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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Should My Business Be On Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social media network that allows users to share, discover and browse images that others have posted. Pinterest is often described as a virtual pinboard, inspirational moodboard or bookmarking tool. Users typically save “pins”/images (with links to the original weblink) to named “boards” to keep their collections organised.

With brands such as John Lewis, Hunter, White Stuff and Toyota valuing the site for its conversion rates, should you join these respected brands by adding your business to the site?

Here’s why we think you should consider using Pinterest for your business:

  1. The large number of users – there are over 150 million pinners and depending on your target audience this could be where your potential purchasers are looking for inspiration before shopping or working with you. 54% of women aged 34-55 are on Pinterest and over 35% of them have a household income of over £75,000 pa.
  2. Pinners are looking to spend – unlike other social media platforms, those visiting Pinterest are there to be sold to. 93% of Pinterest users have planned a future purchase using their pins and 87% have bought something as a direct result. Their baskets are also larger than visitors from other sites, usually spending over £45 per visit and typically they earn nearly 10% more than non-users. The majority of Pinterest users also prefer to follow brands over people and as a result for every 3 pins created, 2 are from businesses.
  3. Referral traffic rates are high – it has been found that over 5% of all referral traffic to websites come from Pinterest, this is second only to Facebook (which staggeringly is responsible for 25% of all traffic).
  4. Pinterest can help with planning – it is easy to spot emerging trends and popular pins on the Pinterest website. Their search feature even displays popular keywords and trending products in real time, allowing you to plan products and services that meet demand.

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Preparing For Interviews With Journalists

Interviews of any kind can be daunting for most, however when you are representing your brand and trying to generate positive PR for your company, it can be even scarier!

We have put together a list below to help you prepare for your interview and maybe even enjoy it!

Preparation

  • Ask ahead of your interview if you can be sent across any planned questions, this will allow you to prepare your answers beforehand. Avoid however rehearsing your responses and reading it back as a script. See your planning session as an opportunity to think about what you would like to cover during your interview and check that everything you wish to promote is included. It may help if you make a list of the most important points you need to make during the interview, just to keep you on track.
  • If you are interviewing online or over the phone, make sure your equipment is all in working order beforehand.

During The Interview

  • Have your list of important topics with you, this will save you losing your flow and ensure you don’t miss anything to get the most from this PR opportunity.
  • Be aware of the speed you are talking, it is very common when we are nervous to talk very fast and important parts of your interview may be missed if you do.

Post-Interview

  • Be sure to send a follow-up note thanking the journalist for their time and enquiring about the publishing date.
  • After all your hard work, make sure you make the most of your interview. Share the content across your social media, mention it on your website and add a link your email newsletter.

 

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How to Work With Influencers

Huge brands such as Adidas have embraced influencer marketing but the great thing about such PR is it can suit a company with any budget. Whatever your budget, it is important not to just offer free products or services to any blogger you come across. It is vital that you target the best influencers for your company and you do so in the right way.

Choosing Your Influencers.

When approaching influencers, it is important that you filter through the millions of accounts out there offering what may seem like a similar PR opportunity. Firstly you need to decide what the aim of the collaboration would be and who you hope to attract to your brand. This will help you work out which influencers could be best for you and your company. If you own a hotel for example check if there are existing hotel reviews on the influencer’s website or social media, does it match the type of PR you would like to receive for your business, are the reviewed brands similar to yours and are their followers close to your ideal client?

How to Approach & What to Expect.

Some influencers will approach you, others you will need to seek out yourself. This does not need to be a daunting prospect however, it can be as easy as direct messaging a influencer on their social media channel, others prefer email and some you will need to go through an agent or PR company first. It will usually be listed on their website which is their preferred method of contact under a tab named “work with me” or “contact”.

