How to set up an effective PR campaign – 9 Step Checklist

How to set up an effective PR campaign – 9 Step Checklist

A good PR campaign will do wonders for any business because communicating with your customers and polishing your reputation increases credibility; makes a business attractive to investors and potential partners; enhances SEO; and ergo – increases revenue!

sanzen digotal how to set up an effective PR campaign

So how does PR achieve all of this?  By effectively reaching out to a company’s end users (often using a multi-channel approach) and sharing why your particular products or services will be of benefit – and what those benefits deliver to each user.

How PR can help:

  • If your competitors are fighting for attention in the ads section of a magazine, focus on getting editorial coverage with the unspoken ‘endorsement’ of that media channel.
  • If there is a recession or business is slow, being visible in print, on the TV, radio and on social media will help provide a competitive edge to survive the dip.
  • If a business needs to move up the rankings with Google – good PR will boost its credibility with multiple write-ups across key sites and channels. And so on!

saznen Digital how to set up an effective PR campaign

Philippa’s 9 step PR checklist – below

PR consultant Philippa Taylor from Grand Union PR, an agency specialising in lifestyle and wellbeing, highlights what every business needs to consider before embarking on a PR campaign. And she provides a helpful PR campaign checklist to tick off before investing valuable time and money.

Stop the press! PR is more than just a press release

 ‘’Initially when someone thinks of a PR campaign they tend to think of press releases’’ explains Philippa. ‘’And while a well written and targeted press release is a valuable part of any PR campaign; PR means much more.  There is a range of communications tools that can be used including: expert features; product launches; community events; charity support; media sampling; and  increasingly social media – especially videos.

 

Consequently, a traditional press release issued machine-gun style to everyone on a media database is nowadays less effective. It’s all about knowing who your target audiences are, which media they consume and what the journalists in those media channels are looking for: tailor your information accordingly and you’ve got a much higher chance of gaining traction in the media.

The first step I take when a client asks for a press release is to make sure that they have a robust story to tell and have all the supporting information and images ready so that an effective campaign which meets the company’s objectives can be put in place.”

Does your business have a story worth telling?

Philippa stresses that in an increasingly crowded market PR can certainly help you stand out to journalists and other key influencers but you need to make sure that your story is worth telling.

 

A good tip is to write down what you want your story to communicate (a paragraph is enough here) and then put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Ask yourself, “so what?”. If you need additional information to answer that question, rewrite the paragraph to include that information, until it couldn’t leave anyone asking themselves “so what”.

saznen digital how to set up an effective PR campaign

Another technique to use is to repeatedly ask yourself why about each point in your story.  Why A? Because B. Why B? Because C. Why C? Because D, etc.  Oddly enough, you often get to some deep truths this way and that helps to create a compelling story about your business.

Journalists will look at the bigger picture and how your company fits into this issue” she points out.  ‘’Does the business have a compelling selling point? Are you an expert in your field? Do you have something new to share (such as research) or a new innovation perhaps? Or it could be to show the human side of a business or an interesting personality.

 

“My job is to make sure a client has in place what they need to make the right impression with journalists the first time. This is crucial, because if you’re not delivering the story in the right way, then they simply go onto the next story in the pile.

It takes a lot of experience to create a story and being – let alone knowing who to contact and how to contact them! Small business owners can wear many hats and devoting time and energy to doing their own PR sometimes falls off their radar.

 

It’s more like cooking a casserole, than rustling up a stir fry

Finally, it’s important to note that PR should only be considered if a business wants to build relationships and brand reputation.

‘’ It’s more like cooking a casserole than a stir fry most of the time as you’re constantly building awareness by creating stories when a business has no ‘new news’When there is something new to say, that’s when the heat gets turned up in terms of news value for a campaign’’ says Philippa.

sanzen digital how to set up an effective PR campaign

‘’You need to commit both time and investment – but having said that – it doesn’t need to be expensive. The cost depends on what you want to do, who you want to reach and what you want these people to do or think differently as a result of your communication campaign.

When working with SMEs, I offer a PR Portal service which spreads the cost of a campaign over a number of months so that the front-loaded time/fee section of starting any campaign doesn’t impact too much on cash flow’’.

