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CORONAVIRUS CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS PLAN: HOW TO USE PR TO PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS

The rapid spread of the Coronavirus has pushed the WHO to declare a pandemic.

To date, there are around 139,075 cases of Coronavirus (also known as COVID-129) globally, 5,117 have died and cases are now found in almost every country in the world.

Stock markets have been hit and the International Monetary Fund has declared that the world’s ‘fragile economy’ could be derailed if the virus is not contained.

Coronavirus Crisis Communications Plan

Source: Worldometers

Now, the question to be raised is “how can businesses deal with the Coronavirus outbreak?”.

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AGRICULTURAL MARKETING CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED TO TACKLE DEPRESSION IN THE SECTOR

Agriculture has one of the worst safety records of all industries and so a new agricultural marketing campaign to tackle the issue has been widely welcomed. Being depressed and not focused can lead to accidents – with 85% of young farmers saying there is a correlation between farm safety and mental health.

The Farm Safety Foundation, which runs campaigns such as Farm Safety Week, Yellow Wellies – Who Would Fill Your Boots and Mind your Head, funds courses to train farmers on how to deal with risks in the industry and to challenge risk-taking behaviour. The effective PR campaign targeting the agricultural sector – Mind Your Head – ran from February 10-14 and Farm Safety Week is coming up from July 20-24.

Mental health awareness is at the top of the news agenda and the farming industry is demonstrably susceptible to mental health problems; according to the Farm Safety Foundation, 84% of farmers under 40 believe mental health issues are the biggest problem they face.

The main reason is perhaps the way of life experienced by many farmers: the combination of long working hours, isolation, uncertain markets and high levels of borrowing can take their toll. As agriculture becomes increasingly automated, tractor drivers may spend days alone, often out of contact due to a lack of signal; this also applies to remote hill farmers. As well as being isolating, it is concerning in case of an accident.

Social media influence

Rural isolation can be as harmful as smoking and obesity according to a study commissioned by the cross-party Commission on Loneliness which described it as a silent epidemic, with links to dementia and poor mental health.

The value of campaigns and social media influence on rural industries is immense in helping disseminate information. Contact Source PR for advice on rural PR campaigns, rural marketing and effective social media.

DIVERSIFY, BUT TELL YOUR STORY WELL

Adding income streams through diversification projects is focusing the business brains of many farms and estates in this post-Brexit landscape. And while a new farm shop, glamping enterprise or festival requires concentrated attention, it’s also vital to think about PR and marketing for your rural business to actually tell customers about your rural business or scheme.

People are wanting more from the countryside – more to see, do and experience – and this behavioural change creates opportunities. Estates and farms may be thinking of outdoor film nights, festivals, high-end camping experiences or demonstrations of local goods: these are all great stories to tell via social media and structured PR.

Rural Marketing and brand building

Take the example of creating a high-end product by rearing extensively farmed meat;  research shows that some customers are keen to pay more and travel further to make a special purchase of say, Longhorn beef. The story that needs to be told includes the health benefits of the meat, the welfare enjoyed by the cattle, the rearing system, (e.g. a grass-fed diet) and interesting breed traits. By promoting provenance, you can build a brand.

The benefits of nature are increasingly cited as helping with mental health problems; this offers opportunities for creating low-cost schemes such as walking and cycling routes or woodland glamping. With the possibility of outdoor therapy being prescribed by the NHS in future, these are good stories to tell. Likewise, with broadband and the prospect of 5G opening up rural areas creating opportunities for diverse businesses, it’s important to publicise an exciting enterprise, engaging with the local community as well as broader  promotion.

It’s easy to get bogged down in the detail of setting up a business. A different perspective on reaching out to a wider customer base can be illuminating – that’s where professional PR and marketing come in and can pay dividends.  Get in contact with our specialist rural PR and marketing team for a free business consultation.

 

NATIONAL STORYTELLING WEEK: HOW WE USE PR TO TELL STORIES

Today marks the beginning of National Storytelling Week, a very important time for PR and marketers for multiple reasons.

You see, the basis of PR is the ability to tell a good story. As PR isn’t paying for somebody to promote your brand like you’d do with advertising (a common misconception about our sector), it’s proving to people that your brand is one worth talking about.

