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Grow your business this autumn with a little helping hand from PR!

31 July 2017 at 14:46

September marks a period of change. New season, new school year…new strategy?

 

That’s right, in business the month of September provides the perfect opportunity to review your business development strategy - assess what has or hasn’t worked over the previous eight months and implement vital changes to meet your sales targets for the close of the year.

 

PR plays a vital role here - where the development of creative campaigns can increase awareness of your brand and aid product or service conversions. Interested in finding out more? Here’s 4 ways PR can help you achieve your year-end goals this Autumn:

 

Engage with target audiences

Modern day PR is far more than creative ideas and press releases – it’s about engaging with target audiences by integrating with the wider digital marketing mix. Got an engaging news story? Modern day PR will reach out to your target audience via well-written content distributed across key online channels, from well-researched media outlets to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

Reach potential clients

You could have the best product or service in the World, but if no-one knows it exists, it serves very little purpose! An effective PR strategy will work hard to identify and reach your target audiences, promoting your key product or services through genius ideas that increase brand awareness across multiple channels.

 

Improve your position on Google

Since Google changed its algorithm in 2013, fresh and engaging content has played a significant role in where your website positions in the SERPs [Search Engine Results Pages]. Why? Google endeavour to provide the best possible answer to each and every search query, which means the better the content, the better your response will be.

 

A key part of every effective PR strategy is creating engaging content – from blogs for your website right through to case studies and comment pieces. All help with the SEO effort, particularly secured backlinks from authoritative media outlets to your website.

 

Get ahead for Christmas

Yes, that’s right – we said the C word. But in the World of PR, planning for seasonal or relevant events plays a big part in what we do. From teaser campaigns to new product launches, PR is vital for supporting key developments in your business, driving increased sales to benefit your bottom line by year end.

 

Interested in finding out more about how PR can aid business growth? Contact a member of the Trailblazer PR team at info.pr@trailblazerpr.com

Tags: PR | Content Marketing | PR Strategy | Business Development

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Top PR Tips for Business Start-ups…

09 July 2017 at 21:16

Starting a business is tough. Fact. Particularly when your consider that nearly 80% of businesses fail within the first two years alone. Another fact. 

 

A common demoninator is that many start-ups fail to harness the true power of PR and Marketing for business growth, with the majority unable to afford professional support. The good news? Initial PR, such as announcing the launch of your business, needn’t be rocket science and can initially done in-house until you’re in a position to recruit an agency to work on your behalf.  

 

With that in mind, Trailblazer PR has pulled together our top 5 PR tips for business start-ups:

 

Reach out to your target media

 

Whether you want to engage with your local community or reach potential customers, the media is one sure fire way of doing so. The problem? Not many Business Owners know the art of media engagement. PR skillset aside, it’s just an initial case of picking up the phone, introducing your business, and taking the time to understand what they want and are looking for in business related news stories. That said, what are you waiting for?

 

Remember the ‘So What?’ rule

 

When putting together any press release it’s vital to remember the ‘So What?’ rule… Think about it, what’s going to be more engaging for readers? The fact your business has turned over £1 million in just 6 months or the fact you have a new special offer for the summer? The ‘So What’ rule helps you decipher between newsworthy content, ensuring that every time you contact a member of your media list, you are doing so with a news story that both they and their readers are going to want to read and engage with. 

 

Think Digital

 

Modern day PR is far more than just calculating newspaper inches… In fact, PR plays an integral role to the wider marketing mix, supporting SEO and Content Marketing strategies. Small things like requesting a follow link back to your website from any online coverage, or sharing your content on social media to increase engagement and website traffic are excellent starting points! 

 

Goals and Objectives

 

With any PR strategy it’s important to have a clear set of goals and objectives from the outset, which are both short term and long term. Some excellent examples include increased website traffic, increased sales, increased conversions or enquiries. It might be your PR effort is just focused on the launch of a particular product or service – if so, create KPIs around these specific sales efforts. Creating clear goals will enable you to really measure the success of your PR strategy, and help you evaluate what has or hasn’t worked moving forwards. 

