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Common Mistakes Made When Writing Web Content

01 February 2018 at 10:26

Writing the perfect web content can be hard, so it's no surprise that many make some key mistakes. From badly formatted writing and using an off-putting tone to missing out key opportunities to hook scrollers through eye-catching visuals, it's a mine-field to navigate.

To help you out, team Trailblazer PR have gathered our top tips to help you avoid those mistakes, so you can curate the best web content to interest your readers:

 

Editing and Proofreading

Not checking text is one of the biggest mistakes people can make - even veteran writers need their copy both proofread and edited. The web might be a haven for text-speak and rushed copy but, if you want to stand out, you'll have to get it right – no one wants to read illiterate copy when they're looking to be impressed.

It may be hard to spot mistakes yourself as you’ll be familiar with the text, reading what you expect to read - therefore, making it worthwhile for 'new eyes' to view the content. Reading the copy out loud is also a great proofreading method, helping to put down a feel for the rhythm and spot any missing punctuation.

 

Removing Proof

Without the relevant proof and evidence, your readers won't trust your copy as a lot of internet sources are false. Highlight your position as a credible provider of information by keeping in evidence to show readers proof, whilst discussing the latest trends, products and solutions. This could be through stats, case studies, testimonials and general facts. 

 

Readers 

Make sure you write with your readers in mind. If a piece isn't directed at the audience and instead talks only about your brand, they won't be interested in reading it. Fact. It's important that the blog is written in a style that the target audience will appreciate otherwise you'll lose their attention and even deter them from your site. The main way to approach this is by establishing your audience and writing with the aim of what they want to hear – think of a solution to their questions.

 

Formatting

The way the web page looks can also lead to some mistakes being made. Not only does it focus your points and structures the information you're sharing, it helps your readers better understand your text through enhancing different messages and points. Most internet-users are skim readers and want a lot of information but in small and easy to read doses, so utilise sub-headings and minimal paragraphs to keep content organised and visually appealing.

 

Quantity over quality  

Another classic mistake is prioritising quantity over quality. It might look good having a website filled with content but if the quality isn't good, readers won't be hanging around. Poorly written or rushed posts are more likely to repel visitors so make sure that quality content takes priority. Consider the topic of the blog, how much detail it requires and who the intended audience are when deciding on the length. Also consider what visuals will be attached – if they are repeating some of the copy, re-edit and cut some content out!

 

If you're struggling with your web content, Trailblazer is here to help! We provide excellent copywriting services that will satisfy all of your needs. To find out more, please contact a member of the team for a no-obligation chat at pr.info@trailblazerpr.com or call the office directly on 01453 887777.

Tags: Website | SEO | PR | Content | Blog | Copywriting

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Struggling with crisis comms?

19 September 2017 at 09:35

Every business or organization is susceptible to crisis. Fact. This somewhat accelerated in today’s digital World, where online platforms such as social media, review sites or even forums can increase crisis risk if not managed correctly.

Having an air-tight crisis communications strategy, for businesses large or small, significantly minimises the risk, whilst helping Business Owners feel in control of any potential crises.

Interested in finding out more? Team Trailblazer PR have put together our top five tips for building an effective crisis communications strategy:

 

Anticipation

Predicting any potential ‘crisis’ or negative scenario can be difficult. However, looking at every possible outcome of what could potentially go wrong, is a firm step in the right direction for protecting your brand and business for the long-term.

To start, we recommend you sit down with your team and brainstorm any possibilities or scenarios that could potentially occur. From here, you will not only be able to stress the importance of crisis communications, but can also start exploring ways in which to tackle each issue, with your team firmly on board.

 

Internal Communications

Ultimately, having a strong team in place that can help you deal with any crisis is invaluable to your company. Your team members are the ambassadors of your brand, and putting together a clear internal crisis communications strategy, is just as important as external processes.

Things to consider are SOPs [Standard Operating Procedures] for each potential crisis, which are updated and circulated regularly, an elected spokesperson for any media relations, a designated team member who monitors social media, and even regular crisis comms drills. Communicating with your team is key to crisis comms success, ensuring everyone is on board and working towards the same positive outcome.

 

Covering Every Channel

In today’s digital world, news of a crisis can spread like wildfire, particularly where social media is concerned.

The good news, is that social media and other digital outlets can also work in your favour – enabling you to show your audience, in real time, that everything is under control… As long as you have a dedicated team member to monitor comments, post updates and engage directly with any stakeholders.

 

Speed!

Although you can never guarantee when a crisis will arise, the speed at which you deal with it has the potential to significantly minimize the damage. This is where crisis communications strategies come into their own – instead of taking the time to plan how you will act, and what will be said to your stakeholders, both you and your team will already know, enabling to take action from the word go.

