• Why your charitable efforts get ignored by the media

    Jun 28 • Charity, General business • 322 Views

    Forever Stars – these guys raised more than £1000 an hour last month

    Businesses are increasingly realising that Corporate Social Responsibility, or ‘CSR’ for short, can be a major asset when it comes to positioning positive public relations for their brand.

    There are various elements they can weave into their marketing mix around sustainability and ethical practice but the classic tactic that is normally the easiest to implement centres around supporting a charity.

    It is laudable and often a cause close to the heart of the business owner or the wider team and can make a major impact, especially on smaller local charities. However, people often ask me why their efforts are ‘ignored’ by the media.

    Let me explain why this might happen.

    I represent two charities, Forever Stars and Groundwork Greater Nottingham. In order to get their message out I do something that may sound somewhat counterintuitive…

    It’s not about YOU

    I don’t talk about them.

    Actually, let me more precise here, I don’t FOCUS on them as the story. It is a tactic I use for many of my professional services clients too.

    The story is rarely about them, it is about who they are advising.

    Consider this with a charity. The story is not about the charity, it is about who they are helping.

    You need to find the human element in your story. Or indeed the animal but you get my drift.

    You are Spielberg NOT Cruise – tell the story

    Far too many charity angles begin with ‘Acme Corp, which is committed to XYZ causes and sustainable business jargon has raised some funds for Laudable Cause’.

    This is well-intentioned BUT it is focusing on the ‘good egg’ factor too much. Instead, it should be ‘Laudable Cause receives funding boost thanks to Acme Corp’.

    Then we tend to hear all about Acme Corp but very little about Laudable Cause. This is where it all falls down. The story needs to focus on the beneficiaries and how their life changes, not tick marketing message and CSR boxes.

    I cannot possibly go into each and every case here but here’s some more hints and tips as to why your charitable efforts may not be making headlines. 

    1. The cause is not local and you are pitching to local media.
    2. The story is too focused on you
    3. The picture is utterly uninspiring
    4. The amount raised is nothing to really write home about, however hard you all worked
    5. You haven’t explained what difference it will make
    6. The charity isn’t quoted or in the photo

    There’s 6 top tips for you but I will leave the 7th to Sam Metcalf, a frequent panelist on my ‘Meet The Journalist’ event I hold each year. You can read more about that here.

    ‘I don’t want to sound like a complete misanthrope, but if you’re a multinational company then sending me a press release saying you’ve raised £200 for charity is, at best, pretty embarrassing – and at worst actively makes me slightly angry for a few seconds. Charity stories seem wildly popular because of the growing importance of CSR, and I get this, but think for a second; is raising £200 going to look good when the photo of you handing the comedy cheque over is taken in front of your new sports car parked outside your swanky offices?’

    Harsh but fair but context is everything.

    I hope that helps.

    If you want to ensure your charitable efforts hit the headlines, give me a bell and I’ll do what I can to point you in the right direction.



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  • Why the magic bullet theory isn’t just JFK’s problem

    Jun 22 • General business, Inspiration, PR Tips & Tricks, PR tips & tricks • 246 Views

    Peace, love, gun law design concept

    You know the old saying about taking a horse to water?

    Well, it is the same with PR and Marketing. It doesn’t matter how wonderful your branding, goodwill, reputation and market position is if you do not make it EASY for people to engage with you and buy from you.

    PR and Marketing are not magic bullets

    I recently won a new client, a major international business with an office here in Nottingham. Go me!

    It was down to a combination of tactics; articles, social media engagement, authority building, events, my reputation, free downloads and all manner of useful tips and tricks.

    However, there was another key factor that was at play here…

    Now stay with me people because this is GENIUS.

    1. I answered a message on Linkedin and was helpful

    2. I followed up with a PHONE CALL to chat through an issue.

    3. And then, in a move of marketing genius that would make PT Barnum feel woefully inadequate, I went to go and see them.

    That’s right folks, I booked a meeting with them.

    Even better, I only went and turned up. As arranged. On time.

    Now, this may seem all too simple and guess what, it was.

    However, it seems not everyone gets this.

    I know for a fact that two competitors were also in the frame for the work but due to a cunning combination of bureaucracy, faffing about and tripping over their own marketing feet, they managed to fail to engage or to even arrange a meeting…

    How do I know this? Well, my new client told me.