 

Be Innovative

 

Finally, remember that PR can be creative, it can be daring and it can be exciting! More often than not, the PR campaigns that move outside the box are those that are most shared and talked about - reflecting positively on your business!

 

If you are interested in putting together your own PR strategy but could do with a helping hand, please contact a member of the Trailblazer PR team for a non-obligatory chat at pr.info@trailblazerpr.com or call the office directly on 01453 887777.

Tags: PR | PR Tips | Business Start-ups | Start-up advice

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Top Challenges Faced by the Modern-Day PR

24 May 2017 at 17:05

Here at Trailblazer PR, we work hard to keep pace with the latest trends and industry developments, boasting an excellent understanding of how PR plays a pivotal role in the ever-increasing digital marketing mix.

From supporting SEO through the creation of effective content, to driving web traffic through social media - PR is now at the centre of increasing brand awareness online – leaving the days of posting [yes posting!] press releases and measuring column inches as distant memories.

But with change comes challenges, and in modern-day PR there are certainly a fair few – with our top three as follows:

 

Less Time to Manage a Crisis

PR firms have always been the ‘go-to’ for crisis communications strategies – helping clients plan for every eventuality ahead of time, in aim to minimise risk and potential damage to a brand’s credibility.

With the explosion of digital platforms and need to be connected 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, brands now have minimal time to react effectively in a crisis, particularly when social media comes into play.

How do we overcome this? Trailblazer PR creates Crisis Communications plans that are now more sophisticated and air-tight than ever before, putting into place key responsibilities, actions and comms strategies that all teams members are aware of, and more importantly, on board with. What’s more, we’re always at the end of the phone when you need us.

 

Multiple Channels, Many Choices

Reaching your target audience used to be a lot simpler, with only three main media sources to choose from: TV, Radio or Press. Today PR’s weigh up multiple social media platforms, email marketing, SMS messaging, direct marketing and online and print media.

The good news? There are now more ways than ever before to reach and engage with target audiences, with accessible data revealing key target audience demographics. The challenge lies in creating an integrated PR and marketing strategy that utilises the right channels, guarantees increased engagement and ensures an excellent ROI.

Here at Trailblazer PR we excel in the above, taking the time to work closely with our clients to understand their goals, objectives and target audiences - incorporating our findings into a long term PR strategy that delivers real results!

 

Time for Training?

Continued Professional Development is key for all modern day PRs. From understanding how you could utilise Snapchat, to finding new and innovative ways to target and engage with the media. The main challenge? PR is an extremely busy and fast-paced industry sector, and for many, the idea of taking time out to undertake training and development is a simply a no no.

The solution? Here at Trailblazer PR, we set aside dates at the beginning of each year to dedicate to training and development, where we spend time developing our skills and understanding in new industry and digital trends.

 

Interested in finding out how Trailblazer PR can help increase your brand awareness? Contact us today at pr.info@trailblazerpr.com or call the office directly on 01453 887777.

 

 

 

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Trailblazer PR celebrates 13th anniversary in winning style

27 April 2017 at 14:50

Trailblazer PR, has celebrated its 13th anniversary in winning style, after securing a new contract with local management consultancy, Applied Change.

 

Dedicated to delivering business and IT enabled change across a range of industry sectors, Applied Change initially approached Trailblazer PR to assist with its PR outreach.

 

After an initial review, the Trailblazer PR team identified additional areas in which the management consultancy needed to adapt its marketing before a clear PR strategy could be implemented, and has since worked with experts in SEO, design and photography to overhaul the firm’s website and marketing assets.

 

The Trailblazer PR team, led by Managing Director, Sabrina Pace-Humphreys, have now created an innovative and exciting PR strategy due to be implemented for the change management specialists in the coming weeks.

 

Mark Vincent, Managing Director of Applied Change, said: “Trailblazer PR are an innovative and dynamic PR consultancy that have ironically implemented exciting change in our PR and Marketing. I now cannot wait to see what 2017 brings and am confident that they will deliver excellent results.”

