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Consistency is Key

Create a list of buzzwords for your brand and make sure you use them across your business to build a consistent image and message

Throughout the duration of running your business, you will notice that you subconsciously create a list of words that you would prefer were used to describe your brand or products. These are your Buzzwords. Equally, you will come up with a list of words that you don’t want to be used, that just don’t fit the brand. Your No-Go list.

It would be a good idea to keep track of these words somewhere, maybe on a whiteboard on the wall of the office, not just so that you and your team respond in a consistent way to questions from your customers, but also to ensure that your business remains “on brand” at all times.

For example, “alternative” may be preferred to “substitute” or “Direct to you” rather than “Takeaway”

Follow these tips to help you remain consistent.

1-Responses to Customer Feedback.

Every business, be it a service provider, an eating establishment, or manufacturer, will receive feedback from customers.

Perhaps you have a couple of sticking points that you hate talking about. Is your product very expensive? Or have you been unable to switch to environmentally friendly packaging yet?

Then it’s a really great idea to find a quiet moment to sit down and draft the perfect response. Perhaps your product is expensive because the ingredients are very high quality and the process very arduous. Perhaps you have actually struck a deal to switch to more environmentally packaging but due to Covid it is taking a while, or you have to use up the older packaging first.

Either way, have your responses, be happy with them and circulate to your team especially anyone customer-facing, or managing social media or communications in any way so the responses are consistent.  

2-Responses to Press.

Quite often when journalists write asking for further information, they are looking for more of a story. It is important to try and read between the lines of their questions and think carefully about whether you want to go “off script” and draft a quote.

Always ask for their deadline so as to allow yourself enough time to reply in a careful and consistent manner. Check your response over with your team, your spouse or your neighbour, before you submit it. Make sure your buzzwords are included in the messaging and that none of the No-Go words have been used.

3-Writing a Press Release.

Whether you’re writing your first or your tenth press release, consistency is key. When putting together a press release for your company, be it for the launch of a new product or the expansion of your business, whatever the subject matter, make sure that the message is on-brand and consistent.

Also, make sure that the press release is written in the present tense. You wouldn’t want your press release to quickly become irrelevant. For example; “Joe Bloggs Vineyard launched a brand-new red wine” already sounds out of date, whereas the same news item would be far more likely to receive media interest if it read “Joe Bloggs Vineyard is launching a brand new red wine just in time for (insert relevant national day or celebration here)”

Try to include some statistics that back up the need for this new product or service and make it relatable to current situations where you can.

Now you’re ready to get going with your buzzword and No-Go lists. Get scribbling and perfect the communication across all aspects of your company.

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The PR Targets You Should Be Hitting.

It is a common misconception that PR stands for Press Release and not Public Relations and, that PR purely relates to working with the media and sending out press releases. Not so.

There are many types of PR that you should also be working on within your business. So with that in mind, we have put together the top 3 PR targets that you should be hitting!

Social Media

Reach your clients directly via your social media accounts. No doubt you already use social media platforms in your marketing strategy, but did you know that social media creates a unique place for PR where the rest of the world can view your customer communications. Keep these interactions light, when appropriate, and show a human side to your company, which really shows these interactions in an authentic light.

There is no better way to get your brand in front of potential customers than via social media. Make sure you are using consistent and relevant hashtags (#) on all of your Instagram posts too. This way if your audience is searching for #s relating to your products or brand, you’ll pop up repeatedly. Social media has been home to some of the best PR successes over recent years. 

Internal Communications

Working on your employee relations and morale is key to a loyal and productive workforce. Also known as Internal PR, the task of ensuring your staff hold the business in a positive light and remain loyal to the company is imperative.

Keep your staff feeling happy, valued and informed by implementing the following activities.

Circulate an internal newsletter full of business news, new clients, new product development, any individual positive staff stories, so that the team feel included and proud of what they and the business is achieving.

Organise employee events to give staff a chance to build good working relationships where they begin to know and trust each other. Happy staff, equals productive work time.

Resolve issues quickly. Place a suggestion box in a communal area where staff are encouraged to post anonymous tips, comments and suggestions that your business can read and act upon. This way, issues can be brought up without anybody feeling awkward.

Community Engagement

Now more than ever, there is a strong sense of community that as a business you should be engaging with. By developing a mutually beneficial relationship with your local community, you’ll gain support and loyalty within your area. Small businesses can achieve this by sponsoring local events, sports teams, educational programmes or clean-up activities. Support could be financial, via a donation, or involve willing employee participation.

