public relations Archives - TAB Corporate

The Power of Positioning Yourself

How to achieve marketing and PR standout in a crowded marketplace

by Sharon Cain, Quest PR

“If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.”

Whether applied to business plans, recruitment strategies or PR and communications programmes, the words of U.S. author W. L. Bateman are more relevant than ever in today’s tough economic climate and saturated legal sector.        

With predicted snail’s pace growth ahead coupled with a myriad of challenges besieging the profession – such as legal aid cuts on fees in crime and civil work and the introduction of best value tendering for legal aid work which will also drive fees down – powerful profiling and media recognition have never been more critical. (<–tweet this!)

In a packed market place, the headaches of falling sales, low brand recognition and peer-awareness are intensified. Slashing marketing spend can further exacerbate the migraine and prolong the uphill road to recovery.

In the countdown towards 2018, what are you doing differently to leapfrog your competitors?

The companies that emerged triumphant from the 90s recession were the ones who maintained a strong market position. Marks & Spencer’s accelerated PR and marketing was key to its comeback – while Innocent and GHD’s fast growth are likewise attributable to harnessing the power of the media.

Against a backdrop which demands flexibility, innovation and creativity, professional services are grasping the mettle – law firms, for example, are offering 20% off wills to Twitter followers, spearheading and sustaining LinkedIn discussions groups, featuring in video blogs and videos and utilizing Facebook as a recruitment platform to vie for the top talent. Successful practices will reveal they are winning new business through adopting this potent formula.

In my experience as a national journalist and PR consultant, the power of positioning yourself as an expert with print and broadcast media to drive sales cannot be underestimated. In the same way that, as a former BBC and Sky TV reporter, I would call on the most articulate and interesting interviewees, editors and journalists today also seek spokespeople who can succinctly translate the latest legislation into layman’s terms and spell out its implications, comment on milestone legal cases, provide tops tips and add value to round table debates.

As PR practitioners at Quest we can vouch for how the media loves to profile ‘new kids on the block’ – presenting a fantastic opportunity for lawyers to be a fresh face and voice for readers, listeners and viewers.

When reacting to the news agenda, it’s vital to be quick off the mark in approaching journalists because you are competing with hundreds of internal or external PR teams who are also racing to secure their clients a coveted slot.

Patience, perseverance and tenacity in great store are also required and you will savour the sweet taste of success when the situation is reversed and the media start to call you or your PR agency for comment. Celebrate this extremely exciting milestone – after eleven years of catapulting clients from a standing start to national commentators we still cheer loudly at Quest PR!

Finally, before approaching the media as a potential commenter – ensure you are competent and confident in driving and steering the interview. Conducting live or pre-recorded interviews with radio and TV reporters and presenters requires specific skills and techniques to ensure you are invited back.

If in doubt, commission a media training specialist so that you emerge from a live Sky TV interview – or address millions of listeners on Radio Five Live in the confidence  that you have done yourself and your business justice.

Former Sky TV and BBC journalist Sharon Cain is the MD of multi award-winning Quest PR which fuses traditional PR and social media and guarantees results. For more information contact Sharon @sharoncain on Twitter, Sharon Cain on LinkedIn or call 00 44 1423 564192 .


Sponsored Content: Public Relations Dream or Nightmare?

PR is changing alonside the business plans of newspapers and magazines…

I’ve never worked in PR, so I don’t often blog about public relations.  If you’ll allow me to be completely honest, I don’t really understand PR.  I work in marketing at a small business, so I’ve written a press release or two, and I’m a total geek for social networking, so I’m familiar with PR tools like HARO and Muck Rack, but I’ve never had any formal public relations training, and I’m just beginning to grasp how the whole thing works.

All our press releases

All our press releases (Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn)

As a formal (hack) journalist, I’ve encountered a lot of surprises in my unguided introduction to PR; what has surprised me most is that many publications will pick up press releases without editing them.  I guess this shouldn’t surprise me, because formerly, I worked as the assistant editor for a magazine.  In this position, I scoured every word of copy that came in from our editorial side, but I never gave any of the advertisements we ran a second glance.

I thought this practice was one of the hazards of being on a 3 personal editorial staff at a tiny regional magazine.  But after seeing the snafu, that The Atlantic Magazine worked itself into this week; I’m realizing that editorial ambivalence towards paid content that appears in magazines is more or less universal.

If you’re not a journalism nerd, The Atlantic has been around for over a century, and is very well known for the thoroughness of its fact checkers.   An objectionable ad sneaking its way into the sponsored content section of The Atlantic is akin to a escaped death row prisoner cajoling his way into a private dinner at the White House.

Everyone makes mistakes, and since this is a business blog, I’ll spare you any more blathering about editorial practice, or journalistic integrity.  If you own a business, the only thing you need to know is that for the right amount of money, it’s currently possible to publish anything you want in the online version of any periodical.

As is often the case with huge businesses opportunities, being able to publish whatever you want is the ultimate double edged sword.  Magazines usually go to great lengths to differentiate sponsored content from editorial content.  This means that unless your company is VERY controversial, (like Scientology controversial) your business is going to catch all of the flack for errors in content, grammar, graphics, organization, prose, etc.

In this situation, knowledge is power.  Know that any press release you send to a wire service is going to appear exactly as you submit it.  Know that sponsored content you submit to magazines is not going to be so much as glanced at by any member of that magazines editorial staff.  Realistically, this means hiring a professional writer, or at least contracting with a copy editor.  If you insist on producing your own content, edit, edit, edit and edit.

Pay extra close attention to randomly capitalized letters.  I know how you business people are…

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