Ideas and opinions from the world of PR
Writing a blog about what we’ve been up to at Small Man Media should be the easiest thing in the world.
We’re a team of writers (amongst other PR and marketing things) after all. But such blogs were never meant to be compiled by my fair-to-middling fingers, but a guy who was far more poetic and quick witted than me, who did things with the written word that I could only ever marvel at.
Pete Cashmore was our blogger-in-chief for a year or so, and could make the most mundane of working weeks read like a scene from Devil Wears Prada. Where Black Country conference calls would assume Hollywood-blockbuster proportions.
Pete died a couple of months ago.
I’m not sure I have any right to miss him as much as I do, but boy I miss him. He was a comic strip Chaucer; a Jack Dee Dickens; a Roger Mellie maverick who put the Viz into ‘advizor’ for us at Small Man Media, for the short time he was here.
Pete was with us for a year or so, leaving in 2018 at the blink of an eye. I still beat myself up today about not following him to find out why he left, but I know he had his reasons. And at the point I thought I would look him up, he’d gone for good.
Writing a blog about our weekly comings-and-goings should really be a doddle, but when Pete did it so much better, it’s been easier to put it off and not tell you what we’ve been up to.
But we’ve been up to a lot, and if one person would advocate us writing about it, then it would be our mate Pete. As I type, a plant is growing quite resplendently beside the desk where he’d once work, which is a nice metaphor from where to begin. He’d like this, we think.
One of our clients, Firestone, is benefiting from some excellent PR outreach from the team, with the Daily Telegraph lapping up the brand and its marketing activations in the world of music. A big online piece was secured for Firestone here, which probably tells the story better than we can in a few words here. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/what-to-listen-to/john-nicholas-performs-song-wanted/ Suffice to say, we did a good job at engaging with some of the biggest bloggers and journalists, as this article shows.
It’s not just PR and incredible exposure that we are responsible for. We have more strings to our bow than that mad Irish woman on Britain’s Got Talent. (you know, the one who straddled a harp?!). Anyway, we also create websites and formulate brand identities for clients. Bolt and Nut, a manufacturing giant from the Black Country, is now looking and feeling fresher thanks to our marketing efforts. We think that we’re making first impressions last here with a fine new website, but let us know what you think. www.bnml.co.uk
We’ve been motoring for our automotive friends at Autogem of late, too. They were exhibiting at the NEC for the Automechanika exhibition this week, and we have been shouting about their work on their behalf. Aside from a lorry-load of press coverage in recent weeks, we’ve also created an all-singing newsletter for the Autogem team to send to their customers electronically – not to mention visitors to the show. Again, have a look at what we’ve created here and let us know what you think.
Download the Autogem Newsletter here: Autogem Newsletter
I could go on about other success stories, including award submissions for Bridgestone, the world’s largest tyre manufacturer, and scores of press releases in readiness for more national coverage in the coming weeks, but you get the gist.
I’d prefer to sign-off with an ode to the Countdown-conundrum-cruncher called Cashmore (he won the whole Channel 4 show once, did you know?!).
There once was a man called Cashmore
Who once took a walk through our door
His writing was bliss
Much better than this
He came and he conquered and saw!
Aside from dogs doing the funniest things on camera, intricate recipes for food you’re unsure of and adverts for products you’ll never buy, social media can be a useful tool.
But how often do you think about your LinkedIn?
Due to a difficult UI (that’s your experience on the site to the average web browser!) and minimal knowledge of the site, many people set up a LinkedIn and leave it to hang like a bad pixel-based smell.
With 500m users currently using the platform and 40% of those users (that’s 200m people) using the platform every day, your next sales opportunity, key buyer contact or employee could be just around the corner.
However, with so little time and so much to do, here’s five quick ways to make the most of a platform with a huge amount of potential for you – and your business.
- How up-to-date is your personal profile?
Whether it’s a new moustache you’ve cultivated or a change in your job role, it’s still important to keep on top your LinkedIn profile, so visitors to your page know exactly what you’re all about.