 

Trailblazer PR was founded by Managing Director, Sabrina Pace-Humphreys, in March 2004, and since this time has established an excellent reputation as one of Gloucestershire’s leading PR firms, having worked with clients across a range of industry sectors and on both a local and national scale.

 

Sabrina added: “I am extremely excited about Trailblazer’s new working relationship with Applied Change, and feel that our innovative PR strategy will really help support the firm’s long term business objectives and deliver excellent results.”

 

“Over the past 13 years, the Trailblazer PR team and I have worked extremely hard to secure long-term working relationships and deliver impressive results for all clients. Securing a new contract is certainly the best way to celebrate 13 successful years in business - particularly with a firm as exciting as Applied Change!”

 

ENDS

 

Interested in finding out how Trailblazer PR can increase your brand awareness? Contact a member of the team today at pr.info@trailblazerpr.com

Tags: PR | SEO | Content Marketing | PR Strategy | SEO Strategy

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Three alternative Easter PR Campaigns worth a mention

26 April 2017 at 11:36

We’ve waved goodbye to the glorious four day weekend, and mountains of chocolate eggs - and here at Trailblazer PR we’re reminiscing over the most alternative Easter PR Campaigns, with our top 3 as follows:

 

Move over chocolate, hello cheese

It received mass press coverage and divided opinion across the country – that’s right, we’re talking about the 'Cheester Egg', created by food blogger Annem Hobson. His newest creation follows his #CheeseNotChoc Christmas advent calendar, which received overwhelming support from cheese loves across the country.

Top PR points for innovation, whilst showing some real personality behind his creation through behind the scenes video content and social media presence.

 

Is it a bird? A plane?

…No it’s a levitating chocolate egg of course! And this one by Hotel Choclat weighs an impressive 19.5kg. The purpose of this Easter campaign – to create a buzz around Hotel Chocolat and raise awareness of its innovative approach in the realms of chocolate.

Top PR points for the element of surprise, by strategically positioning the egg at different landmarks across the UK.

 

Cadburys

Easter wouldn’t be Easter without a bit of Cadburys, particularly when you consider the fact Birmingham’s Cadburys Factory produces a whopping 1.5 million Crème Eggs per day – that’s right, per DAY!

And this year, Cadburys didn’t disappoint, teaming up with the National Trust and National Trust for Scotland to encourage families to participate in the Great British Egg Hunt. The best bit? Each Egg Hunt was personalised to each individual National Trust location, with the funds raised from each event utilised to help conserve each National Trust location.

Top PR points for Corporate Social Responsibility [CSR] and handling of crisis comms when faced with criticism over not including the word ‘Easter’ in its marketing message.

 

 Inspired to be more creative with your messaging and branding? Trailblazer PR specialises in creative innovative PR campaigns that directly engage with your target audience and drive real results. Contact us today at pr.info@trailblazerpr.com for more information and to arrange a non-obligatory chat. 

Tags: Easter 2017 | Easter PR | Top PR Campaigns

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How Social is your business?

22 March 2017 at 13:14

By the end of 2016, Facebook confirmed 1.86 billion monthly active users, Twitter 300 million and Instagram 400 million plus.

 

We now live in a World where smart phone users pick up their devices on average of 76 times per day – with the highest engagement being on social media. This usage has been increasing year on year since Facebook was first founded in 2004, and today we have access to more user demographic data than ever before.

 

These stats won’t come as a surprise - but what does, is the number of businesses who still struggle with their social media strategy, and the ways social media platforms can really be utilised to increase online sales.

 

With that said, here are Five key, current things every business should consider when updating their social media strategy:

 

Brand Ambassadors

 

How do your team members present themselves on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter? Are their BIO’s consistent and do they use team headshots and branded cover images? Positioning key team members as your social Brand Ambassadors shows both existing and potential customers that your staff are proud to represent your business, and are available online to engage with customers as and when required.

