Category: Blog

The Potential Issues Facing Business Leaders in 2019

2018 is dead, long live 2019.

The new year already feels like a distant memory and with the new year arose new issues that may affect businesses and business leaders over the next 12 months.

Here I’ll take a look at what I feel may hinder your business in 2019 and some advice on leaping those hurdles should they arise:

Social Media
The world of social media is constantly changing. Platforms that may have seen a surge in users over the last 12 months may not be as effective in the coming year.

Changes to technology bring with it new fads and trends for social media users. The influx of social media users aged from 16-25 has seen a massive boost to platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat meaning more traditional platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have been left in the lurch.

This doesn’t mean that those platforms that have seen a fall down the league table of popularity need be abandoned. Unless your customer base is strictly that of the younger demographic, you can utilise a variety of platforms with just as many positives.

It’s important to understand who your audience is and which platforms they use in order to successfully deliver the message of your brand.

Demand for video content
According to Insivia, YouTube has over one billion users (that’s over one third of total internet users), 82% of Twitter users watch video content and 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook videos a week.

That’s staggering, and the importance of video cannot be ignored. Creating video content for your website or social media feeds doesn’t have to be hard.

Users on Facebook won’t appreciate a video to rival Hollywood. A simple piece to camera from someone on the team works wonders and allows for your audience to see the people who matter behind your brand.

It allows viewers to feel personally connected and allows for your message to be easily digested in a way that seems intimate.

The rise and rise of mobile
The world has seen a rise in mobile technology users over the last decade and the internet is no different.

According to Statista, in 2018 more than 52% of website traffic came from mobile devices. Compare that to just 0.7% in 2009 and you can see how important this technology has become in the lives of your audience.

A mobile friendly website allows anyone who visits your site on a mobile device to have a positive experience. A poorly designed mobile website will ensure that your message and services will remain unseen.

So, how can you ensure that your website is mobile friendly? Most content management systems now have an inbuilt adaptive design allowing for the webpage to adapt to various screen sizes.

Brexit
Oh no! I’ve mentioned the dreaded B word. If you’re like me, you’ll be sick of hearing of Brexit now. However, it’s important to remember just how much uncertainty still surrounds the UK’s exit from the EU.

If your business regularly trades with others across Europe, you must take into consideration how leaving may impact these agreements and the costs associated with import/export duties.

Companies should also consider the make-up of their workforce (especially in regard to EU nationals) and what workers’ rights may be disturbed and put into place plans that will reassure those workers.

When it comes to the use of cloud services, European regulations can affect the storage and usage of that data. This leads us into our final point.

GDPR
Oh no, I’ve mentioned the dreaded G word! GDPR was a massive concern for businesses in 2018 and it hasn’t gone away. Businesses need to keep this at the forefront of their mind.

Data is becoming one of the most important resources for an organisation and any breach of regulations such as GDPR can have strong repercussions on the reputation of your business.

Businesses also need to be prepared for the implementation of other regulations. The EU is soon to updates it’s ePrivacy Regulation which looks at consent in regard to the use of cookies.

Finally, Article 13, a proposed law within the EU directive on copyright is designed to protect copyrighted content which can invariably devastate the use of user generated content on sites like YouTube.

So, there is my thoughts on potential issues facing businesses and business leaders in 2019. Let me know what you think and if you feel you need help on any of the above you can contact one of the team at Publicity Seekers on 0845 226 9126.

PR is for life, not just for Christmas

As the New Year is approaching, why not give your business the gift of Public Relations for 2019?

Not convinced? Let me persuade you.

PR is an indispensable tool in any company’s arsenal and if you are not maximising your company’s good name through the press, social media, newsletters, videos and your industry’s bodies and networks then make it your resolution.

January is a great time to put in place an effective PR plan for the following 12 months and to review the processes you’ve had in place for the previous year.

The market is constantly evolving and by taking time to stop and look at the things that are working and the those that aren’t it can help to identify exactly how to take your business to the next level.

