The PR Guru

February 18, 2011

10 Reasons to use PR, part two

Filed under: Uncategorized — richardswancott @ 6:25 pm
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A couple of weeks ago we discussed the main reason for using PR to promote your business – namely it helps you spread your marketing investment.

There are plenty of other reasons though! In my opinion the second biggest reason for using public relations is this:


This is something we are all looking for in business. Getting another person to recommend you to someone else is the Holy Grail really, especially if the ‘someone else’ is a friend or family member.

That’s because the referrer is putting their reputation on the line by saying you are great at what you do, or your product is fantastic. If the opposite proved to be true, they would have egg on their face and their reputation would take a tiny little hit.

Social media has a big part to play here, and that’s why many businesses are cottoning on to the importance of sites like Facebook for generating word of mouth. If they can persuade other people to do the selling, for example by posting your video on their profile, or liking your business’ page, that’s half the battle and will save them a lot of money in the long run.

PR has a big role here though as well, with one major difference – rather than a person making the endorsement, it’s a newspaper, magazine, website or broadcaster. And for that reason, it carries A LOT of weight.

By having your story in a respected national newspaper, like The Times, or an interview broadcast on the BBC, or a feature in a leading industry magazine, you are gaining the stamp of approval from their editor or producer.

They are saying your story is so interesting, so ground-breaking and so relevant that they had to tell people about it by giving you airtime or space on their pages. They knew their readers, their listeners, their viewers would want to know about it.

And they have plenty to lose if their endorsement comes back to bite them. It’s bad enough to lose face with your family or friends – can you imagine what it would be like if that endorsement cost you sales or ratings? Ultimately it could cost people their jobs, or drive that media title out of existence.

So I would strongly recommend looking at raising your profile through PR – it could give you the best testimonial you’ve ever had.


November 18, 2010

Capello comes under attack by world’s media, Harry Potter footage is leaked online, Eva Longoria files for divorce after husband’s affair and Lincoln Prison made a translation error

The media have today given England manager Fabio Capello a new nickname – Prat in a Hat – for constantly making mistakes when it comes to crucial decisions.

In fact, England and Liverpool have both confirmed that an agreement was broken over the amount of time Steven Gerrard would spend on the pitch against France, during the match last night.

It was agreed, pre-match, that Fabio Capello would play Gerrard for no more than an hour.

However, Gerrard ended up playing until just six minutes from time when he was forced off with a hamstring injury.

Capello’s decision saw Liverpool’s head of fitness and conditioning Darren Burgess post a tweet slamming England’s behaviour as ‘disgraceful’.

Burgess said: “Unbelievable from all associated with England and English FA with regard to Steven Gerrard’s injury. Completely ignored agreement and past history.”

He removed the tweet from his page around an hour later but has since reposted it, a few minutes ago.

Capello admitted that an injury to Gareth Barry meant Stevie had to stay on beyond the previously agreed schedule.

However, Capello insisted that any club cannot dictate to a national team how long somebody should play.

For now though, even French journalists have called into question his capabilities as an international manager.

In other news, a 36-minute clip of the Harry Potter film (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1) has been leaked online ahead of its international release. Warner Bros. said it was working to remove the video, which was stolen and illegally posted on file-sharing websites on Tuesday. However, a film like this doesn’t need to worry. The leak won’t stop people from going to the cinema to see it on the big screen – with a massive Box-Office advance and tickets being sold out for days.

Eva Longoria has filed for divorce after reading flirtatious text messages sent from her husband Tony Parker to the wife of one of his NBA team-mates. In fact, the couples were close friends but this has taken it a step too far – with other messages apparently being posted on Facebook. Eva tweeted earlier that she has filed for divorce and Tony later said the same thing. It just goes to show that in the days of social media it is incredibly easy for mistakes to be made and for word to get out to the press almost immediately about what is going on. This certainly isn’t going to do anything for Tony’s reputation because the Desperate Housewives actress is incredibly popular and his affair will be seen as an uncalled-for betrayel.

And, finally, a translation error at Lincoln prison labelled an exercise yard as an execution yard in the draft of an information booklet for Russian inmates. Luckily the mistake was spotted in an early draft, but if it had been used then it would have been extremely unnerving for the Russians, who may not even realise that we don’t have execution yards in this country.

