• ‘Carpe Diem’ – how you can leverage the calendar to power your PR

    Jul 4 • Uncategorized • 84 Views

    I am writing this on a Thursday.

    However, this isn’t just ANY Thursday, as M&S might suggest, it is July the 4th, or ‘July 4th’ as our American cousins across the pond prefer.

    So what? I hear you cry. ‘We’re British and threw our tea in the river and that nasty lady mocked our footballers when she scored too. They can keep their stupid holiday.’

    Valid points both but, if you think like a marketer, you would be seeking to leverage this and all manner of other similar days in the year. Imagine you are a restaurant or bar. What could you have done today to give your menu an American theme?

    If that sounds limited, check out the REAL opportunity today, Retail Independence Day.

    I’ve just googled news searched ‘Retail Independence Day’ and discovered that the Leeds Corn Exchange is leveraging this beautifully, gaining media coverage for the venue and its ‘30 unique retailers of fashion, eyewear, music, home and garden, food and further locally sourced goods’.

    Hats off to them. This is EXACTLY what I would expect forward thinking locations and even villages, towns and cities to do to support small businesses. 

    Maybe you think that one day can’t make a difference but fear not, there is actually an entire month of activity in July with Independent Retailer Month. This campaign runs annually to ‘highlight the important role smaller, local, independent retailers play in the communities they serve, the local economy they contribute to, and in the retail sector as a whole.’

    Now, I appreciate that many of you are not retailers and that by the time you read this, it will be too late but that isn’t my message here, my message is to look ahead and leverage the OTHER days that lurk on the yearly calendar.

    We all know about Black Friday, Cyber Wednesday, Boxing Day sales and Christmas of course. New Year’s is a great time for anything health and habit related, I’m looking at you PTs, physios and coaches and then there’s Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter and many other religious holidays.

    Think about how your offering can be highlighted by these days. It doesn’t even have to be press-worthy, it can be simple stuff more suited to your website and social media campaigns.

    I have had push back on this before from my B2B clients, saying it is all very well for consumer campaigns but this sort of stuff doesn’t work for them.

    Rubbish.

    By injecting a bit of colour and dare I say it ‘FUN’ into their PR they can reap huge rewards in terms of attracting and retaining staff by showcasing their different company culture. I used to work with a major international bank from Down Under.

    Every Australia Day in January we’d have an Aussie themed event at a big venue in town, with well over 250 ‘professionals’ queuing up for various buck-tucker challenges, beer, BBQs and branded cork hats.

    It isn’t about the day itself, it is how you leverage it. Imagine being a business editor receiving yet ANOTHER photo of a grey man in a grey suit being ‘delighted’ with the latest growth figures and then receiving 10 photos of some local faces all letting their hair down and raising money for a great cause.

    There’s loads of these days, some more spurious than others – ‘International Bubble Bath Day’. also in January anyone?

    Halloween? Easy. Nightmare business scenarios thought leadership article.

    Bonfire Night? Make it a social event for clients and staff.

    Valentine’s Day? Come on guys, you’ve got this.

    If you’re stuck for inspiration, get Googling or, give me a call. I am working on a diary for this very purpose and will be more than happy to send it to you once finished or have a chat about the ideas I’m talking about anytime.

    PS one more thing about things like Retail Indie Day, if you don’t have the benefit of forward thinking, proactive venues, towns, Retails Business Improvement Districts or ‘BIDS’, make sure that next year, YOU are the independent leading the charge for your area. 

    One of the biggest tips I give with regards these sort of campaigns is to stop trying to be the star of the show and aim to be the producer, the Steven Spielberg or PT Barnham if you will. You gain the reflected glory and you become the thought leader, the guru and you know how much people like me LOVE a guru.

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  • Your fleet and your image – driving growth or a vehicle for trouble?

    Jun 7 • Uncategorized • 109 Views

    What do you get if you cross a 6ft 5 inch, 100kg PR guru with a Fiat 500 hire car?

    Answer…a marketing opportunity.

    I’ve had a lot of fun with this after picking this little beauty up yesterday. I actually ASKED for it because it is remarkable.

