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DIGITAL AGENCY – HOW THE TIMES ARE A CHANGIN’

When working in a digital agency in Chester and providing B2B PR or consumer PR clients with support and advice, it’s so important to keep up to date with the ever-changing world of new technologies, insights and applications.

Understanding and using new technologies helps keep you at the forefront of providing valuable advice and delivering current campaigns for clients that really work for businesses and customers alike.

If you stand still too long or stop to give yourself a pat on the back, there is a real chance that you’ll get left behind.  It’s fast moving, challenging but when compared to the old days of pure PR – very rewarding.

For years there was always the question of ‘how do you put a value on PR?’  Historically it was a measurement of column inches or messages density, but now there are so many additional factors that should be considered whether it’s directly reaching thousands of customers with engaging messages through social media or producing content that improves a client’s reputation or thought leadership position. Each post or article can be measured in terms of who read it and what action they took as a result.

Digital

With the growth in digital the whole world is more transparent.  The engagement on each post can be measured, the actual number of people who read an online article can be seen and the customer journey for each purchase can be viewed as cookies follow customers through their entire purchasing process.

This is great.  It helps justify marketing budgets and provides a real opportunity to show a return on an investment.  Most important of all is that it makes you realise that you are actually making a difference, that the work you’re creating is driving sales and that the campaigns work.  The times are changing and look set to continue to evolve which has to be great news for clients and digital PR agencies alike – as long as you can keep up.

PR VERSUS POVERTY PORN

There’s growing criticism of ‘poverty porn’ and in particular how charities are using crude and clichéd PR campaigns to attract donations.  Although criticism of anyone looking to make a positive difference is largely unfair, there is a case for charitable organisations to look at how they wish to portray themselves and their causes.

This is illustrated in criticism of Red Nose Day and Stacy Dooley’s work in Africa by David Lammy MP. Although a little harsh, particularly when he’s been called out for not doing enough himself to support communities in Africa, it does open the debate on how charities need to move on from relying of pushing people into ‘guilt transactions’ as they sit down on a Saturday evening to watch Red Nose Day’s entertainment or other similar programmes.

Effective PR

As with most effective PR, if your campaign can take the audience with you on the journey you secure greater and more long term buy-in.  People believe in, follow and talk about the change they feel needs to be made rather than just reaching for their spare change.  Not dissimilar to the old adage that if you give a man a fish you will feed him for a day, but that if you teach him to fish you will feed him for life.

Digital communications are also playing an increasingly important role.  Just look at the success of campaigns like the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ or Movember which dominated social media for months.  This illustrates what can be achieved by engaging with the audience and taking them with you.

The charity sector is one of the most competitive with each organisation looking to secure their share of money for their worthwhile causes.  Put simply, there are more than 180,000 charities in England and Wales and those that don’t run a planned PR programme will struggle to raise awareness and subsequent funds.

As we’ve seen by recent low budget PR and digital campaigns, deep pockets aren’t essential, but charities do need to play to their strengths and engage with their audiences.  In doing so they can achieve some great successes without having to reply on promoting poverty porn.

DIGITAL PR – SIMPLE STEPS TO BUILD PERFECT SITE

In an increasingly digital world, having a website has never been more important for the emerging brands of today. Whilst the tech-savvy amongst you may already be well-versed with the mechanics of website build, we explore some of the key factors to consider for ensuring that your website is as effective as it can be:

1. Make it accessible

In today’s increasingly fast-paced digital environment, web browsers are looking for quick answers and instant gratification. If your website is clunky and difficult to navigate, a user is quite simply not going to waste their time trying to find out exactly what it is that you offer. Make the message simple and clear from the get-go to grab your reader’s attention. If your message is complex, consider introducing the use of infographics and imagery to make the information more digestible.

2. Make it easy to find

With over 4 billion searches made on Google every single day, it is essential that you consider search engine optimisation (SEO). In layman’s terms, the key to effective SEO is to outline the keywords that you wish your website to be associated with and then to make sure that you are using them effectively throughout the site. A great way to do this is by regularly updating your blog content. This will also show readers that your website is constantly being refreshed and will encourage repeat visits.

3. Optimise for mobile

According to research carried out by TextLocal, 85% of smartphone devices are now used for internet browsing, compared to 72% of laptop devices. This shift in browsing habits means that smartphone optimisation is now one of the foundations for effective website build, as opposed to an afterthought. Where traditionally sites have been optimised for desktop during build, this trend is now changing, and many are now favouring a mobile-first approach in order to enhance the experience for smartphone users.

4. Make it personal

According to research from Accenture (2017), more than one in two consumers (56%) are more likely to shop at a retailer in store or online that recognizes them by name. Capturing customer data on your website provides a fantastic opportunity for personalising the customer experience, from sending birthday wishes through to sending recommendations based on their browsing preferences.

5. Don’t stop improving

Once your web build is complete, the journey doesn’t stop there. Websites need to be constantly monitored and updated in order to perform their very best, and a great tool for helping you to measure this performance is Google Analytics. This tool will breakdown the nitty-gritty details of your site, down to the keyword they used to find you in the first place. GA can work wonders for making those small improvements that will help guarantee that users spend a longer time browsing and engaging with your page.

6. Content is king

If you want your website to appear in the top search engine rankings, content remains king. Google and other search engines will be looking to see what ‘authority’ your site has for the search terms offered. Get the content right, populate with blogs / vlogs and articles that build credibility and authority and secure links to the site. All this helps get the all-important SEO.