Making sure you boast an eye-catching statement is important, as is a testimonial or two from recent work contacts. Don’t be afraid to call in a favour in this regard, because first impressions do indeed last.
When it comes to LinkedIn, being self-effacing and modest just won’t cut it. Don’t just back your ability, but get others to back it too! You’ll be surprised when you receive so many plaudits from work contacts once you’ve asked for the favour.
All of this work puts your name at the top of people’s list – as well as helping put you towards the top of LinkedIn’s complicated search algorithms.
- Stay in touch – with everything, everyone, everywhere.
If LinkedIn is the coffee shop of online business, then why are you sitting in a corner of your local greasy spoon?
By keeping in touch with key contacts via messenger and regularly posting, connecting to industry groups and staying abreast of latest news, people begin to visit your profile to see what you’re up to.
Anywhere you can drop a comment – from a quick ‘well done’ to a more in-depth post about the inner workings of your industry – will keep you at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to purchasing a service or product.
As an added bonus, LinkedIn likes people who post regularly and use its platform as a place to talk. Much like an Olympic runner -the more active you are, the more likely you are to sit at the top of the content podium!
- Use Linkedin for sales leads.
Is your business looking for new business? Do you have time and money to dedicate to find it when you’re busy balancing all those plates in your office?
If you’re like us, then the answer is likely to be no. But cometh the hour, cometh LinkedIn! It has the potential to be your new business development director.
By targeting those businesses that you’d like to work with, you can search for the key contact within a particular company, before popping them your latest catalogue, letter or a quick ‘Hello, my name is Dan from Small Man Media.’
However, try not to use LinkedIn like Tinder (the mind boggles eh?!). Accepting everyone really clutters up your news feed, limits the chance of starting meaningful relationships and leaves you in a loveless digital platform surrounded by nothing but recruitment professionals.
Sometimes people can get hooked by the amount of connections they have, as they subconsciously view the figure as some sort of status symbol of popularity. Don’t get seduced this way. Instead, look for quality connections and keep them interested thereafter.
- Make the most of your business page
If your personal page is the place to grab a fancy machi-cof-a-cini (personally, we prefer a hearty cup of tea every day of the week), then your business page is the flagpole from which you fly your company logo from.
It’s a great way to get all of your employees connected to one central hub, whilst sharing success stories, news and sales promotions to the outside world.
Encouraging your employees and motivating yourself to share your business page updates to your personal page will expand your network of likes too. LinkedIn business pages act much like Facebook pages – just with less videos of happy dogs eating vegetables and so forth!
- Hashtag, hashtag, hashtag.
LinkedIn acts like Twitter in this regard. Imagine what company CEO’s are searching. Let’s use an example of Mr Bob Jones at Cheese and Biscuits Co.
Mr Jones isn’t searching for #cheese or #biscuits because they’re simply too broad. He may be searching for #FoodSafety though or, if we want to go really niche, #CheeseProduction or #BiscuitMarketing.
What we’re trying to say here, in a ‘cheesy’ way, is think about your hashtags by working backwards.
What will your target user be searching?
What hashtags associate to your story?
Ultimately, it’s all down to one big question – Where do you want to be seen?
A great way to start is by researching what hashtags are being used in industry groups, what hashtags your competitors are using and what hashtags are getting the most clicks.
- Don’t know where to begin or need some help? Give Small Man Media a call.
Small Man Media has managed LinkedIn accounts across multiple industries and can support with any LinkedIn requirements you need.
Whether it’s a well-crafted update, a smart company video or finding your next big sales lead, our team can take the digital weight off your desk!
Make your LinkedIn your business stronghold!
Give us a call now on 01902 587 001 or email email@example.com
In the world of PR and Social PR, its rare that a manufactured moment can become a trending hashtag to get the nation talking. So when a gift-horse like Black Friday comes around, it’s an opportunity not to be missed.
We have been speaking to our clients about the impending marketing snowball that is Black Friday and have been encouraging them to capitalise on the opportunity across all social media platforms.
