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Category: Knowledge

“So, what exactly do you do?”

I paused.

I looked up at the screen for inspiration, then to my colleague, and back at the screen again. To my dismay, there were 3, no, 4, bullet points that my colleague had already chalked off.

I desperately hoped that she’d take the lead on this one, and thought that I’d conveyed as much through subtle eyebrow twitches, but alas, I proceeded to ramble, speaking long enough to suggest that I was an expert in my craft, but not too long so not to bore the dozen or so PR hopefuls who were in attendance for my advice on getting into the profession.

The truth is, summarising what PR is is a challenge. Ironic, that in a profession that so often demands succinct elevator pitches and expert elucidation, explaining the basics of the job itself is a stumbling block for many professionals, myself included.

Of course, PR can easily be broken down into a series of ‘to-dos’ and checklists. You make press lists, pitch journalists, staff media briefings, handle crises, manage client expectations, and bring creative ideas into reality – but that’s all a bit, well, granular.

It’s compounded by the fact that, year-on-year, so much seems to change. Tweeting journalists is now an acceptable, and sometimes more successful, avenue of contact; video content is becoming more and more popular, requiring agencies and individuals to expand their toolset; and influencers are now more of an, erm, influence on the success of a creative campaign than ever before.

So, what is PR in 2018?

Merriam Webster defines PR as “the business of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward a person, firm, or institution”, while the Oxford English dictionary says it’s “the professional maintenance of a favourable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person.”

That doesn’t exactly shed too much light on the situation.

We know that, ultimately, the majority of clients will judge agencies on the coverage they may or may not secure, but there needs to be a paradigm shift from us as professionals, moving away from focusing on securing coverage for coverage’s sake, and instead asking ourselves “what does my client actually need?”

Is their workload overbearing? Are they securing the right sort of leads? What are their business outcomes? What kind of audience do they need to be put in front of to help achieve those outcomes?

It’s about going above and beyond; whether that manifests itself in the form of news jumps, handling an inbound email to declutter their inbox, on-boarding employees, and, most critically, being honest and knowing when to say no, even if it’s the kind of brutal honesty that has you wishing you’d descend into hell there and then.

If we insist on boiling it down to simple checklists and to-dos, our relationships with our clients will forever lay subservient to robotic to-ing and fro-ing, leading to little more than a pat on the back when things have gone well, and an awkward phone call when they haven’t.

Adopting a more holistic approach, grounded in a genuine desire to understand and help your client, is the foundation of any successful PR professional and institution in 2018.

Or maybe that’s all a load of fluff and nonsense.

Hey, I do work in PR after all.

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Socrates Pyliotis
Categories: General, Knowledge

It’s no secret that crowdfunding is going through a turbulent time. We’ve seen very high profile campaigns not deliver to backers despite raising millions. It’s understandable that people have become more sceptical of crowdfunding campaigns and whether campaign creators can deliver on their promises.

Despite this, 2017 has been our most successful year of crowdfunding since we launched the world’s first crowdfunding division four years ago. This year we’ve worked on several multi million dollar campaigns including TicWatch ($3.2m), Bluesmart 2.0 ($2m) and Pimax ($4.2m).

So how did we do this? It’s all about understanding how perceptions have changed and working with your community. It’s important to build trust, showcase your product in an engaging way and share the process to get to this point. Clear communications with your community is necessary. You need to talk to them before you launch, show them the product at events and listen to what they have to say.

You can read more about our work with Pimax, the 8k VR headset, and what we did to help them raise over $4million to beat Oculus here.

Ellen Powell-Chandler
Ellen Powell-Chandler

CES 2018 is approaching and it’s not long until over 100,000 industry attendees, 67,00 exhibitors and 7,000 press descend on Las Vegas. Throughout the conference centres, hotels and even bars and casinos, companies are poised to show off their latest products and gadgets.

Despite the number of press at CES, it can be extremely hard to get their attention. Here are a few of our tips to help get you in front of the press:

Eureka Park

Many of the big tech companies will have pre-briefed journalists before the show on their announcements. This means that journalists don’t need to head to their stands in the Convention Centres to get their news. Instead, they head to Eureka Park to find out out what the start up companies are doing and to find all the innovative products.

