New PR and Marketing Intern

We have a new PR and marketing intern at Nellie PR and it’s me – Sam Hayes.

I’m following in good footsteps.  Other interns at Nellie PR have included Hollie-Anne Brooks and Luke Bristow who both blogged about their experiences back in the day: journalist turns PR intern and PR agency appoints PR intern and have gone on to do great things. Nellie PR also pays all its interns and champions better internships that are accessible to all so another big thumbs up from me.

So, I’m really excited to take on the challenge of being Nellie PR’s new intern. It’s a great opportunity to dive into the deep end and explore what PR and marketing are all about and gain some real-life business experience, and absolutely fabulous PR and marketing skills.

My enthusiasm and drive to learn as much as I can over my next year or so here puts me in a good place to take on any challenge that will come my way.  I’ve worked with a wide variety of teams and people throughout my work as a waitress and maths tutor, which I now hope to expand even further through my work for Nellie PR (but without having to make so many lattes or dealing with too many quadratic formulas).

Originally I come from just outside London, so the view of the gorgeous Devon coastline from our office in Teignmouth is a refreshing change. I’m currently in my second year of reading History at the University of Exeter. Off campus, I am learning (or attempting to learn…most of my time is spent falling flat on my face) how to wakeboard. My main off-campus focus, however, is hopefully to get to know all the lovely Nellie PR clients and contribute blog posts, interviews and much more to Nellie PR.

I am hoping that working for Nellie PR and consequently a whole host of different companies and projects, that I will gain a wide variety of skills that will set me up for a long career in public relations after university. One of my first and ongoing jobs is to run our social media accounts, so hopefully your timelines and newsfeeds will be full of Nellie PR news, updates and events soon enough. Please follow @nelliepr on Twitter to keep up to date on my work and efforts here at Nellie PR.

FINAL CREDITS

Image sourced from Unsplash.

Wakeboarding photo supplied by Sam.

 

Sam Hayes

Intern at Nellie PR

New Devon Office for Nellie PR

Teignmouth Pavilions

We have a new home – Nellie PR has opened an office at The Pavilions in Teignmouth and it is very much the start of a love affair with our new seaside business home.  Yes, we have a sea view :-)

So with this love affair well and truly underway, expect a regular We Love Teignmouth feature starting now – five things you might not know about Teignmouth.

  1. Let’s start with Muse. Matthew Bellamy, Christopher Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard all come from this quaint seaside town and all went to school at Teignmouth Community College. Their song Falling Down is even apparently based on their teenage years in Teignmouth. Keep an eye out for them popping back home every now and again.
  2. Donald Crowhurt, the British businessman and amateur sailor, set off on the Sunday Times Golden Globe yacht race from right here in Teignmouth in 1968. Crowhurt aimed to sail around the world single-handedly but infamously Crowhurt’s boat, the Teignmouth Electron, was found adrift and empty in 1969
  3. The Mercy, the biopic based on Donald Crowhurt was filmed in Teignmouth starring Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz.  Can’t wait for this film to come out (expected 27th October 2017).  Our only regret is that we didn’t move into our office in time to watching filming.
  4. Teignmouth was the last seaside town in England to have been invaded by a foreign army. Prior to this, Teignmouth has been the subject of many invasions by Saxons and Celts who fought a battle on the Ness, the Danes and the French, twice! In 1690 a French invasion even led to the destruction of a lot of the town
  5. The port of Teignmouth is perhaps more active today than it’s ever been! 200 year old ball and fire clays are mined from the lower Teign valley and are then shipped to countries from Finland to Italy.

Want know more, just give us a call at our Teignmouth office.

FINAL CREDITS

Image sourced from Pavilions Teignmouth.

Sam Hayes

Intern at Nellie PR

New Year Business Resolutions

New Year Business Resolutions
I don’t believe in New Year resolutions – business revolutions are more my thing and at any time of the year. It just so happens that the best time of the year for me is now. Why?

The Power of Time Off

I’ve taken some time out thanks to maternity leave and have come back with a renewed passion and excitement for my business, for me and the people I work with and the work that I do. The sun is shining (right now) and Nellie PR will be celebrating its 10th year anniversary next year so I’m giving myself a rare pat on the back for getting this far and writing down my New Year business revolutions.

And, with all revolutions, I’m breaking the rules – not setting specifics goals – I’m just writing my wishlist down to keep me on track. Here goes – these are the changes I want to make.