Philippa’s 9 Step PR Campaign Checklist

Before embarking on a PR campaign, it’s important to get clear on:

  1. Your objectives: why do you want PR? What do you want to achieve from it?
  2. Your story’s unique selling point: what makes you different? What is it that you want to shout about? If you do not have a USP – start developing one before you think about PR!
  3. Your Audiences: who do you want to talk to? Try to narrow it down so the message and story is targeted.
  4. Key messages: work on the main messages you want to get across.
  5. The call to action: what do you want them to think and do differently?
  6. Communication channels: outline who to contact (publications, websites, broadcast etc) based on which target audience you want to reach. And remember, the first point of call now for journalists is your website and social media channels – and if interested -they will check to see what you are saying on these platforms and how often.  Don’t put the press information out via social media before you’ve spoken to your journalists or you’ll lose all the news value!
  7. Develop a media pack: have a background info pack of who you are and what you do, that is good enough to be shared with the media. Good quality images are vital so make sure you have a current headshot and both pack and lifestyle images of your products or services in action.

So does your business have a story perfect for PR? Why not shout about it in the comments section? It’s great PR 😀

If you would like to find out how Sanzen digital can help you grow and flourish online –just drop us a line!

What is YOUR mission statement? 5 small business owners tell us theirs!

What is YOUR mission statement? 5 small business owners tell us theirs!

We’ve discovered over time, not all business owners know what a mission statement is; or have one defined; or see it as essential. And as marketers, our response to this has been – whaa!


Because *a mission statement  is a key tool that captures, in a few succinct sentences, the essence of your business’s goals and the philosophies underlying them. Equally important, it signals what your business is all about to your customers, staff, suppliers and the community.

So do YOU have a mission statement for your business? And if so, how has it evolved since you first started? This is what 5 small business owners told us…

 Mission statement #1

sanzen digita business mission statement

”My Business mission when I started was to drive tried and tested sales and marketing techniques from Global organisations that can help start-up and small companies in manageable chunks to help grow their business. 

How has it evolved? On this journey I have met some remarkable business men and women who are also experts in their field giving me an expanded portfolio of services that I now offer and manage for clients along with project work with the large corporates due to my background that can potentially open up even more doors”. Nimisha

Mission statement #2

sanzen digital mission statement

”My business’ original mission was to help people release their inner potential through expert nutrition advice. I wanted them to be as healthy as they could be; enabling them to have high performance at work or in sport.

As it has evolved I have realised the influence I can have on my clients’ work colleagues and families. By becoming healthier my clients are ‘walking the walk’, and ‘talking the talk’. They don’t need to be telling people what to do because people will ask them.  The best thing for me is when I overhear someone passing my advice on as though it was what they always did!”. Jo

 

Mission Statement #3

sanzen digital business mission statement

My mission originally was to help as many people as I could to see the savings and benefits of being a member of the Utility Warehouse Discount Club.

Since then and over a period of 10 years, my business has grown and evolved in so many ways. Now, I have the pleasure of spending my time helping those very members start their own part time business with The Utility Warehouse. My aim now is to work alongside new partners –using my learning and experience to help them become independently successful. I show them how to build a second stream passive income and feel financially protected for the future. Ruth

 

 

Mission Statement #4

sanzen digital business mission statement

I have and will always be completely passionate about interior design and colour and to strive to ensure that clients get the beautiful home that they want in the colours they like. So my goal has always been to create end results that are as unique and wonderful as my clients.

It hasn’t really evolved other than the way I work. For example, when I first  started the Colour Palette, twenty years ago this year, there was no internet. There is now more choice and accessibility and therefore it makes designing a lot easier in that respect; also with social media and the web you can show case your work. Beryl

Mission Statement #5

sanzen digital business mission statement

”Q: How my mission statement has evolved….?
My aim has always been to understand how to interpret, communicate, and simplify complex themes to targeted audiences.
Mission Statements…I think range from being the least important to one of the most important pieces of information in a company. At the outset, not so important – survival trumps everything else; if you can’t stay in business then you can’t influence or change anything. As your company grows though, especially when it becomes bigger than just you, then a Mission Statement is a succinct way of encapsulating how and why you do”. Matt

 

Bonus statement!

saznen digital business mission statement

”Sanzen  launched with the mission statement: We are passionate about providing local businesses flexible, cost-effective access to digital marketing services. 

