Achieving top-tier media coverage is a key goal for B2B tech brands aiming to elevate their market presence and assert differentiation. Whether it’s an op-ed piece in a national title, or an in-depth thought-leadership article in industry  media, featuring regularly in publications that your target audience reads is important to build your brand’s reputation, foster trust with stakeholders, and drive business growth and success.

However, the landscape of media outreach is complex and time-consuming. Journalists are up against tight deadlines, filtering through hundreds of emails a day to find the perfect story. Securing media opportunities in a competitive industry can be difficult, even if you’ve done thorough research on pieces a journalist you’re trying to reach has covered in the past. Even if your content offers a unique viewpoint on a trending topic. And despite your pitch having an eye-catching headline. So, what is the best way to ensure successful media outreach?

The right tools and strong relationships – the winning duo

While media intelligence platforms like Gorkana and Roxhill have long been the secret weapons of PR professionals, the absence of such resources can create a significant barrier to achieving media milestones. Without access to comprehensive databases, real-time insights, and journalist contact information, even the most compelling pitches can fall on deaf ears.

Most importantly, however, to ensure a steady stream of impactful media opportunities, you need deep-rooted relationships with journalists, analysts, and influencers. Although they are inundated with pitches and press releases on a daily basis, having a pre-existing relationship can significantly increase the likelihood of your content being noticed and considered for use. Having a rapport with journalists helps you to gain valuable insights into what topics resonate with them, the formats they prefer, and the types of stories they’re currently working on, ensuring successful placements.

These relationships can also open doors to collaborative opportunities beyond traditional media coverage, including co-creating content, participating in industry panels or webinars, or research projects. By working together, you can amplify each other’s reach, leverage each other’s expertise, and create mutually beneficial outcomes that extend far beyond a single media placement.

Refine your content strategy

Crafting a compelling story that resonates with both journalists and your target audience is key to capturing media interest. At the core of your content strategy lies the concept of defining a single-minded proposition (SMP) and supporting messaging. This involves honing in on the key positioning you want to convey and ensuring consistency across all communications. A clear and concise SMP serves as the foundation upon which the media outreach efforts are built, guiding the creation of narratives that are impactful and memorable.

Armed with SMP and key brand messages, it’s important you identify areas where your brand has unique insights or expertise and leveraging these to add value to the conversation through unique perspectives. By focusing on topics that align with your brand’s strengths and interests, you can position yourself as a credible voice in your industry, increasing the likelihood of media coverage.

Make an impact in the media landscape

Achieving top-tier media coverage requires more than just luck – it needs a strategic media and content approach, access to the right tools, and a team of seasoned experts with the right relationships dedicated to your success. By partnering with a performance PR agency that understands your industry, embraces  best practice, and prioritises results, you can fast-track your growth and position yourself as a thought leader in your field.

With over thirty years’ experience in B2B Tech PR, unrivalled relationships with journalists and analysts, and a dedicated content team, our Whiteoaks’ experts leave no stone unturned when it comes to securing impactful media placements. With a focus on measurement, we’ll provide you with valuable insights into audience engagements, campaign performance, and ROI to demonstrate clear value of coverage to stakeholders.

So why settle for mediocrity? Choose performance PR and watch your brand soar to new heights.

Across all facets of promoting your business, whether it’s sales and marketing or advertising, measuring a campaign’s success and its impact is elementary. 

Modern PR is no exception.

Just as we track sales and analyse marketing data, PR has its own set of metrics. But to effectively gauge the success of a PR campaign, it’s essential to identify which metrics to track, and set appropriate key performance indicators (KPIs). And these should always align with the goals the business is trying to achieve. 

PR Measurement 101

Metrics are the tools that measure PR activity. KPIs, on the other hand, measure performance against a business goal. In essence, metrics are how you track and report on KPIs. KPIs can include traditional media coverage volume, website traffic, social media engagement, and much more. 

KPIs and business goals

As a performance-led PR agency, Whiteoaks doesn’t pluck KPIs from thin air; we ensure they are aligned with what you are trying to achieve in your business overall. This enables us to create a PR strategy that gives you tangible outcomes.

