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Archive For 'June, 2013'

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

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

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

Picture courtesy of Annie Bibbings


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

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

How to win awards – part 3

07 June 2013 at 12:18

Supporting material

Many award schemes give you the option of submitting supporting material to accompany your entry. Others make it compulsory to supply evidence such as copies of year-end accounts.

Whilst your ultimate success usually depends on the relevance and strength of the written entry, well presented supporting materials can take you a long way. If nothing else, they can capture judges’ attention and ensure your written entry also gets the attention it deserves.

Read the guidelines

Check the requirements for supporting materials before you begin work on the written entry. If any of them are compulsory, make sure you prepare them in good time – especially if you will rely on another department to compile them.

Summarise & explain

Make sure the materials convey what they need to quickly and easily. This is especially important if you need to provide trading figures. An internal spread sheet can look like complete gobbledegook to someone who isn’t familiar with your business. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t submit it, but consider attaching an explanatory note that summarises important figures, and highlight or label key areas of the document.

Get creative

Consider employing a designer to produce a display board with samples of your work, press coverage, customer testimonials or key facts and figures from the written entry. This can be a powerful way to persuade judges that your entry is a strong contender for its category. It’s also a great way to achieve standout as the judges sift through the entries.

Less is more

Supporting materials should complement your entry, not distract from it. Be selective about what you send. It’s unlikely that the judges want or need to see your full company brochure…

Attention to detail

Most importantly, make sure supporting materials are consistent with the main written entry. Cross reference any trading figures for accuracy, and check that what you’re sending is genuinely relevant.

Now you’re ready to go – good luck!

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

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