Our PR approach

PR is really all about people

At ec-pr we realised some time ago that generating great publicity comes from understanding people. Good publicists have mastered the art of communication and are able to work in tight collaboration with smart, engaging business people. The best PR agencies find out who their clients’ audiences are, what they talk about and how to reach them.

We love it and our whole business is built around this idea of engaging, accountable and thought-provoking PR.

At ec-pr we work closely with our clients, we understand their goals and help them navigate obstacles, problems and crises. We have worked hard to make our PR activities measurable and guarantee the success of our efforts.

Because we focus on people, we excel at generating great press releases and top-notch editorial that people want to read. We find the human story within the facts and make it interesting and readily usable by journalists.

Read on to find out more about our approach to PR. And then, if you are trying to find a PR agency that is refreshingly different, and who is bought into your success, you need to speak to Lorraine at ec-pr today.


7 Benefits of outsourcing your PR

7 Benefits of outsourcing your PR

7 Benefits of outsourcing your PR

If you are considering outsourcing your public relations (PR), then you’ll be looking at the pros and cons of commissioning a PR consultancy over managing your reputation in house.  Here are 7 reasons why you should consider outsourcing your PR:

1. Focus:

The benefit of appointing a PR agency to manage and protect your reputation is that you can focus on your core business, secure in the knowledge that you have a team of professionals dedicated to driving your brand awareness.

2. Scale:

An external agency can commit a team of PR experts to apply their combined knowledge and creativity to further the interests of your brand in line with your business strategy. Working with an agency gives you access to a wealth of talent.

3. Creativity:

An agency is experienced in bringing your strategy to life in creative executions and campaigns that evolve and develop over time. Creative thinking and execution are what they do, what they thrive on and what they excel at.

4. Perspective:

A PR consultancy not only brings an external perspective but a perspective through multiple lenses of expertise. They can and should challenge, inspire and guide based on their informed opinion. As an external, their perspective is not influenced by internal dogma.

5. Cost & liability:

There is no cost associated with appointing an agency. This allows you to avoid bringing an employee into the company, which saves you money on everything from benefits to training. Engaging with an agency’s services is straightforward.

6. Influential network:

Every individual within your agency comes with a proven network of media contacts, database subscriptions and business network to leverage your stories and brand awareness.

7. Speed to excellence:

A PR agency will start delivering at pace as soon as you appoint them. Their focus is entirely on your brand and while there will be a short period of getting to know your culture, there will be no lengthy induction period holding up the process.

There are always pros and cons to outsourcing any business activity. However, recruiting an internal resource to handle PR is not the equivalent of appointing a PR agency. It is not a like for like comparison. Appointing a PR manager demonstrates intent but appointing a PR agency is decisive action.

At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is. Get in touch.

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At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is.

7 ways PR differs from advertising

7 ways PR differs from advertising

7 ways PR differs from advertising

The key difference between PR and advertising is that advertising space is paid for while editorial space is not – the impact on how and why you use one over the other is rooted in this fundamental difference. There are 7 principle ways that PR is different to advertising. We take a closer look at these here:

1. Credibility:

Paying for space either in the form of advertising or advertorials has a direct impact on your credibility in the mind of the target audience. If your marketing message has clearly been paid for, it will command less trust than an article published independently in the media.

2. Stories:

PR’s expertise is in developing ideas that are aligned to your business strategy, whilst appealing to your target media. Your media want stories that attract and appeal to their audiences. Achieving this fine balance is a skill that PR practitioners have finessed.

3. Purpose:

Advertising is single minded in its delivery in order to be effective and is predominantly a visual medium used to sell a product. PR on the other hand, takes multiple shapes and harnesses media channels to manage reputation and build relationships, often commercial, with your target audiences based on trust.

4. Independence:

The editorial team is, or should be, independent from the commercial arm of the business to ensure editorial independence and integrity. It is this independence which is so precious to you because it endows credibility on your brand by association.

5. No guarantees:

While you pay for the PR agency’s time, there’s no guarantee that coverage will appear – it is down to the editor to decide whether the material is likely to add value to the media channel or not. For this reason, communication with the editorial contacts should be transparent and focused while managing your expectation accordingly.