We work closely with you to understand your business objectives. This could be anything from increasing brand awareness to improving reputation or driving sales.

Based on our agreed objectives, we design PR initiatives to support you. We pinpoint the most significant KPIs, essential for tracking the campaign’s progress and ensuring the attainment of the objectives.

Aligning KPIs with specific business goals is critical to ensuring that PR efforts generate a positive return on investment (ROI). 

Whiteoaks’ approach to measurement

When we report on our PR efforts, we group KPIs into three distinct categories: visibility, engagement and impact. This audience-centric classification ensures our clients gain a comprehensive understanding of the outcomes of our campaigns.

►Visibility

Visibility measures how the PR activity has reached the defined target audience; it is the exposure generated through coverage and social reach. The key thing about visibility is that it only matters if it’s reaching the right audience via the right channel of communication – not just any old crowd. Quality over quantity definitely applies. 

Naturally, visibility directly impacts brand awareness and customer acquisition. It also lays the groundwork for growth by expanding your audience reach and fostering credibility.

In practical terms, visibility can be measured through metrics such as media coverage volume, media impressions and key message penetration. Aligning visibility to business growth involves leveraging these metrics to expand brand reach, attract potential customers, and ultimately drive brand consideration. 

►Engagement

Engagement goes beyond visibility. It signifies how the activity has resonated with the target audience, whether good or bad. While visibility gets your brand or content in front of the right people, engagement measures whether they interact with it. Was the content engaging enough to make them act? 

In real terms, engagement appears as ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ on social media platforms, clicks through to a webpage, comments, messages and enquiries. 

Fostering meaningful interactions and connections with your audience sets a solid foundation for brand loyalty and advocacy. Even if it doesn’t directly drive sales at this stage, engagement is a great measure of your relevance to your target audience. 

►Impact

Impact – otherwise known as the Holy Grail of PR measurement – represents the effect the activity has had on the target audience. It can include improvements in brand consideration, perception change, leads generated or partnerships forged. 

Measuring impact, and attributing it to a PR campaign is more involved than some other marketing areas. It requires planning, tracking and monitoring, to be able to connect leads to a touchpoint, such as a piece of PR content. 

There are various methods to measure impact, from direct audience research, CRM platforms, Google Analytics and call tracking. Also, not forgetting to monitor how leads that engage with content progress through the sales funnel.

Fixed fees for fixed outcomes 

At Whiteoaks, we prioritise measuring our campaigns to demonstrate ROI on our work for you. Our ‘fixed fees for fixed outcomes’ model means if we don’t hit the agreed targets, you don’t pay. 

Your success is paramount to us, and our model ensures absolute accountability every step of the way. We understand that this approach may differ markedly from what you’ve encountered with other PR agencies – but here at Whiteoaks, we’re all about rewriting the rules and delivering results that defy expectations: we do PR differently. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how our deliberately different approach can help you achieve your business objectives, get in touch: https://whiteoaks.co.uk/contact/ 

 

Business spokespeople have a key role to play in any PR programme, as a bridge between the company and the public, shaping public perception and influencing brand image through their communication skills and expertise. In essence, they act as the public face of the organisation, communicating the company’s message to various audiences, most prominently through the media.

In harnessing spokespeople effectively, however, timeliness is key. That is why the ability to quickly mobilise and present the right spokesperson can be the difference between seizing a media opportunity and missing it entirely. For PR directors and managers, one of the most frustrating challenges is the struggle to secure time with the right internal spokespeople.

Identifying and preparing the right spokesperson who is knowledgeable, articulate, and aligned with the company’s messaging goals, and doing it at short notice, is difficult and many often fail to meet the challenge.

This can significantly hinder a brand’s ability to respond to media enquiries, engage in timely conversations, and ultimately, secure valuable media coverage.

Partnering with the right PR agency can offer a strategic solution to the spokesperson accessibility issue, ensuring the brand remains responsive and competitive in the media landscape.

