Messaging development


Your 9-point plan for writing the perfect PR brief

Your 9-point plan for writing the perfect PR brief

Your 9-point plan for writing the perfect PR brief

No matter what market you occupy, if you’re looking to reap the benefits that a PR agency can provide, you must first establish what you want to achieve, how you will measure success, who your audience is and what needs to be said in order to achieve your outcome.

By preparing a PR brief, PR agencies can fully understand your thinking and be specific in their responses.

There are many ways to write a PR brief – below are the fundamentals that you need to include.  Whether that B2C or B2B – the principles are the same. ​

1. Context:

Where did this project come from? What challenge or change within the business has led you to look for external help? What is the driving force behind the desire for a step-change?

2. PR objectives:

What is the purpose of the engagement? Create precise objectives that are measurable and realistic.  The process of documenting your objectives will help you rationalise and fine tune them – something the agency will also do so, between you, a set of KPIs can be developed and agreed.

9 points to improve your PR brief

3. Target audiences:

Who do you want to communicate with? Outline who is important to you and your business; provide as much detail as you can about your key influencers and decision makers; share your stakeholder research – the tender process should not be a guessing game but the opportunity for you to access ‘best-in-class thinking’ to address your challenges.

4. Communication channels:

Indicate how you’ve delivered your communication in the past and to what degree; if there is a business driver for a channel, be explicit and explain why. For example, ‘Our CEO wants to build his profile and is aware that a competitor is all over X podcast(s).’

5. Messages:

What are you trying to say? Do you have a communication strategy?  If not, what elements do you have and what needs to be developed? Share any research that you have regarding message validation.

6. Potential challenges:

Think about the problems you may have to address; this may include internal resistance to, or unfamiliarity with PR; this will help shape the response and manage expectations.

7. Timescale:

Consider questions such as: When do you want your PR activity to start, and what are you hoping for in terms of reporting timeframes and contract duration?

8. Let’s talk money:

Specify how much money you are willing to spend because this will influence the type and range of activity you can afford.  If in doubt use our PR Packages document which tells you more about what PR costs.

9. Evaluation:

Reflecting on point #2 above, think about how performance will be measured; do you have a business requirement for a specific type of evaluation methodology or any preference for a particular platform?

Briefing your PR agency properly will save you time and money in the medium and long term. Your time and effort are indicators that you’re taking PR seriously and giving it the respect it deserves.

A detailed PR brief will prevent misunderstandings and costly off-strategy mistakes and will enable your PR agency to get up to speed quickly and start delivering meaningful media engagement at pace – protecting and nurturing your reputation across your target audiences.

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 awesome Tech PR case study: SELIS – creating a compelling narrative

look at this Infographic: “10 Rules to Interview like a Pro

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.

EC-PR Packages - B2B PR Pricing Guide - front cover

How much does PR cost?

Our transparent guide to B2B PR pricing for tech brands.

Download

Subscribe to our updates

Stay up to date with the latest insights, case studies, and PR guides.

EC-PR How We Guarantee Your PR Results Brochure Cover

How we guarantee your PR results

 Free Insights

Turbo boost your PR today and expand your ability to reach business goals.

Download

How to build compelling B2B brand messaging (part two of two)

How to build compelling B2B brand messaging (part two of two)

How to build compelling B2B brand messaging (part two of two)

In Part One, I talked about the first two stages of the messaging roadmap, ‘awareness’ and ‘interest’ and proposed tools for delivering tailored messages. In this article, I complete the loop by addressing the remaining two phases, ‘preference’ and ‘action’ explaining how you use them and what tools you might consider.

Once you’ve built brand familiarity and trust with your prospect through the first two stages, the next stage is to start guiding their attention to your remarkable credentials – which, if you’ve done phase one and two correctly, will perfectly match what they are now looking for.

The Messaging Cycle of awareness, interest, preference and decision / action

Preference

Let’s talk about you baby!  At long last, it’s ok to talk about you and put your brand on a pedestal.  The next stage of communication is all about defining, in the mind of your target audience, how your offering is the most desirable for addressing their specific needs.  If you have spent time nurturing them through phases one and two, this will be a logical progression of the conversation. 