It still holds true, but since then we’ve learnt lots and it’s evolved to: Our aim is to help and or collaborate with like-minded business owners who have a genuine and mutual aspiration to grow online and be awesome.

It’s far from perfect, but it provides us with the focus we need right now, for example, when deciding which projects to take on.” Umbreen

 

If you’re a business owner yourself, why not share your mission statement with us in the comment box below? We would love to know more about you!

To find out how Sanzen Digital can inspire you and help your business grow online – just drop us a line!

*definition courtesy of entrpreneur.com

How to get Facebook followers and engage them

How to get Facebook followers and engage them

Getting started on Facebook and building an audience can be a scary challenge for a small business. Many struggle to kick off their social media presence because once their account is set up, they don’t know how to. Furthermore, most will not have the budget to get a head start by advertising online.

Former HR Business Partner – Harry Purewal launched her business – House of Colour Huddersfield –  in March 2016.  With no prior experience and limited knowledge of using social media for a business, she is managing to successfully build a Facebook audience with relative ease. However – being seasoned digital marketers – we know there has to be more to this story!

So we caught up with Harry to find out exactly what she is doing to build her audience – and her top 3 tips for keeping her followers engaged.

Be pro-active. Start building your networks early.

 

‘‘I have to say Facebook is probably my favourite social platform because I’ve always been on there regularly with a personal account. So I had already built a good network of friends and family” explains Harry.

”Also when I launched the business last March,  I was really blatant. I put out a post with a clear call to action to all of my Facebook contacts:  Go-Like-My-New-Business-Page-And-Share! This doesn’t always work, especially if you haven’t built up a network elsewhere.

I  would recommend to get your personal networks going 6 months to a year beforehand to get that engagement going and increase your network of friends.

 

The other thing I do is invite people to my page when I’m networking. For instance, during a pitch I ask for support. And when I see somebody is a really good networker, I build up a bit of a relationship first and then ask them to invite their network to like my page. Plus if anyone likes a post of mine, I invite them also to like my page. You just have to be very proactive and genuinely enjoy connecting with people!”

However, she warns that from her own experience, try not to solely rely on family and friends to move you forward –

” I was lucky to have some real superstars who like and share often but others who are just not interested in even tapping the like button. Don’t take it personally, develop a thick skin and focus your energy on those who will support you”.

Be generous. Support each other’s business pages.

 

Harry comes from a family of people who are self-employed, and this she stresses has also been a factor in helping her to build an organic audience on Facebook. It’s because she knows how tough it is for a start up to get itself out there and how vulnerable a small business owner can feel.

”I have always made a point of supporting others pages long before knowing I would set up on my own, and this has inadvertently helped me. There is a lot of truth in the old adage givers gain”.

 

In addition, she’s also set up an informal support group with other franchisees and entrepreneurs across the country who are not her immediate competitors. They have an informal agreement to like each other’s posts as well as comment.

To her there is another important reason for this, “It’s a lonely thing running your own business – and so it’s great to have a support mechanism which is so easy and accessible because it’s through social media”.

Be visible. Boosting posts and Facebook Advertising increases reach.

 

When asked if she has tried promoting on Facebook using paid advertising to generate leads, she replies, ”I’m not convinced I’ll get clients through Facebook – but it’s probably because I haven’t been doing it long enough and I certainly haven’t used all the sophisticated targeting tools available.  For me, the little paid advertising I have done has been about the exposure it brings me.

 

When I have boosted posts, the reach I get is far wider.  For example, a post can reach 2K people or more. I don’t know if it translates into bookings, but it has got me page and post likes”. And with Facebook advertising – it’s been a bit hit and miss:

I did a Facebook ad for last Father’s Day ‘’No socks for Father’s Day’’ campaign. I didn’t have men call to book but I did have women get in touch for themselves having seen that ad!

I believe that people just need something quick and easy to go and look at.  Your Facebook page is the best portable business card you can have. And even though it’s not an indicator of how much revenue your page is generating – people do look at how many likes you got!”.

