Posts Tagged ‘PR’

Where do SEO and PR meet?

Friday, November 4th, 2011 by Jon Clements

SEO, according to marketers questioned for the above research, has the biggest impact on lead generation. But what does that SEO actually constitute and is it made up, either partly or mostly, of PR activity?

It’s not a question that’s ever answered in Webmarketing123’s State of Digital Marketing Report. More of that later. In the meantime, what else does the research tell us?

Clearly, the metrics of success are firmly focused on tangible returns: for marketers across B2B and B2C, it’s far more about generating leads and making sales than anything else. Taking the B2B marketer in particular, the lesser objectives include building brand awareness (15%), generating site traffic (11%) or building online communities (5%). Curiously, the latter is even less important for the B2C community (2.8%). What was once considered a desirable digital outcome, certainly of social media, seems to be have been relegated to an uncommercial own goal.

But when identifying what these marketers consider the most important measure for digital marketing – i.e. sales – our B2B and B2C cousins are surprisingly close (62% and 68% respectively). Bearing in mind the comparatively more protracted and complex journey for B2B buyers, it’s a revelation that those selling B2B are looking for such high sales conversions via digital alone.  While I can see it as a vital part of building reputation, understanding and consideration along the B2B procurement pathway, I’m sceptical about its ability to close the deal.

Which brings me back to SEO and impact.

Achieving a high, organic search engine ranking takes more than one technique – some delivered better by SEO specialists, others by professional generators of compelling and insightful textual content. Yes, I’m talking about PR people. But PR doesn’t get a mention in the report. Does that mean PR has become a subset of SEO and, if so, are SEO specialists qualified to advise clients about and generate material hitherto done by PR people?

The lines are blurred and, what seems increasingly apparent, is the need that SEO and PR people have to collaborate; after all, if gaining a high search engine ranking has the biggest impact on a client’s lead generation, the tools to do it are not necessarily the province of one discipline alone.

Update: since posting the above, I found this excellent post by Lance Concannon on the SEO/PR dilemma and how it needs to be worked out for everyone’s benefit.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

Osborne’s GQ appearance is PR disaster

Friday, September 9th, 2011 by Mark Perry

Should politicians be allowed to tell jokes? The answer  judging by George Osborne’s ill-advised attempt at this week’s GQ awards is no.

Mr Osborne was picking up his award for being “Politician of the Year” when during his acceptance speech in which – it has to be presumed – he was trying to be funny he made a lewd comment about the readers of the magazine.

Modesty prevents me from repeating the joke which can be seen here . As can be heard in the clip it went down badly with the star-studded audience who jeered as he exited the stage.

If in accepting the award he was trying to gain some positive personal PR you do have to ask what his advisers were thinking allowing him to appear at a red carpet star-studded event, particularly as he calls for  us all to adopt austerity measures.

He also seems, in the clip, to be reading his acceptance speech from the teleprompters. This probably means that one of his advisers wrote the lines for him which turned out to be so blatantly wrong coming from the Chancellor of the Exchequer.  If they had come from the likes of Jonathan Ross no-one would even have noticed.

Perhaps it was an bungled attempt to show him to be an ordinary ‘bloke’? After all, his age places him in the target readership. I am afraid, Mr Osborne, that this is a PR fail.

About Mark Perry

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in PR and corporate communications. He is a founding director of B2B consultancy Melville PR.

Exclusives, Embargoes…forget it

Friday, July 8th, 2011 by Jo Rosenberg

It’s about time that us PR people faced up to the fact that exclusives are long gone.

Along with the Twitter revolution came a complete shift in communication dynamics. In just 140 characters, a piece of sensitive or ill-timed information can be spilt to the world and there is absolutely no way of it being controlled.

The BBC may well have “clear guidelines” in place for both the personal and professional use of social media by its staff, writers and talent but they can never put a ban on it. And because it’s an incredibly effective communication tool (when they want it to be) they would be fools to themselves should they even attempt to enforce any such ban.

But even “clear guidelines” are somewhat naïve. With so many freelancers working in the media industry, stories, or just little nuggets of PR gold, will always be leaked.

And, in the world of entertainment, if the “talent” (with hoards of followers) sends the tweet – bingo! Multiple media outlets are reached.

Take the recent Sophie Ellis-Bextor debacle; this week she tweeted to her 43,230 followers that she and Sting were to appear in a new Ricky Gervais series, Life’s Too Short. Apart from it irritating the BBC’s PR department, what harm has this allegedly innocent tweet actually caused? Ok, its timing might not have fit with the BBC’s publicity schedule and it may well have put paid to a promised exclusive or timed interview. However, in the fragmented media world we are now living in, it’s time we accepted that this is just the ways it’s going to be.

So how about embracing this shift in communication and see it as a seeding process? Assume that all orchestrated announcements will begin their journey on Twitter or some other social media channel. It’s then the job of the PR person to be clever in how they demonstrate its value.