But how exactly can you make that happen? Well, us PR ‘Sourcerers’ have some tricks up our sleeves. That’s how.

PR People, Or Professional Storytellers?

Everybody loves a good story, you can’t deny it.

Whether it’s a book, something you read in the newspaper, or even something you hear from somebody else. It’s human nature to want to hear about new and exciting things. It’s this very nature that makes the PR industry both a successful, but also lucrative, industry.

National Storytelling Week

In one way, it’s great that people are instinctively attracted to a good story. It puts us in business. It’s what makes PR not only an affluent industry, but one that’s so important too. Because while advertising is great and very effective if orchestrated right, you can’t really beat great organic exposure for your business.

But by the same token, it’s unmistakably hard to promote a brand organically without it coming across too salesy. Whether you’re pitching to journalists, or even to the public, if it’s painstakingly obvious that your sales-led, then you can come across dishonest and interested parties will likely lose that interest very, very quickly.

That’s why storytelling is a skill, and one not everybody can master.

National Storytelling Week – How We Do It At The Source

As mentioned just above, being able to tell a great story is the bread and butter of any great PR campaign. So how to we do it here at The Source? Well, quite aptly, National Storytelling Week is just one of the ways we aim to achieve coverage for one of our brands this week.

Hooking on to the occasion, and the fact that so many will be talking about reading and books this week, we decided to seize the opportunity and arrange a donation of books on behalf of a business we represent to a local primary school, in a target area for this client. Going off previous successes, we know that journalists in the area love this kind of story and will happily write about it both online and in print, given that it’s very timely too. Being tuned in to what’s going on in the world will not only earn us some great press coverage, but gives us the opportunity to boost our brand’s CSR too.

National Storytelling Week

 

This is just one of the ways we tell stories for PR purposes in an abundance of different tactics that we’ve mastered to raise the profile of our clients, and promote their products and services to the world in a genuine and effective way. Public Relations is a complex business, but a very important one too.

It’s not easy, but that’s where we come in…

Are you looking to boost your brand’s presence, online and offline, or are needing some PR and Marketing assistance?

Please feel free to get in touch with our friendly team by clicking here. We could be the source of your business’ potential to fly high.

WILL PRINT MEDIA MAKE A COMEBACK IN 2020?

Since we at Source work in both digital and print media, it’s good to have our fingers on the pulse and be aware of any changes in the industry, and we’ve had our eyes peeled on some changes in the landscape for a little while now.

The digital marketing sphere has boomed in recent years, and now most people turn to social media and online articles for their news. The so-called ‘death’ of print media has been long publicised, dramatised and catastrophised by people. And who can blame them? Print media is an industry that dates back to the 1800s, with the first movable printing type system dating back to 1450. It seems wrong that such a traditional form of communication be so quickly and easily phased out.

A U-Turn in the Industry?

However, despite the huge cultural shift from paper to screens, the industry might not be as doomed as first thought. When the first e-readers hit the markets back in the mid-2000s, people feared that it would cause the total dissolution of physical copies of books. It was marketed as revolutionary – there’s now no need to go to a shop to browse titles, with the text available to be downloaded at the press of a button, often for a fraction of the price of a physical copy.

But by 2015, eight years after the Kindle first hit the market, e-books occupied just twenty per cent of the total publishing sales. While this is a fair chunk, it is still vastly in the minority of sales, with millennials reportedly being the age group that is apparently keeping the industry afloat. That’s right – we aren’t ‘killing’ an industry for a change (!).

In 2018, sales of print books made $22.6 billion, while e-book copies generated $2.04 billion. While the joys and conveniences of the e-reader market have certainly been reaped, its impact hasn’t wiped out sales or enthusiasm for physical copies. It turns out that people simply love owning physical copies of the things they like to read.

Newsquest to Launch New Salford Publication

It seemed a clear trajectory for a long time, too, that digital media was going to clear print media clean off the shelves, but earlier this year the publisher Newsquest announced that the city of Salford will be getting a new newspaper, ‘Salford City News,’ launching at the end of this month. Newsquest says that the paper will ‘fly the flag for residents,’ and will have a cover price of 80p. The website will be found at salfordcitynews.co.uk.