 

Personality behind the brand

 

Remember the saying ‘People buy from people’? Social media provides the opportunity to do just that, by showcasing the people behind your brand, and increasing engagement through personality.

 

What do you think will get more likes and engagement? An image of your new product or a short video of one of your team members introducing the new product and showcasing its USPs? People naturally migrate to people – and showing your team as approachable will organically encourage social engagement and resulting sales. Apps like Twitter’s Periscope are great for things like this.

 

Different channels – different target audiences

 

Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook… With so many social media channels available, it’s difficult to know which ones to use to engage with your target audiences.

 

Here at Trailblazer PR, we generally advise our clients to pick three and create a strong strategy around each of them. Although replicating your posts across each can seem like the right thing to do, it is important to think about whether the content in hand is relevant to the audience on each platform. For example, a snapshot of your team enjoying a night out on Instagram, probably won’t be as well received on LinkedIn. It’s also important to note different age demographics for different platforms. For example, Instagram and Snapchat have a younger demographic audience when compared to Facebook and Twitter.

 

Social Media Advertising

 

With 67% of internet users now clicking the Google ad over organic search results, the use of Google’s PPC platform has become increasingly expensive, and for many small businesses unaffordable. The good news? Social Media advertising is extremely cost-effective in comparison, and when implemented correctly can fetch an excellent return on investment. Facebook in particular boasts an impressive advertising platform, with targeting tools such as ‘Look-alike audiences’ for maximum impact.

 

Video

 

It’s no secret that video is booming! In fact, over one third of all online activity is currently spent watching video – with the average internet user exposed to 32 videos in a 1 month period. For some businesses, it can be difficult to know how to utilise video effectively in order to increase engagement.

 

From showcasing products or services to offering top tips for others operating within your industry sector – video has the potential to really transform your social media, whilst driving new customers to your business. The only downfall is that it will take time to create, but the return is likely to be well worth it.

 

Interested in finding out more about how an effective social media strategy can support your business growth? Contact a member of the Trailblazer PR team today at info.pr@trailblazerpr.com  

Tags: Social Media Management | PR | Social Media Cheltenham | PR Agency Cheltenham

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PR and SEO ... The need to know!

21 February 2017 at 13:50

Ever heard the phrase ‘Content is King’? Aside from dominating the world of SEO, the importance of content has also transformed the PR and Marketing sectors in recent years - particularly, in how PR and SEO work together.

 

Once upon a time SEO was about sourcing as many back links as possible to your website – where Google believed that the more links a website had, the more authoritative it was. But it wasn’t long until search engines started to really understand how individuals use the internet, and focused more on improving user experience by providing the best possible results for their search term or query.

 

This is where content comes into play. The better, the more unique and the more relevant your content is, the more it will be valued by Google – whether that’s content hosted on a third-party site with a backlink - or unique, engaging and fresh content regularly uploaded to your own company news or blog page.

 

So, with that in mind, how do PR and SEO work together? And what do you need to consider in the world of SEO when creating a new PR strategy? Trailblazer PR explores:

 

Improve Content

 

As you may have already guessed, content plays an imperative part in every PR strategy. From updating your own website with fresh content on a regular basis, to creating ‘guest articles’ for relevant media sites – well-written content really is King. But how can you make it more ‘SEO friendly’?

 

First off, avoid duplication and keep your content unique – no matter how tempting it is to regurgitate old articles. Secondly, avoid ‘keyword stuffing’ and ensure any mentions of relevant search terms are implemented organically. Where relevant include internal and external links within your blog content – where linking to content within your own website will help to build relevance between pages, linking to external content hosted on authoritative sites will help support your website’s position within the SERPs [Search Engine Results Pages].

 

Finally, work hard to secure guest articles or comment pieces on relevant third party media sites likely to have high traffic volumes - and for the icing on the cake, ensure they include a ‘follow’ link back to your website in return.

 

What can you change onsite?

