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Archive For 'October, 2012'

How to secure a double page spread (or triple, or quadruple)

25 October 2012 at 21:22

We haven’t issued a news release for three months for one of our manufacturing and engineering clients.

Do you think we’re about to get fired? Far from it.

Many of the leading manufacturing and engineering trade publications dedicate very little editorial space to breaking news. Instead they prefer to drill down into the issues that really interest their readers. Those issues might be technical or legislative, they might surround where the industry is going or how it is evolving.

Who are the best people to talk about those issues, sharing insights and shedding light? The people at the coalface, of course. It might surprise you to learn that the journalists who give your exciting new product development or facilities expansion a measly two-line write-up are all ears (and editorial space) when it comes to your views and ideas.

The role of a PR consultant is to act as a facilitator for you to manage and enhance your reputation with key audiences. Often this is achieved through media relations.

We don’t need to tell you that any manufacturing or engineering firm’s reputation is largely dependent on its expertise. And this expertise can be a wonderfully effective platform for securing editorial coverage.

A good PR agency will spend time with you, teasing out areas of knowledge that could act as a nucleus for in-depth editorial. They will consider how these areas relate to topical themes being covered in the media to ensure maximum industry relevance – then develop angles that interest journalists and position you as a leader in the field. 

The results can be sensational. I’ve lost count of the number of times a chance remark from a client ultimately led to two or three pages of high-quality coverage in publications that were next to impossible to hit with traditional news releases.

So take a step back from time to time. Go for a coffee with your PR consultant and chew the fat. Talk openly and honestly about your views on the industry at large, and the role your organisation plays in it.

You might be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

 

Tags: manufacturing | engineering | PR

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

3 ways to get more from exhibitions

19 October 2012 at 09:38

Every year, our manufacturing and engineering clients spend a small fortune on attending industry exhibitions. But sometimes, when an event comes round, they feel like they are just one tiny cog in an immense wheel. Despite making a significant investment, they are left feeling like an insignificant player in their industry.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

A little lateral thinking can help make the investment work much harder. Even if you only have a relatively modest presence at an exhibition, you can take steps to ensure you are noticed by the right people.

Consider these three tips when planning your next exhibition.

1. Decide on your objectives

It sounds obvious doesn’t it – naturally your objective is to get new business. But try breaking this down into smaller, more defined goals. They will be more achievable, more manageable and more likely to set you on the path to winning that landmark contract.

Instead of setting huge business objectives that are unlikely to be achieved in the space of a few days, try setting objectives for the event itself. These might include:

  • Bringing a more structured and measurable approach to exhibition management
  • Facilitating better all-round communication with (potential) customers before, during and after the exhibition
  • Achieving better stand-out during the exhibition

 

2. Take a 3-pronged approach

Exhibition management should be seen as a long-term, on-going process. It doesn’t come to an end when you’ve dismantled the stand. Develop a strategy for before, during and after the event.

Pre-show

Get in touch with customers or contacts who may be attending, let them know you’ll be there and see if you can set up meetings. Some conferences give exhibitors a generous allowance of free passes which you could offer to key customers who you really want to attend.

Media relations should start at an early stage. Key industry publications may be running show previews, so make sure they have all the background information they need. If they are running an editorial feature alongside a list of exhibitors, offer to provide comment. Try to think about the bigger picture – topical issues and themes that are relevant to your industry sector – rather than talking specifically about your own products or services. You are much more likely to achieve an editorial presence if you’re not overtly trying to sell your wares.

Most exhibitions have a media partner who produces a bespoke ‘show daily’ publication. These are more well-read than any other media or marketing collateral handed out to delegates. If you have a genuinely big or interesting story, the show daily can be an ideal platform from which to launch it. But let them have it a week or so before the show – and if you really want to maximise your chances, give them an exclusive.

 

During the show

Drawing people to your stand – and keeping them there – is the main aim during the show itself. There is nothing more disheartening than seeing streams of people drifting past your expensive patch of exhibition real-estate without a second glance.

You need to find innovative, cost-effective ways to stand out from other exhibitors, especially if you don’t have one of the prime spots.

Think about your audience – who are they and what interests them. Yes, you want them to be interested in your business, but remember that they are people with interests outside work.

As well as showcasing products on your stand, consider investing in some device or activity that will engage people, create a bit of excitement, and entice more people over to see what’s going on. Simply setting up a mini golf range or PlayStation and creating a league table with a decent prize for the best score can be a great place to start. If budget allows, you could create your own app or computer game that has some relevance to your business and might have a continued lifespan when the exhibition comes to a close.

It’s true that with this approach people might not be coming to your stand to look at your product offering. However, once you have them there they are more likely to be open to conversation. They might even take more than a cursory glance at those exhibition banners and displays that you spent so much time over.