If you are thinking about starting a new web project and would like any assistance with the process, then do get in touch with us.

Back to School: What is Marketing?

‘So, what is marketing?’

I wasn’t expecting such a simple question to stump me for what felt like five very long seconds. We were attending the Careers Day at the local Ellesmere College, and we were prepped with a banner and on-brand coloured cupcakes (we know what kids want), ready to speak to students about a career in marketing, PR and communications.

We’re used to dealing with professionals who want to know how digital marketing can work cohesively with traditional PR, or how we can maximise the benefits of influencer partnerships on social media – we’re never asked a simple question which essentially asks, ‘what is that you do, every day?’

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein famously said that “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” We weren’t dealing with six year olds here, we were talking about our industry with curious and intelligent teenagers at a crucial decision-making point in their lives.

As well as being able to help young people as they start to carve the beginnings of their future careers, the afternoon gave us an opportunity to take a step back and go back to basics: what is it that we offer?

After a couple of practice groups of students who feigned a remarkable interest whilst clearly eyeing up the baked goods, I got into the swing of it: we essentially offer a subtle form of advertising.

As opposed to large, in-your-face adverts on the side of the motorway or shoved between TV shows (which of course do have their place), we work with businesses to identify their target audience and, most crucially, understand them. Then we use a whole host of communication lines from news stories, to profiling, to social media in order to influence their audience towards the business. This comes together into a holistic campaign, using every tool we’ve got to ensure that your brand is in front of the right people, saying the right things.

If you’ve got a growing business and thinking of taking your first step into marketing, just get in touch for a laid back chat – you never know, we might even have cake.

CONTENT MARKETING – HOW TO GET YOUR DIGITAL CONTENT JUST RIGHT

Unfortunately too many clients still believe that because they’ve spent hefty amounts on a new website, all will be well and the new business will roll in.  Unfortunately, it’s simply not the case as without quality, optimised and relevant content management – there’s a high chance a potentially fruitful website will wither on the vine.

The good news however is that a growing number of businesses are seeing the benefits of effective content marketing.  Recent statistics show that as many as 91% of B2B and 86% of B2C marketers use content marketing to facilitate business growth.

Although content marketing has been with us for years now it remains an effective way to build brand trust and awareness as well as establish business credentials by simply offering highly relevant information to the right target audience.

However, like other digital marketing methods it has evolved considerably over the past decade, so here we’ve outlined a few pointers as to what works best:

  • Achieve cut through and say something new, different and relevant. There are more than 2 billion blog posts listed every day, so make sure yours cuts through by being original and not ‘me too’.  If you want to be a thought leader, say something new or challenge the status quo.
  • Focus on content that you have the right to comment on – why are you experts and why should people listen to you? Don’t blag it if you don’t know what you’re talking about as that can back-fire, instead focus on an area that your business excels in.
  • Use a quality digital communication agency to provide the right copy and content – if you’re not a writer, get some help so that you can focus on what you do best. Having a nose for a good or interesting story will also help.
  • Work with partners, suppliers and friends.Building back links is a critically important element of SEO and this is a useful tactic to not only receive endorsement but build links.
  • Think how best to share your content. Although building content and links on the page is useful for SEO, if you’ve got something interesting or unusual to say why not cascade through the right social media channels or via an electronic newsletter?
  • Take a longer term view – organic content marketing won’t immediately knock you up the SEO rankings but be specific on key words and in time it will bear fruit.
  • Evaluate and evolve. Has your content achieved any inbound links, has it been shared, have you maximised the opportunity through social media/newsletters, what’s the feedback / comments, can you place the piece editorially?

As with all digital marketing campaigns, it’s important to test, evaluate, improve and evolve.  Remember to take a long-term view that’s measured against specific goals and objectives as this always delivers the best results.

If you’re looking for a reliable digital agency in Chester that uses modern content marketing strategies, contact us and let us show you what we can do.

The Remarkable Evolution of Instagram

Since its inception in 2010, Instagram has been quietly picking up traction thanks to its attractive scroll of infinite new content – not to mention the rapidly improving photo quality on iPhones. From carefully staged selfies to artistically arranged flat lays, the platform has quickly established itself as the top social platform for engagement. Read more

Make Your Brand Stand Out From The Crowd

If the phrase ‘we’ve updated our privacy policy’ sends a shiver down your spine, don’t worry – you’re not alone. The recent changes in GDPR laws have left few untouched by consent forms and promises of the sacred nature of personal data collection. But we’re not here to talk about the value of an opted-in database (worthy of a whole other post of its own, with our client Textlocal finding that 54% of opted-in SMS users will respond to a business text), but rather about the panic that ensued as the 25th May approached – and how this can harm your brand.

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‘The Source’ of 2017’s Success

The Christmas and New Year break was over before we knew it, and now 2018 is in full swing. To beat the ‘January Blues’, here at The Source we’re keeping positive by reminiscing about the finest moments of last year. 2017 was filled with incredible cultural moments, from that ‘oops’ moment at the Oscars (how will we ever forget the Moonlight and La La Land mix up?!) to the recent royal engagement, but away from all the crazy going-ons of the outside world, nestled in the quaint village of Tattenhall, we had quite the year ourselves. From team expansions, to new clients, awards and of course, a rebrand! In case you missed any of our highlights from the past year, we thought we’d share them with you here.

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