    Someone from one of them is probably reading this right now. Hi there.

    Now, this is not to gloat. This is a warning.

    If expert strategic marketing folk like me and my industry rivals cannot untangle their processes for long enough to say ‘hello, we can help, let’s grab a coffee’ then it might well be happening in your business.

    So take a look at your sales process and check that it works in tandem with your marketing magic bullets. There is little point in creating awareness and demand on one hand if the other hand is firmly wedged under one’s derriere.

    Make it easy for people to buy from you and guess what, they just might.

    PS you can book a call with me to see if I can help you. See what I did there.

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  • Why I’m still sending people Spam after GDPR deadline

    Jun 8 • Uncategorized • 2213 Views

    Greg Posts Spam


    I’m sure like me, you’ve lost count of the emails begging you to remain on various marketing lists over the last couple of weeks leading up to the dreaded GDPR deadline. It annoyed and inspired me in equal measure which is why I have just bought 100 tins of Spam and will be mailing them shortly. More on that later.

    Quite why they had waited so long to clean their database I do not know, as the vast majority of them seem to have never bothered emailing me before. In and amongst the legal waffle, they seemed to be asking me to stay on their marketing list, despite appearing to offer nothing of any value. It was as if out of the blue someone remembered they had a newsletter facility and a tonne of emails and thought it was worth a shot at getting me to opt-in again. For the numbers.

    Now, this would have been a whole lot more likely to happen if they had been emailing me regularly with valuable content. I might have been a lead then, or even a prospect. They should have been able to segment their list into ‘never opens’ ‘sometimes does’ ‘doesn’t engage’ ‘clicks on loads of stuff’ or similar marketing jargon to that effect but I can only imagine that for the vast majority this didn’t happen. Sadly, I suspect even after the frantic May spring clean it STILL won’t happen.

    What a waste of data. Marketers may well be feeling a tad deflated because their email list has shrunk by almost 50 percent or more but this is madness. There is nothing but vanity and ego in jealously guarding the total number of subscribers and seeing that as your metric for success. It matters not a jot if you are bellowing your message out to a stadium full of people if half of them have their headphones on and aren’t listening and another quarter of them didn’t even know they why they were there in the first place. Remember, when it comes to your marketing, size really doesn’t matter.

    So here’s my next marketing move after GDPR, or #GregDoesPR as I prefer it. As you may recall, I emailed you offering you a recipe for Spam or to opt back into my newsletter or both. You might say it was very ‘tongue in cheek’. Sorry. So I’m now going to go old-school marketing and do some direct mail to help grow my list again with new leads.

    That’s right, I’ve actually bought 100 tins of Spam to mail out to some carefully chosen people I would LOVE to work with but who ARE NOT already on my list.

    Why 100? Well, it easily splits into percentages and I can start managing and measuring the success of this next campaign at a glance. Remember folks,100 is NOT the key number here…Will some of these people laugh at me and not with me? Maybe. Will some think I’m an idiot? Perhaps.

    Will some drop me a line to set up a free PR strategy call? You betcha. Will some of these people end up on my newsletter list? Of course. However, you can bet your life it won’t be me putting them on there and hoping they stay. They will put themselves on there because they like my message, my method and my marketing.

    That or they really like Spam.

    If you’d like to receive PR tips and tricks from us click here

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  • PR agency celebrates 10th anniversary with launch of copywriting division

    Apr 11 • Uncategorized • 263 Views

    Press For Attention PR, the Nottingham-based B2B PR specialist, is celebrating a decade of hitting the headlines by launching a new copywriting division, to be led by local expert Martin Rockley.

    Rockley has worked as a copywriter for over 30 years with a varied portfolio of blue chip clients in a wide range of B2B sectors, including HSBC, British Gas, Experian, British Canoeing, Boots and Willmott Dixon.

    Press For Attention PR’s clients include Paragon Interiors, Impero Software, Biocity,  In Phase International, NG Chartered Surveyors, Distinct Recruitment and Bygott Biggs.