 

Gone are the days when PR was deemed ‘unmeasurable’, so long as you create a Google Analytics account. Aside from showing you how many website visitors you received and in what time period, Google Analytics will also detail how web users got to your site and what pages they viewed – so you will know exactly how successful online press coverage can be in driving website traffic and securing new sales or enquiries.

 

Prior to implementing Google Analytics, make sure you take the time to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. Websites lacking in content, effective meta titles, an organic use of key search terms, and broken internal links, for example, will really struggle in the SERPs.

 

SEO aside, it’s important to remember that your website is like your shop window – you want target audiences to land on your page after reading or seeing something exciting about your brand and continue this level of engagement as they scrawl right through to your conversion point. If your website isn’t up to scratch, potential customers will quickly click off, and straight on to your competitors.

 

Don’t forget Social

 

Does your social media strategy integrate with your PR? As it certainly should. In fact, Social Media works brilliantly with both PR and SEO, but not so much as a direct support for your search engine rankings, but more as a tool to increase brand awareness, build your reputation and drive new traffic to your website.

 

Key things to remember here are ensuring you include links with your posts, and that you share useful and engaging content in different rich media formats – from video to infographics.

 

There’s no quick fix

 

Both PR and SEO take time to deliver results. Neither offer an overnight solution, but both can be extremely effective for increasing your brand awareness and achieving your business objectives for the long term.

 

Interested in finding out more? Contact the Trailblazer PR team today at pr.info@trailblazerpr.com or call 01453 887777. 

Tags: PR | SEO | Content Marketing | PR Strategy | SEO Strategy

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Gunning for Business Growth in 2017? ... You need PR!

23 January 2017 at 10:34

We all start the New Year bright eyed and bushy tailed with intentions of exceeding our business goals and objectives. But like all New Year’s resolutions, the reality is often far from our initial intention. 

 

PR is often overlooked by many business owners, particularly with the growing digital landscape. However, what is often misunderstood, is how integral PR is to this developing digital mix, and therefore, for the growth and success of your business. 

 

That said, here’s five reasons why you should consider PR in 2017 if you’re gunning for business growth: 

 

  1. PR and SEO, it’s a match made in heaven: We all want to be at the top of Google, right? Well one sure fire way of supporting any SEO strategy [and every digital marketer will confirm] is through PR. You see, in the World of SEO content is king, and content is what is required to boost your website to the top of the Search Engine Results Pages [SERPs]. PR plays an integral role here, in that it is our job to write, pitch and secure coverage for well-written and engaging content about your business, on media and other third party sites that will be read and seen by your target audience. Voila!

 

  1. With PR comes creativity: Let’s face it, PR’s are renowned for coming up with those genius ideas that start the latest trends on Twitter and increase consumer engagement. Want your business to be seen in a new and exciting light? Let us come up with the creative and you can reap the rewards. 

 

  1. Alas! PR IS Measurable: There’s a common myth that circulates the world of business in that PR is not measurable, which means it is often difficult to quantify the PR spend. Well, thanks to platforms like Google Analytics and social media insights, PR has never been more measurable. Looking to increase web traffic, social media followers or online sales? A well-planned and integrated PR strategy can definitely help!

 

  1. Boost Brand Awareness: Want more customers to buy your product or choose your service over your competitors? One thing PR is great for, is boosting your brand awareness! Whether engaging with key media and digital outlets or working on a targeted PR campaign, we will ensure more members of your target audience have heard, seen and read about you and your business.

 

  1. Listen to the words of the wise: Bill Gates and Richard Branson have far more in common than just their entrepreneurial capability – they believe in the power of PR and the role it can play in securing business success: 

 

Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.” Richard Branson

If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” Bill Gates

For more information on how PR can support your business objectives in 2017, please contact Trailblazer PR at pr.info@trailblazerpr.com or call the office directly on 01435 887 777.

Tags: Business Growth

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Is it time to start moving in Google+ circles?

27 June 2013 at 22:36

When we discuss social media with clients and contacts, some of them mention having a Google+ account, but no one really uses it for social interactions.

