Our PR approach

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.

Our whole business is built around this idea of engaging, accountable and thought-provoking PR.

At ec-pr we work closely with our clients, often business with highly technical products and services, and we help them navigate obstacles, problems and crises. We have worked hard to make our PR activities measurable and guarantee the success of our efforts.

We excel at translating technical complexity into 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.


B2B Content and B2B PR…and why you need a strategy for both

B2B Content and B2B PR…and why you need a strategy for both

B2B Content and B2B PR…and why you need a strategy for both

You might be thinking that you don’t need Public Relations (PR) because you’ve got it all sewn up with your content plans.  You could even be forgiven for thinking that PR and content are essentially two sides of the same coin and you’d be right; they are – and both sides are essential marketing currency.

The practice of content marketing is rooted in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) while Public Relations (PR) is rooted in reputation management. The two are intertwined and both are critical for your business and your brand’s success. Without PR, however, you may be surprisingly vulnerable.

What is content and what do you use it for?

Content is concerned with creating brand assets, over which you have absolute control, in order to grow your business online. Content is what you say about yourself.  It is brand.  You produce an article, video or podcast and you place it on your website, embed a link in an email, publish it on your LinkedIn profile and share it via your social channels.

Your content can be both objective and subjective, but you control it and you can control what it says and where it appears. Content is of significant and important value to your brand. B2B content marketing strategies are data driven; they are designed to amplify industry authority, boost search rankings, increase web traffic, drive social shares and generate sales leads.

Consider: A brand with no media relationships and no profile suffers a cyber attack which results in all its customers (and some competitors who happen to be on their database) to have their details published on the internet. How well placed is the content team to defend the business?

What will customers say/think/do?
What will valuable leads say/think/do?
What will your competitors say/think/do?

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READ: 10 Reasons your brand needs PR

What do you use PR for?

If content is what you say about yourself, PR is concerned with shaping what others say about you. It is about managing and nurturing your reputation. PR is concerned with contributing to the debate and influencing the things over which you have limited, or no direct control, to protect and nurture your reputation. You may craft a news release, but once dispatched to the press, you have no say over whether the story is used or how much of your story is published or, in what context.

  You cannot put a value on third party endorsement in terms of credibility.

This apparent lack of control is what sometimes makes PR seem scary, but the value of positive third-party endorsement cannot be underestimated – this is why you pay PR experts to manage and develop this relationship for you. Your PR agent is well practiced in drafting your news releases, and longer articles, in a way that is relevant, appropriate, and compelling. They will distribute it to interested parties and develop relationships on your behalf to secure opportunities for you to provide thought leadership. Your PR will be responsible for crafting ideas for your articles and angles to debate with journalists who have an interest in your areas of expertise. You measure your PR by impact, share of voice and authority.

B2B PR strategies are value driven; they are designed to educate, influence, and persuade your target audience to engage with your brand in a positive way using third party endorsement and engagement. The Barcelona Principles are a sound place to start planning your PR – providing you with guidelines to measure the efficacy of your communications campaigns.

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Integration is best to get better ROI

The two sets of expertise are tightly interwoven, and most PR firms will deliver both content and media relations programmes for you. The more you integrate the two sets of activities, the greater your impact and effect will be on your target audience. Your PR will amplify your achievements, your insight, and your brand by developing and leveraging relationships with the press on your behalf. As a result, PR will deliver favourable press coverage which promotes your reputation as a valuable business partner, a credible authority, and an industry expert. 

A business can survive without content. It may not achieve its full potential, but lack of content will not make it fail. A business that acquires a bad reputation, fairly or not, will fail (or dramatically stumble). If you protect and nurture your brand’s reputation, you fend off the competitive weeds that prevent it from blossoming.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

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.

Download The Definitive Guide to Analyst Relations and how to ensure its success

READ this post: No Industry Is Too Complex For PR

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The Definitive Guide to Analyst Relations

and how to ensure its success

The Dos and Don'ts of Analyst Relations to help build credibility with industry influencers.