Did Kubrick miss a PR trick with the media?

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 by Jon Clements


Is it ever a good idea to avoid talking to the media?

Naturally, it depends on the circumstances; though sound PR advice would be normally to engage – as unpalatable as it may seem when under the intense glare of the media spotlight.

But the world of entertainment is not necessarily normal.

Forty years ago, Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange was released on an unsuspecting public. The film – set in a dystopian, near-future of violent street gangs – was certainly shocking for early 1970s audiences, but was made – according to its star, Malcolm McDowell, as a “comedy, albeit a very black one”.

Very soon, the film was “under siege” from the self-appointed protectors of public morals, including Mary Whitehouse, then-Home Secretary, Reginald Maudling, and Christian groups. Under pressure, Kubrick withdrew his film from circulation, not to see the dimmed light of a cinema auditorium in the UK again until 1999.

What is interesting is the view from the film’s producer, Jan Harlan – quoted in the Guardian’s recent 40-year retrospective article – who says about Kubrick: “His big mistake is that he never talked back to the press. Nonsense was written, but his attitude was, ‘Don’t talk to them or you’ll never get rid of them.’ He could have avoided all that by being a bit more accessible, but he just hated it.”

Now, we’ll never know whether talking to the media would have made a difference for Kubrick and his film at the time, but Harlan certainly has a point.

By not talking to the media, a hopelessly one-side view of a situation can evolve, which may well include a fair sprinkling of conjecture, exaggeration and other unhelpful elements for your product or brand. By participating in the media process, there is a chance to, at least, influence the story and create a balanced view.

After all, what had Kubrick actually done? He’d made a film that was passed by the censor, though it offended some people, and was linked to so-called “copycat crimes”. Facing the music and seeking to explain his work could have at least opened up the debate and encouraged more supportive voices to pierce the moral frenzy. Instead, by withdrawing the film and remaining silent, Kubrick – it could be argued – simply fed the mystique around A Clockwork Orange as something “too hot to handle” and tacitly endorsed his detractors’ claims that it was unfit for public consumption.

As an artist, Kubrick – for better or worse – had the freedom to choose the route of non-engagement with the media; ultimately, nobody was being forced to watch his film. Business leaders with a company, products or brand to protect don’t share the same freedom.


About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

Ken Clarke – in need of a new PR team?

Friday, May 20th, 2011 by Claire Beesley

An apple’s an apple. A spade’s a spade. And let’s agree that rape is rape shall we? No? It’s not? Well then, Justice Minister, Kenneth Clarke, you have confused me indeed; but not due to your statement, but why you would make it to begin with.

Whatever your stance on the comments Clarke recently made regarding rape sentences, which have seen the media up in arms and anti-rape campaigners demanding a meeting with the Prime Minister, I am sure we can all agree that Justice Minister Clarke should never have said what he did.

Playing devil’s advocate, one can understand the point Clarke was trying to make – and which he has since clarified to the media – that the circumstances of each case are different and so the lengths of sentences then depend on the individual case and the judge hearing it. However, misunderstanding or not, the fact remains that Clarke is a seasoned politician and should know better than to make a statement that was always going to create widespread controversy.

Having been in Parliament for over 40-years, Clarke would have given hundreds, if not thousands, of interviews, probably been media trained and been the recipient of constant PR counsel for over four decades. Why then did this undoubtedly adept politico make such a rookie mistake?

No doubt Clarke would be armed with a string of prepared and PR approved answers for tough questions on the most controversial topics, so did he just forget his composure and set answers? Or is Clarke getting complacent in his long-held role as one of the country’s best known politicians? Just like celebrities and footballers who admit infidelity and expect the public and their wives to still love them, do politicians suffer complacency after long holding office? If so perhaps Ed Miliband and the others calling for Clarke’s resignation are right.

However, if it was a genuine misunderstanding, should the public accept Clarke’s subsequent apology and give him another chance – after all, we all say dumb things but it wouldn’t necessarily cost Joe Blogs his job.

Or, perhaps Clarke just needs a new PR team or refresher course in how not to cause a media and public furore.

Whatever the reason for his comment, the media frenzy continues and it will be interesting to see if Clarke will be the latest in a long line to fall from a few small words.

Does your PR make business sense?

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 by Jon Clements

It’s the blood curdling moment that awaits – I would contest – every person who has ever worked in PR: having no results to share with the client.

What is, however, much worse is not knowing what results the client actually wants.

Sometimes it’s the agency’s fault for not asking and rolling out what it considers to be a bright and shiny campaign with a vague notion of “getting media coverage”; otherwise, it’s the client’s fault for not being specific enough about campaign objectives or what post-campaign success looks like. Sadly, for the agency, the client is always right – and you can bet it’s not the client getting their coat!