 

Honesty is the best Policy

Nothing damages a brand more than dishonesty. If a crisis does occurs it’s important to take responsibility for it, to tell the truth, and to show your stakeholders how you are resolving the situation.

Brands who become embroiled in a media dispute are more susceptible to be penalized by the public – as the old saying goes, “It takes years to build a reputation and minutes to destroy it”.

 

Interested in finding out how Trailblazer PR can help you develop a strong Crisis Communications strategy? Contact us today at pr.info@trailblazerpr.com or call the office directly on 01453 887777. 

Tags: PR | Crisis Communications

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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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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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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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Was Yahoo! right to ban flexible working?

01 March 2013 at 14:18

Flexible working is central to Trailblazer PR’s ethos, so we have been following coverage of Marissa Mayer’s decision to ban homeworking at Yahoo! with interest.

In her internal memo announcing the changes, Mayer claimed: “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home”.

That’s not a sentiment we share, but as the week has progressed it has become clear that the real problem at Yahoo! was not homeworking per se, but some people’s abuse of it, as reported in the Huffington Post.

In our experience, homeworking offers many advantages. The benefits for working parents are just one part of the equation – it can also lead to better efficiency, fewer distractions, more flexibility in dealing with client and journalist requirements. And it doesn’t mean the team can’t get together when necessary for planning, reviewing or creative development sessions.

Insisting that people are chained to a desk in the workplace from 9-5 doesn’t make them more productive or more creative. It might prove that they are putting the hours in, but it doesn’t ensure those hours are put to good use.

At the end of the day it comes down to trust and integrity. Whether your team is home-based or office-based is irrelevant.  

 

 

Tags: Yahoo! | PR

Posted in Friday Rambles | 2 Comments »

7 steps to social heaven

14 December 2012 at 12:15

What does it take to create a social media campaign that really works? As with all communications activity, it comes down to the planning and implementation. You need to define your objectives and build a strategy from there, it’s not about waking up one morning and deciding ‘we need to be on Twitter’.

Social media planning

 

US agency Fandon has published a great guide to social media campaign planning this week. You can see the full article here, but in a nutshell, their chief social strategist advises:

1. Stick to your priorities

Determine what's most important to your brand then stick to it. As marketers, we've all been in situations where a good idea eventually gets convoluted after making its rounds through the organization. Everyone has a stake, especially when it comes to social, and your stakeholders can be the biggest killer of your killer idea. This is not to say that collaboration and integration are not important, these are absolutely key elements for success. What I am stressing is focus. One concept cannot be everything to everyone.

2. Find out what's important to your audience

A killer campaign entertains, engages, and delights people. It also provides an insurmountable benefit to a brand in the form of word-of-mouth. You have to work harder in today's marketing to get people talking and finding out what to talk to them about can be easy. Set down your brand playbook, clean your slate, and study your audience to understand what matters in their life, what makes them happy and, most importantly, where your brand fits into their conversations with their friends.

3. Search all corners of the universe for your "aha" moment

It's all about finding the "aha" moment. It has to be different, surprising, emotional, and entertaining… All you need is one strong concept and it might come from the quiet guy in the office who is never asked for an opinion -- or it could come from your top art director. Lead a focused but open forum, then sleep on it, and you'll have some gems to work with when you launch into strategic planning.

4. Plant your campaign right in front of your audience

Take your campaign to your audience in one or more spaces they like to be online. While Pinterest is cool and shiny it might not be where your people hang out. If you don't already have a following there it will be difficult to drum up support to launch your campaign with. "Viral" doesn't just happen. It is seeded. Gaining traction for your social campaign involves leveraging your existing audiences and their friends.

5. Develop an integrated strategy

I'm a bit biased so I'll just get it out and tell you that social media is darn special. I will also admit that it's not magic. It can be often treated as a stand-alone tactic. A killer campaign does not stand alone. It involves 360-degree communications, paid advertising (yes I said it!), and many of the other treatments any other promotion would require. Work cross-functionally to develop an integrated communications plan and multi-channel promotion through advertising, email marketing, PR, and other social networks.

6. Execute like a master

The devil is in the details. Human communication is complex and sometimes mind-boggling -- it's what keeps us social marketing people on our toes. Proper execution will make or break your campaign. You have to understand how people speak to each other in Facebook versus Twitter versus Instagram and how they use it. Otherwise, your "follow me on Facebook @brand" will be laughed upon and no one will want to associate with your silly little campaign. "Post your photo on Facebook using #happy" will also be laughed at. If you do not immediately understand why, I suggest hiring a social marketing specialist ASAP.