You never know, good community relations could generate new business through the contacts you make whilst also increasing the pride that your employees will feel by doing good for the community. This ties in brilliantly with the above point.

So when you are next thinking about your PR, remember it is about more than just sending out press releases and making friends with magazine editors.

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Video Killed The Radio Star-But It was Great For Social Media.

Video Killed The Radio Star-But It Was Great For Social Media. 

Most businesses are finding that video posts are gaining the most organic interaction on social media so what better way to get the passion you have for your business across, than in a short video.

Don’t be afraid, it isn’t as difficult as it sounds and in this month’s blog we are going to share our top five tips for creating a video post.

1. Think about the platform.

Videos work really well on Instagram. It used to be that Instagram would stop your video playing at 60 seconds so you really had to think about your content and try to fit it in under a minute. Now, this has changed, it gives you the option to “continue watching on IGTV” when it pauses it at 1 minute so your followers can then click through and watch the whole video.

Twitter only allows short videos so you can record a separate video to point people in the direction of Instagram or Facebook to watch the full video. Frustrating but necessary.

Facebook is no problem in terms of the length, you can upload any size for your viewers to watch. If you’re feeling brave, you can work up towards using a Facebook Live feed and just go for it! This is available for viewers to watch later too, if they don’t catch the live show.

Don’t forget about YouTube too. It is the perfect platform to upload to and create a following. You can then post on social media to ask people to subscribe to your channel.

Just a tip-make sure you always film in landscape mode, even if that just means tipping your smart phone!

2-Staging your video

Think about what your viewers will see. Don’t stand in front of something that is overly distracting or that you might block. If there is a sign behind you, make sure you stand far enough in front of it that the whole sign can be read in the video. Try not to block any lettering.

Is it dark where you are standing? Make sure you move to a spot that is as naturally lit as possible. Artificial lights, especially strip lights, can play havoc with the camera.

Make it interesting. A blank wall may have a positive effect on your lighting but it isn’t very interesting. Most platforms play the videos automatically as viewers scroll so make sure that at a quick glance the video is eye catching and will stop people in their tracks.

3-It’s all in the angle

Always set the camera up slightly above you but angled down. If you need to sit down so that you’re lower than the lens, that is fine. Just make sure your face and at least your neck and shoulders are visible.

Rater than standing face on, try standing at an angle slightly turned away from the camera and instead of staring into the lens, look past the top of it for a more relaxed approach.

4-Content is key

So, you’re all set up to film but have you planned what you’re going to say? Some people are able to just improvise on the spot and have the ability to speak very fluidly about their subject matter. Others need a script and that is just fine! Take time to plan out what you need to include in your video.

Here are some key areas to cover;

  • Introduce yourself and your business
  • Why you are making the video
  • Special offer or news
  • Call to action-what should your customers do next
  • Thank you for watching/see you next time

5-Playback

Watch your finished video before you post it. Don’t get hung up on how you sound or look, just make sure that the messaging is clear and you are speaking clearly.

Now you have the tips and the tools, get ready for lights, camera, action!

 

 

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What Kind Of Content Will You Create?

Please make sure you have read Part 1 and Part 2 on Finding the Right Tone before reading this post.

Hello, and welcome to Part 3 of PR Toolkit’s series about Finding the Right Tone! Now that you have an idea of your brand’s core values and of who your customers are, we will focus on the type of content you wish to write, and where you’d like it to be published.

Part 3: What kind of content do you wish to create? Where will it be shared?

Once you’ve established your customers’ habits and your brand’s characteristics, you should already have a basic idea of the kind of content you should create to reach your audience.

The platforms you may want to use to share your content will also often act as an indicator of the type of content to create. On Instagram, for example, you will tend to focus on the graphic aspect of your brand with only a short description, whereas keeping a blog will give you the option to write more text and conduct a deeper dive into your brand values and personality.

Most importantly, the type of content and the tone, will depend on the type of media you are aiming for. For example, social media will often require short and snappy captions, whereas a press release will need to include more detail, and likely elements written using a more informative tone.

Imagine, for example, that you were trying to market a brand of luxurious spirit. On a platform like Instagram, you would tend to use a more light-hearted and playful tone, which could result in a caption such as: “We’ve just launched this brand spanking new spirit to liven up your Saturday nights!