The marketing communications process needs to be a collaborative one – between client and agency – if it is going to succeed. And that includes making a clear and unambiguous agreement on what the campaign needs to achieve; in other words, what OUTCOME is required.

A fabulous discussion of this took place in the #measurepr Twitter chat yesterday, (transcript here) headed up by Seth Duncan, Research and Development Director at Beyond Analytics.

Duncan divides outcomes into two: business and PR. The former, he says, must be “recognisable and make sense across an organisation” while the latter can constitute any part of the PR lifecycle or “funnel”, which includes awareness, knowledge, interest, preference and action. Business outcomes should connect most directly with the final PR outcome – action. This concept is illustrated simply and effectively in the work of the post-Barcelona Principles taskforce.

But that doesn’t mean the outcome needs to be measured in pounds and pence. Duncan cites non-pecuniary outcomes such as lowering employee turnover or achieving changes in legislation. If that’s what success looks like for the company, then both the organisation and the agency needs to be clear about it from the start.

Then, there’s that acronym – KPIs. I’ve never liked the phrase “Key Performance Indicators” as – from the perspective of PR delivery – performance could be understood as output (what material was generated by a campaign) rather than actual results (outcome). And I’ve sometimes wondered whether clients, when asking for KPIs, have a clear picture of what KPIs they need. Again, it’s a collaborative process.

Alternative phrases for KPIs put forward during #measurepr were “validated metric” and – c/o my ever-helpful Twitter friend and PR specialist, Judy Gombita – “Key Success Indicators”, which seems to make the most sense as a measurement criteria.

As Duncan emphasised: “For a KPI to be worth collecting, it has to be correlated with some goal/behaviour.”

If outcomes are the Holy Grail of PR campaigns, then they’re too important not to be specified, agreed and have their own measurement budget allocated up front by agency and client.

How else will PR make business sense?

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

Radio Ga-Ga? Not so for PR and marketing.

Thursday, August 5th, 2010 by Jon Clements

There’s no doubt that social media has become the favoured flavour of the PR and marketing community’s month.

As mentioned in a recent post the demand for social media consultancy is on the rise as well as the search for people with the right skills in the field.

And brands are getting their fair share of flack when retro-fitting traditional marketing methods for the social media domain.

So is there anything left for PR and marketing in the channels looking comparatively long-in-the-tooth? Take radio: is it merely what writer and broadcaster, Garrison Keillor describes as (and I paraphrase) “the thing that sits in the corner giving you a warm feeling and makes you think of your Mum”.

Well, not so fast it seems.

The latest RAJAR figures for UK radio (covering changes in radio station audiences) show that commercial radio – said to be in terminal decline only a few months ago – suggest it’s gaining more listeners from the BBC and achieving its highest ever levels of reach (ie, the number of people tuning in for longer). Unsurprisingly, the figures are welcomed by the media buying community.

So, what does this mean for PR and marketing people?

Independent radio buyer for On Air Promotions, Shehnaz Sirkhiel, says the time has never been better to buy into commercial radio: “Stations are enticing listeners back to local radio by streamlining their programming, making it a lot more accessible and giving their output a national sound with networked shows while holding on to a local feel.”

According to Sirkhiel, this means there’s a great opportunity for brands to stand out from the on air clutter and reach enlarged audiences via sponsorships and promotions, which sit more in the editorial than advertising sections of programmes.

And if companies are looking for a good radio deal the time is now, as they will – until the new RAJAR figures are implemented on station planning systems – pay radio rates based on the previous figures, while obtaining a higher listenership.

Meanwhile digital radio, once considered the white elephant of the medium, is also gaining more “ear time”. Sirkhiel says this is another boon for businesses wanting to ride the radio wave: “Brands should be taking digital radio more seriously, especially those stations integrating their broadcasting with commercial activity online.” She cites Jazz FM  as a digital-only station whose programming “doesn’t shout, but excites” and which provides a currently cost-effective way of reaching a targeted audience.

Keillor’s book title “WLT: A Radio Romance” suggests there is still love to be had with the old “wireless telegraph”. The investor who said in the 1920s, “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular,” might just have been wrong.

About Jon Clements

Jon Clements is a Chartered PR consultant specialising in B2B PR, corporate and marketing communications and is the founder of Metamorphic PR. Connect at: JonClements ''

The power of Jezebel

Friday, October 9th, 2009 by Marita Upeniece


I recently came across Jezebel, a blog which, as the raunchy name suggests, is aimed at women and focuses on celebrity, sex and fashion, ‘without airbrushing’. 

My first thought was – hmm, another feminist website. Turns out it’s much more than that. Churned out by Gawker Media since 2007, it’s clocking up on average nearly 1 million visits per day and has an impressive following on social networking sites and other blogs. Yesterday I noticed a twitter conversation about an intern position at the site, which went something like this, “Dear Jezebel, I will sell you my soul for an internship.” 