    If I’m going to get a hire car it will either be a monster truck or a tiny car. It has to say something, in this case, it was comedy gold as I was on my way to meet a prospect on a building site. 

    They know my personality but this didn’t half raise some eyebrows.

    Then it got me thinking about how YOU and your brand shows up when it comes to your vehicles and even your driving. 

    You may well have a lovely sleek Merc, a sporty BMW, a Porsche or even a ‘super car’ – a few of my clients and readers of this post certainly do and hats off to them for rewarding themselves for their hard work.

    I am more concerned about HOW your workforce drives and the image that sends out. 

    Are your vehicles clean and well maintained? No ‘hilarious’ messages written in the dust by the team?

    Are they branded consistently? Is there a call to action for people to take if they are interested?

    Is it measurable? You might have ONE phone number exclusively for your fleet, another for website, social media etc.

    Then there is the one that can REALLY impact on your business, positively or negatively….

    How are they being driven? 

    Your brand is out there on the road and the way your employees behave can have a huge impact. I’m not talking just about speeding, collisions or accidents where the chance of being named and shamed can have huge consequences.

    I’m also talking about Road Rage, littering, aggression, being on the phone and general courtesy.

    If your team wears uniform, you’d expect them to uphold the highest standards in public but forgiving the pun, what if they could go the extra mile when it comes to their behaviour?

    Would you want them to open doors? Yes. How about offering a hand with bags to the car? Yes.

    Think about how this could apply to your fleet and see if you can leverage this opportunity to drive your business.

    Happy Headlines.

    Greg

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  • The expert card – marketing to Money AND the Many via the power of media

    May 24 • Uncategorized • 156 Views

    I wonder how many people reading this truly understand the full power of positioning and how PR plays a vital role in that.

    You see, what I do, in fact, what I really LOVE to do, is to help people get known for what they know. I help them leverage their expertise on their subject to get them into the press.

    It is very rare that I will do a simple ‘New widget for ACME Ltd’ story, although they can and do work. What I try to do is to get the info and advice out of my clients’ heads and into their target media i.e. where their customers might see them.

    I do this because I know it generates high quality editorial coverage for them and helps to elevate their profile but I also prefer this tactic as contrary to a lot of folk in the publicity game I’m playing long-term.

    It is also my preferred tactic because you and your client go from PUSHING sales messages to PULLING in leads via an info-first marketing approach.

    You see, I want my client to be asked for comment again and again on their subject. In fact, I want them to become the DEFAULT commentator on their niche, the go-to-guy or girl.

    You get to this stage by constantly seeking to ADD VALUE or your ‘two penneth’ to the debate that you and customers care about.

    By becoming a trusted and reliable expert you can elevate your offering from that of marketer of your stuff to the holy grail of PR folk like me, the trusted adviser, the authority.

    You can do this too by changing your thinking ever so slightly.

    Rather than thinking ‘how can I get this sales message across via the media’ think more along the lines of ‘wow, the readers of Widgets Weekly would love to better UNDERSTAND this and I can help them.’

    You are being USEFUL, not noisy. Journalists love this and they will love you.

    This is the key difference when it comes to getting PR and media relations right. You don’t, or you shouldn’t, want to be famous just for being famous. There IS such a thing as bad publicity, just ask Gerald Ratner.

    The publicity you want is to get known for what you know and become the expert.

    From here, not only is your profile a great deal higher but it means you can differentiate yourself from your rivals. Sure, they can run offers and discounts to get market share but that is a losing game.

    Now, I’ve had a few people say to me ‘oh that works for consultants Greg but not for me, we make X or sell Y.’

    Nonsense. It works for everyone, especially in the age of niche media and 24/7 news.

    Consider a butcher. As a reporter I might write about a new shop opening but after that, we’re struggling….UNLESS that butcher is happy to share advice on how to cook the perfect steak, why punters are eating ostrich this summer or the trend for goose over turkey this Christmas.

    It’s Bank Holiday and BBQ season again. If I was working with a butcher as a client I’d have them preparing recipes for sauces, how-to guides for the perfect flame and heat, best sauces, best fuel, top tips on pairing drinks or how to select the choicest cut for your party.