Do you know what your competitors are doing? Do you see companies that you feel are inferior to yours getting all of the glory? Do you think you should be up there on stage on awards night and wonder why you didn’t find time to enter?

By working with a PR agency, it can help you to put in place a plan by using its expertise in research, communications and analysis.

At Publicity Seekers we offer a comprehensive audit of your customers, staff, competitors, issues within your market in line with your business goals.

From that we create a PR and marketing plan specifically designed for your business.

Understanding your customers and what platforms they get their information from is vital to not wasting money hopping from one marketing medium to another without really knowing what’s working.

So whether you’re experiencing a gap in client acquisition or whether you’re looking to take your business the next level by utilising media relations and social media campaigning to target potential customers and key industries, a PR agency can help.

The importance of tools such as social media should not be ignored in helping to reach your potential target markets.

More than 70% of all B2B companies use at least one of the “Big 4” social media sites which includes LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, with 54% of B2B companies said they’ve generated leads from social media.

So, whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, by planning and setting clear objectives you can utilise communications channels to achieve your sales goals and increase brand exposure.

The ultimate goal in public relations is to enhance an organisation’s reputation and to increase its influence within its market and we feel as a company we can help your organisation achieve this goal.

There we have it. This festive season why not give your organisation the gift of public relations? Give us a call on 01429 874 555/0845 226 9126 and book an appointment with one of our media specialists for January so we can help get your business fired into the media spotlight.

What is Article 13? And what does it mean for the future of our Internet?

Sean Ramsden

The future of the internet is decided in a few weeks – but it seems like no one is talking about it!

The European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market – which is designed to protect copyright content – is the proposed legislation.

Proposed law within the package is wide ranging, however Article 13 is one of the most controversial.

I believe copyrighted content should stay in the hands of the creator, and no one else.
However I do think it’s very important that people have the freedom to talk or publish the public’s opinions on a copyrighted piece. Our freedom of speech depends on it.

Sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud, Daily Motion, Reddit, Snapchat and many more could now be named liable for copyright infringements under the proposals.

Content blocking – which has been utilised by some sites – has been shown to be ineffective at times, especially when the technology is trying to decipher videos, pictures or sounds to prevent viewers from seeing it.

This could deter sites from allowing people to upload any kind of content whatsoever, copyrighted or not.

If this law passes, sites such as YouTube will have to drastically adapt or stop user generated content entirely.

So what does this mean for us?

If this law passes, I feel it could well spell the end of our online freedom of speech. It will affect thousands of businesses, jobs and educational services as they rely on these sites for advertising and getting their businesses recognised.

Why is this happening?

They say it’s down to protecting creative freedom and copyright laws, however I think it’s simply down to the money.

The big corporations aren’t happy with the idea of free or cheaper entertainment. The music industry in particular isn’t happy with its songs being played on sites like YouTube as more money is made from subscription sites such as Spotify.

From a business perspective, this seems understandable. But don’t forget that some of our top artists such as Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheeran and many more all originated with help from user generated content.

Uploads give people the chance to see what’s really going on in the world. The silencing of user generated content, will be the silencing of our online public voice.

Is it worth it?

Tim Berners-Lee (the inventor of The World Wide Web) is dead against this and is trying to combat these types of laws before they happen along with many others.

So if you want your online freedom it’s time to join the campaign and #SAVEYOURINTERNET.
For more information visit https://saveyourinternet.eu

P.S….Friday November 23

Is it Friday already?! Apparently so – and that means it’s time for week two of our P.S… feature where we pick out tips, tricks and things that generally help make life in PR that little bit easier (except wine).

My quick video talks about a service called JournoRequests which started life as a hashtag on Twitter.

If you do a quick search of the hashtag you can see some of the weird and wonderful things that are being written about that journalists may need a helping hand with – anything from finding a white witch to feature in a national mag through to needing an expert financier to talk about the finer points of, erm, finance-y stuff.

