speaks to the CEO, the business, or whoever it might be. So it’s going online, the same thing rather than being virtual, where you don’t meet somebody in person.
This is like a new way of doing it. But, then, news conferences held a news conference, literally in October.
And just got some primary media down, and we’ll hide a hotel.
A conference room for them to do q&a is around this charity initiative. And that was quite good.
And then also, depending on where you want to go with your thought leadership stuff.
There are exhibitions, speak Rue, and roundtables that you can pitch your, my client, your client, to be part of that. Crisis Management, as you never know.
Again, depending on your business, you need to have a plan.
I work with people to deliver that if something goes wrong in a business. And that’s usually more for high-profile companies.
So I’ve done stuff for personal use, for example, Heinz, just in case something goes wrong because you never know.
But that is very much bespoke to that business. So there’s not much more about that.
But it is essential sometimes to have that in place. And then influencer marketing and celebrity endorsements can be the influencer hits a celebrity is obviously here to stay.
There are new celebrities created every day. So it’s like identifying which celebrity or influencer you could work with to pay dividends to your brand. And that’s what, no more, it’s not now a kind of autograph or a short-term campaign.
It’s best to tell a story.
Because even if they’re a celebrity, they’ve got social media. It’s like mapping out what that story should be. And saying, right, what you need to post here about this, then you need a follow-up post.
It’s hard. It’s like storytelling.
Someone’s giving them a storyboard to follow so that they then get the brand messages across in the right way, as well as a launch event or whatever.
But it’s more storytelling, but online.
Now with those celebrity endorsement influences, it’s not just a one-hit, one photo, or one appearance. It’s more of a longevity thing that we’re moving out soon.
And then internal communications, you know, it’s essential that if I’m off doing an influence or endorsement or whatever, that people in your company know about that, and, you know, interact with that. So they know where the business is going.
You must inform your employees about the business and where it’s up to just as much as you do externally in any PR campaign.
So whether it’s presentations or an away day, or even if it’s a pub lunch, and just sharing what the PR plan is for the next six months, or whatever it might be, because they can be beneficial and amplify in any campaign that we do.
So here, this thing’s where we’ve done stuff where it’s like-minded brands.
Whether it’s charities, going with local producers, whether it’s a fashion model, launching an event, or whether it’s Sky Sports thinking of what I’ve done, linking it with gambling awareness.
Finding brand affiliations will be good. And therefore, I can paint something that is beneficial to both.
And also partnerships.
So there are things like, you know, if you want to do a big splash and you’re doing a big launch, then you can obviously do stuff with a media partner as well, which will amplify anything else that we’re doing around that.
So that’s the tactic. I’ve nearly done it. And then this is just stuff that I’ve worked on this year.
And it’s really varied, to be honest. So a lot of detail on only a pension provider, which got into the FT earlier this year.
And that was just that, it was a product launch. But obviously, the difference with that is it was an app, but it went when they first launched.
They’ve branched out now. They basically were only providing pensions to freelancers.
So it was a good story. And it went in other publications besides that, it went over the place.
And then, I worked for Heinz over the summer. So I did stuff in a caterer. A trade press hire must be in there permanently like an industry press. But then we spun that out into the consumer press.
So we launched the Heinz breakfast, Believe it or not. Heinz hummus and we spelled that out into the Metro; for example, I worked on Giffgaff, and when the cost of living started to bite, I made an announcement with another team about the fact that it’s freezing its prices till the end of 2023.
And even though that’s not total, a review is crucial.
We also spun it into the consumer, and they’ve also got the Daily Star on the Daily Mirror.
But I just wanted to show a bit of breath. And then, for a mortgage client, why is the stamp duty caught, like, making things difficult for first-time buyers. So that was a piece we developed to get into financial reports. That piece is in.
To show they knew what they were talking about because they’re basically a b2b client, and they just talk to brokers.
So brokers must go to them for advice, which is why we’re doing many thought leadership pieces. And that’s that, so that’s a bit of it in action.
So Gary, I mean, fantastic content there.
Thank you very much. Lots to think about.
What would happen if these guys had one thing to go away with? What action? Would you want them to go away?
It would be coming up with what comes at the heart of any marketing?
Because it’s important, how can you get that out to everybody across different channels? And at the beginning of the presentation years ago, it was, you know, advertising or deciding what’s what. Basically, Powell was seen as very much a poor brother. And strategy needs to be at the heart of any marketing effort that you do.
Yeah, we’re seeing a lot more moves to storytelling, you know, and weaving. And there’s a thing called Story brand, which we covered in a previous workshop, which was really good at giving people who are not story writers a good structure.
And the key to that was the audience, of course, of you. So you’re seeing a move to that kind of storytelling in the PR world?
Yeah, so I call it, like, getting a solid narrative. And I think, because if we develop that narrative, and it is, you know, one that really resonates like I say, you have to move it through a channel, now, it can’t just be a news release, and in the same basic form.
And that’s it; that narrative needs to go through everything. So the greystone technology and making it, making more sense of it, whatever it was that I said before, then everything we did was simplifying everything.
So whether it’s on LinkedIn, whether it’s on all the social channels, whether it’s in the thought leadership pieces that we wrote, everything needs to run through channels.
The narrative is more important than it’s ever been.
And if anybody wants to rewatch the brand story workshop, go to our previous workshops on the Vision2Success website, where we talk about that in more detail.
Okay, Gary, thank you very much for being with us today.
Thank you very much to everybody attending, whether on LinkedIn, Facebook, or YouTube, and for attending in the room.
There’s a question in chat for Gary.
Sorry. It’s just come through,
Yes, I’m a Manchester-based yoga business. Do you have any advice for PR for me?
Can I think about it and come back? Yes. I have got a bit of digging first.
I’ve actually linked with you on LinkedIn, Gary.
Really interesting what you’re talking about, so I like to connect with the possibility.
I’ll leave you to connect.
Hi, Hi, Gary. It’s really interesting. And just one thing popped into my head, I worked with some PTAs. These were graduate entrepreneurs who had nailed budgets. And I like what you took what you said about storytelling. Was that a way to go first? For them for the background and how they got it.
If it’s without knowing too much detail, but if they’re startups, if you could quickly get it coming up with some innovative products, for example, you can definitely come up with some storytelling.
The thing is, if it’s a startup, usually, you’re running around after your tail.
So you need someone to come in and go, right. What is our messaging? What are we going to be doing? And with startups, usually, it’s a funding thing as well.
I’ve done a lot of, I call them raise releases, where you go out to a market like startups.com in the UK, and say, this product or whatever, the startups have a raise to do that.
So there’s two different elements to that; if it’s purely startup, I would advise on the Brand Story Workshop, which really helps to develop the narrative’s message and get them to think about their audience.
Give us a bit of the background on what Gary will do.
I’ll link up with you, Gary.
Yeah, definitely. It can always give advice just to help them, especially if they’re a startup, so don’t worry.
That’s great. Thank you. No problem.
Okay. Has anybody else got any more questions? No. Okay.
So thanks very much, Gary. So moving on, on the 25th of January, I’ll be presenting how to use marketing data to help you grow your sales faster.
So we’ll be taking a deep dive into the key metrics that will help you stay focused on the marketing that works and therefore help you increase sales.
If you go to vision2success/events book there, we look forward to seeing you then.
Rachel will follow up with a link to the recording from this workshop.
That you can because there’s a lot of great information there.
You’ll be able to jump back in and have a look at the slide deck will also be up.
So I hope you all have a great break. And I look forward to seeing you all again in the new year.
Thanks very much, guys. Bye