Karl Holbrook, Newsquest Regional Group Editor for Lancashire and Greater Manchester, said, ‘Salford is an amazing place, full of history and culture. But there is a real sense on the ground hat Salford is often ignored next to its louder sibling across the River Irwell […] We believe there is a stainable publishing future in Salford as weekly print brand and as the daily online provider of the best local content.’

The company is also launching a Teesside edition. This will cover news in the north-east region, including Middlesbrough, Redcar, Stockton, Yarm and Saltburn. Hannah Chapman, editor of the Northern Echo, said: ‘This is such an exciting time for Teesside, with a series of major projects in the pipeline which could bring massive economic boosts to the area. I regularly get asked by readers for more Teesside content, so taking the two things together, it seemed like a natural step to increase our coverage with this new edition.’

If a resurgence of physical media is to occur, what better place to start than with local publishers? Local news is often side-lined and under-resourced in comparison to its larger counterparts. News of investment into the sector is extremely promising – not only for the residents of Salford and Teesside, but for all of those whose jobs rely on physical media.

A Matter of Time?

Despite this positive blip, it will be difficult to say what is on the horizon at this point in time for the future of traditional media. The chief executive of the New York Times, Mark Thompson, estimates that the paper has ‘at least ten years’ left in physical form, but ‘there may come a point when the economics of [the print paper] no longer make sense for us.’

Whatever the future holds for print media, we’ll be on the lookout for the changes to the industry and keep the updates coming!

At Source, we embrace both the traditional and the digital world, with effective PR and communications at the heart of what we do. Get in touch with us on 01829 7208789 to learn more, or follow us on Twitter (@source_tweets), Facebook (@SourcePublicRelations) and LinkedIn (The Source).

POSITIVE PREDICTIONS IN DIGITAL MARKETING FOR 2020

According to a report by PayPal’s Commerce Index, the number of businesses in the UK expected to begin marketing on social media is set to double in the next six months – a huge increase from the approximate 600,000 businesses that already do so. British businesses are finally set to catch up to the rest of the global average of 35%: currently, just 24% of UK businesses use social media to market their products.

The increase could partially come down to the rise in millennial business owners and marketing heads – with the younger generation being more app and social-media savvy, it stands to reason that millennial-owned businesses would use tools they already know and love to market their services. Yet it’s not only the increase of millennials in the boardroom that are to blame – success stories of brands who invest wisely into the digital sphere and see great returns have spurred interest in the less traditional methods of marketing.

An example of a business that has begun to take digital marketing more seriously is Pandora, which has hired London digital marketing agency Fifty-Five to further enhance its social media and overall online presence. According to The Drum, Pandora is ‘in the process of increasing its investment in digital media as a way to build its brand and drive sales, as well as attract new and loyal customers instore.’ Pandora’s inclusion of the digital sphere as a crucial aspect of its branding is indicative of the turn towards less-traditional marketing techniques that businesses have been embracing more and more over recent years. Despite the brand already being a household name, Pandora is evidently interested in the further capabilities that digital marketing can provide.

If its experience will be anything like the retailer Oasis, it’s likely to be worth it. The clothing store has turned to more savvy digital marketing technique after it faced multiple store closures throughout the UK. Despite the setbacks, Oasis saw an extraordinary 175% increase in revenue and an overall 20% rise in customer engagement after it circulated an email with an ad video featuring Frankie Bridge, former member of The Saturdays. Sophia Holland Thomas, Digital Marketing Manager at Oasis, said, ‘Videos are capturing consumer attention like never before and video marketing is becoming an increasingly important vehicle for companies looking to engage with a millennial audience, where they can enhance their outreach and revenues.’

If that wasn’t enough, the data insights and consulting company Kantar recently released a report that offered its predictions for the upcoming year in the technology and digital world. Duncan Southgate, Global Brand Director at Kantar, wrote, ‘Digital is set to consolidate its dominance in 2020, with 84% of marketers planning to increase spend in online video, and 70% planning to increase spend in social media, according to our recent Getting Media Right report.’