 

After the show

Don’t leave people hanging after the event. If you have had good conversations with people, or captured their data, make sure somebody gets in touch with them sooner rather than later. Try to make it as personal as possible. A group email isn’t a patch on a personal phone call or email referring to issues that you discussed during the show – or their score on the PlayStation!

 

3. Evaluate success (and failure)

Like all PR and marketing, attendance at exhibitions should be properly evaluated so that you can make smarter decisions about how to allocate budget in the future. Since most manufacturing and engineering projects take a long time to come to fruition, an immediate look at the impact on sales is unlikely to be very encouraging. Nevertheless, it is worth asking all attendees – especially the sales team – their ‘gut feel’ about the success of the event, and what worked or didn’t work.

Additional measures of success to consider might include:

  • Number of people who visited the stand
  • Approximate / average length of time people spent there
  • Any face-to-face meetings, or sales-led conversations
  • Whether they took, or read, marketing materials
  • Whether they were engaged by devices such as corporate videos, games or giveaways
  • Editorial presence in show previews and the show daily


Building a communications element into your exhibition plan can help maximise standout and ensure you are noticed by your target audiences. Use these three tips as a starting point, and you could come away from your next exhibition feeling like it was money well spent, rather than fearing it was money wasted. 

 

Tags: Trailblazer PR | event | conference

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

Shaping the news agenda - manufacturing and engineering PR advice

12 October 2012 at 12:16

When we speak with new or prospective clients in the manufacturing and engineering sector, they often tell us ‘we have no news’. There is a misconception that if you don’t have a constant stream of new products churning out of the R&D department, you have nothing of interest to say to journalists.

But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Product news is just one part of the equation. In fact, it is a very small part. Most of the time, journalists writing for manufacturing and engineering media are much more interested in the industry at large than they are in any one firm’s products.

This is where we can help you find your voice and get noticed.

Think about what you are doing on a day-to-day basis. The orders you have coming in, the conversations your sales teams are having with customers, trends that you notice when repairing or servicing equipment in the field. All of these things can provide a rich seam of information that a good PR consultant can tap into to create news. And we mean the type of news that really excites and stimulates journalists – opening the door for in-depth commentary and analysis.

If you are a major player in your industry, your views and observations will be of interest to journalists. And if you are a niche player, it could be that trends or developments you notice are a micro-indicator of bigger things at play in the wider industry. Either way, with an experienced PR consultancy that understands your industry supporting you, there are sure to be editorial opportunities waiting to be discovered.

This approach to PR is as strategic as it is creative. The aim is to position you as a leader in your field. It also enables implicit and engaging communication of your messages and strengths. By looking objectively at issues or trends facing the industry, and taking a stance, you can actively shape the news agenda.

Sometimes you just need to take a step back so you can see the wood for the trees – and a good PR consultant can help you do just that.

 

Tags: PR | manufacturing | engineering | industry

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

The Pride of Gloucestershire

05 October 2012 at 10:06

Last night’s Diamond Jubilee Gloucestershire Business Awards 2012 were a night to remember. Naturally the winners and finalists represent all that is great about business in the county and it was a privilege to celebrate their success.

But last night’s event was about more than that. As the UK creeps slowly towards economic recovery, the Awards reminded us that ambition, innovation and sheer tenacity are very much alive in Gloucestershire. I think everybody in the room felt a surge of optimism that grew as the evening progressed. And I am sure that many of us felt inspired to take a new look at our own businesses and consider how we can keep striving for bigger and better achievements.

It was fantastic to see how many Gloucestershire businesses were recognised in the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise this year. Our client Severn Glocon Group was a winner in the International Trade category in 2011, so we can second Sir David McMurtry’s claim that ‘If you export, it will put you on the map’. As Founder and Chief Executive of Renishaw (15-time Queen’s Award winner), Sir David knows a thing or two about the prestige of this particular accolade!

Of course, we have to make a special mention of our client Will Rees of Direct Online Services, who won Young Businessperson of the Year. The firm was also a finalist in Family Business of the Year.

The other winners were:

Business of the Year: Avon Metals

Small Business of the Year: National Shower Spares

Family Business of the Year: Miles Mann Ltd

Young Business of the Year: Haremi Ltd

Communicator of the Year: Gloucestershire Constabulary

Business Innovation: Versarien Ltd

Environmental Award: Creed Foodservice

Apprenticeship Development Award: Messier Bugatti Dowty

Best Place to Work: Messier Bugatti Dowty

Corporate Social Responsibility:Peter Hickman Hairdressing

Gloucestershire Ambassador: Terry Morgan, Federation of Small Businesses

 

Big congratulations to everybody – and here’s to more of the same in 2013!

 

 

Tags: Queen's Award | Gloucestershire Business Awards

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

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