Tools to deliver your Reinforcement messaging

The preference messaging will be delivered through your website, specification sheets, tailored presentations, and tender documentation.  Most businesses will have this material in abundance – the problem is, you’ve probably been using it at the wrong stage of the relationship and in terms of content, it’s been developed with you and your interests at its heart, rather than those of your prospects.

Remember, this is about how you measure up, as a perfect match to your customer’s needs, to be at the top of any tender list.

Action

This is the close, the finesse. So, at this stage, the prospect is considering two options – you and one other. Relentless telephone calls and emails are not going to nudge you over the line.  This phase is about communicating the value you can add, the successes you’ve delivered to other businesses and shining a light on the advantage of working with you over anyone else – in specific regard to the problems they’re addressing.

Tools to deliver your Value messaging

This is reasonably straight forward: case studies (both editorial & sales), LinkedIn references, Social Video, co-authorship focussing on success stories and success metrics – while bringing your company’s personality and values to life.

Buying Cycle & Messaging Phases - Preference Action

Note that every company’s messaging will differ. Once you have clear messaging, you can apply it methodically – creating a coherent customer journey.  This provides a logical and realistic purpose to your marketing activities with the bonus of your leadership team being engaged and immersed in the process because they were engaged from the start.  The outcome, therefore, is more engaging communication that delivers greater impact, longevity and effect.

Click here to see part one of two

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

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

Download How we guarantee your PR Results 

Read Read this B2B PR Brand Messaging case study: Concirrus

Watch Watch: Why your business needs a communication strategy

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.

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

Subscribe to our updates

Stay up to date with the latest insights, case studies, and PR guides.

EC-PR How We Guarantee Your PR Results Brochure Cover

How we guarantee your PR results

 Free Insights

Turbo boost your PR today and expand your ability to reach business goals.

Download

Our insights

How to build compelling B2B brand messaging (part one of two)

How to build compelling B2B brand messaging (part one of two)

How to build compelling B2B brand messaging (part one of two)

There are four stages through which a connection must move to successfully form an enduring commercial relationship.  These phases are awareness, interest, preference, and action.  And, your messaging at each stage of the relationship must evolve to reflect the needs and desires of your target audience to keep your brand relevant and compelling.

The Messaging Cycle of awareness, interest, preference and decision / action

Awareness

At this stage, your target audience is becoming aware they have an issue and your objective is to get them to see you as someone who has an in depth understanding of their sector challenges, through your engagement message. This is not about flogging a solution or your brand but positioning yourself as an expert they can trust.

To achieve this, your brand, senior executives, and subject matter experts, need to be visible and proactive.  They can do this by expressing opinion within LinkedIn posts, sharing relevant insights, authoring thought leadership in the media, presenting at key events, and addressing the issues that matter to the target audience with whom they seek to work.  Remember, people buy from people.

How to deliver your engagement messaging

The key B2B PR tools you can use include: your website, Insights/white papers, event sponsorship, speaking opportunities, LinkedIn engagement and news management. Your brand needs to be active and relevant.  ‘Everywhere’ your target persona ‘goes’ – your brand needs to be visible.

Interest

During this phase, your target audience is starting to formulate possible solutions to their issue. This is where you help your target audience to better understand the specific nature of their challenges and begin to formulate the ideal solution – still curbing your desire to reveal your self-interest.  Your challenge is to build trust by advising and guiding them a myriad of possible options and highlighting the pros and cons of each, maintaining an independent stance, while steering them towards your solution as the ideal fit.

How to deliver your solution messaging

This is where thought leadership articles can be invaluable, as well as independent round tables, white papers, issue-led podcasts and social videos, and objective explainers with strong visual prompts.

Your need to use your B2B PR to make your target audience feel that by listening to you, they are better equipped to deal with their challenges. They trust you and value your counsel.

Throughout both the awareness and interest phases, your focus is entirely on building familiarity, trust and influence before starting the next phase, although it’s fair to say that in the words of Simon Sinek, it’s an ‘infinite game’ and each phase will be in play as long as the business is seeking to grow.

Buying Cycle & Messaging Phases - Awareness Interest

Click here to see part two, where we suggest how to leverage the next stages of the comms journey; preference and action.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

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

Download How to Become a Thought Leader 

Read Read this awesome B2B PR case study: Lloyds Maritime Academy

Watch Learn: Why your business needs a communication strategy

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.