6. Engagement:

Journalists are looking to get ahead of their competitors, to get a scoop, so a story offered as an exclusive is more likely to appeal. A specific magazine or TV programme can be the first to ‘break your story’ but it can then be sent to multiple journalists thereafter, in order to maximize your press coverage. Your ad, on the other hand, will appear in multiple competitive outlets at the same time, single mindedly communicating its one key message.

7. Cost:

Traditionally, the cost of advertising has far exceeded the cost of PR both in terms of the development and implementation. Digital media and technology are starting to change this, but there is still a very long way to go. The primary skill that your PR company needs is to be able to present your message in a way that will engage and inspire the audience of your target media, through the lense of the editor.

Forbes takes a slightly different perspective but provides a useful comparison table highlighting the difference between advertising and public relations; if you study this table it may help you to decide whether advertising or PR are more suitable to your requirements:

At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is. Get in touch.
Insights 2020: A Spotlight on B2B Communication for CMOs

Insights 2020: A Spotlight on B2B Communication for CMOs

Insights 2020: A Spotlight on B2B Communication for CMOs

The turn of the decade marks a pivotal moment for Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs). According to Gartner CMO Spend Survey 2019-2020, marketing budgets are in decline, but the ongoing mandate to drive growth and innovation is putting pressure on marketers to place their strategic bets wisely.

Insights 2020, a report by ec-pr, is now available. Download your full copy of the free report and see for yourself what the challenges are that marketers must overcome.

Essential intelligence for marketers

Shining a light on B2B communication for CMO’s, the Insight 2020 survey researched their priorities and challenges for 2020, and explored their strategic approach to communications, as well as the extent to which communication strategies are implemented to drive business outcomes.

Report highlights

Insight 2020:
B2B Communications at the turn of the decade – The results

A spotlight on the report’s findings.

Insight 2020:
B2B Communications at the turn of the decade – The results

A spotlight on the report’s findings.

What is a communication strategy? how does it help marketers reach business objectives?

Watch our video below to learn more.

What is a communication strategy? how does it help marketers reach business objectives?

Watch our video below to learn more.

The Insight 2020 Infographic

What keeps marketers awake at night and other challenges…

B2B PR – 9 Questions Every Marketing Manager Should Ask Before Hiring A PR Agency

B2B PR – 9 Questions Every Marketing Manager Should Ask Before Hiring A PR Agency

B2B PR – 9 Questions Every Marketing Manager Should Ask Before Hiring A PR Agency

Hiring a PR agency? Questions to ask before you sign up

Before you sign a contract with any PR agency we highly recommend that you ask these questions first.  Ask up front and you are more likely to hire the right PR agency for your business, your relationship will last longer, and it will be a lot more rewarding. Asking these questions can also help you evaluate whether you’re a good fit for each other.  If they can answer them to your satisfaction, snap them up!

 

1. How are we going to measure success?

Your PR agency should be keen to know what success looks like and be interested in your business – therefore, they should be asking lots of questions.  Understanding what success looks like is critical as you need to demonstrate the return on your investment.

Clear objectives and goals should be set for every campaign and you should be clear on how you’re going to measure success, but also what stretch goals you have.  Let’s say for example you want coverage, all coverage is not equal, so be clear on whether you want opinion pieces, editorial or just simply, company mentions, and in which publications.

 

2. Who is going to manage our account?

Often when you meet large PR agencies, they’ll wheel out their most impressive Account Directors, and perhaps even their CEO, depending on the size of your account.  You’ll receive a fancy pitch and feel like a million dollars.  But then…when you actually start working together, those people are nowhere to be seen, you get a junior managing the day to day business, and every call with your Account Director costs.  You may then regret your decision.

So, always ask these types of questions to understand who will be managing your account, and make sure you meet them all before you decide.

  • How many people will be working on my account?
  • What is the experience of the account team?
  • When will they be available to me?
  • Who will I be spending the most time with?
  • Who will be executing the work?