The consensus seems to be that the ‘circles’ concept is just a bit too complex. And besides, as far as social media goes, it’s a bit of a ghost town. Why spend the time getting to grips with it if there’s nobody there?

Google muscle

However, the mighty Google engine is not easily deterred. It is getting increasingly difficult to access popular platforms such as YouTube without an account. And the rise of AuthorRank is likely to persuade many professionals to give those circles a second look.

It seems that change could be on the horizon. Word on the street is that weaving Google+ into your social mix is becoming increasingly important – especially in a B2B context.

Google+ advice

If you want to find out more about the potential of Google+ for your business, you might be interested in a couple of articles that ran earlier this week.

Social Media Examiner ran a piece on how to use Google+ to expand your business influence. (sourced via Marc Campman)

And Nadine Thomas from WSI blogged about how Google Hangouts can be used to promote your business.

As Nadine points out, Google+ just celebrated its second birthday. In its first six months, it accumulated 40 million users. At the last count (September 2012) membership had topped 400 million.

If, or when, those 400 million people start interacting, I know which side of the Google+ fence most businesses will want to be.

Tags: Google+ | WSI | Marc Campman | Nadine Thomas

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5 principles for effective comms, from the Grandfather of PR

14 June 2013 at 11:26

Lessons in public relations best practice from British PR pioneer, Basil Clarke (via PR Week).

What British PR's founding father can teach us today

Basil Clarke was a pioneer of British PR in the 1920s. Richard Evans looks at five of his principles for effective comms that still hold strong in today's market.

Basil Clarke was a war reporter who became the UK's first PR officer in 1917 and started PR firm Editorial Services in 1924. Despite him being the father of British PR, most people working in the industry today have never heard of him. Here are five things we can learn from him.

1. Claims in press releases should be sourced

Clarke insisted all press materials issued by Editorial Services had to include references for any claims so journalists could check them. He saw this as important in retaining credibility, particularly as the idea of PR was controversial in the 1920s. Referencing claims might seem obvious, but lots of press releases today do not do this.

2. PR firms should not canvass for business or accept payment by results

The question of how to make PR more professional is one of the big issues facing the industry today, just as it was in Clarke's time. He thought the reputation of PR depended on the actions of those working in it and he worried canvassing for business would mean people making promises they couldn't keep. He also considered payment by results beneath the dignity of the kind of profession he wanted PR to become.

3. Ethics are important

Clarke produced the world's first PR code of ethics and by the mid-1920s only accepted clients he believed would bring public benefit. He once rejected the chance to work for the spirits industry because he was already trying to convince the public that 'beer is best' and so was worried about the conflict of interest.

4. 'No single soul in this world is an enemy of the editor if he has fresh, live news to tell'

Just like today, in the 1920s stunts were a popular method for getting editorial coverage for clients. But Clarke rejected this approach, realising that the best way to secure coverage was simply to find the news value in a client's work and put it into a news format, and that he could make himself valuable to newspapers by producing newsworthy material regularly. It was a simple enough formula, but it worked: Editorial Services was the UK's leading PR agency throughout the 1920s.

5. Four factors determine news value

Clarke identified the four elements that can give a story news value as being its importance; human interest value; timeliness and the reliability of its source. He thought a story did not have to have all four factors, but that by strengthening one of the factors (for example, enhancing the human interest value by finding out more personal information about the people involved), you would also strengthen the news value of the story.

There was nothing particularly difficult about this, but he was dismissive about the ability of much of his competition, writing that 'news-value factors are woefully ignored in publicity departments across the country', with the result that '99 per cent of the propaganda copy on innumerable subjects sent to newspapers is doomed ab initio (from the beginning) to the waste paper basket'.

Richard Evans' biography of Basil Clarke, From the Frontline, is published on 14 June. It is available for pre-order at thehistorypress.co.uk.

Picture courtesy of Annie Bibbings

 

Tags: Basil Clarke | PR Week | The History Press | Annie Bibbings | From the Frontline | Richard Evans

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