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

Subscribe to our updates

Stay up to date with the latest insights, case studies, and PR guides.

EC-PR How We Guarantee Your PR Results Brochure Cover

How we guarantee your PR results

 Free Insights

Turbo boost your PR today and expand your ability to reach business goals.

Download

Our insights

10 Reasons your brand needs PR

10 Reasons your brand needs PR

10 Reasons your brand needs PR

Depending on what stage of maturity your business is at, you will have different challenges, priorities, and drivers.  PR can amplify your marketing effort, protect and nurture your reputation, and extend the reach and impact of your investment. It can be used to help you address a wide range of specific objectives. Always aligned to your company’s vision, mission and goals, PR is ever present and supremely agile.

Here are 10 key reasons why your company should do PR as part of your customer engagement plan.

1. Enhanced lead generation:

PR complements your marketing initiatives by showcasing your successes in editorial case studies.  It keeps you visible as prospects move through the buying cycle and into the sales funnel. And, PR provides the added benefit of providing independent third-party endorsement.

2. Improved stakeholder insight:

The process of developing your communication strategy and PR outreach brings you closer to your customers.  Engaging with customers to understand their buying methodology and rationale to develop articles provides valuable, actionable insight into customer behaviour.

3. Compelling messaging:

Effective PR requires relevant messaging at each stage of the buying cycle.  The strength of the messaging is evaluated against the quality of the supporting evidence and relevance to your target audience.

4. Re-energised staff:

Targeted PR which is integrated with change programmes can mobilise workforces by giving them a sense of purpose, community, and boost in morale.

5. Clarity of purpose:

In order to be effective, PR needs clearly defined SMART goals.  The process of developing and executing these goals results in clarity of vision, purpose, and communications.

6. Invigorated sales team:

B2BPR will help build the morale of sales teams.  Seeing your brand receiving recognition in the media through press coverage for new business wins etc., instils pride and purpose.

7. Crisis mitigation:

A strong brand promotes loyalty which can help a brand survive a challenging trading environment. Crisis planning conducted during ‘business as usual’, will help you to identify potential areas of weakness which you can redress before any crisis hits.

8. Thought leadership:

Every business has something unique about it or it would never have been brought into existence.  Someone somewhere thought there was a gap in the market your company could fill. PR will help you harness your thought leadership with insight that informs, inspires, challenges, and engages your target audience.

9. Brand awareness:

PR builds a compelling relationship between your brand and your target audience – before your audience even enters the buying cycle. The key principles of any good PR strategy are to make you visible, valued and understood; delivered as part of a comprehensive communication strategy to drive consistency and impact. The outcome of which will provide you with a densely populated top of funnel.

10. Increased Impact:

By integrating your PR across all your marketing communications, you leverage your investment and increase impact. Every message delivered becomes a building block, creating layer upon layer of customer engagement, making the whole worth much more than the sum of its parts, in one cohesive, compelling brand.

So, you can see that the reasons to do PR are powerful – especially when you consider:

Whether you act or not, your reputation still exists out there in the market. You need to decide if you want to nourish and cultivate it, or leave it to chance.

As a result when you ask yourself: ‘why do I need PR’ or ‘Is PR important’ follow it up with the question:

‘Does my company reputation matter?’

Your answer will tell you all you need to know.

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.

Why your business needs thought leaders

Why your business needs thought leaders

Why your business needs thought leaders

Thought leadership is not a buzzword. Developing a campaign using your STEM experts can elevate your visibility and value beyond your competitors.

Thought leaders attract business

Thought leaders are those with a unique perspective and passion about how something can be achieved. They speak with clarity about industry problems, ideas and potential solutions. Their opinion is rooted in knowledge and knowhow so that their ideas can be realised, and their successes replicated.

Thought leaders are engaging, inspirational and motivating.

Typically these experts have a media profile and they attract followers because, within their community, they are visible, valued and understood. Consequently, they become trusted sources of information for the wider media and their audiences.

Take for example, Simon Sinek, the leadership and branding expert – his presentations are highly visual, accessible and offer clear, articulate, replicable steps. His message is simple, easy to remember, reference and repeat. As a result, his ideas spread, his profile increases, and he sells more books and his consultancy grows.