The Business Wishlist

  • Write, just write more. I’d forgotten the joy in writing, writing for yourself, for and about your own business and sharing your knowledge. My goal is to write (at least) a weekly blog post providing PR tips and advice, and share the ups and downs of my business as I grow. I also want to set up my own personal blog
  • Become Watertight. A few years ago I was on the first cohort of the Watertight Marketing masterclass aimed at putting a watertight marketing plan into action to grow your business. It took me a while to get going but I’m finally on it. I’m fixing my leaks, finished my marketing plan and back out there, marketing again, growing my business
  • A new name. Nellie PR was named after my mum. Not the rapper, not the singer and most certainly not the elephant. Whilst I don’t think it has lost me business, I don’t think has done me any favours either and doesn’t really reflect what I do
  • Buy some great stationery, organiser and a pen. I going to buy this bright pink Filofax. The Filofax is Made in England so I can support our manufacturing industry while at the same time indulging in my love for a to do list, pretty paper and the magic of good-looking stationery. I’ve also got my eye out on a new fountain pen. I’m really fussy on the pen front so this could take a while, but I’m going to make a conscious effort to write down my ideas. A decent office chair (good on the old back) is also on my shopping list and being brave enough to take my fitball with me when I’m hot-desking
  • Get a view. I ditched the office a while ago. It is amazing what a difference a great space can do to motivate and inspire you to produce better work and be more creative. I want to seek out more creative places to work like Unit Seven with its fabulous harbour view, and sort out a new home office
  • Exercise more. This business girl can and will commit to exercising more, at least three times a week. Not only is it good for my health and figure, it also makes great business sense. You’ll be surprised how many ideas you come up in while busting your aqua fit moves to the Ace of Spades
  • Sort out my image. When I look at the Nellie PR website I shudder – it doesn’t reflect what we do and doesn’t look good. I’m building a new brand. A new website is just one part of it and you’ll be getting a sneak preview soon. When you look good, you feel good, and I’m definitely going to sort out great images to go with my blog posts
  • Offer more. I’ve been asked time and time again to provide training, to run workshops, to help businesses and business people do their own PR. No more excuses, I’ve got out there and been doing it, and I’m busy working on a range of PR and content workshops. Hope to tell you about these very soon
  • Don’t do it alone. I’ve expanded and taken on a small team of content writers and a PR consultant, and looking for more talent to join our team. I want to collaborate, share and get out more, build a stronger network and start up my own regular event
  • Stop waiting for the right time. In making these revolutions, I realised it doesn’t have to be perfect and I don’t have to wait until everything is ready. Just writing my wishlist is enough, enough to start doing, to start making changes
  • Take time out, regularly…

How about You?

Over to you – are you making changes, setting up new business goals? Don’t wait till the New Year – I would love to hear from you right now. Come on drop me a line, tweet me a tweet, pick up the phone, and share your New Year revolutions with me.

FINAL CREDITS

Photo by Lauren Peng @Unsplash

Ellen Carroll

Ellen Carroll is a strategic PR and communication consultant. I provide PR training, mentoring and consultancy to help people and businesses to step out of the shadows with #PRthatPAYS

Find me on: Web | Twitter

How to Write a PR Brief

Looking for a new Public Relations agency? A PR brief is key to finding a good match.

In my time at the PR coalface, I’ve managed numerous PR agencies and been on the receiving end of countless PR briefs – the good, the bad, and the downright shameless i.e. expecting a marathon hoop-jumping exercise and the most over-ambitious of requirements in return for the tiniest of budgets. I’ve also written my fair share of briefs and what follows is my handy checklist – whether you are appointing your first-ever PR agency or freelancer or seeking a new agency to replace your incumbent.

Choosing a PR agency is always nerve-racking experience – mainly due to your fears of appointing the wrong one. That’s why getting your PR brief in order is so important – it reduces that ‘poor choice’ risk and means that you are more likely to find a good match for you and your business.

A good PR brief should challenge and inspire people to want to work with you and do a great job. It should also act as a deterrent, putting off the wrong people for the job.

In terms of the basics, try and limit your brief to a maximum of three pages, invite responses from at least five agencies, and select three of the best to meet you and present their recommendations. Always give feedback and enjoy a great relationship with the people you choose. People always work at their best and their hardest for the people and businesses they like.