Moving forwards

Agencies can equip team members with the skills to handle media engagements, thus broadening the pool of potential spokespeople within the organisation. By training a broader pool of team members for media engagements they ensure that the organisation can present a range of perspectives and areas of expertise. This diversity can enhance the business’ credibility and relatability to different audiences.

Moreover, the right quality training helps create skilled communicators who can articulate the company’s mission, values, and products effectively, helping to build a strong brand image. They can engage with the audience in a way that resonates and builds trust.

Agencies serve as a vital intermediary between brands and the media, facilitating opportunities and equipping spokespeople to optimise the impact of each interaction. Drawing on well-established relationships with journalists, editors, and media outlets, agencies can adeptly secure coverage for clients while also providing invaluable support in content creation. Through their understanding of the brand and its audience, they can craft concise messages and prepare briefing materials, including Q&As and key discussion points.

Additionally, agencies can create a bank of rapid response comments for spokespeople, enabling swift and effective communication with journalists to capitalise on urgent requests.

Together, these agency-delivered services help company spokespeople to deliver consistent, confident communication, even at short notice, maintaining the brand’s narrative and enhancing its image across various platforms.

In crisis situations, agencies can swiftly mobilise trained spokespeople, adept at navigating negative press, to manage the narrative and mitigate damage. The agency implements a crisis communication plan, aligning messages across all channels to ensure consistency and control.

By proactively addressing the media and public, offering clear, transparent responses, agencies help maintain trust in the brand. This rapid, strategic response not only protects the brand’s reputation but can also turn a potential PR disaster into an opportunity to demonstrate the brand’s commitment to accountability and customer care.

The agency advantage

The authentic voices and deep expertise of your internal team members are the foundation of your brand’s public persona. Their insights into your company’s services, solutions, and core markets are invaluable, yet the challenge lies in mobilising these voices swiftly to capitalise on media opportunities. This is where the strategic partnership with a PR agency becomes crucial.

Drawing on the expertise of an experienced PR agency ensures that your brand can effectively navigate the fast-paced media environment. By training a diverse pool of your team members and preparing them for media engagements, agencies help your organisation present a wide array of perspectives and expertise, enriching your brand’s narrative and engagement with various audiences.

Engaging with a seasoned PR agency allows your brand to navigate the complexities of media relations with confidence, ensuring that every communication opportunity is optimised to strengthen your brand’s presence and reputation in the market both today and in the future.

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Marketing and PR budgets are often the first to be reduced when times get tough, but what doesn’t usually decrease is the expectation on marketing managers to generate results. Pressure is applied just as resources are depleted, making growth feel like an almost impossible objective to meet.

Squeezed budgets in B2B technology companies can lead to marketing campaigns that fail to resonate with target audiences, with ramifications also for PR. In the worst case scenario, leaders may remove investment completely from the agenda. But a PR strategy is essential to drive brand visibility and credibility and importantly communicate the value a tech business offers to its clients, and it is entirely possible to deliver impactful campaigns cost-effectively.

The viable alternative to PR success

An in-house PR strategy requires a significant outlay to build the relevant experience, media contacts and capacity. The alternative is looking externally towards a trusted agency to deliver PR campaigns. On the surface, this might seem equally expensive, but there’s a key difference.

Working with the right strategic partner, made up of talented individuals with specialised skills and providing seamless access to trusted advisors, gives companies a better return on investment. B2B tech agencies can work closely with marketing teams or other key stakeholders to understand the wider business goals, identify the target audience that needs to be engaged and develop a campaign that is aligned to those goals from the very beginning.

With an inherent expectation to develop an intimate knowledge of the business in question, they then act as an extension of the team. This level of support and a clear performance-led strategy provides a basis for marketing teams to walk into the board room and convince decision-makers that budget needs to be made available for PR activities.

But even if this initial conversation goes well, there’s every chance that the next demand from leaders will be tangible proof of ROI.

Justifying the investment

An important part of the initial conversation around a campaign’s aims is defining KPIs and commitments that will need to be delivered from the investment. This could include coverage numbers, social engagement targets or website referrals. Our set fees for set outcomes model brings complete transparency to an up-front investment and guarantees results. There are no hidden costs associated with time spent on content creation, for example.