    Greg Simpson, the founder of Press For Attention PR, a former business journalist and a published author on PR, commented:

    “Press For Attention PR focuses on thought leadership, essentially showcasing our clients’ expertise and with that comes a whole range of possibilities when it comes to content marketing.

    “I’ve worked with Martin in various roles ever since I came to Nottingham around 15 years ago and I’ve always been impressed by his ability to hit the nail on the head when it comes to copy.

    “I look forward to expanding the agency’s offering over the next 10 years which I’m sure will see PR and marketing support continue to evolve as it has always done.”

    Martin Rockley said: “Having worked with Press For Attention PR for a number of years, it’s really exciting to formalise our relationship with the launch of Press For Copy. This will ensure clients have the best of joined-up PR support and marketing messaging.”


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  • 10 of the best – what a decade in the PR trenches has taught me

    Apr 4 • Uncategorized • 841 Views

    I celebrated my 10th anniversary of business on April 1st. Yes, the date was intentional, after all, who else would try and start a new agency during the crash of 2008?

    I have learned a lot in the last decade that can make a real difference to your PR campaign. You don’t care that my hair is a little greyer but you might care to take a look at the 10 tips I’ve outlined below.

    They are in no particular order but hopefully you will find them useful to help drive your PR campaign this year.

    1.Think win/win/win. That’s right. There’s 3 sides in every story. Your side, your audience’s side AND the media’s side. Make sure everybody gets something out of it.

    2. Think in pictures. Editorial photography is an investment, not a cost. If the photo you provide looks dull, why would the media use it versus a similar story with a better photo?

    3. So what? What changes? Make sure that whatever it is you are communicating makes a difference to the reader, not just your ego.

    4. Beware coffee table coverage. It might look great on the wall or in reception but does the coverage you get actually drive attention from your target market? The Times isn’t the goal for everyone.

    5. Who needs to know this? Make sure you know your target audience and you know that what you are telling them is interesting, entertaining or informative. Why not all three?

    6. What do they NEED to know. Be clear in the message you are trying to convey. Your audience should be able to tell someone next to them what just happened.

    7. Why are you doing this? Do you have a strategic goal for your PR campaign or did you just think it was ‘about time we did something’? Make sure you are clear on your objectives.

    8. Timing is everything. Don’t plan an elaborate PR campaign launch as you are about to go on holiday or if you cannot cope with demand if it suddenly peaks following coverage.

    9. Think like a journalist as well as a marketer. Get in the heads of your target media and see how you can help them to sell more copies or clicks thanks to your useful content.

    10. Don’t give up. It may take you a while to gain some traction with the media but if you follow the rules above, if you play the game so that everyone wins, it will be worth the effort. So here’s to the next 10 years and whatever new challenges they will bring. Maybe I can help you with some of yours.

    Want more PR Tips and Tricks? Sign up here

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  • Spitting image – why Sky benched Carragher

    Mar 14 • Celebrity, Crisis PR, PR tips & tricks, Sport, Thought leadership • 721 Views

    Spitting image – no option for Sky

    As Jamie Carragher is now painfully aware – ‘Believe in better’ is Sky’s slogan.

    It has served them well, especially with the creation of the best punditry partnership on TV, Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville.

    The former foes, legends for their rival clubs, Liverpool and Manchester United respectively, have forged a fantastic partnership based on solid tactical knowledge, a passion for the game and of course, their relentless rivalry and ribbing of one another.  

    It is classic ‘bants’, a laddish atmosphere that genuinely adds to the spectacle – if you like football anyway.

    Carragher’s behaviour, however provoked he was by the oik driving alongside him, cannot be dismissed so easily. There is something utterly disgusting about spitting. I see it in the street a lot, mainly young men, absentmindedly spitting as they cross the road or just standing around looking vacant, drooling in onto the pavement.

    It is pretty grim at that level but to spit AT someone. Utterly vile.

    Now, I highly doubt Jamie intended to spit at a 14 year old girl. It was a reaction, plain and simple. Disgusting but not a measured assault. However, as a man in the public eye with an employer that is focused on family entertainment, it was always going to be judged to a higher and harsher standard.

    He has actually been superb in terms of his PR crisis management, admitting guilt, being contrite, being proactive in all of these apologies and even pleading on social media for the family to be left alone. He has called it ‘a huge mistake in a moment of madness’ and it truly was.