Now, size isn’t everything, in fact with a smaller account team you’ll be able to develop a much closer relationship with mutual understanding. The agency will get to know how you like to work best, and vice versa. That’s why the people who turn up when we pitch are the people you will be spending most of your time with! Find out more about our people here.

 

3. What is your speciality?

The purpose of this question is to establish the relevant experience of the PR agency to your specific industry or requirements.

How connected are they? You want to be certain that when you hire the agency they already have established relationships with the key journalists and editors in your specific sector. If they do, it means they clearly have experience of working with them, and know what specific content publications will and won’t accept. They will have intimate knowledge of the journalists likes and dislikes, and will be able to successfully pitch story ideas first time, every time.

Ultimately, the more specialised and experienced the agency is in your sector, the more successful they will be in delivering phenomenal results for your brand.

 

4. What do you need to know about my business before you can get started?

Here’s the thing. Your PR agency aren’t telepathic. Yes, you can choose an agency with specialised knowledge in your industry, but remember they need to get to know you, your business and your people. So, ask them what they need to know to get started.

Firstly, you’ll need to sign a non-disclosure agreement so that you can confidently share your company secrets – perhaps new product releases, changes of senior management or a merger/acquisition. If you want your PR agency to be proactive, you need to give them as much information as you would any new employee. This will take time. So, be prepared to answer lots of questions, and be prepared to be challenged. Great PR agencies challenge the status quo.

The investment you make in PR is not just financial, it requires your time to brief the PR agency and engage in planning and strategy sessions so that they can hit the ground running and the relationship is successful from the outset. This is why we have a three pronged approach to marketing, starting with research and planning.

 

5. Where do we fall in your client roster?

Knowing where you stand in terms of agency spend and production requirements compared to other clients is critical.

Do you want to be the top dog and be their most important client? Perhaps you do, perhaps you don’t.

What’s critical to understand is how important you are to the agency.  If you’re their smallest client, the reality is that you’ll probably get the most junior account team.  Remember, you want to ensure that the PR agency has time for your business. So, think carefully about the type of agency you want to work with, and where your business will fall into their priority list.

Hopefully, before you’ve even started the agency selection process, you’ve checked out their website for their client roster, and you’ve researched what’s happening in the news with their clients so you have a good understanding of their capability already. We’ve made it super easy for you to find our client roster, check out our case studies here.

 

6. Who are your references?

The hiring process is like hiring an employee. You wouldn’t hire anyone without asking for references. So, ask for them and make the time to call or email those references.  Also, ask for a reference of a client that no longer works with the PR agency.  You need to find out why they don’t work together anymore. Remember, you want to choose an agency with a proven track record of success and many other satisfied past clients. Also ask the questions that are important to you.

 

7. How often will I hear from you?

This may sound like a daft question. It’s not. You need to understand how the PR agency manages client communication and collaboration.

The reason is you want 90% of your budget being spent on real work, not project management or administration.  Not only that, as editorial placements can take months, you want to know what exactly your agency is working on.

What should you expect?

It’s normal to hear from your agency at least once a week, with a monthly report on placements secured and plans for the following month.  Not only that, do expect to hear from your agency when they’ve secured a new opportunity, or they’ve developed an innovative idea to move your brand forward. Not only that, you need to ensure that you’re still on track for success.

 

8. How much budget do I need to allocate to achieve my goals?

If you’ve never added PR to your marketing mix, we highly recommend starting with a six-month pilot project. This will ensure that your new PR agency can gain momentum and measure ROI effectively. Our experience is that a PR campaign needs to run for at least six months to gain any traction.

If you already have an existing PR budget, but you’re not happy with the results, then it’s a different conversation.  Let’s be honest, if you were happy with your PR results, you wouldn’t be reading this!  In this scenario we recommend full disclosure, be clear during the agency recruitment process your budget and more importantly, your expectations of what success looks like. Then, expect the PR agency to deliver a pitch and proposal based on your budget. If you want us to pitch our services, click here.