This ensures marketing managers know the exact costs involved in delivering the desired results, ideally placing them to present a compelling case for PR investment to the board and get the buy-in they need.

Developing a strategic partnership

Marketers have little control over a board’s intention to trim the marketing and PR budget. But what they can present to leaders is a strategic and performance-led PR plan with set outcomes and tangible ROI, giving them the best chance of achieving that all important buy-in. Rather than have PR fall by the wayside, clever investment can help B2B technology marketers to form strategic partnerships with PR agencies that have their best interests at heart. With side-by-side support, growth will no longer feel like a pipe dream and instead become much more attainable.

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So, you’re a successful tech brand eager to attract new clients and establish industry credibility. You decide to invest in PR, and enlist a top-tier agency on a monthly retainer, which promises coverage in leading industry publications.

The campaign has some success, but it’s not what you’d hoped for, especially considering your investment. There’s a distinct lack of tangible results, the phones have remained eerily quiet, and the promised influx of engagement and referrals fails to materialise. 

Frustrated, you abandon the PR element of your marketing and communications campaign. All you have to show are several large holes in your budget, and a boss piling on the pressure for results.

This is a frequent scenario we hear from marketing and senior leadership teams within technology businesses, who come to us deflated and disappointed with their incumbent PR agency. After poor performance, insufficient results and a lack of accountability, the high cost is the final nail in the coffin.  

Expensive retainers, missed targets, and lack of transparency, which leaves brands with zero recourse, is a model that has given PR a bad name. But thankfully, there is an alternative. One that addresses all of these issues, and it’s something that we have preached and practised at Whiteoaks for over 30 years.

This is performance PR

At the heart of performance PR is a commitment to offering fixed fees for fixed outcomes. We work closely with clients and agree to targets that connect with their overall business objectives. 

We guarantee that if those agreed targets are not met, the client gets their money back. It offers peace of mind for the client and accountability for us.

The measurability conversation 

While some will argue that you can’t measure PR, that is not the case with performance PR. In fact, it is essential to validate successes and understand a campaign’s impact. 

Campaigns should be designed and measured around the target audience; has it reached who it was intended for? Has the audience engaged with the campaign, and how? And at what scale?

Modern performance PR

Performance PR also presents a shift away from traditional media relations to modern PR, which includes integrated campaigns involving social media, content, and creative work. Measurability is central to performance PR, so being able to quantify these components is key to ensuring targets are hit. 

We measure our campaigns with key performance indicators (KPIs) which can include traditional coverage volume but depending on the audience, objectives and campaign, may also include things like website referrals and social media engagement. 

As integrated campaigns have a lot of moving parts, they require distinct areas of expertise to execute them effectively. The Whiteoaks team is made up of experts in different areas including social media, design, and content creation. We all work together to build and drive truly integrated performance PR campaigns.  

Performance PR and business objectives

Unsurprisingly, a lot of PR agencies will talk about being results-driven or result-oriented but it’s only performance PR that can actually walk the walk. 

We understand that marketers in tech brands are under a lot of pressure to deliver the leads that will fuel growth – and with performance PR, campaigns are designed to deliver the metrics that are aligned with a company’s business objectives – which is key to gaining senior management buy-in.

Why we excel at performance PR

Performance PR isn’t just another superficial marketing tactic at Whiteoaks; it’s ingrained in our approach, as it embodies our values and behaviours. 

Our values underpin our performance-led approach – quality, teamwork, integrity and commerciality. And in our employee-owned business, every staff member is personally invested; your results are our success too. This results in better outcomes for our clients. 

Performance PR allows us to be one hundred per cent accountable to our clients, and to continually improve and evolve our services. As a result, over our 30-year heritage, we’ve become a trusted partner to many.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we do performance PR here at Whiteoaks and how it can help you achieve your business objectives, get in touch:  https://whiteoaks.co.uk/contact/

The power of a well-crafted story cannot be underestimated in the evolving landscape of B2B technology. It has the potential to move the needle, helping to not only position businesses and their stakeholders as thought leaders but also paving the way for visibility in prominent publications, enhancing brand awareness, and increasing reach.