    That butcher could do all of this within the confines of their own media, website, blogs, social media channels etc or….they could be brave and offer to give a demo on live TV or maybe pop into the local radio station to explain how they as an EXPERT would cater for a BBQ.

    Why bother with all this? You stop competing on price. Bottom line, you can charge more because you are the GURU.

    Everyone knows that.

    Caveat here…when I say EVERYONE I don’t really mean everyone, I mean everyone that matters to you and your bottom line. Your prospects and customers, be they local, sector specific or niche.

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  • What a convicted peer of the realm can teach you about marketing

    May 14 • Uncategorized • 240 Views

    Birmingham, May 13th 2019, European Elections loom over the country, the eyes of the world are on it

    A convicted peer of the realm, multi-millionaire and literary record-breaker takes to the stage. 500 people crane their necks, leaning in to get a closer look.

    Another 1000 are watching it LIVE online.

    ‘Ladies and gentlemen. I would like to announce…’

    He hesitates, taking in his surroundings and the enormity of the occasion.

    ‘I would like to announce, my intention to run for the leadership of the Conservative Party.’

    The room erupts. A joke of course but Lord Jeffrey Archer already has the audience eating out of his hand.

    It has often been said that Jeffrey Archer’s own story would make an international bestseller and I met him yesterday, hence sending this email out a few days early as I wanted to share a very important idea with you.

    You see, I am a writer. I communicate.

    Jeffrey Archer, among many things as I’m sure you will know, is a storyteller. In fact no, he’s a master storyteller.

    Over the course of 2 hours he discussed the craft of writing, politics, his time in prison, even his record-breaking career as an amateur athlete. 

    Now published in 97 countries and more than 33 languages, Jeffrey Archer is firmly established, with international sales passing 275 million copies. He is the only author ever to have been a number one bestseller in fiction (nineteen times), short stories (four times) and non-fiction (The Prison Diaries).

    The key lesson to take from Lord Archer was that yes, he is a professional writer but really, he is a storyteller. There is a difference. 

    Ask yourself, does your marketing tell stories? Would you HONESTLY want to read one of your case studies? 

    Everything, from your About Us page on your website, to your testimonials, case studies and yes, even your sales letters should tell stories. Don’t even get me started on your press releases

    So next time you sit down to write some copy, just think about the power of a story and how you can weave your own.

    I did that in the first 10 lines of this email and if you enjoyed them, I bet you’re still reading now. So think creatively, make your customers the characters, set a scene, lead people on a journey and don’t forget, you are the narrator. 

    Your are the storyteller.

    Happy Headlines.

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  • Don’t just visit a trade show – report it

    May 9 • Uncategorized • 222 Views

    I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

    It is something I have done for myself to build authority for years and something that I also now do for clients and it involves trade shows. 

    You know the places, a glorified aircraft hangar replete with mega stands costing thousands, keynote speeches, celebrity masterclasses and ‘fireside chats’ with business megastars.

    Maybe your stand is there too?

    Perched on the end of the aisle, you and your team hoping for someone, ANYONE to pop over to look at your new widget.

    Maybe you didn’t take a stand at all as it was a ‘rip off’ or you don’t have the manpower to make it pay this year? Maybe you have nothing new to show this year so you’ll either not go or just register as a visitor?

    We’ve all been there, me included.

    However, there’s a little trick I have used time and time again which has not only enabled me to meet people, it has also elevated me or my client right there at the show and in the crucial days after.

    Very simply, I stop thinking like a marketer.

    I don’t REALLY, I’m always thinking like a marketer, I just put on a different hat.

    I revert to my old role as a journalist.

    I roam the halls and stands looking for interesting stories. I listen to the seminars and take notes. I Tweet live during the talks, I share interesting stands, different ideas and concepts.

    What I’m doing is rising above the noise and rather than trying to OVERTLY make myself or my client’s brand heard, I get people to want to hear from me. I become a USEFUL part of the show.

    Even with BIG sums invested in stands, too many people spend 2-3 days out of their business with the best of intentions, branded up to the max, novelty sponge balls, paperweights and the ubiquitous branded USB stick in hand.

    But sadly, it rarely seems to pay off.