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No industry is too complex for PR

No industry is too complex for PR

No industry is too complex for PR

If you’re a marketer working in an industry such as engineering, science or technology – you not only have to deal with all the resourcing challenges that face marketers universally, but you have the added issue of having to create intelligible, interesting and engaging content from what some might call ‘complex’ specialties.

Finding a PR agency to assist you in these industries can be tough – some tech PR agencies have the skills but not the understanding, others have the understanding but not the creativity and others, still, have the creativity but lack structure and discipline. It can be an unrewarding and laborious search to find a PR partner that really understands you.

So, let’s consider what’s important when searching for your perfect B2B PR Partner in those complex industries:

 

Skills to look for in a tech B2B PR partner

Engaging writers:

The skills that you need from your PR team are universal. You need them to be effective communicators – persuasive, passionate, and inquisitive. You need them to know the right questions to ask and, most importantly, you need them to be able to write solid, grammatically correct, and engaging copy.

Clear and concise communicators:

Technical copy should be clear and concise. Complex copy can grow legs and get mired in mud – becoming impenetrable and unattractive to the audience. This is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve with your PR. You need your technical copy, news, and articles to be presented with clarity and purpose; simple sentences express complex concepts far better than long-winded, flowery bluster.

Tech PR Agency Skills Wordcloud
Expert authors:

Technical copy should be as aligned with your communication strategy  as your thought leadership. Just because something is complex is not an excuse for it not being strategically aligned. Expert technical authorship is a vital skill, this is the ability to turn complex information and turn it into interesting, engaging, and compelling insight and editorial.  Ask to see examples of their work – both the raw copy and the published material.

Is your tech PR team creative?

You should expect your PR agency to come to you with new ideas regularly. Every month, your tech PR firm should present you with new ideas designed to promote your messaging, extend your reach, and propel your brand awareness forward. You don’t want every idea to be safe or necessarily realistic, you want some flights of fantasy so long as they’re aligned to your business requirements – some of the best ideas can evolve from something less conventional.

Creativity is highly subjective. At the pitch stage you should get some insights as to the way they craft and present ideas for bringing your complex business to life. As you work together, this process for generating new and exciting ideas will become more fine-tuned.

PR structure and discipline are important in complex markets

Think about your internal audience – are they engineers, scientists or technical experts? How do you think they would respond to chaotic creativity, or pointless procedure? This is why structure and discipline are particularly important when working with complex businesses. It’s there to inspire confidence amongst the people you will be relying on to provide insight and expertise – your subject matter experts.

Your agency needs to provide a clear process between objective, output, and outcome so that everyone involved within your company can understand why you’re doing something and what the business outcome is expected to be. This will give you, and your internal audience, focus and purpose.

Internal credibility and authority

Often, these complex businesses are helmed by a founder CEO with a background in engineering, science, or technology. They rarely have a detailed understanding of marketing, its benefits, and limitations. So, a PR plan, showing how you’re using PR to deliver your business strategy, should lend you further credibility and authority.

Considering all the above factors in your B2B PR approach should provide you with the best formula for PR success, whatever industry you’re in. Your business may be complex, but the PR solution doesn’t need to be; you need to secure Tech PR skills, an inquisitive team, proven creativity and a proven delivery model; ideally with a team of PR experts you respect and whose values you share.

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.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

If you’ve found this article valuable, you can get more useful insight here:

Download our guide: How much does PR cost?

READ this outstanding Tech PR case study: Concirrus – Quest for Success

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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.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

If you’ve found this article valuable, you can get more useful insight here:

Download our guide on how to make your PR work harder: How to Optimise your News Release

READ this awesome PR case study: Lloyds Maritime Academy

look at this Infographic: “How PR differs from advertising

to receive regular insights on how to make your PR work harder.

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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How much does PR cost?

Our transparent guide to B2B PR pricing for tech brands.

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Our insights

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

As featured in PR Moment

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, for example tech PR, 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 PR 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, but COVID-19 has shown that it does still happen!); 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

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.

How to choose the right PR agency for your brand

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