The history of Black Friday started much earlier than people think. In 1905, Canadian department store Eaton’s began the first Thanksgiving Day parade by bringing Santa on a wagon through the streets of downtown Toronto. In 1913, eight live reindeer pulled Santa’s “sleigh.” By 1916, seven floats representing nursery rhyme characters joined Santa in the parade. In 1924, the Eaton’s parade inspired Macy’s Department Store to launch its famous Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City.
Macy’s wanted to celebrate its success during the Roaring twenties. The parade boosted shopping for the following day. Retailers had a gentleman’s agreement to wait until then before advertising holiday sales. The rest, as they say, is sales and marketing history.
In 2013 Asda, which is owned by American retail giant Walmart, had a Black Friday sale and offered huge discounts on a range of goods, including TVs and laptops.
The promise of ‘earth-shattering deals’ sparked mayhem as customers wrestled their way to the front of the checkout and actually traded blows over cut-price TVs.
Since then UK retailers around the country have embraced this ready-made consumer marketing and PR initiative and why wouldn’t you?
Why would you not plan and small sales promotion, where you can focus on one product or service?
Why would you not use the trending hashtags when as estimated 35 million consumers will be searching for deals, offers and information.
Why would you miss out on profiling your brand to a captive audience?
You don’t need a massive budget, just a bit of planning and setting some time aside to reach consumers. You still have time!
There is a counter argument that the whole initiative is just too ‘American’ for us stiff-upper-lip Brits, with the essence of Black Friday too brash and crass for some of us to digest. However, with High Street stores experiencing a challenging time right now, why would you not get involved? We think that there is nothing to lose if you pitch it correctly.
Even Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has a show, blogs and his own social media hashtags all designed to point consumers in the right direction.
What’s stopping you? Get your meme out, add that hashtag to tomorrow’s status and get engaging!
Our top five tips to get involved:
- Create a one off sales offer. Keep it simple and focused. Either produce a discount code or % off one product.
- Use free Apps like Canva or PhotoPea to help produce eye grabbing graphics or memes.
- Use the hashtags on your social media and make sure to interact in real time with all enquiries or comments.
- Add a small budget to your social media update, all only take approx. £20.00 to be really effective! If you have a physical store, why not boost your posts to a geographically targeted area?
- Manage your expectations. If you haven’t really thought this through, then it just wont work.
Sometimes, the stars align and everything falls into place. It seems like that’s what happened when I finished University. The day after my graduation, I started work at Small Man Media. Dewey eyed, ready to impress.
Despite, many desk moves, a few changing faces and many events, press releases and cups of tea later, it seemed more than appropriate to reflect on how it all began – via a lot of football chat and an eighties dessert favourite.
Let’s have our Doctor Who moment and go back in time.
I rang the bell at 6 Waterloo Road in 2015, full of intrepidation. ‘Hello Dan, lovely to meet you. I’m heading off to London for an event soon, but it’s great to meet you.’ Right, thought I, it’s time to make an impression.
One quick interview down and another to go. Build a presentation about what you think PR is and how you’d action it for our client.
Safe to say, I came up with the strangest possible idea. It really was a case of ‘breaking some eggs to make an omlette.’ How that omlette turned out was all down to what happened here!
But looking back, my kooky idea definitely sweetened my pitch up.
‘PR is like an arctic roll.’
Stunned faces. It’s like I’d told Ben and Rachel that I was the messiah. It was more disbelief than amazement. In that moment, I knew I’d bottled it. ‘What on earth is this bequiffed Dudley boy talking about?’
Let me explain… if I can.
A PR agency, like the one whose website you’re reading right now, is the strawberry jam, binding the soft cake to the sweet vanilla ice cream.
The consumer is the ice cream. They’re the sweet centre that everybody wants to get to, sometimes a little bit tougher than the other layers but the best bit nonetheless.
The cake is the client. They keep all this neat little package tied together!
Get it? I think I still do… but I’m sure I can think of better metaphors now. Press releases are like trifle? Web Design is like Crispy Pancakes? Probably not…. and it’s time to stop these strange 1980’s references.
But it worked. I’m still here, still as keen and excitable as still. Still fully of exciting, colourful and sometimes crazy ideas. Still achieving results for clients.