7. Make it shareable

There's no such thing as social that doesn't involve sharing. It's a key component so be sure to incorporate it. Sharing can be how someone "enters to win" or a way to earn a fun reward or offer. The benefit is two-fold, they engage with your brand and they spread the word to their friends. Every time someone shares his or her message, your content or a link to your page, the effectiveness of your marketing is compounded. Some call this earned media. I call it earned awesomeness.

 

If you want to talk about how a social media strategy might enhance your communications, give us a call today.

 

Tags: Fandon | PR | social media

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

How video can boost manufacturing & engineering brands

09 November 2012 at 10:55

Many manufacturing and engineering brands invest in a big-ticket corporate video every few years. It takes pride of place on the website, on exhibition stands and in reception.

That’s all well and good. But we believe that coupling this with a more regular stream of lower-budget video content is a recipe for success.

Lots of trade and industry publications are keen to run interesting videos on their websites these days. And the medium is perfect for thought leadership content. Instead of channelling all of your thought leadership efforts into by-lined articles and speaker opportunities, why not consider a monthly video where subject experts wax lyrical about a topic that is close to their heart? Or ask the CEO to record their thoughts on a red-hot issue affecting your sector.

The most important thing is that you are not overly self-promotional – talk about the issues and you will demonstrate your expertise implicitly. Don’t fall into the trap of talking about your products and services – viewers will switch off!

Thought leadership videos don’t necessarily need to involve a large budget and high-end production. Some of the best examples are quite basic. You just need to make sure the audio is clear and the set-up looks professional, and this can be achieved with a handycam, a tripod, basic lighting and a quick tidy-up.

In addition to thought leadership videos, you might consider video case studies (get your clients to sing your praises!), factory tours, product demonstrations or testing/qualification demonstrations.

If you pitch it right, the content is likely to be of interest to the industry websites that are trusted and respected by your target audiences.

Adding video to your own website and YouTube channel on a regular basis, and optimising it appropriately, can also help pump up your search rankings. Forrester research shows that videos are 53 times more likely than text pages to appear on page one of search results.

So dust off your handycam, plan your content and give it a go!

 

 

Tags: YouTube | Forrester | PR

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

3 tips for a vibrant roundtable

02 November 2012 at 10:26

Planning and preparation are everything if your roundtable is to provide a platform for stimulating debate, rather than awkward silence. Here are three tips for success.

Manufacturing and engineering journalists love to receive nuggets of insight from sector leaders. Last week we blogged about the value of opinion-led editorial in industry publications.

However if you really want to enthuse a journalist, you can take this approach a step further. This week we’re talking about the often under-used tactic of industry roundtables.

If there’s one thing journalists love more than an industry leader’s musings, it is the musings of a group of industry leaders. So why not create an environment for industry debate, and invite a journalist along to observe?

You don’t necessarily need to go to any great expense. You just need to take some time to plan a theme and invite a handful of peers (perhaps even competitors) whose opinions you respect and take it from there.

1. If there is a specific publication that you’re really keen to hit, engage the editor upfront and offer them exclusive coverage of the event. Ask what they see as the most topical or thorny issues of the day, and what they would like to get out of the debate. By involving them from an early stage you are more likely to create an event that is relevant and interesting to the publication and its readers. They may also have prior experience of roundtables and be able to hook you up with other important contacts. Which brings us to…

2. Selecting the chair. Much as it is tempting to control the event yourself, appointing a third party chair can be a very wise move. They need to be able to take a neutral view of the proceedings and ideally have some prior experience so they can stimulate discussion and ensure all participants’ voices are heard. A good chair will play an active role in the roundtable, facilitating a natural flow of conversation and eliciting pearls of wisdom from the participants, whilst remaining impartial throughout.

3. Last but not least, don’t expect your participants to simply turn up on the day brimming with insightful comments without any prior direction from you.

Circulating the roundtable theme a few weeks before the event is a must. Are you concerned that one or two participants may dominate the proceedings? Or that there will be a stony silence once the roundtable begins? If so, consider giving everybody a discussion area in advance and ask them to prepare a five minute speech.

This will encourage participants to give the debate some proper thought ahead of the day, so the chances are that discussion will be free-flowing and you won’t need them to rely on their speeches at all. However, they give you something to fall back on if the conversation is slow to warm up or if you need to re-stimulate the conversation or take it in a new direction.

 

Roundtables can be a powerful way to secure in-depth coverage on the issues that matter to you, and build relationships with influential journalists. Why not give it a go! 

 

Tags: PR | communications

Posted in Friday Rambles | No Comments

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