However, for it to make a real difference, there needs to be a commitment to producing high-quality content, consistently distributed across owned and earned channels. For B2B tech companies, this is not just about filling in a content calendar or sending a quick tweet.

It’s about establishing authority, demonstrating expertise, and engaging in conversations that matter using audience-centric positioning and messaging.

Yet, a common challenge among marketing managers is finding the time to produce high-quality content on a regular basis and encouraging already pressed for time internal spokespeople and experts to contribute.

The result? A decline in both the quality and quantity of their content. This can impact everything from lead generation efforts to the positioning of the organisation and its key spokespeople.

While most marketing managers will have a well-thought out strategy to guide their efforts, it is the execution itself that can fall by the wayside amid time constraint. So, how can they overcome these challenges to regularly generate impactful content?

The journey from strategy to story

For B2B tech companies, the journey from strategy to story requires a deep dive into understanding the audience’s needs, pain points, and aspirations. The creation of a single-minded proposition – a brief but compelling articulation of what your business commits to doing for customers – alongside supporting messaging is also essential to define ahead of content creation. This messaging and understanding should then be woven into every piece of content, ensuring that each article, blog, social media post, whitepaper, and case study is not just seen but felt. It’s about creating content that speaks directly to the reader, addressing their concerns, and offering solutions, thereby fostering a connection that transcends the transactional.

With specialist content writers at the helm, the right PR agency can breathe life into B2B tech brands by crafting compelling narratives that consistently convey the overarching messaging and resonate with target audiences. Narratives that are both informative and inspiring.

Working with a specialist B2B tech agency offers several advantages:

►Ensures a steady stream of quality content

►Frees up internal resources to focus on other strategic initiatives

►Brings a fresh perspective to often complex technological topics, making them accessible and engaging for a broader audience

Most importantly, it aligns content creation with the overarching marketing strategy, ensuring that every story told is a step towards achieving business goals.

Narratives that captivate and convince

Ultimately, ensuring a steady stream of relevant, audience-centric content is critical for B2B tech companies aiming to stand out in a crowded marketplace. By working with specialist content writers, businesses can ensure that their narrative not only reaches but also resonates with their intended audience.

By taking this approach to regularly creating high quality content, shared on both owned and earned channels, B2B tech businesses can establish themselves and their stakeholders as experts in their field and gain coverage in top-tier publications to improve brand awareness.

In the end, it’s the stories we tell that define us, and in the world of B2B tech, these stories have the power to transform perceptions, drive engagement, and spearhead growth. From strategy to story, it’s time to unlock the full potential of your content and turn your vision into a narrative that captivates and convinces.

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Hook, Hampshire, 14 February 2024: Whiteoaks International, the performance-driven tech PR agency, has announced three strategic appointments to bolster its senior team amid its continued drive for growth and ethos of delivering meaningful impact through PR.  

Adam George, Finance Director, has joined the Whiteoaks board, where he will provide financial leadership to achieve short and long term business goals and help steer the company towards its ambitious growth targets. Having joined Whiteoaks as Head of Finance in 2019, George’s appointment is testament to the impact he has had on the business so far and to his nearly 20 years’ experience in finance roles. 

Hannah Buckley has been promoted to Head of Content and Service Development, where she will continue to focus on ensuring excellence across content delivery and the ongoing development of the practice, whilst also spearheading the evolution of the company’s service offering to ensure a competitive differentiator.  

Finally, Natalia Kaczmarek assumes the role of Digital Content Manager which will see her lead the development of strategic and impactful digital programmes as well as creating compelling digital content across the client base.  

The appointments follow the elevation of Hayley Goff to CEO in May 2023, marking a new era of leadership for the company, and underscoring Whiteoaks’ commitment to leadership excellence and outcome driven impact in PR.  

Hayley Goff, CEO, Whiteoaks, comments, “As an agency, we are dedicated to creating and delivering performance-led campaigns that deliver meaningful outcomes and tangible impact for clients. Our team of experts in media relations, design, social media and content creation are our greatest asset and ensure every PR programme is executed to the highest quality to achieve results.  