We would suggest that in any correspondence with influencers you state very clearly what you propose to offer and what you expect in return. In all aspects of business, miscommunication or misunderstanding can lead to disappointment therefore be clear in your expectations. An example may be “we would love to invite you to our restaurant for a free two-course lunch for two, in return for a review on your website which is to be shared across all of your social media channels. Please note two drinks per person will also be included”. Such a statement details what is expected by each party, there may be some further negotiation needed but it is a good starting point. Remember the larger the influencer’s following, the higher the ‘cost’ will be to you. It used to be said that payment or gifts should be equal to £10 per 1,000 followers, however it really is down to the individual influencer what they charge or expect.

 

 

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Developing a PR Strategy

It may seem that working on your company’s PR can be a time-consuming activity, however establishing a PR strategy from the outset could help you to reduce the associated workload to a mere 30 minutes a week. We do suggest however that your PR strategy is reviewed quarterly, which will take a little longer than 30 minutes, to ensure that it remains relevant and effective.

Your strategy will need to cover the following:

Firstly you need to focus on your plan, think about what calendar events, product launches or planned advertising should be taking place in your business over the next three months. Also if there are certain relevant publications for your business (perhaps local or industry related) check their website for a media pack or content plan; it may help you understand the topics they have planned for the following quarter and it usually includes their deadlines, which will also help with the planning of your PR strategy.

You then need to consider your associated responses to the events that appear on your plan, this will of course include your well thought out press releases. Remember however that journalists are wary of any businesses that supply press releases too often, thinking it will generate free advertising for their company. It is recommended that most businesses should plan a press release at least every three months but it is extremely important that your press release is deemed as ‘newsworthy’ by any publications that you approach. Planning your responses weeks, or months, ahead means that the time you then spend contacting journalists can be completed in a few quick clicks. Once a press release is distributed, it is important to also follow-up with social media posts and blogs on your website covering your story. You can add this to your plan or use a scheduling tool to complete them in advance.

Even though there are some PR events that cannot be planned for, for example releasing comments or press releases that relate to trending news, it should still be an area of PR that appears in your strategy. It is understandable that you do not want to spend your precious time constantly watching the news to keep up-to-date but there are certain industry tools that can be used free of charge to make sure you do not miss anything relevant. As part of your strategy, ensure you have activated these tools and briefly check them often. Firstly, ensure you have Google Alerts in place for key words that relate to your sector, product or business. It is also important to follow relevant journalists on social media, particularly Twitter, where you can quickly respond to events and make comments on behalf of your company. The objective would be to catch the journalist’s attention and get your business name into print.

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Maximise Your PR This Festive Season

In the world of PR festive discussions started way back in July, however we know outside of our media bubble that Christmas is just beginning to appear in most people’s lives. Although we are coming to the end of long and mid-lead requests for Christmas PR, there are certain activities that you can complete for your business much closer to the big day.

Below we have included some recommendations for making the most of the season when it comes to generating your own PR.

 

1. Create Festive Content For Your Business.
Whether you produce images, articles or blog posts, it is vital that your content remains topical. In the lead up to Christmas this is especially important, as festivities are likely to be in the forefront of most consumers’ minds. Try to include festive phrases in your social media posts and produce seasonal images for your website and newsletter. It is also a good idea to create holiday hashtags for your twitter and instagram or you could simply use existing and popular ones that are trending to strike up a conversation with potential customers (#stockingfiller #12daysofchristmas and #lastminutegifts are always popular). Wishing your followers a Merry Christmas with an e-voucher is a nice touch or creating a video showing how to easily gift-wrap your product is helpful and shareable. Finally, remember asking questions is a great way to engage your followers on social media, a seasonal example could be ‘what’s top of your Christmas list this year?’.

 

2. Decorate Digitally.
When you put up your tree at home and hang your tinsel at the office, don’t forget to also decorate your website and social media. There are many simple ways to add a seasonal twist, where possible and appropriate, using phrases, images and video. Try to avoid anything that doesn’t fit in naturally with your business persona; you want to ensure that your seasonal-themed touches are relevant and make sense for your brand.

 

3. Keep Going! 
Don’t stop producing content over the Christmas break, it is a time when social networking sites see a surge in user activity as most people enjoy a break from work. This doesnt mean you need to be tweeting and “on the gram” on Christmas Day, remember there are lots of free scheduling apps and websites out there that allow you to plan your social media and email newsletters ahead of time.