There is now, helpfully, a website on which you can sign up to daily alerts delivered to your inbox.

The requests are collated into sectors – such as property, education and entertainment. And hopefully a quick scan will reveal if there is anything you can jump on behalf of your client.

Anyhow I’ll stop wittering on…you can (hopefully) learn more in the video below.

Good luck! And do let us know if you have any success with it in the comments below.

P.S… Friday 16 November 2018

Here at Publicity Seekers we are starting a brand-new Friday feature which looks back on the week at our favourite piece of content.

Whether that be something we’ve seen on social media, a graphic, video, book we’ve read or television show/ podcast we experienced.

This week we have picked something which has caused a rather big stir. The brand new John Lewis advert. Every year these adverts pull on the heartstrings of millions of people across the globe and this year is no different.

We won’t go on too much about it because here I am to tell you why it is such a great ad.

 

Sober October: Why I’m setting myself regular challenges

It’s not unusual for us in the Publicity Seekers office to enjoy a civilised glass of Shiraz or the odd Jägerbomb on a weekend.

However, this month I’ve set myself the task of going sober for October. Two weeks in and everything seems to be going pretty well…

This is just one of many challenges I’ve set myself in 2018 to take that next step forward in my personal development.

I was in no means a heavy drinker at the start of the challenge, but I thought it was a fitting experiment to help me improve my fitness in both body and mind.

Since beginning the experiment I’ve noticed a huge change in my outlook. From workload to housework, I’ve seen a big improvement in my productivity too.

I was inspired to undertake these challenges after learning of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a psychological theory comprising of the five tiers of human needs.

I now find myself at the top that pyramid, in self actualisation, trying to become the most that I can be.

This has manifested in my current challenge and the many challenges I’ve set myself over the past year.

These small challenges range from professional development – including public speaking, which is something I hate – through to attending networking events and seminars on how to grow my skills in public relations. I feel my sober challenge is just as significant.

Someone once told me: “Being outside of your comfort zone means you’re growing.”

That has always stayed with me and by setting myself small challenges, I’m moving what I believe my boundaries to be and in turn helping to not only increase my self-belief, but to also discover more about myself both professionally and in my personal life. This, in turn, helps me to recognise my power as a creative and a professional.

Next up – a marathon perhaps? I don’t know where my journey will take me next, but I’m excited to find out.

Jonny has been raising funds throughout October for Evie’s Mission, a Teesside based charity aiming to raise £75,000 to help a local woman receive lifesaving immunotherapy in Germany. To sponsor Jonny and contribute to the fund, click here. 

Matt adds gloss to career with Internship

Hi there. My name is Matthew Windram and I’m the new intern here at Publicity Seekers. I am a 19-year-old, full time student at the Northern School of Art, studying graphic design.

I have been with the team for a little over two months now and I can safely say that I am enjoying every working moment both in and out of the office.

I am constantly provided with new opportunities and tasks, which require a little more than just sitting at a desk, and that’s something that I love.

Meeting the team for the first time, I felt instantly welcomed, greeted with a room full of smiling faces and the beautiful sound of smooth radio playing in the background.

The nerves that I had felt prior to walking into the room, were quickly quashed as I sank into the office sofa.

My first piece of work was gathering research for an up and coming website called Hype Hunter being developed by the team. This task consisted primarily of searching the internet for new and interesting news stories that would be of interest to websites target audience.

As time went by, I was being tasked with larger jobs and soon found myself producing work that would be used for active clients.

I really enjoyed doing these sort of tasks, as they usually required me to produce a piece of digital media such as a promotional video, or infographic.

Completing work for clients also meant that I had to travel to locations outside of the office, to help other members of the team with filming.

Some projects that I helped film include the construction of new homes at Wynyard Park and Fresher’s Week at Hartlepool College of Further Education.

I particularly enjoy these tasks, as I spend a lot of my free time making videos and taking photographs of whatever catches my eye.