“With Adam, Hannah and Natalia stepping into their new roles, I am confident in our ability to navigate the exciting next phase of our growth journey.” 

In the dynamic landscape of B2B marketing, video content has become an integral component for engaging and connecting with target audiences. This year, it’s crucial for B2B marketers to stay ahead of the curve by understanding and incorporating the latest video trends. In this blog, we will explore four major video trends that are set to dominate B2B marketing strategies in 2024.

Video Trend #1: AI Revolutionises Editing and Audience Understanding

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer a distant concept; it has firmly embedded itself in the fabric of video content creation. In 2024, B2B marketers are leveraging AI to automate editing tasks, resulting in more efficient workflows and higher-quality videos. AI algorithms are not only streamlining the editing process but are also being employed to understand audiences better.

Through the power of AI, marketers can analyse vast datasets to gain insights into audience preferences, behaviours, and engagement patterns. This leads to the creation of highly targeted and tailored content that resonates with specific B2B audiences. As AI continues to evolve, expect B2B marketers to capitalise on its capabilities to enhance the personalisation and effectiveness of their video content.

Video Trend #2: Short-Form Videos Take Centre Stage

The popularity of short-form video has skyrocketed in recent years, and this trend is set to continue dominating the B2B video landscape in 2024. Platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts have proven the effectiveness of concise, engaging content. B2B marketers are recognising the value of brevity in capturing the attention of busy professionals.

Short-form videos offer a quick and impactful way to convey key messages, making them ideal for B2B marketing where time is often of the essence. Expect B2B brands to leverage these platforms and create visually compelling, short-form content that communicates their value propositions succinctly.

Video Trend #3: The Rise of Live Video in B2B

Live video has emerged as a powerful tool for B2B marketers to connect with their audiences in real-time. Webinars, live product demonstrations, and virtual events are becoming staples in B2B marketing strategies. In 2024, live video will continue to thrive as it allows for direct interaction, engagement, and the opportunity to address questions and concerns in real-time.

The authenticity and immediacy of live video contribute to building trust and fostering stronger relationships between B2B brands and their audience; even post-Covid, people still crave the in-depth information and engagement made accessible through webinars.

Video Trend #4: Immersive Experiences with VR, AR, and 360 Video

While virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies have been around for some time, the recent introduction of Apple Vision Pro has injected fresh energy into the space, sparking renewed interest and innovation. Apple’s foray into this arena has not only elevated the technological standards but has also motivated other industry players to explore and capitalise on the potential of immersive experiences. As a result, we are witnessing a dynamic reinvigoration of the VR and AR landscape, as creators and businesses alike eagerly embrace the possibilities presented by these advanced technologies to craft engaging and captivating content for their audiences.

In the fast-paced world of B2B marketing, staying ahead of video trends is essential for creating impactful and resonant content. As we embrace 2024, the integration of AI, short-form videos, live streaming, and immersive experiences will define the landscape of B2B video marketing. B2B marketers who adapt to these trends will not only capture attention but also forge stronger connections with their target audiences in the ever-evolving digital ecosystem.

Get in touch to find out how we can help you capitalise on these video trends

In a business world awash with fleeting trends and buzzwords, standing out requires more than just a unique product or service. It demands a deeply rooted sense of purpose – a compass that not only guides the ship but also keeps everyone onboard moving in harmony. Do you feel that guiding pulse in your organisation?

Many leading brands attribute their meteoric rise to a clear sense of identity. Their values are not just statements on a wall but deeply integrated mantras in their everyday dealings. They are the bedrock upon which enduring business strategies are crafted.

Take LinkedIn for example, Its Vision Statement is “Create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.”. To ensure the entire business is aligned to achieving and maintaining this, it has a single-minded Mission Statement: “To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” One that I think it’s fair to say it continues to achieve.

A lack of vision or a poorly communicated mission is akin to navigating uncharted waters without a map. It can leave a business adrift, plagued by misaligned strategies and disengaged employees. Yes, some mission statements have earned their reputation as mere jargon, but the absence of one – or having one that isn’t authentic – can be even more detrimental.

