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PR Measurement: Why it is time to retire AVEs for good

Once, not that long ago, the introduction of AVEs prompted PR people to put away their rulers in favour of a more commercial measurement technique for brands’ media coverage. But now, the continued use of AVEs smacks of a quiet desperation. They are like a sad embodiment of PR’s inferiority complex towards the advertising community in spreadsheet form.

In economics, cost and value clearly aren’t the same thing, so marrying the price of advertising space to the outputs of media relations programmes is really rather pointless. AVEs don’t enable us to understand and measure the benefit of activities that keep brands out of the headlines, messaging cut-through in editorial vs. that allowed in advertising placements. Perhaps most importantly though, they can’t measure an overall campaign and won’t help us to look at social or online media in any form.

So why are they still being used? AVEs are a comfort blanket. When clients or agencies find themselves reaching for metrics to prove the value of their work, AVEs are a convenient crutch.

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PR Measurement: Why it is time to retire AVEs for good
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Choosing a global PR agency

Ambitious companies looking to expand to new territories face a number of challenges. Finding an office, hiring staff, thinking about infrastructure and getting through all of the red tape and paperwork have to be considered. On top of this they will need to think about how they connect with customers and partners in their new surroundings through global PR and marketing efforts.

While many companies have done perfectly well using a number of different agencies to cover different territories, dealing with just one agency should offer a simpler, more efficient and cohesive experience.

But this isn’t necessarily the case, so here are the questions that you should be asking yourself when you are choosing a global PR agency:

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Choosing a global PR agency
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How to get noticed without a PR agency

What’s the ideal time for a company to start thinking about PR?

Our answer (of course) would be: From the very beginning. However, while your product might still be on the drawing board, with no full-time employees on your books or revenue being generated, actually engaging with a PR agency doesn’t make sense.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t be working on your own PR already, though. There is plenty you can be planning, preparing and actually doing in order to facilitate future engagements with the media no matter what stage you are in your company’s journey.

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How to get noticed without a PR agency
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What content marketing can do for your B2B brand

Content marketing is a term that most, if not all, B2B brands will have heard. So what is content marketing and what can it do for a B2B brand?

Brands in the B2B space need to use every tool at their disposal to reach, grow and engage their target audience. While earned media – coverage in relevant third-party publications that your audience consumes – and paid media such as advertising can get you so far, these are only part of the puzzle.

Increasingly brands are becoming aware of the fact that they need to be creating and filling up their own channels – or ‘owned media’ – in order to get the most best out of the momentum they have built up from other channels.

However, while it is easy to write a few blogs and stick them on your company website, to really get the most out of content requires a lot of hard work and dedication.

Here are the questions you should be asking yourself before taking the plunge with content marketing.

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What content marketing can do for your B2B brand
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How adtech companies can differentiate themselves

It is one of the deepest ironies in business, to me, that the sector which does the worst job at communicating itself is… the advertising industry.

The agencies started it. Most of them are a labyrinthine mess comprising hundreds of distinct operating units and sub-agencies. Behold, Publicis Groupe’s confusing announcement of Publicis One, a consolidation into, well, four divisions.

For an industry which prides itself on “storytelling”, this inability to effectively communicate a service offering should come as something of an embarrassment.

But ad land’s communication problem has been taken to new highs – or, should I say, lows – by a new wave of advertising company, one that doesn’t necessarily have storytelling at heart: the adtech vendor.

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How adtech companies can differentiate themselves
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Why the Trump administration needs to tell the truth

Clarity CEO Sami McCabe has recently written about how the PR industry should respond to Brexit and the Trump presidency. Associate Director Ashley Norris has also examined how Trump could actually prove to be a blessing in disguise for the media industry.

I, however, want to turn my attention to a key aspect of how Trump and his team are handling communications now they are actually in control. Barely three weeks in, there are plenty of great lessons for people working in comms and at brands who want to get their name known coming from the Trump administration. Most, it has to be said, would be listed in the section headed “Don’t” rather than the one titled “Do”.

One of the latest comes from Kellyanne Conway, who invented an incident – the Bowling Green massacre – in order to further justify the new policy that stops immigrants from seven nations entering the U.S. Now, as controversial as the policy itself may be, I want to focus on why what Kellyanne Conway did was such a big no-no from a comms point of view.

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Why the Trump administration needs to tell the truth
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Why Medium is still a great option for B2B brands

A couple of weeks ago Ev Williams, one of the founders of Twitter, came clean about some of the problems he was facing with his online publishing platform Medium.

He explained why 2016 had been a stellar year for Medium with “key metrics, such as readers and published posts up approximately 300% year on year.” Williams acknowledged, though, that the main ploy he had hatched for monetising the business – a native advertising solution – hadn’t worked out how he had envisaged. He added that he was having to make 50 staff – mainly in sales – redundant, while he and his team pondered a new direction for the platform.

So is it time, as some critics appear to have done already, to write off Medium as a long-term publishing prospect?

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Why Medium is still a great option for B2B brands
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How to get the best out of working with a PR agency

Entering into a relationship with a PR company isn’t something to be taken lightly. Carefully selecting the right agency is important – they need to understand your company and product, and have a clear vision of how you can work together. We’ve written before about how to select a PR agency – this article will guide you through what to do next.

1. Be prepared to work together
The key word here is ‘together’. You can’t simply sign the contract and assume that the coverage will start to roll in from that point on. It takes time to develop relationships with target media on your behalf, and for the agency to craft your story into something that will interest journalists. This requires your help and input – they’ll need to be able to pick your brains and really get to the bottom of what it is and the whys and wherefores of how you’re doing it.

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How to get the best out of working with a PR agency
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7 questions to help you choose a tech PR agency

No matter whether you are an established business that has been trading for decades, or a startup working out how to get the most from your angel investment, chances are that somewhere on your to-do list will be employing a tech PR agency.

There are many types of business communications that you can use to attract new customers or increase brand awareness, but in terms of value for money there is no more effective way of getting the message out about your services than working with a PR agency.

Tech PR agencies have evolved and become even more useful to their clients in recent years. For example, when Clarity started half a decade ago our focus was largely on media relations – in other words securing press coverage for our clients.

Now we specialise in integrated campaigns that often include content, social media and advertising as well as good old fashioned PR. We position ourselves as your trusted business adviser; someone who is there to challenge you and help your business to evolve. We can cover a lot of marketing areas for you and ensure that they work seamlessly in delivering a unified message.

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7 questions to help you choose a tech PR agency
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In seeking to destroy it, Donald Trump may make media more sustainable

Legacy media, namely national newspapers and print-based magazines, on both sides of the pond have undergone a torrid decade.

Transitioning readers from print to digital while getting them to continue to pay for content has proved to be a very real struggle. And the rise of social platforms has meant that income from display advertising hasn’t proved as lucrative as the media companies had once hoped.

There are many technology providers looking to create solutions, especially around native advertising – Clarity boasts two clients in this space Anyclip and Adyoulike – but mainstream media, while not exactly on the ropes, would seriously benefit from a new sustainable business model.

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In seeking to destroy it, Donald Trump may make media more sustainable