Be patient. Generating Facebook leads can take time.

 

Like most business owners who persevere with their social media, Harry has found that to get leads through Facebook is a slow burn. ”People will be following me for a while who haven’t committed to liking my page, but I will after a while receive a message saying that they’ve seen what I’m doing on my page and are interested in a consultation.

What I’m discovering is that the people who do show an interest to book a consultation, tend to be friends-of-the-friends who received likes and shares from people who support me regularly on my page”.

Harry’s 3 Top Tips to engage your Facebook followers.

 

1. Publish posts which are authentic and in your voice

 

My whole business is about clients embracing their authentic self and to empower them with real confidence – I have to be as honest with my clients as I am with my friends. So my posts need to reflect my voice.

As social media is about having a conversation, I try and publish posts in a way that comes naturally to me. Often it shows different aspects of my personality: the professional; a friend; and being a mother.

I’ll do a little bit of self-deprecating stuff at times which really does come naturally to me! Such as the whole thing about being stressed out by your teenagers!

 

2. Mix it up with the type of posts you publish

 

I try to publish a mix of posts. For example I’ll do a few boasts – sharing some good news such as a testimonial, which always gets a lot of engagement.

However, when you do too much of  ‘Hey look at how brilliant I am; how much fun I’m having’, people will start to think – oh god there she goes again! So it’s about getting a good balance. 

 

Also I make sure to post useful and interesting information and not just sales promotions. If a post is all text, then I make sure the first two lines get my message across as they don’t want to read the rest of it. Of course, videos get the best engagement and whenever I publish photos of myself, clients and colleagues.

 

3. Post and react to posts at the right time

 

You will need to test different times for a while to get an idea of when your audience is likely to be active on Facebook. I’ll react to other people’s stuff during the peak times – mornings after the school run and then after tea time. That way I am in their notifications throughout the day.

It doesn’t matter how often you’re going to post, just commit to sustaining the frequency. Your followers won’t commit to you if you can’t commit to them. 

For my own posts, I actually only post once or twice a week. I find Sunday evening and Saturday morning are good times, when my particular audience of women tend to be online; and late at night when the competition is asleep!

Thanks Harry 😀

If you would like to know more about how to get started on Facebook or get more engagement on your Facebook page, just drop us a line. For the latest updates from Sanzen Digital follow us on Facebook!

 

How Networking Paved The Way For This Nordic Walker

How Networking Paved The Way For This Nordic Walker

First, a full disclosure that we’re  members of business networking groups – the Athena Network; Business Biscotti; Chamber of Commerce; and the FSB. And Sanzen Digital wouldn’t have got off the ground as quickly as it did without having networking as part of our launch and growth strategy.

In our experience, the benefits of networking have far outweighed the cost of the membership fees. Having said that, if you google your local area, you will find free networking groups. And often fee charging networks also have informal groups – where for the price of a coffee – non-members can also attend.

So why should a small business consider attending a network group? Well, because whether you’re a start-up or looking for ways to grow your business – networking opens up opportunities to share knowledge; raise your profile; make meaningful connections; and for many small business owners – increase their confidence. So in our opinion, that’s a lot of bang for your buck!

Debbie Atkins gives her Top 5 Networking Tips below

Debbie Atkins is a fantastic example of a small business owner who is growing her many business streams (which include -DA Fitness; Rev5; Synergy Worldwide consultant; and Nordic Walking Instructor!) primarily through networking. Almost 80% of her business is through networking referrals and within a year of joining, she was invited to become a Regional Director for The Athena Network – one of the most successful women only networks in the UK.

Networking helps you to raise your profile and make new connections

 

Debbie explains:  “My success has been down to networking and women empowering other women. I joined at the beginning of 2013 when a friend, who is a financial advisor, had been to an Athena networking event in Reading and told me how useful she found it and that I should join also. It took a month for me to pluck up the courage to go to a meeting and ofcourse when I did – I loved it!”

Debbie Atkins gives her Top 5 Networking Tips below

For Debbie, her work and networking are a great fit; when she’s not running her Athena groups – she’s still networking for herself and her members. As she points out:

 

”With my Nordic walking classes (a sport involving walking across country with the aid of long poles resembling ski sticks!) I’m walking and talking with my clients throughout and often things come up – about possible connections – if not for me then for someone I know who might benefit from an introduction or a referral”.