    Ask me about how I turn these events into a content generating marathon and more crucially, a chance to elevate yourself or your brand to the role of authority and thought leader by clicking HERE This is UK only I’m afraid.

    Happy Headlines.

    Greg

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  • What to do when the phone rings and it’s the BBC

    May 2 • Uncategorized • 221 Views

    I took a call this week from the BBC asking me to comment on some breaking news.

    ‘No problem’ I said, frantically opening up Google to see what it might be, as I’d not had time to read the papers yet – something I do every morning to see what angles my clients might leverage for blogs.

    ‘Great thanks Greg, we’re after some comment on the failed Sainsbury’s merger.’

    Errrr….

    I begin Googling frantically to see if one of their spokespeople made a total mess of a press interview.

    Nothing to see so far.

    I decide to stall for time. ‘So, let me know what you’re after here.’

    ‘Well, just some insight into the competition law that has essentially scuppered it. Anything you might be able to shed some light on really.’

    I come clean. 

    ‘It’s not really my thing. Have you got the right Greg? I might have a client who can help here but I’m all about media management, publicity and marketing.’

    ‘Sorry Greg, thought your voice sounded familiar. Wrong Simpson.’

    ‘No probs. You know where I am next time.’

    There are a couple of lessons from this I want you to remember.

    1. Always answer the phone, you never know when it is the BBC.
    2. Always try to help.
    3. Always be honest. I do NOT subscribe to the ‘fake it ’til you make it mentality peddled by various ‘gurus’.

    Also, ask yourself THESE 3 questions and use them to build your marketing campaign around…

    If the BBC made a call to you out of the blue, what WOULD you want them to ask you for comment on? 
    What IS your special area of expertise? 
    Where can you add value to an audience by sharing your insight and knowledge?

    Now start writing about it. Start commenting. Start getting ready for your BBC opportunity NOW. Then when they call or when I suggest WE call them together to pitch you as an expert you will be perfectly positioned as an expert.

    Practice makes perfect.

    Happy Headlines.

    Greg

    PS if you fancy a chat about how I can position you as an expert, from butcher to banker, lawyer to lawn care, just book a call with me HERE This is UK only I’m afraid. Remember, know your expertise.

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  • All fools – what Justin Bieber and I have in common

    Apr 4 • Uncategorized • 273 Views

    Here’s a clue, it isn’t our dancing, our torsos or our lexical dexterity.

    What we have in common is that we both played an April Fools trick to generate attention and get people flocking.

    However, whilst one of us had texts of congratulations on a job well done for mocking the pretentious self-promotion of some marketing agencies we have known, the other was slammed in the press for insensitivity to people who have lost babies or struggle to have children of their own.

    Spoiler alert, I was the former. 

    Mr Bieber thought it would be ‘funny’ to post a fake story about his girlfriend being pregnant on social media.

    You see, whilst I understand my audience and could have some fun with some gentle mickey-taking, even getting the regional business press involved in covering it what ‘the Bieber’ did was purely done for attention.

    There was no thought to tone, the message, the downside, the risk to reputation. He just focused on the ‘reward’ which again, was far too vague. 

    He was only interested in the clicks, the notoriety and probably the need to ‘stay relevant’.

    This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do April Fools angles or PR stunts in general, just make sure that if you do go for it you have measured the downside as well as the upside.

    There’s two really easy questions to ask here which are basically at the root of satire…

    Will this offend someone who is vulnerable or make someone feel more vulnerable who has no recourse to fight back against me? Will it cause harm?

    If it might, stay well away.

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  • Pidgin English – PR guru invests in latest messaging tech

    Apr 1 • Uncategorized • 117 Views

    Nottingham-based PR agency, Press For Attention PR, has announced plans to revolutionise the way businesses communicate in post-Brexit Britain with the addition of a flock of pigeons to the team.

    The agency is led by Greg Simpson, a former business journalist and published author on PR who admittedly never lets and opportunity go past to mention that he used to live in Papua New Guinea and the Peak District.
     
    A press release which arrived this morning, delivered by intern carrier ‘April’ indicates that Simpson believes his background and his passion to ‘think outside the coup’ made the latest hire a logical step.
     