However, if you were trying to market the same product for an advertisement in a luxurious glossy magazine, you would use a more serious tone, and list the qualities of your product more extensively. In this case, your content would probably look more like this: “It is with great pleasure that we can extend an invitation to tantalise your taste buds with a completely new exclusive release from [brand].”

Reflect on the type of content you would feel most comfortable creating, and research the platforms with which it would fit best. Remember to keep your customers and their social media preferences in mind, like you have established during Part 1.

While your tone should remain as coherent as possible throughout the platforms you use, remember that the goal of your communications is to reach your target audience, and that this target audience may vary depending on the media you use. Therefore, it is important to also adapt your tone accordingly, keeping your target audience and target media in mind.

We hope you found this series on tone helpful, and we can’t wait to read your content!

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Take A Close Look At Your Brand.

Please make sure you have read Part 1 on Finding the Right Tone before reading this post

Once you have considered your customers and the way they communicate, it is time to take a closer look at your brand – and Part 2 is here to help you with it!

Part 2: What is your brand about? What are your brand values? What emotions would you like your brand to instill in customers?

Studying your customers’ habits and attitudes will allow you to identify the kind of tone that resonates with them, forming a solid base to build your own tone on. To make your tone really your own, however, you must reflect on your brand next: what is it about?

Think about what differentiates you from your competitors, and consider your brand values: is your brand about the fun it brings customers, or maybe about exceptional quality? Is it about family values, or maybe prestige?

Consider what sets you apart and what you are most proud of, then make sure your tone reflects it. It’s simply a case of putting your best assets forward by being clear and confident about them.

Based on those values and assets, define the emotions you would like your brand to instill in your customers. For example, a prestigious spirit brand will inspire different emotions in a shopper than a family-owned homemade jam brand: that is not only totally fine, but absolutely essential!

A clear knowledge of your values, assets and the emotions you’d like your brand to evoke will ensure your communications are coherent, and will maximize their impact. To complete the series on tone, we will focus on the type of content to be created, as well as on where it will be published next week. See you soon!

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Finding The Right Tone.

When you wish to start writing your own content, whether it be for your brand’s blog, social media or even press releases, it is important to first establish the tone you will be using. Failing to find the right tone for your brand might make your communications inconsistent across platforms, or worse – not representative or unique to your brand.

To make the most of your communications, there are three elements to consider: the brand, its customers, and the kind of content to be created.

This week, we embark on a new, three-part series in which we will offer a few questions to reflect on when you set out to find the right tone. So grab some sticky notes, and let’s get brainstorming!

Part 1: Who are your customers? How do they communicate? What do they read?

  • First, reflect on your customers: who are they? Think about the age groups they belong to, about their likely occupations and interests, and about the things that matter to them most.

  • Once you have defined your consumers’ profiles, consider the way your customers communicate. This will give you an idea of how best to reach them: if you find that they are frequent Instagram users, it might be worth investing into good quality brand images or photos to catch their eye; if, on the other hand, you notice they listen to the radio on their commute home, you could invest in a radio spot.

  • Last but not least, try and identify the kind of content, or even publications, your audience reads. This will help you establish the kind of tone your customers are already used to, and tailor your own tone to fit them best.

We hope you found the first part of this series helpful! Now that we have an idea of the customers and their habits, next week we will focus on understanding the brand behind the content to be published.

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Our top 5 tips for Writing a Newsletter.

Our Top Five Tips for Writing a Newsletter.

You sit down to write a newsletter to send out to your customers, but where do you start?

It’s important to have a think about how long it has been since you last wrote to them.

What has been happening in your business that is noteworthy and relevant to them?

Here are our Top Tips to help you to put together a newsletter that will grab onto and hold your customer’s attention and also encourage them to continue supporting your business.

1-The Title

If the title of the newsletter doesn’t immediately grab your reader’s attention, then the chances are, they won’t read the main body of the newsletter. Make it sharp, punchy, relevant and to the point. i.e. Brand New Product Launching Soon.

This is the initial point of contact between you and your readers, the first time that they may have heard from you in a while, it’s your chance to capture their attention in a split second. Put some real thought into it. It might be that the title of the newsletter doesn’t come to you until after you’ve written it.

Think about your own inbox, I’m sure there are many emails that you’ve deleted because the message title hasn’t caught your attention!