 

9. What if it all goes wrong?

Negative news happens. Everyone makes mistakes. A crisis is usually rooted in an act of god (rare); deliberate criminal act (uncommon); or human error (most usual) and has resulted in danger or financial damage to third parties and your brand.

How the crisis is handled will directly impact your customers, staff and bottom line.  You want an agency to be confident in crisis management so, ask for examples of what they’ve done and for whom.  They should be telling you how they can set up an emergency reactive press office and the strategies they would deploy to prevent, mitigate and manage negative news, should it occur.

If you’re facing a crisis, you need your PR agency to support you. Ask us how we’ve helped clients in these situations and what we could do for you.

 

Conclusion:

We hope the tips above help you as you decide which B2B PR agency to work with. Ultimately, you must:

  • feel comfortable that you’re in safe hands
  • like the team that’ll be representing you
  • feel confident that they’ll work with you to achieve the positive coverage you deserve

Next Steps

If you want our help to make your remarkable brand visible, valued and understood contact us here.  We love pitching our services to people like you.

ec-pr is a B2B PR Agency specialising in technology, science and engineering firms. We are tech savvy and confident communicators who deliver real results and have a money-back performance guarantee. Find out more about how we measure PR Results here.

“What the 80’s taught me about PR”

“What the 80’s taught me about PR”

“What the 80’s taught me about PR”

I spent the start of my career, the 80s, working in advertising, account handling campaigns for brands such as Birds Eye, Max Factor and Texaco.  It was a time of creative brilliance and financial excess.  A time when ad agencies acquired PR businesses and direct marketing companies and called themselves ‘integrated’.

Integrated?  I’ll let you into a secret. In reality, the ad people didn’t speak to the DM people because they made all the money; the DM people didn’t speak to the PR people because they were fluffy and lacked accountability and the PR people didn’t speak to anyone who wasn’t ‘Someone’.

How times have changed!

Then, PR was all smoke and mirrors and little black books of contacts, rather than delivering tangible results.

I saw an opportunity to create an accountable PR offering which delivered against outcomes tightly aligned to the business vision.  Railing against the extravagance of consumer marketing, I decided B2B was the way forward.

Just before my 30th birthday, full of bravado and oblivious to the magnitude of things I didn’t know, I boldly created my first public relations company. Against a backdrop of 80’s excess, I defined our guiding principles: accountable, effective, evocative.

For reasons I now can’t remember, my first customer was a security business, nothing so sexy as cybersecurity (it didn’t exist!), we are talking kit; PIRS, control panels, cables and the likes, but it didn’t matter.  The point was I was working directly with the European MD.  An engineer, with a vision, a P&L to deliver and a set of clearly defined objectives.  Working with him was exciting and rewarding because every day, week, month we would hear directly how the business was performing, where the problems were and we’d debate the best actions we could take to help him do what he needed to do.  We worked in tight collaboration and I loved it!

That client relationship was the start of my love affair with tech PR. I love delivering. I love brainstorming. I love finding solutions and I love delivering against them.  There is nothing more rewarding than working with clever, engaging people, and I’m privileged to have worked with quite a few over the course of my career.

MY LITTLE BUSINESS GREW

We attracted the technical companies who delivered lighting and sound to West End musicals and concerts, as well as major festivals.  I took briefs while sitting with lighting designers and sound technicians in the deserted stalls of theatres before or between rehearsals.

And then, eLearning was born and that became a focus for us too!  Different companies with similar problems, different teams with similar remarkable, focussed, smart people at their helm.  The objective was always growth, expressed in a variety of ways and with varying degrees of sophistication.

The effect of their differing requirements was that we developed services which we could deploy as required; communication audits, audience research, messaging, media training, as well as media relations, content creation and campaign delivery.

QUALITY CONTENT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A CRITICAL ELEMENT

For us, being able to write quality material that an editor can just run, without editing, was a key part of our offer. As the digital revolution unfolded, the quality of what was at the end of the link became vital.  Our focus on technical excellence, processes and service quality resulted in us winning Scientific Atlanta, a brand later absorbed by Cisco, who we worked with for eight years.