    ‘Every PR agency and expert in marketing is always looking for the next innovation to help their clients get fantastic results from their campaigns. I looked into various technologies and spoke to a series of investors who were keen to get in early on my latest idea before settling on the carrier pigeon solution.
     
    ‘There is so much noise out there with regards the latest digital media solutions and they have their place but April and I hope to really deliver with this.’
     
    Simpson is understood to have been deluged by CVs of varying quality and hygiene along with numerous LinkedIn requests and questions about shared parental leave.
     
    ‘The response so far has been fantastic,’ Simpson added, sitting in a hastily constructed loft on Old Market Square. 
     
    ‘April knows the area like the back of her claw and is clearly very talonted, plus she has virtually zero carbon footprint which is great news for us a a modern agency with a responsible approach to the environment. I look forward to working with her as we soar to new heights.’
     
    ends

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  • Testimonials – grab them by the you know whats

    Mar 28 • Uncategorized • 211 Views

    There’s a reason why testimonials are thus called. 

    Folk on trial in the days of ancient Rome tended to be men and tended to fear loss of some key ‘assets’ rather keenly.

    I have spared ‘David’s’ blushes in the photo above but I think you get the picture. 

    No, scrolling down won’t work.

    Anyway, when promising to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth they would place their hands…well…you can fill in the blanks here.

    It lends trust.

    The problem is, when it comes to too many testimonials that I read on websites or that are increasingly read out by politicians, the lack of detail does exactly the opposite. 

    ‘M Smith’ may well think your widgets are amazing, as may ‘B Jones’ or to add greater veracity, ‘P Piper of Peterborough’.

    The problem is, too many people don’t believe them. They are not proper testimonials as there is no ownership. No traceability and ultimately, no proof.

    Now, in some situations, this may be unavoidable due to data protection and confidentiality issues. If that is the case, I’d argue you are better leaving them out altogether UNLESS people can ask you for the reference following agreed clearance by you and your client. 

    Sometimes, that can add an extra layer of trust, especially if you work in a very discreet industry.

    If you struggle gaining true testimonials, the best tactic is actually very simple. Just ask.

    You can point people to your Google Reviews, mine are HERE and yes I need more or you can use your LinkedIn endorsements or extract them and put them on your website. Again, here’s a few of mine and crucially, you can see the people who left them and even click them to go to their LinkedIn profile.

    That is great proof and adds another layer of trust as the people testifying are able to be seen in greater detail.

    So if you are looking into this area for your own marketing material, don’t be scared to ask, do make it easy for people to leave reviews and don’t be tempted to ‘fake it ’til you make it’. 

    Grab this project by the you know whats and do it properly.

     
    Happy Headlines.

    Greg

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  • This blog contains big BUTS…

    Mar 14 • Uncategorized • 222 Views

    …and I cannot lie.

    Fear not, gentle reader, this particular giant but – note singular ‘t’ – is the one most people are defaulting to right now and is another dreaded ‘B’ word…yep, Brexit.

    Negotiations are much in the news today. I’m writing this ahead of watching PMQs because I have to as a business to business PR specialist.

    There’s always an angle my clients can comment on so it is great fodder for me but my word it is depressing stuff.

    I’ve lost count of the ways people have found to use Brexit as a ‘reason’ aka ‘excuse’ not to make decisions. Of course in certain situations that is absolutely correct and we’re balancing risk v reward.

    However, people seem to have forgotten the REWARD part of the equation.

    When it comes to investing in your marketing, I understand people being more cautious, nobody really knows what is coming down the road after Brexit but guess what…

    Nobody REALLY knew before.

    They rarely do.

    The best marketers however do know that if they get X amount of enquiries they make Y amount of conversions and Z amount of sales.

    They also know what that means in terms of profit.

    So before you start lining up your buts, make sure you are basing your ‘reasons’ on sound marketing information, not just delaying because it appears safer.

    Also, remember that if everyone else is doing the same thing, that gives you a HUGE opportunity to be seen and heard.

    I will make you one peach of a guarantee with regards your sales if you do keep putting off decisions…

    You won’t make many and that, frankly, is the bottom line.

    Happy Headlines.

    Greg

     

     

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