Press events

There are several press events at CES including CES Unveiled which is on Sunday 7th, Pepcom on Monday 8th and Showstoppers on Tuesday 9th. These events are designed for startups to showcase their products to media. Top tier media outlets attend including CNET, Engadget and TechCrunch.

A stand out booth

There are rows upon rows of booths, and all are the exact same design. Avoid having a boring white booth, use color to catch the eye and make sure you’re showing off your product in the best way.

Media list

You can access the list of attending journalists before the show in your online portal. Make sure you download it and look at who is attending. You can create your own target list and reach out to them before the show to let them know where you’ll be.

Practice your pitch

You only have seconds to hook a journalist’s or potential partner’s attention. Practice how you describe it and its key features. If you can succinctly say what’s interesting and how it’s different then a journalist will stick around longer to hear, and see more.

If you are going to be at CES in January, do get in touch if you’d like to meet up!

MWC is one of the biggest shows of the year. It’s the time when the big device makers come together in Barcelona to one up each other with their latest shiny black rectangles.

In recent years, announcements have been spread out either side of the show to avoid the huge volume of news and get some clear air. So, whilst Samsung’s S8 is coming post show and LG’s G6 has already peaked its head out from behind the curtains, there’s still loads to see.

Here’s what we expect to see, want to see and what we think has no chance of making an appearance.

A sure thing:

We’ve already seen LG’s G6. It’s touting an unusually tall screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio, expect to find out why at their conference on February 26th.

Sony are announcing a whole suite of devices, covering everything from budget phones through to top spec flagships like the Xperia XZ.

Huawei too will be updating their flagship P9, we assume P10? Last year they focused on a unique Leica camera that combines a B&W camera with a colour shooter for better photos. The P10 will push this even further.

Motorola are also announcing some new devices with a press conference scheduled for the Sunday before the show.

My personal favourite is that we’re expecting new Nokia phones! Specifically, an Android flagship with some strong specs that they (and I) hope can bring them back to the fore.

Hoping for:

Bendy phones. Every year someone shows off a new foldable screen prototype, this year we want to see someone be mad enough to put it into a real phone.

More Daydream. Right now, there are only two devices for Google’s Daydream platform – the Pixel and Moto Z. We’d love to see some more to go alongside the super comfy view headset.

A phone with decent battery life. It’s been said by enough tech reporters, but we’d love to see someone ship a phone that doesn’t sacrifice battery life to be just a bit thinner. Who can do an Apple and have the ‘courage’ to do that?

Don’t expect:

Modular devices. I think we can all agree that modular devices aren’t a goer. The G5’s strange removable bottom panel has already been confirmed to be removed from the G6. If Motorola’s Z is seeing a similar pick up of its accessories, we think it might be bye bye Moto for the Moto Mods platform.

Micro USB ports. It’s all about USB C now, and for any manufacturer to release a flagship with the old port would just be embarrassing.

Most importantly, don’t expect to get away with not eating ham. Iberico for days in Barca. It looks to be an exciting show; we’ll check in again in a couple of weeks and see just how right we were.

Te veo en españa!

 

Around a year ago I attended the launch of the first edition of #FuturePRoof, and was impressed both by how many senior level practitioners were involved, as well as the wisdom of their advice and strategy on running, managing, and developing public relations and marketing. The book contained essential advice for anyone working in PR, and was widely read and shared.

Today we see the launch and release of the follow up, #FutureProof: Edition Two. It’s available on kindle or you can buy a hard copy.

I do have a personal interest in promoting it, as this time round I’ve contributed a chapter on best practice (aka top tips) in crowdfunding, but I think for anyone interested in public relations it’s a great read, informative and useful.

Thanks very much to the founder and editor, Sarah Hall, who crowdsourced 39 essays from luminaries all over the world for this outstanding edition.

In her words: “The success of #FuturePRoof shows that public relations practitioners are aware of the direction of travel and are no longer prepared for other disciplines to eat their lunch. Demand shows professionals want to close their competency gaps in order to provide strategic advice at management level.”

You can follow further conversations about the book with #FuturePRoof

By 2018, video will take up 79% of web traffic and over half of the content you view now on your mobile is video, so it’s safe to say that we’ll likely be watching this blog post in the future, instead of reading it. Now video is taking our attention more and more, we need to be cooking up content in the way our audiences want to consume it.