Networking helps personal development for big and small businesses

 

Debbie’s guiding philosophy (naturally derived from her fitness training background) is that for a business to be healthy, you have to be healthy in yourself.  And that a reputable networking group will not only have quality membership but also provide genuine support within the group with plenty of opportunities to train and develop.

“I see amazing journeys unfold. For so many entrepreneurs it’s about having the confidence to do things. For example, to stand up and give a solid pitch without being terrified; being able to have positive 1-2-1’s with other members; and even present in front of other members. So I don’t think there is any business that networking can’t help when it also includes training and development.”

Debbie Atkins gives her Top 5 Networking Tips below

She also acknowledges that sometimes there is a misconception that networking is just beneficial for small businesses and start-ups. This is not the case says Debbie:

”I’m passionate that Reading Athena brings the personal development into the mix through the network strategy training and business development training within every meeting.

In addition, as part of your membership there are separate network strategy training workshops – another great way to network with members across two regions. So whether you’re a corporate or escaped corporate life – networking is still useful.”

 

Debbie’s 5 Top Tips on effective networking at Athena

 

1. Networking is about building relationships using a three step approach of  Know – Like – Trust. When this is established, the business will flow from it but be prepared, as it could take a few months for this to happen. It is not about attending your first few meetings and hard selling!

2. Do prepare beforehand. For example, prepare how you’re going to introduce yourself. What’s your story? What is it about your business that you want to share? Why would they want to engage in your services? It’s about having that edge and enthusiasm, because this is what people will latch onto – your passion and interest!

3. You may not think that there is a connection between you and the other persons business – you need to explore who they know – it is referred to as ‘networking through the room’. Sometimes the least strategically linked business owners can provide the best connections and clients.

4. When you are sharing your knowledge with someone at a one to one meeting, it is your choice as to how much you share for “free” and it’s their choice about what they take from it – with no obligation. What I would say is that What you give – you do get back – but it might not be from the same person you gave it to – and it may be many months or even years later for that to happen!

5. Don’t forget to pick up the phone! It’s a brilliantly personal way of connecting with someone if you are not able to meet them face to face. Sounds obvious but it’s surprising how many people do not follow up with a simple call. If the phone isn’t possible, then of course there is always, email, Skype; and online platforms such as LinkedIn; not forgetting that Social media is great for building relationships and staying connected.

Sanzen Digital Marketing helps businesses like yours grow online! To find out how just drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help. 

For the latest updates from Sanzen Digital follow us on Facebook!

 

How this small business smashed it on YouTube

How this small business smashed it on YouTube

Although YouTube is particularly suited for businesses targeting Millennials (18-30 year olds) there is no doubt that the use of online videos (whether it’s on YouTube or as embedded content on a website or an email) is a super effective digital marketing tool for every conceivable business out there.

An example of one such business is www.sittingwell.co.uk and its impressive use of online videos and success on YouTube.

Rachael Wall (a McTimoney Chiropractor) and business partner Lorna Kennard (a Sports Massage and Rehabilitation practitioner) run Sittingwell® – an online store that offers products to help you stay fit, strong and painfree. They also offer their own product (patent pending) The Sittingwell® Cushion – to alleviate back pain whilst sitting on the sofa . It is a small business which has grown, helped in large part, by using online videos.

Online videos help to bring your products to life

‘’We know that when you buy over the Internet there is a risk involved’’ shares Rachael.  

‘’You can read the features of the product in terms of its size, weight and colour but you can’t hold it in your hand, squeeze it, feel it, sit on it, or trial it even until it arrives on your doorstep. Unfortunately we can’t give our potential online customers that experience either but we hope to bridge the gap with our informative videos and detailed product descriptions. We want to provide as close to a shop experience as we can, and online videos do this for us’’.