Checklist – What to Include in your PR Brief:

Your Brief

A summary of your brief and requirements – you’ll go into more detail later in your brief, but don’t be afraid to sell yourself, especially if you are a start-up or an unknown name. If you are passionate about your business and what you want to achieve, your brief should illustrate that and help encourage the passion and talent of the best PR people to take up the challenge of responding to your brief. You want them to want to work with you.

Background

In this section, you should provide some background information about your company, team, target audiences, key products or service, and your core focus. It is also useful to note some of your competitors and whether, for example, you’ve used a PR agency before. You can refer people to website links for more information.

Objectives

List what you want to achieve – your overall objective and aims.

Don’t be afraid to say what is on your ultimate wish list or what success would look like to you. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Or, in the words of Nora Roberts: “If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”

Requirements & Measurement

Actual specifics in terms of deliverables – the measurable outcomes you want to achieve. You can also use this section to include the remit i.e. UK-only focus, 12-month campaign, tactics you want including such as social media management.

How the PR agency will be able to demonstrate return on investment will be core moving forward, so outline how the success of the campaign will be measured, and list your key performance indicators (KPIs) such as specifics on deliverables and outcomes i.e. on share of voice, number of leads generated etc.

Budget

Always include details of your maximum budget. Even if it’s a ballpark or sliding scale, the inclusion of a budget will ensure that the responses to your brief are on target. The inclusion of a budget will also help exclude those agencies that ‘don’t get out of bed for less.’

The Process and Timetable

It is always useful to include a timetable of what happens when. For example, when the pitch interview and presentation will take place, and the end date for receiving initial responses. Let the agency know how many agencies you will be inviting to pitch and limit this to a maximum of three. Any more than this – a lot of agencies won’t be willing to take part.

Expectations

Be very clear on your expectations for pitch the process and the next steps.

For example, confirm that you require the presentation to be carried out by the people/person who would be working on the account. Some agencies, unfortunately, bring out their best people to wow you at the presentation stage, only to leave the business lumbered with an inexperienced junior.

I always also recommend that you ask for testimonials and contact details for their clients you can speak to.

Confidentiality and Any Other Business

In this section you can add in important clauses such as confidentiality.

In order to understand your business better, some agencies will want to talk to some of your customers and key media and to ensure they get a better feel for your business and what you need to achieve. Be very clear if you DON’T want this to happen.

Contact Details

Stating the obvious here, but include your details so the PR agency has a point of contact to get further information and knows who they can speak to as part of their research.

Need to Know More?

Hope you’ve found my checklist on how to write a PR brief useful. If you want to know more, or require a little extra help, please give me a shout. If it’s writing a marketing brief you want help with, check out this blog post on how to write a marketing brief by our friends at Watertight Marketing.

Finally, some tips from those in the know on what you should include in your PR brief:

Daljit Bhurji from Diffusion: “Be crystal clear on your maximum budget and set very clear measurable KPIs for your prospective agency.”

Patrick Smith at Joshua PR: “Be honest about your real requirements.”

Bryony Thomas, Watertight Marketing: “Why people would be interested.”

FINAL CREDITS 

Photo by Dustin Lee at Unsplash

If you would like support in selecting a PR agency, please contact us.

Ellen Carroll

Ellen Carroll is a strategic PR and communication consultant. I provide PR training, mentoring and consultancy to help people and businesses to step out of the shadows with #PRthatPAYS

Find me on: Web | Twitter

Top 10 Tips for Writing Better Case Studies

Writing Case Studies

The value of writing case studies should never be underestimated. They are one of the best ways in which you can bring to life the work you’ve done for your customers. And, in business, there is no better endorsement than the one coming from a real-life person, your customer, in their own words.

Yet, case studies (especially in B2B) can often be dull, too product-focused and basically not fit for purpose. That’s why I’ve pulled together my top 10 tips for writing case studies. You know, the kind of case studies that deliver real commercial value and resonate with your customers and prospects.

1: Purpose 

Before writing your case study, think about why? What is its purpose? How will it be used? Where will it be used? By simply being clear at the onset of the who, what, why, when and where, you’re already well on your way to ensuring that your case study focuses on what’s important.

2: Make it easy

People are busy and don’t generally have the time or inclination to fill out a wordy questionnaire so that you can then draft up a case study. Make it easy for them by doing all the donkey work and illustrate how quick and easy the process will be for them.

By interviewing the customer you’ll both also get more out of the experience. Talking directly to your customer also presents a fantastic opportunity to get to know them better and understand the issues and challenges that they are facing – perhaps you’ll uncover how you can help them more or get them interested in doing something else such as joint webinar with you.