2- Stories from inside your business

Consumers and clients love to hear what you’ve been up to behind the scenes, especially at the moment. Have you redecorated during lockdown, refined your skills or brushed up on some training which will elevate your offerings in some way once the business is ready to function at 100% again? Tell them what you’ve been spending time doing and encourage them to visit when they are able. Even if you don’t think you have much to tell them, your customers would enjoy hearing that although you may be closed to the public, you’re still working hard behind the scenes. Perhaps you could share that your staff are safe, orders are being received and processed, albeit slightly slower, and that you are grateful for the support.

3-Any new products or incentives

Are you developing a new product? You could put up a notice here asking for volunteers to try out new products and give you feedback.

Have you launched a new product or service? This is a great way of enticing visitors to your business and exciting them about what they are missing. Try not to give everything away, leave them wanting to know more and that way they’ll look for more ways to interact with you.

4-Special offers

Tell your customers or visitors about any special offers, deals or online voucher codes that you have running. Make sure you include the discount code, a link to the website and the expiry date. Could you launch a code that is exclusive to your newsletter readers? Make them feel special.

5- Colour

Make your newsletter eye catching and try to keep it on brand. Use the same font and text size for every edition. Keep the layout similar by adding in text blocks and use imagery that is relevant to the content. Also ensure that your social media icons are added into the layout and that when clicked on, they work correctly and take the reader straight to the correct page.

Ensure that the newsletter has a personal feel. Make the customer feel like you really care what they think and that you’re enjoying spending time writing to them, don’t let it feel rushed

Now you’re equipped with the basics, go forth and write to your followers.

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A Father’s Day To Remember For All The Right Reasons!

Help your customers to make it a Father’s Day to remember for all the right reasons.

With Father’s Day just around the corner and online shopping being the norm right now, why not grab your smartphone and check if your website is reactive (which means that it adapts to whatever size screen it is displayed on). This will ensure that you provide your customers with an extremely easy shopping experience which they can do from anywhere (without the need for getting out the laptop)!

If you had your website built for you, then chances are, it will already be responsive. The best thing to do, is open your site up on your phone, tablet and laptop and see if it adapts to each screen size automatically.

If your website isn’t reactive, don’t worry, simply spend some time making sure that there are no bugs on your website and nothing is going to interfere with your customer’s online transactions. Customers are known to leave a website if they encounter too many issues when trying to place an order.

So, your website has had the once over? Now to make sure your business is set to give your customers what they need and what they don’t even know they need! There is still time to put new business initiatives into place if you haven’t done so already. Here are some interesting ideas from around the county that could inspire you.

  1. Online order service like Macknade. This forward thinking company has launched an online order service so that their regular and new customers can get hold of their father’s favourites. They have added an order form to their website and are taking orders over the phone. By offering local delivery and a collection service, this helps all their customers whether they are in isolation or not. Have a look at their order system here https://macknade.com/delivery-service/ Is this something that you could do?
  2. Home delivery service like The Heritage Chef Company. If you run a hotel or restaurant and you’re unsure when you’ll be opening again, why not think about implementing a home delivery system with a set or limited menu. Chef Daniel Mcgarey of The Heritage Chef company has set up a no contact delivery service of 3 course menus. Daniel pulls out all the stops to deliver a fine dining experience in the comfort of his customer’s own home. Is your restaurant known for its brunch menu? could you deliver “Breakfast in Bed(room)” or a luxury “afternoon(nap)tea”? Make sure it is all paid for over the phone or website and delivered to the doorstep to minimise contact and stick to the social distancing regulations.
  3. Buy Now Spend Later scheme. Is your business operating a “buy now spend later” scheme whereby you can issue gift vouchers by email or post that customers can spend on site once this is all over? Why not take a leaf out of Anno Distillers book. They have very cleverly launched experience vouchers for their “Buy now, tour later” distillery tours. Give your customer’s the option to buy their fathers something to look forward to when lockdown is over.

Let us know what works for you, we would love to hear about it.

Help make your customer’s lives easier and they’ll come back, time and time again.

PR Toolkit team. x

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How to make the most of your product shots.

Making the most of your product shots.

Whether it’s baking a cake, sourdough starters, making jam or trying to recreate a favourite take away at home (#fakeaway), our focus is on food right now. The world seems to have gone crazy in the kitchen.

So, what can you do to join the trend of home cooking and baking?