All evidence seems to point to the growing importance and prevalence of digital marketing, and businesses are expected to invest accordingly. And if the success stories of the likes of Oasis are anything to go by, it can be assumed that this will only be good news for those brands that take the leap from traditional, linear marketing such as TV, radio or billboards. At Source, we embrace both traditional and the digital world, where influence and recommendation is key. We’re fluent in the world of online marketing and provide a tailored approach to brands and businesses that look to increase their online reach.

Get in touch on 01829 7208789 to learn more, or follow us on Twitter (@source_tweets), Facebook (@SourcePublicRelations) and LinkedIn (The Source).

PR TOP TIPS TO IMPLEMENT IN 2020

Public Relations (or PR) is said to be the second oldest profession, first implemented to spread the word about the quality and benefits of the world’s oldest profession.

The reality is that Public Relations has been around forever as people, companies or organisations look to raise their profile or the benefits of the good and services they offer.

The industry continues to evolve to reflect the changing media landscape and the ways in which audiences gather their information or are influenced by the world around them.

Despite these significant changes, much of the core principals remain the same.  We would suggest that companies large or small take stock and when looking ahead for 2020 ensure they consider the following five core pillars of success.

The five simple top tips:
  • Know your business, product or service – what are the key features or benefits and why is it different or better than others. This will help you to be clear on your proposition and what exactly you want to say.
  • Know your customers – who are you looking to influence and what are their behaviours? Your customers may be varied but map out who they are and what they do – if necessary, make plans specific to each audience.
  • Find a creative angle – Don’t be ego centric but think why is this relevant to my audiences and why is it of interest to them.
  • Share your news – if you don’t share your news then it’s unlikely that someone will do it for you. Make sure your your content is right for the platform and if targeting journalists make sure it’s relevant to them and their audiences
  • Don’t get stuck in a rut – PR and digital communications is changing rapidly and so are audience behaviours. If something does not work, try something new and different.

If you’re unsure of the best way forward, speak to an agency that is able to give you straight forward, honest advice.  We have PR, social media and digital clients across the North West, Wales and UK and our Chester PR, marketing and digital teams are available to support your business needs.

Finally, one last tip would be to be proactive.  2020 is a new year and therefore a new opportunity to make the right plans that will help take you and your business forward.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT TAKES A NEW TWIST

Social media management takes a new twist as Twitter announces plans to ban political ads from its service globally, with the action to come into force on 22 November.

The broad ban will cover all adverts specific to candidates and issues, however some ads will be allowed to remain, including those encouraging people to vote. The organisation says, via a tweet, that they ‘believe political message reach should be earned, not bought…?’.

This comes ahead of the US Presidential election campaign as well as the General Election here in the UK.   Although on one level it makes sense and provides more of a level playing field for campaigners, regardless of their financial backing, it does open a whole area of debate.

Some of the key points that come to mind, include whether it is right for a media outlet to ban all political advertising or would it be better to implement the existing guidelines on advertising that prevent false claims, libel or malign forces acting inappropriately?

There are also a number of very grey areas including; what exactly determines a political advert?  Should the ban cover all topics relating to racial equality, women’s rights or even climate change?  It’s clear that an all-out ban would be hard to police, subjective as to what areas are covered and could pose more problems than it answers.

There is no doubt that ‘fake news’ or worse still intentionally deceptive stories should be more effectively managed on-line or at least come with an open disclaimer.  There is a growing problem of fake news as it polarises opinion, misleads and unduly influences susceptible voters – often even making the news in more genuine outlets.

The Conservative Party has also recently been told off for doctoring a video of Sir Keir Starmer outlining Labour’s position on Brexit.  Anyone with a modicum of intelligence could immediately tell it was a ‘joke’, however there is a fear that over policing of such activities or such extreme social media management could both dry up political debate but worse still put politics above mockery – at a time when our political leaders are opening themselves to satire and Spitting Image is making a timely comeback.

Twitter exemptions

As we wait for the full details of Twitter exemptions next month, it’s a shame that a media outlet is planning to unilaterally determine what advertisers can or can’t say and to therefore ironically have an influence on a political outcome.  Perhaps it is because they simply want to apply pressure on competitors like Facebook who secure significant revenue streams from political advertisers?