3: Be prepared

Before speaking to the customer, speak to the person within your organisation closest to them so you are aware of any potential issues and understand the relationship and the details of the product/service they are using. That way you’ll be able to ask the right questions and be at your most professional.

There is nothing worse than calling a customer expecting positive feedback to be met with a barrage of complaints. If this ever is the case, make sure you handle it well and ensure any complaint is followed-up and resolved.

4: Questions to ask

Our handy PDF template will act as a guide to the kind of questions you should be asking. Although the questions are B2B-focused, and might not all be relevant, you can adapt for your own use.

Where possible, try and get actual facts and figures – real proof points that illustrate the impact of the work you have delivered. Remember, if your prospects recognise themselves, the issues they are facing, and are impressed by the results, they are more likely to pick up the phone to you for help rather than your competitors.

5: Structure

If you check out our case studies and you’ll see they follow the same structure:

  • Headline – to get attention and make people want to read on
  • Quotes – really highlight a great customer quote
  • Headline results – bring out the most powerful results so that people even scanning the case study pick up key benefits of using you
  • The challenge – where you illustrate what the problem or business issue was. Make it recognisable to others
  • What we did – how you addressed and answered the customer’s business issue
  • Results – where you can go into more detail regarding the results of the work
  • Want to know more – don’t forget your call to action so that people know who they should contact
  • Credits – where you can add in extra detail regarding the client.

You should highlight the customer name prominently and use a logo to draw the attention of the reader to the ‘name’ and industry, for example. Imagery also helps to showcase results.

6: Readability

Skip the jargon and make the case study as readable and understandable as possible. Bulletpoints, headings, bold text, and imagery will all add to the case study’s readability, especially online where it is most likely to be scanned.

A photo of the person quoted will also add to the credibility of the case study.

7: Re-purpose

Think where else you can you use your case study, the different audiences, and formats they prefer.

Here’s some ideas to get you started:

  • Video case study
  • Standalone quote for LinkedIn
  • Website
  • Infographic
  • Shared on social media
  • PDF download and hand-out
  • Mailout to prospects and to current customers to aid loyalty
  • Blog post
  • Press release
  • Quote for an article or joint media comment/interview
  • Record your interviews (with permission) and use tool like Rev so you can edit interviews afterwards and use the content in lots of different ways.

8: Permission

No case study should be used until it has full customer permission. Always get your case study checked internally by the customer contact, and signed off in writing by the customer – letting them know where and when it will be used. Send them a final copy for their records, and don’t forget to thank them.

 9: Feedback

Try and encourage the people using the case studies, for example, your salespeople, to let you know how they are using them and when they have worked. For example, have they helped them to secure a sale? When your case study is used in a marketing campaign, measure its success. The more you can understand the benefit of the case studies, the more likely you and your business will commit to doing more and build them into your long-term content, PR and marketing strategy.

10: Encourage

Lastly, don’t let your case study be a one-hit wonder. Encourage and incentive your sales people and the people closest to your customers to share with you details of any clients that would make great case studies.

Be selective, and focus on quality, not quantity.

Good luck.

If you’ve found this advice useful, and even acted upon it, please let me know.

If you need help with your case studies, take a look at the copywriting support I provide.

UPDATE

In many industries, getting permission for case studies can be extremely difficult.  But before you throw in the towel, here are some ideas that you might want to give a go first.

  • Look at options to just get permission to (at least) have a logo on your site – great for credibility
  • Do group case studies based on client feedback/satisfaction surveys or interview a group of customers with anonymous results
  • Look to alternatives to case studies or ways to collaborate – inviting your clients to submit a guest blog, contribute to a press article or be a guest on one of your webinars focusing on a particular issue that will also benefit the client in terms of their own PR
  • Be less rigid in your case study structure i.e. if a customer voluntarily provides positive feedback by email, social media etc. ask if you can use their comments
  • Ask new customers questions so you can then go back to them to see the difference after so many months – asking permission to use the feedback in an anonymous case study
  • What about personal recommendations via LinkedIn?
  • Let me know if you have any more tips I can add.

If you need help with your case studies, take a look at the copywriting support I provide.

Contact Nellie PR for more information, and for a free, no-strings consult consultation, book a call with me.

Ellen Carroll

Ellen Carroll is a strategic PR and communication consultant. I provide PR training, mentoring and consultancy to help people and businesses to step out of the shadows with #PRthatPAYS

Find me on: Web | Twitter