Why all the hype? I decided to monitor the blog to find out and have to say I’ve been very impressed. Most blogs aimed specifically at women have never appealed to me as they seem to focus on recipes or similar, not particularly exciting subjects. Jezebel, on the other hand, with a fiercely direct and analytical attitude, takes on not only women’s mags, but also newspapers (Daily Fail, as they call it, being one of the most favourite whipping boys) and offers tens of witty articles every day on pretty much every subject a modern woman might be interested in. How about: Daily Mail Finds Rare Childless Woman Who Is Not Miserable

The blog positions itself as the rebel, sick of the lies perpetuated by the women’s media, from airbrushing and shallow predictable celebrity interviews, to must-have products that journalist’s themselves don’t believe in.  

For this reason, from a PR perspective, however, Jezebel is almost an impossible win – they simply won’t read PR pitches and seem to have a grudge against the PR industry as such. Having said that, if you come up with a spectacular idea, perfect for the audience, I think you can chance it. Also, their FAQ section offers a very interesting insight into how a professional blog is run. 

A more general realisation though is that in today’s world where citizen journalism is on the rise, getting your news story printed is not the end of the story. Increasingly, it is then taken apart and analysed by ever more powerful and media savvy groups and blogs all over the world.  

All in all, Jezebel is a much-needed breath of fresh air in the tired space of women’s websites and magazines, which at the moment still follow the same traditional format – Wednesday’s launch of the Stylist is a prime example.  

“Black goes with everything and you probably don’t need any more assistance going broke!” shout Jezebel’s editors in unison. And the reason Jezebel is on the rise with an army of active commentators, whilst many women’s magazines are dying out – passion and edginess!   

About Marita Upeniece

Account Manager at Staniforth

Pigeon coup gives World Cup warning

Friday, September 11th, 2009 by Mark Perry


It seems the power of the PR ‘stunt’ to gain coverage is still well and truly with us – as the story of Winston the pigeon is anything to go by.

Winston was challenged to get a  4gb data stick from the offices of Unlimited IT in the town of Howick to Durban quicker – one hour and eight minutes –  than a transfer by an internet connection from the country’s biggest ISP Telkom.

Unsurprisingly, Winston’s pigeon post won delivering the data stick whilst just 4% of the data had arrived electronically.

The object of the exercise was to demonstrate just how slow broadband connections are in South Africa and give some profile to the IT company.

However perhaps this ‘stunt’, which gained global coverage, was timely as qualification games were taking place across the world and people were thinking about South Africa.

Today’s tournaments are so heavily reliant on the internet that the’ stunt’ offers a wake up call to the authorities and tournament organisers that its communication  network needs to be able to cope with the demands of the modern World Cup.

The last thing you want is a meltdown while the world’s media is in your back yard. Now where is that crisis management plan……

About Mark Perry

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in PR and corporate communications. He is a founding director of B2B consultancy Melville PR.

Apple Conference Core Strategy

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 by Rob Brown

A famous global PR company used to give clients three pieces of advice on press conferences…”don’t do them, don’t do them and don’t do them”.  They are hard to get right, open to risk and in the digital age what is the point of a press conference? Well, it is the same as it always was – to fuel the buzz.  I don’t think anyone today does it better than Apple.In fact Apple, which has a conference scheduled for tomorrow, 9 September, has achieved what most companies can only dream of, a flood of coverage before they have announced a thing.  They can do this because they have great products and a charismatic head honcho in Steve Jobs.  They also succeed in creating drama and intrigue.  So what is the buzz about this time?  There is so much speculation that it hurts but here is a quick summary of the hum on the wires:

  • Will Steve Jobs host?  He is recovering from a liver transplant but back at work. Will tech’s greatest showman be hosting the show?
  • Is the much talked about tablet ready to roll? The keyboard free netbook, the love child of the iphone and the macbook is hotly tipped.
  • The Beatles are going on iTunes.  Spotify has seized all the headlines lately and Apple must be keen to get its download service back in the spotlight.
  • Time for a new Touch?  The iPod touch is set for a facelift but it has the capacity to be big news.  If as is rumored there is a microphone on board plus an app for VOIP phone calls the big phone operators might finally start to flinch in the face of web based calls.

Whatever is waiting in the wings one thing is certain; the press conference is a core part of the Apple PR strategy and it will be rewarded with a media deluge.

About Rob Brown

Rob Brown has worked in PR for over 20 years and for over fifteen years held senior PR positions within three major global advertising networks; Euro RSCG, McCann and TBWA. He launched his own business ‘Rule 5’ in MediaCityUK, Manchester in November 2012. Rob is the author of ‘Public Relations and the Social Web’ (2009), blogs for The Huffington Post and is joint editor of 'Share This Too' (2013).