Start sharing your products!

Make sure you’re using the appropriate #’s on your social media posts. Have a browse around Instagram and Twitter and see what is trending that relates to your products or services. Ensure you post regularly and use hashtags in the right places. There is very little point using hashtags on Facebook as they don’t really do anything for you. Make sure you use at least 9 on Instagram and at least 3 on Twitter.

Are your products gluten free, allergen free or suitable for Kosher or vegan customers? Then make sure your hashtags reflect these important points. Maximise your reach with beautiful product photos too.

Here are our top tips for getting the best out of your product shots.

1-Check the lighting

Don’t use the flash on your camera unless you absolutely have to. Use natural day light wherever possible. Take your products outside if you can and make sure you stand so that your shadow doesn’t cast itself over your products.

2-Set the stage

Shooting a slice of cake? Pop it onto a pretty little plate, grab a cake fork and maybe a fresh flower lying next to the plate. Don’t forget the tablecloth, the background of the shot needs to be interesting too.

Taking a picture of a drink? What glass would it look best in? Does it need ice? Can you see the steam if it is a hot drink? Wipe the glass down if it condenses. Check for fingerprints. Again, think about the background. Does a brick wall give your drink an urban feel or would a clean tiled background work for your product?

3- Check your angle

Once you’ve set the scene, get snapping. Take some overhead shots, take some at an angle. Take some front on. Then check your images. Make sure you don’t have anything covering the lens. Don’t chop off any of the product unless you’re taking a close up and it is intentional. Check the shadows and most importantly, check that the picture is in focus and any writing on the product can be easily read.

4-Get sharing

When you post your images, make sure that they are cropped to the right size for each social media platform. Instagram and Twitter are the same square size. Facebook can use a wider shot. There is a resize option on Instagram which lets you zoom out to get the full picture in. Think about this when you take your photos and always shoot them in a landscape direction. This makes it easier to resize.

Looking forward to seeing what you all come up with to capture the eyes of your audiences.

Till next month.

PR Toolkit team x

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A Food and Drinks PR Guide to Surviving Covid-19

There’s no doubt that these are extremely challenging times but what can you do to help maintain sales for your food or drinks business?

The team here is talking to publishers and working with marketing specialists all day, every day and these are our top tips for keeping your company sales as healthy (as possible) in such challenging times:

Keep providing comments – Nearly all news-based media outlets want content related to the virus. They want to know how it will affect your business or your customers. They want to hear about the challenges as well as the good news stories. Do share stories about how you or your teams are helping people during this this time.

Push your online offering – The food and drink media is continuing to generate content as normal, although we have seen a shift in demand for products which can be bought online or for home-delivery.

Home-delivery – A number of shops and restaurants have already started a home delivery service for people in self-isolation, is this something you could offer?

Products – We have received a lot of content themes related to immunity boosting properties, high nutrition or long shelf life. Is this relevant to any of your products or dishes?

Recipes – These are still requested as frequently as ever. The consensus is that people want to create dishes that use fewer ingredients, can be frozen or suited to batch cooking.

Online Media – The shift from print media to online media is already well documented but we expect to see this process accelerating over the next few months. We think it’s possible some print publications may not survive this period, instead devoting all future resources to their online counterparts.

Think about where your customers will be – At the moment, most people in low-risk categories are still going about life fairly normally. But the expectation is that self-isolating is going to increase, a lot, and potential customers are going to be at home. We think they will have more time to read (especially online), so keep generating online content and write your newsletters too.

Up your social media – Keep this content going. Keep it light, aspirational and positive about the future, if you can. Share your good news stories. Share the help and support you’ve given or received.

Keep pushing out content – The good news is that requests for stories, new products and content continues to flow into us here, so we can carry on as usual generating coverage for our clients. So, you can too. Get on to twitter and search for #journorequest and see what the media is talking about with respect to your particular area of expertise.

Keep shopping locally – And shout about it. It has never been so important to shop locally and buy local produce, than right now. Shout about it on social media, not once, repeatedly. We need to help keep each other in business during this time.

Keep reaching out to your customers, your suppliers and your communities, if you can. Ask for help when you need it.  Don’t forget the Produced in Kent Members Group or The Food Hub Group on Facebook is a great place to reach out.  Look after each other.

Remember, “this too shall pass.”

E-Hugs from the team at PR Toolkit x

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