November 4, 2010

Rugby star Joel Monaghan criticises social media for his own bad actions, rapper Lil Wayne released from prison with money making plans and The Wanted excite Twitter fans by asking them where they want a tour to go

Australian rugby star Joel Monaghan has apologised after being pictured simulating a sex act with a dog.

Monaghan, who has represented his country five times, was photographed in the act by fellow players during the Raiders’ Mad Monday celebrations.

The photo was reportedly posted on the internet on Monday before being taken down by the Melbourne radio station that had put it online. The action was too late with the image being re-posted through Twitter and it has been widely circulated in the past 24 hours.

“The fact that someone has sought to compound the situation further by the use of social media only adds to the trauma,” he said. However, he should have thought about that before he did it.

Monaghan issued a statement through his manager expressing remorse and disgust at the alcohol-fuelled prank.

His manager, however, did not stand up for him – saying that he can’t blame anyone but himself for an act of stupidity that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

Flooding the Twitter trending topics in the US is the news that rapper Lil Wayne has been released from prison. The rapper stayed true to his image whilst inside, chatting to fans through his phone and saying that he was unnerved by the whole experience.

Now he is out he promises not to change his image or his music, but he already has plans to publish a book about his experience inside and a new album is in the works. Talk about knowing how to make money and to turn a negative experience into something positive.

All down to the typical image of a rapper I imagine.

In other news, The Wanted have already got fans excited about a tour before any real plans have been put in place. In a unique PR campaign the band have asked fans to tag tweets #twtour suggesting possible venues for them to perform at. Not only is this useful for the band to know where they have the most fans but it is also a way of getting fans talking about it and maybe even making news stories.

Another Twitter phenomenon.

November 2, 2010

Robbie Savage hosts #savagenight

You may be wondering why the hashtag #savagenight has turned up on Twitter.

Well, the welsh footballer is coming to end of his playing career so has started looking at new ways of keeping in the public eye, including using social media. His presence on Twitter has helped elevate his personal brand.

Today (10th December) sees a new Twitter event that Robbie has put together to celebrate him passing 100,000 followers on the platform.

People have to tweet why they should win the competition in under 140 characters, including the #savagenight hashtag between 1pm and 7pm today. The best tweets received will be picked out to win a fun night out with Robbie. They will also get a one-night stay at a 5-star hotel as part of the package.

It is his celebration of getting to 100,000 followers but also the competition highlights what Robbie is all about on Twitter – interacting with fans, banter, giving people an inside view of life as a professional footballer and just good fun.

Both Robbie and his PR agency Macesport want to give fans the opportunity to gain access to money can’t buy experiences.

Earlier this year Savage left Twitter after receiving abusive messages. He had over 24,000 followers and said that messages directed at his father, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s, were uncalled for.

March 12, 2010

Some interesting developments…

Hello everyone.

Just a quick post to update you on a few things. We’ve moved to spanking new premises at the Lymedale Business Centre in Newcastle – ideal for anyone looking to expand a small business by the way.

A big thank you to Paul Davies at Newstead Insurance Brokers for helping us out with our public & employers’ liability insurance too – without that I’d still be working from home.

We’ve got a new intern starting with us on Monday too – Ellen Argile will be starting a six month placement, organised with the help of the West Midlands Graduate Internship scheme (another thing worth looking at if you need some help with your workload).

Ellen will be concentrating on our social media activity for the next few weeks, helping our clients interact better with customers & prospects and bringing their blogs to wider audiences.

And finally, news of our expansion is starting to hit the West Midlands media. Have a look at this:

Hopefully a few more will be shouting about us in the next week or so.

That’s it for now, but just wanted to say our door is open if you want to drop in for a coffee to have a look around and meet our new recruit!

Have a good weekend everyone.

PS These are our other blogs if you are interested 🙂

Excel in your exams

What to do if you’re in an accident overseas

Tips for solving Blackberry technical issues

Health and fitness tips for runners

December 1, 2009

Richard Swancott Associates – The PR Pioneers!