    He has now paid for it. Sky have just announced he will be suspended until the end of the football season.

    A statement from Sky said: “Following an internal review, Sky has suspended Jamie Carragher for the remainder of the football season.

    “Jamie has taken full responsibility for what has happened and we will ensure he gets the help he needs to guarantee something like this never happens again.

    “Before the start of the next season we will sit down with Jamie to discuss whether he is ready to return to his role.”

    To be fair to Sky, I cannot see what else they could have done.

    If it had been anyone else, a newsreader for example, they would have done the same. The fact that it is one of their best and highest profile pundits means it will hit them hard but with a slogan of ‘Believe in Better’, you have to walk the walk.

    PS – I’ll be interested to see if any bold broadcaster selects him to be on their World Cup team.

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  • How do I improve the ROI of my PR?

    Mar 8 • Inspiration, PR Tips & Tricks, Thought leadership • 659 Views

    This is the front page of my client’s local newspaper this morning. Talk about return on investment for PR!

    Now that’s what I call ROI

    It features a story we have worked on for over a month, getting quotes from supporting parties and stakeholders, positioning my client at the heart of the deal and essentially telling their market that if you want results like this, you really should be talking to them.

    It is FANTASTIC coverage for them but is it just tomorrow’s fish and chip paper?

    Well….YES. Yes it is, if that is ALL they do with it.

    However, they won’t do that because we are going to leverage it. We are going to shout if from the rooftops via their social media. We’re going to get the story out across their e-newsletter. I’m going to use it to offer them up for further expert market comment.


    Caution Marketing Rocket Science Alert

    Use with caution 

    And then, here’s the real genius. Here’s the secret sauce that is going to really power this PR campaign..

    They are going to buy copies of the paper and PUT THEM IN THE POST. That’s right, they are going to go back to the marketing ‘Stone Age’ and actually post a letter. There’s going to be ink, a pen and EVERYTHING.

    Whisper it but there’s going to be a hand addressed envelope.

    You see, coverage like this, third party testimony from a trusted source, a newspaper, is like gold dust. It is the best sales brochure they could send out right now to their prospects. Not their suspects, I’m talking about the people who have been in touch before, kicked the tyres, asked them to keep them posted, expressed interest, you know the drill.

    Sure, press coverage is often the goal of your PR campaign but this is how you take it to the next level. You share your good news. Look carefully and you’ll see that is what I am doing now.

    In fact, I’m off to buy 10 copies myself to send to MY prospects. Now do you see how to leverage PR? 

    If you would like more free PR advice, you could do worse that to take a little look at this

    Happy headlines all.


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  • Cluckin’ Hell – they’ve only gone and got away with it!

    Feb 28 • Crisis PR, Uncategorized • 622 Views


    In terms of a PR crisis, running out of chicken when one is synonymous with the stuff is a zinger of a problem. 

    The last thing to do is to try and wing it…in times of crisis comes threat but also opportunity.

    The threat to reputation but also the opportunity for a big brand to show its human side. That’s what KFC has done and it has paid off in bucket loads.

    Read on to get abreast of the situation and help avoid any fowl ups of your own…

    “A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It’s not ideal.”

    That pretty much sums it up. As does the frankly brilliant FULL PAGE ad with the clever reworking of the KFC logo. Yes, when it comes to fronting up, KFC has played a blinder here.

    Now, you know the old phrase, no such thing as bad publicity….well, that’s utter rubbish BUT if you handle it correctly, it needn’t be a nail in the coffin. 

    KFC’s purchase consideration score (would you consider buying from KFC?) has stayed solidly at the 18 mark, underlining the limited damage to the brand but its word of mouth score (whether you have talked about the brand with friends or family) has jumped from 11 to 37.

    It has been handled superbly and may well be the start of a new opportunity for the brand to engage with the public. The key now will be to maintain this tone if they want to extend the feelgood factor, keeping and indeed winning new fans.

    If you are facing your own PR crisis or have given thought to what you might do, have a read of our article here for a grounder in PR Crisis Management.

    The secret is all in the preparation, not in winging it.



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  • Your media reputation, can you handle the truth?

    Feb 22 • General business • 430 Views

    Do you know what your target media thinks about you, your brand or your business?