Bathe in reflected glory

A business can employ any number of thought leaders – each an expert in their own field, with different communication styles and preferred platforms. Whether you grow your own or employ existing thought leaders, the important thing is that you encourage and support them to capture, structure and articulate their best ideas. Doing so will add further value to your business’s vision and mission.

It’s worth noting that the process of sharing thought leadership enables you to harness and harvest the intellectual property (deliberate small ‘i’ small ‘p’) which resides in the heads of your most valuable employees – employees who one day may be employed by your greatest competitor.  Encourage them to share their brilliance while employed by you, so your business can bathe in its reflected glory.

Passion is persuasive

Don’t talk about things you don’t care about because it will show – it will be dull, and everyone will ignore you. Talking and writing for the sake of it does not make you a thought leader. Don’t write about the same stuff as everyone else, this makes you a copycat and possibly a plagiarist.

Being an expert takes time and commitment as does having an expert opinion. Developing an opinion usually means that you have investigated, considered and formulated different perspectives around an issue.

Few people will invest time and energy if they don’t care about a subject. When people commit some effort, it’s because they give a damn and when you give a damn, your passion shines through and it becomes so much more compelling. Therefore your expert does not need to be a sales-person or automatically comfortable in the limelight. Confidence in front of the media comes with skills to be learned, and it’s why we run services like our Media Training.

Your business needs thought leaders because they help your business to grow, which reflects well on your reputation and showcases your brilliance.

Next steps

1. Download our free guide on how you can become a thought leader.

2. See our case study showing how EC-PR developed an impressive PR Outreach Programme for SELIS, including story placements, media reviews and a compelling narrative about the SELIS project.

This article first appeared on LinkedIn. and was revised in Feb 2020.

Lifelong Learning Launch Case Study

Lifelong Learning Launch Case Study

Lifelong Learning Launch

Lloyds Maritime Academy Case Study

BACKGROUND

Following the development of its communication strategy which now forms the backbone of all marketing communications, Veronica Araujo, Head of Performance Marketing at Lloyd’s Maritime Academy recognised the importance of executing the plan to engage the media to elevate the brand and bring the new positioning of ‘lifelong learning’ to life.

Problem

Lloyd’s Maritime Academy had limited experience of proactively working with the media and wanted to leverage the knowledge and insights EC-PR had gained over the past two decades of working with trade journalists in the maritime sector.

Limited resources to develop new content also meant that Veronica and her team were keen to draw on EC-PR’s strong technical writing capabilities to provide editorial ideas and articles that would increase awareness and engagement within the target audience.

SOLUTION

The Lifelong Learning PR programme was specifically designed to help reflect the new, through life strategy. Activity would include the delivery of a regular news pipeline, the
development of a Brilliant Ideas Bank which reflects the communication strategy and business priorities with a specific focus on a ‘loud’ launch at London International Shipping Week 2019.

Outcome

Veronica Araujo, Head of Performance Marketing: “EC-PR played an instrumental role in helping us to develop our communication strategy, therefore, it was only natural for us to turn to Liz and Lorraine to help us execute the strategy. Their support in building a strong portfolio of material which has reinforced both our capability and the importance of through life career development has been fantastic. We’ve recognised the momentum that has been built in increasing brand awareness and hope to continue to elevate the brand in 2020.”

Veronica Araujo

Head of Performance Marketing, KNect365 Learning

  9-Month campaign delivered

36 pieces in industry specific press; 80% of coverage in media outlets with a DA over 40. Impact scoree 301,000. 9 news releases, 6 features, 2 case studies. Exclusive one to one access to journalists at London International Shipping Week 2019

  9-Month campaign delivered

36 pieces

of coverage in industry-specific press. 80% of coverage in media outlets with DA of over 40.

9 news

releases

6

features

Impact score

301,000

2

case studies

Exclusive one to one

access

to journalists at London International Shipping Week 2019

36 pieces

of coverage in industry-specific press. 80% of coverage in media outlets with DA of over 40.

Impact score

301,000

9 news

releases

6

features

Exclusive one to one

access

to journalists at London International Shipping Week 2019

2

case studies

GUARANTEED PERFORMANCE

Being in the right place at the right time… We will deliver feature length coverage to your target press… or your money back.