By this point, the feedback we started to get regularly from clients was that working with us delivered certainty; we do the job we say we’re going to do: we make our clients look amazing by delivering phenomenal results, consistently.

Our clients, almost exclusively engineers, scientists and technologists, prefer order, logic and structure.  So, our processes and reporting procedures have a forensic like attention to detail.

I’ve learnt through experience that in the vast majority of cases, engineers prefer not to write.  In fact, in most cases they’re not very good at it and they are smart enough to admit their talents lie elsewhere.  They also have little time or interest to invest in non-core activities – and marketing to a scientist is most definitely non-core.

So, we do what we do best, we simplified.

We developed an efficient process for abstracting intelligence and opinion from them fast; from this we can craft material that will make their organisations, ideas and capabilities visible, valued and understood.

AND WHAT OF THE FUTURE?

Having spent the last two years establishing my second business, Emmett & Churchman PR, I am excited for the future. The skills I learnt as an entrepreneur before that word became fashionable remain:

Our focus is on tech in all its forms.

* Productivity is critical.

* Delivering quality results with impeccable service is non-negotiable.

* Making our clients look amazing by delivering phenomenal results is what we do.

And, like those halcyon days back in the 80’s we will seek out partnerships, mergers and acquisitions. But, only those that allow us to deliver the outcomes our clients desire.

Because in PR it’s not about a little black book (it never has been), it’s about you, our clients.  If you’re looking to be visible, valued and recognised as the very best option in your market, call us.  You’re in safe hands.  And fear not.  There’s only a speck of that youthful arrogance remaining. It’s been replaced by calm confidence and absolute certainty that our approach works because we keep on delivering exceptional results.

Interested in working with us? Email [email protected]

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

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At ec-pr we are passionate about b2b communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is.

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Your Ultimate Guide to Crisis PR Management

The Ultimate Guide to Crisis PR

Unforeseen circumstances have hit us all in 2020. Our guide shows you how to manage your PR in a crisis.

Download

Finding the right PR Partner for you

Finding the right PR Partner for you

What should you be looking for in B2B PR company?

When outsourcing your PR activity, you need to find a partner you believe can help you achieve your goals, who you trust with your confidences, who you will enjoy working with and from whom you will acquire valuable knowledge. Oh and the chemistry needs to feel right too.

With this in mind here are some questions worth asking before signing on the dotted line.

1) What does success look like?

You need to share a vision of what you are trying to achieve with the help of your agency. Take the time to envision your desired results and create targets against which you can measure and celebrate success.

2) Who will be your day to day contact?

Know who you will be working with, meet them before you sign up and start to feel comfortable with your brand in their hands. There’s nothing worse than appointing an agency and finding you’re working with the office junior.

3) Who will be liaising with the press on your behalf?

It is always important to familiarise yourself with who will be communicating with the press as they are an ambassador for you, your values and your business.

4) Who will be drafting press material for you?

What are their capabilities, expertise and experience? Have a look at examples of their work – not just press coverage but the material they sent to the press in the first place and ask what the turnaround times to produce it were.

5) What are the campaigns KPI’s?

Quantifiable milestones help to determine whether you are succeeding or not and enable you to identify whether something needs reinforcing, adjusting or aborting. Ask if you can speak to the agency’s clients about their experiences in how targets were set and managed.

6) How will progress be reported?

Regular progress reports are an essential to keep track of campaign activities, monitor progress against the KPIs and to identify and address any emerging challenges to keep the delivery of the project on track. Most agencies will provide a ‘end of’ report but will this come with recommendations on how to build on successes or use insights to implement changes where necessary.

7) What is the problem-resolution process?

Hope for the best and plan for the worst. You need to have a procedure in place to address issues and challenges. It’s better to have a process rather than an assumption of how things will work and, if it’s not in your contract, for this to be documented as a point of reference.

Client-agency relationships rarely celebrate a third anniversary, a shocking statistic which is indicative of how hard it is to find the right PR Partner. This is probably because the matchmaking process is not given the right consideration. We hope answering these seven questions will help you find your ‘forever’ agency!

This article originally appeared in August 2016