The fact that I can apply the knowledge and passion that I have for photography within my work here at Publicity Seekers is an added bonus.

As each week passes, I continue to learn new software and writing skills, as well as improving upon my time efficiency.

I am really grateful that I am able to work alongside the team on a weekly basis and I hope that I am able to continue my work experience here until the team gets sick of me.

I would highly encourage anyone to seek out work experience, especially in an industry that will benefit your future career.

The knowledge and understanding that I have gained here at Publicity Seekers continuously helps me on a daily basis with my work for University and I’ve loved every minute.

Why events make brutally good PR

Everyone loves a day out. That’s why corporate events are so enjoyable. It’s all fun and games when your rubbing shoulders with guests and have a cheeky glass of bubbly but does the fun stop when you’re the one organising the event?

During a career in Public Relations I attend and organise many events for many different reasons.

Working with clients such as local colleges, civil engineering companies, recycling companies, etc, has allowed me in the past to attend things such as open days, fresher’s fairs, mayoral visits, building site openings and even awards evenings.

But what can events actually do to raise the profile of a business? I’ve already mentioned that I have arranged and attended visits by politicians such as the Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen for a number of our clients.

This has helped in putting those companies firmly on the radar of Mr Houchen. In some cases, helping the mayor to understand the different challenges of the various industries we work within and what needs to be done to facilitate them to grow from a Governmental or Combined Authority level.

If you’re a company and you are looking at putting on a specific event, then read on to learn our #BrutallyHonest tips on how to organise that special occasion.

The Build Up

The most important thing for any event is the build-up. You need to get people excited about what you’re trying to do. If people aren’t excited, then they probably won’t come. I’ve been to many networking events which I’ve hated because I wasn’t fully motivated by it beforehand. By simply using tools such as social media you can sow the seeds of enthusiasm. Develop a hashtag and get it trending.

The Guest List

It’s incredibly important to know your demographic. Who will be coming to your event? What do you want them to take away from the experience? By understanding who is in attendance you can work to tailor what your message is and how you come across as a business to your guests.

Star?

Will there be a speaker at your event? Who will be the headline performer? Will they be relevant to the message of your brand and your event? If you’re the star, GREAT. You can mould your message perfectly.

The Press

Events are a fantastic opportunity to invite the press down. You can use this as a great form of publicity. By inviting the press, you increase the chances of getting coverage and you also improve and build lasting relationships with journalists. If you’re not arranging the event and you’re just another attendee, why not invite a journo as your plus one?

The Aftermath

Once the dust settles you need to think about how you can keep the party going. At Publicity Seekers we use events as an opportunity to go out and speak with people from industry. We film, interview and photograph event attendees and use this content to share over social media. One piece of content can be utilised in a variety of different ways to publicise your event and make the people who didn’t attend come to the next one. If you’re crap at photography, hire a professional and use his images in any PR material you put together.

Now crack on with that planning!

Independent Retailer Month: What role can PR play for small businesses?

In July, the Publicity Seekers team took part in Independent Retailer Month. A campaign that runs annually to highlight the important role smaller, local, independent retailers play in the communities they serve.  

We went to speak with business owners about the issues they face and put together a short video highlighting the problems they deal with in the face of high street chains and the dreaded internet.  

You can view the video here:

 

Now that you’ve acquainted yourself with the story of Bill, Michelle, Sara and Anthony, you get a bit of an understanding of what’s happening to independent retailers across the country and you can appreciate the important role publicity can play in helping them beat the competition.  

Now, more than ever, it’s important for independent retailers to get their names out there.  

Gone are the days of a corner shop and local café being the centre of a community where you’re greeted with a smile and hello on a first name basis with the owner. Even the good ol’ fashioned pub is losing the battle to Wetherspoons and other national chains.  

Now we see huge multinational retailers and chains taking over our highstreets and local communities. Pushing the independent out of the market who can’t compete with prices etc. However, so too is that personable, friendly experience gone.  