I spent the day with Sam Orams from Bespoke Banter, to learn about the importance of video marketing strategies for clients. Here’s what I found out.

Create mild peril, make it sticky

You need to put your audience into context. When communicating with your audience, one thing to remember is that you’re not necessarily talking to the masses but one person at a time, which helps to focus your content more. Consulting an audience engagement cycle in the initial stages of your campaign will help identify the necessary creative processes leading up to the production of your campaign.

Distribution: know your platform

When creating a video campaign, it needs to be clear from the offset which platform the video will be distributed on, as this will affect pre and post-production. Currently, 85% of video on Facebook is watched without sound, so including a voiceover in your video for the purpose of Facebook consumption could impact your campaign hugely. Consider the narration to be added as subtitles or bold text across the visuals for the video to ensure viewers pause on their newsfeed to watch the video.

Video will improve your optimisation

Google now registers the video on your website for rankings, so it’s important to think about including some kind of video content to exist online for your brand. Websites that have videos that are 2 minutes or longer in length will have reduced bounce rates to those which have shorter videos, or no video at all.

A rule of thumb

A person’s decision to watch a video online is heavily influenced by the thumbnail used on the video. Studies have shown that including people and text will increase the chances of people clicking on your video. It’s important to consider how quickly people scan through videos and thumbnails, so it’s imperative to catch a viewer’s eye. Some people even say that the thumbnail of the video is more important than the content itself…

post-online-video-youtube

Pitching video

Once you’ve finished the campaign, it’s time to think about effectively communicating the idea to prospective video desks and websites. Using the word ‘video’ in an email subject boosts open rates by 19%, so consider your execution carefully.

Dynamo Team
Dynamo Team
Categories: Knowledge

Last week I chaired the Brighton SEO Digital PR roundtable, kindly sponsored by PR Newswire. I discussed and debated the latest issues and practices in the digital marketing world with around 30 in-house and freelance PR specialists.

I have been attending the PR roundtable for the past few years, which has meant I’ve been able to observe some of the significant changes in attitudes and ways of working. I feel we have progressed from PR SEO to digital PR and an integrated marketing approach.

Here are three of the key points from the session that I think speak volumes about the industry and how it is changing:

The emergence of influencers versus traditional media

Whilst it was agreed that a top tier press list is not without national publications, it was also clear that the power of influencers like Bloggers and Vloggers were equally important in gaining coverage that drives real brand engagement.

There are specific skills and processes that are required to pitch ideas and content to both types of media, and it is important to know how to engage with them, and how they engage with their audience.

Clients want more

No matter what area of communications you work in, you will notice that clients want (and in most cases) expect more from PR activity. The main reason is the variety of online touch points for brands to reach their consumers. So reporting on readership alone, is weak in comparison to how valuable your coverage is, think about referral traffic, sales conversions and keyword movements.

The next big skill for digital PR is video

There is big shift from PR’s who want to be more digital or SEO’s who want to be better at PR to truly integrated digital specialists. We have evolved in to a true hybrid species!

With video becoming a larger part of the way we consume information and news online, it was no surprise that the topic of video was a key discussion point in the session. Video creation and marketing is a particular area of interest and something that digital PR’s are beginning to introduce into their companies and agencies to develop it within teams as a skill, rather than an additional service.

(Photo credit: PR Newswire)

Dynamo Team
Dynamo Team
Categories: Events, Knowledge

We’re delighted to learn today that Dynamo UK has been picked as one of Europe’s top creative PR consultancies by the venerable Holmes Report. The judges state:

“Dynamo emerged last year to take third spot in the Holmes Report’s Global Creative Index ranking, thanks to an impressive awards haul for such clients as M3D and 3Doodler. Much of that is down to the agency’s sophisticated understanding of crowdfunding.”

We’re delighted to be recognised again for our creativity, something that’s been showing through yet again for our campaigns with clients such as Nvidia and Attraction Tix.

We’re looking forward to the awards ceremony on May 25th where we’ll find out whether we’ve picked up gold!

Paul Cockerton
Paul Cockerton