The media is no doubt changing and rightfully so.  We must however welcome, embrace and use new digital communications platforms but it’s critically important that the media operates to a level playing field where rules regarding false promises or advertising are closely monitored and managed.  If that is the case then there would be no need for media outlets to take matters into their own hands and influence their own audiences by determining what they’re willing to share with their customers.

Social Media Management

We’re often asked by clients about social media management or support in developing and devising social media campaigns as often they neither have the time nor necessary skill set to effectively attract and engage with their chosen audiences.

When looking to hire outsourced marketing support the key is to ensure you align your broader marketing communications strategy to incorporate what you’re saying to customers through your social channels.

It’s critical to get it right so you’re able to deliver consistent, timely and relevant messages.  Once the strategy is agreed, here are some top tips to getting your posts right:

  • Content is king – remember your audiences and make it relevant to them, not just a sales message
  • Don’t post if you’ve got nothing to say – ‘Happy Friday’ is a waste of time
  • Be consistent – know what you want to say, why and what you’re saying elsewhere
  • Share insight – entice and engage by providing audiences with relevant content that supports their needs or makes them relate to your brand
  • Use pictures or video to tell a story – audiences tend to spend less that 3 seconds per post, using visual aids can quickly convey a message

Outsourcing the management of your social media to a team of people that do it every day has some obvious advantages.  Not only will the team have the time and expertise to develop posts but will also provide you with the valuable insights into post performance and customer interactions.

Benefits of Social Media

Other benefits of effective social media management include having the option to:

  • Manage multiple accounts across various platforms
  • Analyse social engagement
  • Schedule posts in advance
  • Receive comprehensive reports of analytics
  • Monitor comments and respond efficiently
  • Collaborate with team members on content

The ultimate goal of social media management is to save you time, increase awareness of your products or service and therefore ultimately customers and profits.  If you want to know more contact us or slide into our DMs.

 

SOURCE PR – BEST RURAL DIGITAL, COMMUNICATIONS OR MEDIA BUSINESS? WE ARE FINALISTS

We’re delighted to announce that Source PR has been named as a finalist in this year’s Rural Business Awards in the Best Rural Digital, Communications or Media Business category. Branching out into Rural PR, Source PR has a good deal of experience within this sector and therefore we are honoured to recognised as finalists in the Rural Business Awards.

The Rural Business Awards were established in 2014 to give recognition to businesses operating right across the Rural sector, to acknowledge the breadth and depth of opportunity presented by the Great British countryside, as well as to celebrate the achievements of rural businesses, from engineering through to artisan food producers and professional services organisations.

Rural PR By Source PR

Source PR has been recognised for the excellent work they have been doing to support a range of rural businesses with their PR, digital and marketing communications campaigns.  The judges were particularly impressed with the work that Source had done communicating with farmers, landowners and estates across the country for a range of clients including BPA, Meadow Foods as well as a number of pubs and restaurants.

Based in Cheshire, UK, Source PR are PR and Marketing specalists with experience in Rural PR across both traditional and digital channels. Harnessing social media, press and various other mediums to strengthen reputations – Source PR have a keen passion for Rural marketing and this nomination is testament to that.

The Rural Business Awards, sponsored by Amazon, are fast becoming the UK’s most prestigious and respected awards for rural businesses, helping to develop a strong network and community of rural business owners.  The finals are decided by an independent panel of judges drawn from the rural business sector, official government agencies and rural charitable organisations.

Louis Hill, Managing Director of Source PR, comments: “Reaching the finals of such a prestigious award is testament to the quality work the team delivers for clients day in day out.  Being situated in the heart of Cheshire, we’re well placed to work with a range of very successful rural businesses and help deliver effective PR, digital and communication campaigns that make a real difference.”

Rural PR Agency Cheshire - Source PR

North Finalists

Source PR, based in Cheshire, is a finalist in the North region which is the largest of all regions, encompassing the wild majesty of the Scottish Highlands and the picturesque rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Dales, dramatic windswept coastlines of Northumberland and the glittering tranquillity of the Lakes right the way down to Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Isle of Man and Cheshire. Certainly fitting opponents!

After the second round of judging, the category winners for the North will be announced at the regional awards presentation on Friday 11th October 2019 at Newcastle University.