 

The impact of using online videos and publishing on YouTube

sitting well cushions - on youtubeOver time with more experience on how to use the channel to effect; their more recent videos now average over 140,000 views. Furthermore, by promoting the business using YouTube (which is the 2nd largest search engine and is owned by Google – the largest search engine) the use of online videos has helped increase conversions significantly by driving traffic back to their website. As Rachael says-

‘’ Although this hasn’t happened overnight (we have learned a lot since our early videos) it is purely because we use YouTube that we have both a national and global reach with enquiries from as far as China and Australia, within a relatively short time. YouTube has also been great market research for us. By finding out what people are looking for we have been able to create more targeted information to help provide the answers they need’.

Rachel’s 8 tips on how to make an effective video for YouTube

1. Have a clear objective in mind. What questions will your ideal viewer want to be answered? Your video should be scripted as though you are talking to them only.

2. YouTube is a search engine so do your keyword research. Think about the message you want to get across; and note what you would type to search for it.

3. Make sure the title to the video is short, succinct, compelling and contains your keyword/s. We have found ‘how to’ videos to be our most viewed.

4. Always place the web link at the top of the description box as this improves the click through rate (the number of people going straight to your site).

5. In the description section, use ALL of the character allocation and use your keyword as many times as you can without looking spammy.

6. If you are editing, place a final screenshot (we use a PowerPoint slide) at the end of the video lasting 5+ seconds with your call to action/web address. This stops everyone else’s videos appearing straight away and keeps the attention on you and where people should go to find more great information.

7. And remember – videos don’t have to be professionally filmed and expensive – but do make sure it is filmed with a steady hand; has good sound quality; and ideally is no more than a couple of minutes long.

8. Most importantly, have fun making them!

If you would like to know more about how to use online videos and YouTube to grow your business online just drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help.

For the latest updates from Sanzen Digital follow us on Facebook!

 

How One Savvy Financial Adviser Uses Social Media

How One Savvy Financial Adviser Uses Social Media

The financial services sector is for obvious reasons heavily regulated, especially when it comes to advertising and in recent years, social media. Everything has to be approved from a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) point of view and this, understandably, can be frustrating for financial advisers.

They can’t for example, give advice or product recommendations through advertising, let alone via social media. For instance, FAs are not allowed to give financial advice through blog posts.

So how does a financial adviser use social media?

We posed this question to Lorraine Sellwood, Principal of Sellwood Wealth Management based in Marlow, Bucks.

“My focus is primarily on non-real-time stuff as opposed to real-time engagement such as twitter and Facebook. Because a real concern, is that these channels have an immediate impact and once it’s published it cannot be changed. This of course is not a problem for most businesses, but as a financial adviser I need to be more careful.”

Choose the most appropriate social media platform

In addition to the business’s core website, Lorraine uses LinkedIn and email newsletters. Her carefully targeted online audience are her immediate contacts, clients, and an impressive 500 plus LinkedIn connections.

“Using LinkedIn is definitely not about lead generation” says Lorraine. “People visit me online because the business has been recommended to them and not because of cold calling. It’s very much a case of a referral checking me out online. And so my main objective about having a good online presence is for brand and credibility reasons. Most importantly, as a financial adviser, it’s about people feeling trust – and the need for me to maintain that trust across all platforms.”

Plan and manage social media to meet objectives

Lorraine regularly publishes content on LinkedIn, such as case studies (without divulging client details), and sends out regular e-newsletters which offer generic tips and information such as the self-penned ‘The 12 days of Christmas’ – an editorial about the key 12 changes in the UK economy that happened in 2016.

She also makes sure she posts 4 times a week, using a structured approach. This includes a weekly Insights page (which is a topical editorial); an industry specific post that links back to the core website; and news about any charity work and events being held by the business.

And to save her valuable time and ensure her content is updated regularly, she now has someone managing her LinkedIn page. She simply agrees the content at the beginning of each week.

“This is because,” she adds “It’s important to me that people who land on my LinkedIn page, for instance, know I am active online. I regularly update about what I am doing, so it’s not dead page’’.

We couldn’t agree more with her approach.

When it comes to choosing the right platform to connect with your audience and using a well thought out and structured approach in managing your key social account – Lorraine is a great example of how to do it well.

If you’re unsure about which social media platform best suits your business or want to know how to make the most of the social media you do have. Just drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help.

For the latest updates from Sanzen Digital follow us on Facebook!