    Have you ever thought to ask them?

    Now, this may sound scary and at times even be a bit uncomfortable BUT if you are going to run a PR or marketing campaign properly, you need to start with a baseline.

    Let’s imagine you buy into this, where would you start? With the people who already write about you or who you WANT to be known by?

    Maybe. Sounds perfectly sensible and fairly easy.  

    However, might I suggest you start with the people who your customers actually read? The media that will help inflate your profits, not just your ego.

    Ask your target customers what they read, who they follow, what they listen to. Do this via an online survey with a prize draw opportunity or added-value product or service from your business to encourage take up and even, subtly sell your products and services right there.

    You know, a bit like I’m doing now.

    Then, once you have your list of suspects, compare them with your previous targets and begin to make some adjustments if necessary and then, prepare to ask two simple questions, tweaking them if you already have a relationship and to your tone of voice but essentially:

    Do you know what we do?

    How would you see us v XYZ rival business

    Then, and here’s the kicker folks….ask them how you can help them better.

    Yes, HELP.

    Far too many people see Public Relations as a one-way street, a chance to wangle a marketing message into the media. Now, it certainly can do that for you but the professionals do it another way, we strive to become a partner with the press, a provider of genuinely useful content, be it news or views, that the media will thank you and reward you for with that much coveted coverage.

    Now, there’s a bit more to it than that but in a nutshell, that’s what you should do. Of course, we can do it for you and typically we charge between £250.00-400.00 for this service BUT if you drop me a line before the end of February I can do the media outreach part this for you, professionally, for free.

    If you want to do this yourself, just go for it. It will pay off in spades in terms of customer outreach as you are getting in touch and seeking their valued opinion and might just spark off a press opportunity right away.

    PS – I tend to do this when I have a news angle to announce in the very near future for my client. I won’t give it away but I am warming them up to expect something soon. Cunning eh?

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  • Who will you break up with this Valentine’s Day?

    Feb 1 • General business, Inspiration, Uncategorized • 338 Views

    It’s not you, it’s me. We’ve tried but it just isn’t the same anymore. It would be best for us both if we just moved on.

    Feel good? Maybe you have a bit of a nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach?

    What if you took this honest approach to your marketing? Especially with your newsletter subscribers.

    We’ve all heard of GDPR by now and there is a lot of fretting and faffing going on. Many people are worried that they will lose a huge number of subscribers. I totally understand.

    Now, this is going to sound harsh but this might be for the best.

    Hear me out.

    Forget the whole GDPR stuff for a moment. Maybe they don’t WANT to hear from you. Maybe they are just being polite and not unsubscribing and they are just quietly ignoring your messages or simple deleting them.

    Well, with GDPR, you now have the perfect excuse to break up. You can actually ask your list if they still want to hear from you as you are keen to ensure relevance at all times and that you are being useful to them.

    You could even crowbar in the phrase ‘best practice’ if you like that sort of thing.

    If you aren’t being relevant or useful, you could ask them what they would prefer. Maybe they want a clean break, no hard feelings. Maybe they want to hear from you less often.

    Maybe they don’t actually recall you from that first date long ago.

    Maybe, they don’t think they ever asked to hear from you thinking about it.

    Or….maybe they will say WAIT DON’T LEAVE ME – I CAN CHANGE.

    Well, good news, now you can get together for a coffee and a chat again.

    GDPR is a very dry subject but you don’t have to treat it like that. Sure, you can see it as a threat and worry about your number of ‘subscribers’ dwindling or, you could see it as a way to focus on your actual prospects and forge better engagement with them.

    I will be sending this out to my database actually asking people if they want me to stop messaging them. Will I be heartbroken if I lose a tonne of subscribers?


    Well, maybe a tiny bit, we’re all human BUT I know I will be more delighted to know that those who still want to hear from me have told me they do and that I can now concentrate on better serving them.

    They might even want to hear from me MORE.

    Marketing isn’t about ‘spray and pray’ it is about being useful to your suspects, prospects, leads, customers and clients.

    If you can add a bit of humour in there too, even better.

    Just don’t take it so personally if you have a few break ups over this. You were never quite right for each other in the first place and deep down, you know it.

    Take care out there.

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