In the dynamic world of business, well-defined values can act as beacons. It’s a common misstep to chase targets at the expense of core values, forgetting that clients and customers are the lifeline, not mere revenue streams.

Here’s the trifecta:

  • Vision – It’s the horizon; the dream of what your company can achieve long-term. It’s what sparks inspiration and rallies the team.
  • Mission – This is your battle plan. It’s the steps and strategies that make the vision attainable. It outlines your organisation’s raison d’être, setting you apart from the competition.
  • Values – These are your guiding lights. They influence choices, from monumental business decisions to everyday interactions. When ingrained, they align employee efforts and provide a clear understanding of evaluation criteria.

Beyond internal coherence, articulating these pillars can boost your PR efforts. Especially for emerging companies, it offers stakeholders, including potential investors, a lucid insight into the company’s ethos.

As leaders recalibrate for the coming year, revisiting and refining your organisation’s vision and mission statements is not a mere tick-box exercise. In an era marked by rapid change and competition, a compelling vision, backed up by a well-defined mission and set of values, .

Are you set up to maximise your organisation’s potential in 20204 and beyond? If the answer is no, reach out for a no-obligation discussion on how your organisation can develop its vision, mission, and values.

By Vicki Curtis, Senior Client Consultant

Change has arrived in the PR industry. Synapse, a new platform devised by former Dow Jones and Gorkana executive, Charles Russell, and PR legend Mark Borkowski, aims to transform the way that journalists and PR professionals communicate. The idea is that journalists can access a custom-filtered inbox of PR pitches that are relevant to them, and PRs can discover new media and influencer contacts and pitch interesting angles and fresh perspectives.

I can see why the idea has materialised. There’s been an industry-wide friction between journalists and PRs for many years. Cision’s Global State of the Media Report 2023 discovered that only 7% of journalists say the majority of pitches they get are relevant to their audience. It’s a shockingly low statistic. But why has it come to this? If PR professionals across the board were tailoring pitches, understanding media and only sending relevant emails to the right journalists, would there be a need for these new types of services?

Time for a rethink

It’s time for PR professionals to rethink the way they approach their work so that they don’t have to solely rely on these emerging platforms. However, it must be said that technology can deliver some helpful tools. For example, Synapse allows journalists to filter the pitches they receive from PRs by topic and format. They are also able to flag pitches that aren’t relevant to them. Similarly, PRs will be able to see who has viewed or accepted their pitches.

But it’s also our responsibility, as PR people, to consider the perspective of journalists and know what is going to resonate with them in the first place and not simply rely on the tech. This is incredibly important as the Cision research also revealed that as many as three in four journalists will block a media relations professional who spams them with irrelevant pitches.

Many PR agencies are structuring their internal teams to feature dedicated media specialists. These employees are focused solely on media activity and building relationships with journalists, which feeds into the second requirement of the modern day PR professional. Now that we’re fully clear of the pandemic, it’s time for PRs to step out from behind the screens and set up relationship building meetings with key media figures.

The trend for intermediaries

More than 1000 journalists from across more than 140 titles, including The Mirror, The Express, The Scotsman and OK! Magazine have signed up to Synapse. As the platform gathers pace, more look likely to join, but it remains to be seen as to what extent it will help to alleviate the issues between PRs and journalists.

One aspect that is clear is the growing trend towards ‘matchmaking platforms’ across industries. Whether it’s matching pitches to journalists, brands to agencies or even investors to entrepreneurs, there’s a big focus now on employees looking to save time with supporting platforms. In this sense, the technology could help employees to streamline their day-to-day tasks.

However, while tools such as Synapse offer promising solutions to bridge the gap between journalists and PR professionals, these innovations shouldn’t overshadow the fundamental principles of PR, including relationship-building and understanding the media landscape. Professionals must ensure that they get these basics right, and the unique value that only they can provide is building those human connections that technology can’t replicate. Only by merging these capabilities can the PR industry be truly revolutionised for the better.

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