 

4. Internal PR at Christmas
We discussed internal PR in another recent blog post where we essentially concluded that keeping your staff happy and loyal is the best way to improve your employee relations. Consider what you could do for your staff this year as a Christmas gift or celebration; presents, parties, bonuses and time-off are all gratefully received.

 

5. Community PR at Christmas.
We also recently wrote a post about how to work on your PR locally and Christmas is a great time of year to increase your visibility and improve your reputation within your local area. There are usually lots of fund-raising events, charity raffles and community fairs at this time of year, if you can sponsor, donate or assist with these activities it can be a great way to become part of your local community and gain coverage for your business at the same time.

 

6. When To Wait For the New Year
If you have a major announcement to make within your business that isn’t seasonally focused, it is probably a good idea to leave the sharing until the busiest weeks of the year are over. We suggest that the distribution of business news should be completed either at the beginning of December or in the New Year, otherwise you may get lost in the noise of the festivities. Don’t forget, journalists also wind down for the holidays!

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How To Gain Local Coverage

If your customers are based locally, then it makes sense to ensure your business is being promoted in the local area. You could of course pay for a local radio or newspaper advertisement but as we all know, unpaid content has a far greater impact, so here are our top tips on how to gain PR in your local area.

  1. Involve yourself in your local community – we mentioned community engagement in our previous post about the different types of PR and it really is an important and easy way to promote your business in your local area. Sponsoring local sports teams, donating to school raffles or booking a stall at your village fete are all ways to present yourself (and your business) to local residents. Be sure to inform local press of your actions, they may even send a reporter out if the story is newsworthy!
  2. Network – attending local networking events such as business breakfasts, topical conferences and masterminds are a great way to grow your business locally. Not only could you gain local customers and PR from the events, you could also meet beneficial business contacts, gain inspiration from other business owners and increase your confidence. There are many networking opportunities available, both free and paid, we suggest checking social media for dates, particularly linkedin and business groups on facebook.
  3. Research your local media – it is a good idea to know the names of any local newspapers, magazines and radio stations that you think would be interested in publishing your press releases. It would also be beneficial to learn who their readers/listeners are and what their content looks/sounds like; to be sure that your business would fit in with their publication. Introduce yourself and your business to the appropriate media, you could even offer a local expert opinion on topical issues! Once you have a list of suitable local media, your press releases can be sent out to your list without delay.
  4. Team up locally – finding another successful business to join forces with can be a huge boost to your business, especially if you are able to work with a company that is already established in your local area. You could run a joint competition, host an event together or simply contribute to their latest customer newsletter. It would be best if you could find a complimentary business to work with, for instance if you are a coffee roaster you may wish to work with a nearby tea blender or local dairy. Teaming up locally will enable you to promote your business to their existing customers and supporters, who are already spending locally in your industry.

 

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Different Types of PR

It is a common misconception that public relations (PR) purely relates to working with the media and sending out press releases, however there are many other different types of PR that you should also be working on within your business. We have described a few of the other types of PR below.

 

Social Media

It is very likely that you already use social media as a form of marketing for your business but social media also has huge PR potential. Social media has been home to some of the best PR successes over recent years. Social media creates a unique place for PR, where your customer communications can be viewed by the rest of the world. The most successful brand accounts show their human side via their social media channels and they usually do so with a great sense of humour.

 

Internal Communications

Internal PR, also known as employee relations, is the task of ensuring your staff have a positive view of your business and remain loyal. This can be achieved in numerous ways including; creating internal communications such as newsletters, organising employee events and resolving issues quickly. Keep your staff feeling happy, valued and informed and they should reward you with loyalty and productivity.

 

Community Engagement

The aim of community relations is to gain support and loyalty within your local area. This is usually gained by developing a mutually beneficial relationship with your local community. 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.

Good community relations could help generate new business through the contacts you make. It could also increase employee pride (mentioned above) and make your business more attractive to new employees.

 

 

 

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

 

 

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