PR agencies are not often known as innovators. Many of them have the image of being set in their ways, relying on traditional methods of promotion and not opening their minds to future possibilities.

Not us. We always like to experiment and do things a little bit differently from other PR agencies in Staffordshire. Someone has to, I guess.

With that in mind I have an exciting annoucement about a ground-breaking new service Richard Swancott Associates will be offering in the New Year.

We are launching a PR coaching programme, which is unique, certainly in this country.

It will consist of 12 two hour monthly sessions, bringing businesses together to brainstorm ideas for press releases – and their PR campaigns in general – solve any problems they might be having with their campaigns, and introduce them to industry experts to help them make the most of their stories.

But more about that later. First, here’s the problem as I see it. Many PR firms in Staffordshire and beyond offer workshops on writing press releases and developing PR strategies. We are one of them.

While they are really good at getting people fired up and giving them plenty of ideas – or so our clients tell us – their enthusiasm quickly disappears when the workshop finishes. It’s natural in business, especially as one man bands – we always have the best intentions to put what we’ve learnt into practice, but something always crops up to distract us.

So how can we ensure our guests really drive it forward and avoid falling into that trap? The answer is our PR coaching programme!

We’ll be offering advice on what makes a good story, bringing in speakers from the local media, trade press and companies with track records of getting national media coverage.

We’ll give YOU the opportunity to pitch your ideas direct to your local media, and tell them what you want from them!

We’ll bring in experts who can tell you how to write winning award applications, how to write for the web, and how to organise events and publicity stunts.

And we’ll have words of wisdom from social media experts who can show you how to make the most of blogs, forums and sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Our goal is to turn Staffordshire’s small businesses into mini PR machines, who can generate great coverage – and as a result loads of enquiries – without having to turn to agencies.

Yes it may do us out of some business, but that’s a small price to pay to get some local businesses punching above their weight and competing on a national level.

So that’s it, let me know what you think! Would be happy to hear your thoughts…

October 13, 2009

Is all publicity really good publicity?

There is an old adage which says ‘all publicity is good publicity’ – in other words just getting your name in the paper, whether it’s a positive or a negative story, is a good idea.

Is that really the case, or is it more a case of ‘no news is good news’?

I’d say the reality is somewhere between the two. A lot of stories can be presented as a positive one for your company. Even the bad ones.

For example, take a story about turnover. If a company has had a record year, turnover is usually expressed in actual figures – and why not? We don’t reward ourselves enough in business when we hit or beat those targets!

Alternatively, if a company has had an average year, turnover is often expressed as a percentage. That’s because the majority of people will not bother to find out what it equates to – assuming the figures are even submitted to Companies House.

It can also be reported as a percentage if you’re a small business, starting from a lower base. You could say your turnover has grown by 100%, even if you’ve just gone from one customer to two!

I jest of course, but this is perhaps why PR has a bit of a bad reputation for ‘spinning’ the story, and why PR agencies in Staffordshire and elsewhere are often distrusted. You could say PR has an image problem 🙂

Anyway I am drifting off the point slightly here. Yes, many stories can be presented in a good light. But not all.

In a way I would hate to be the PR person for Royal Mail, Trafigura or even our MPs at the moment. All three have done themselves absolutely no favours this week.

On the other hand, anyone experienced in crisis management could make an absolute fortune with these projects!

They would certainly have their work cut out with the Trafigura job. It’s rare that something backfires so disastrously as their attempt to stop The Guardian reporting from Parliament this week.

It’s known as the Streisand Effect – a company tries to stop news coming out, but by doing so immediately makes the story bigger than it would’ve been.

I think what it’s also shown is that social media like Twitter are beginning to find their feet and play a major part in reporting and making the news. Without the outcry on Twitter over the gagging order, Trafigura‘s lawyers Carter-Ruck would never have had to back down.

You may wonder why a PR man is waffling on about press freedom, in the light of what I said earlier about the presentation – or some might say the manipulation – of stories.

It’s quite simple though really. The PR industry needs the media as much as the media needs the PR industry. One can’t exist without the other.

But more importantly without press freedom, or something close to it, we can’t function as a society.

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