Lucky then that I changed my presentation from ‘Small Man Media is like Paul Scholes!’ (underrated, misunderstood and absolutely world class!)
At Small Man Media, we like to give you advice straight from the experts to keep you and your business ahead of the curve.
With the impending GDPR worrying businesses up and down the country, our expert this week ison is Lee Marsh MCSE, MCPS, MCPSI, MCSEI, MCNPS, MCP is Owner and Managing Director of Mellow Marsh Software and has cut through the jargon to get straight to the point on GDPR!
You have probably heard about the upcoming data protection reforms which will undoubtedly affect your business.
We have been through some key details about GDPR for you and hope you may find this helpful.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is aimed at giving individuals the power to better control who can access and/or process their personal data. There have been many cases of the mis-use of or failure to take adequate steps to protect this data historically, so with the changes now required this should provide better practice all round – and as a controller or processor of data, if you do not conform, there could be serious penalties.
What is “Personal Data”?
GDPR defines “Personal data” as any information relating to a person who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to information such as a name, an identification number, location data, online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that person.
For example, identifiers including IP addresses, cookies and so on will now be regarded as personal data if they can be (or are capable of being) traced back to the person in question. It does not matter if this is information relating to a person at work, or at home, from a GDPR perspective an individual is an individual.
Firms will now have an obligation to report any potential data breaches to the authorities no later than 72 hours after the suspected incident. Notifications will have to include the nature of the situation, including categories and approximate numbers of individuals concerned – and what measures are being put in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Fines and Enforcement
Failure to comply with new legislation can now carry serious repercussions.
Regulators will now have authority to issue penalties equal to the greater of EUR10 million or 2% of the entity’s global gross revenue for violations of record-keeping, security, breach notification, and inadequate preparation.
However, violations of obligations related to legal justification for processing (including consent…), data subject rights, and cross-border data transfers may result in penalties of the greater of €20 million or 4% of the entity’s global gross revenue.
Consent is a basis for legal processing of an individual’s data – in other words, there must be a genuine sound reason for possessing and processing a subject’s data, and that subject must have given explicit permission for the data to be held and processed in this specific way. For marketers in particular there has been much debate about the type of consent that might be required under this new regulation, for example, requiring people to positively ‘opt in’ to marketing requests, not positively ‘opting out’.
According to the Regulation consent means “any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of his or her wishes by which the data subject, either by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to personal data relating to them being processed;”
Consent should be demonstrable – in other words organisations need to be able to show clearly how consent was gained and when – for example, positive opting in, and freely given – a controller cannot insist on data that’s not required for the performance of a contract as a pre-requisite for that contract.
Withdrawing consent must always be possible and straight forward.
Legitimate Interests & Direct Marketing
GDPR does allow processing of data for ‘Direct Marketing Purposes’ – a legitimate interest.
Just like consenting, legitimate interest is grounds for an organisation to possess and process data.
The act says that processing is lawful if “processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child.”
A good example could be sending a mailshot of goods and services that are similar to a subject’s existing purchases from the firm is legitimate without direct consent, however, obtaining a cold database of subject data and ‘profiling’ this to target customers with advertising without explicit consent from the subject (as no grounds for legitimate interest have been established) would not be permissible.
Retention & The Right to be Forgotten
When data is collected about a subject, the subject must be informed why their data is being collected and how long they can reasonably expect it to be retained for.
Should the subject wish to have their data removed and the data is no longer required for the reasons for which it was collected then it must be deleted immediately. Importantly, firms must maintain a register or similar of who they have provided this data to as well, for example, if a subject entered into a contract with a Building Firm, who use subcontractors, the subject’s data will have been passed to the subcontractors for the valid purpose of carrying out the contractual works. If a ‘Right to be Forgotten’ is invoked, then the firm has an obligation to see who the data was provided to, and subsequently contact them to ensure the data has been deleted from their systems as well.
For more information about IT Solutions, GDPR or any technology based issues for you and your business, you can speak to Lee directly on 01902 544 135 or by visiting www.mellowms.co.uk