So, what can Independent retailers do to combat the ever-encroaching competition? PR techniques can mean the difference between a failing business and a thriving business. There are examples of business owners utilising things like social media and content to keep their heads above the publicity waterline all over the place.   

Below are our top PR tips for small businesses: 

  • Social Media 

Social Media is an invaluable tool that small business owners can use to reach their customers and extend their brand message. By opening up dialogue with their followers, retweets and offering personal communication to customers, a small business can position themselves as a friend rather than a service. Avoid the oversell and keep it fun.  

  • Small/ No Budget 

One of the main issues small business owners need to contend with is little to no budget to afford marketing and advertising. However, most people in the UK now have a smart phone, meaning business owners have everything they need for a campaign. By photographing and videoing day to day experiences it can give customers an insight into your business. With the introduction of novel ideas, a brand can utilise the first two steps to achieve ‘local fame.’  

  • Be the Expert  

This is a step we use regularly at Publicity Seekers. By keeping your finger on the pulse of what is happening within your given industry you can jump on any development and offer your insights into the industry. Positioning yourself as the de facto ‘expert’ on the topic. A great way to raise your profile and come across as a bit of a clever clogs in the process too.   

  • Know Yourself  

Knowing yourself and knowing your brand is vital. What do you and your brand stand for? Staying true to what you believe in when communicating with customers increases the trust level. If you believe in the importance of supporting the community through your business that shows. Authenticity for a business means trust from your customers.  

  • Utilise Google! 

Possibly the biggest search engine in the world. Google is the go to tool for over 82% of the overall search engine users so establishing yourself in the rankings of this giant is incredibly important. Over 76% of people who search for a local product will visit a business within 24 hours according to Google. Make sure you’re in those results. Otherwise your competitor will be.   

If you’re a small business owner and you’re interested in how we can help you and your business rise above the competition, you can call 0845 226 9126 or drop us an email: info@publicityseekers.co.uk. 

Why we’re giving you a press release and coverage for £250

Okay, first things first, if you’re not reading this in August. You’re too late, the deal’s off.

For this month and this month only, we’ve completely halved our prices. I’ve blogged before about how sick we are of the North East not promoting itself (click here) so this month we thought we’d take action and try to coax those businesses that are still hiding away, to come forward and tell the region about their successes.

For £250 (+vat) you’ll get a brilliant member of our team (hint: they’re all brilliant) to either give you a call or come along to your offices, hold a full interview about you and your business, then write it up and send it back through for you to read over and make any small amendments.

But that’s not even the end of it. After that we’ll do a full send-out to the region’s top business reporters, guaranteeing you coverage in at least three media outlets.

Now let me prepare for the excuses.

I don’t have anything to talk about.

Everyone has something to talk about. Here is just the tip of the iceberg of potential stories you could be talking about.

  • New staff appointments or apprenticeships.
  • Contract wins or successful partnerships.
  • Business milestones. (Have you sold 100 of something or is it your business anniversary?)
  • Raising money for charity or having a great CSR campaign you should be sharing.
  • Or simply chatting about your services, what you sell or some great work you’ve done.

It’ll make no difference to my business.

  • 90% of business owners look online before engaging with a new business. If your online search results contain positive news stories, they’re far more likely to engage with you.
  • Businesses risk losing 22% of business when potential customers find one negative on the first page of their search results. This can easily be counteracted by positive news stories, particularly from well-respected independent journalists.
  • If you’re trying to recruit. Tell people about it, you’ll see applicant numbers increase instantly.

Press is dead

  • 56% of consumers find traditional media to be the most trustworthy form of marketing – whether they read it online or in print.
  • Our regional business magazines and publications are still reaching over 100,000 professionals each day.
  • All of this is not even counting the social media influence these publications have and your story reaching even further on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
  • And of course there’s always a great professional story to put up on your website to keep it fresh and up-to-date.