How communications work in the tech industry

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In the tech industry, communication is vital in making your business stand out. It’s all about building relationships to advance, promote, and benefit the reputation of you and your company. At its core, communication revolves around this universal fact: people act based on their perception of news and facts. By managing, controlling, or influencing people's perceptions, you can be one step closer to success.

We’ve compiled a quick cheat list with some fundamentals of how PR and Comms work in the tech industry, including some savvy advice we give to our clients --we offer a range of tailored packages for startups and companies in the tech ecosystem to help them meet their objectives.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Be active

Start by having a social presence. Establish a profile on relevant networks like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. This gives you and your startup an authentic voice and shows the people behind the brand. It also gives you an additional outlet to share your latest updates, progress and provides another point of contact for customers, prospects and influencers. It’s key to maintain consistent updates and engagement – it’s not enough to just have a profile and be silent.

Create unique content. The best way to attract users is by using your content to creatively inform them about your company. It must be appealing, unique, original and diverse (e.g., text, video, images, quizzes, gifs).

Experiment

The great thing about the tech industry is it’s constantly on the move – there’s never a dull moment, and the spontaneous nature of trends creates interesting marketing opportunities. Constant change means there’s always a new story to get on the news. Capitalise on this!

If you would like to know more about how to utilise your social media, check out our previous newsletters - A no bull💩 guide to social media (part 1 & part 2).

Establish relationships with the media

You want to be able to capture a journalist’s attention. To achieve this, know that tech reporters want to write about exciting companies that are doing new and different things. They often receive hundreds of pitches every day and are looking for the ones that stand out. They want nicely packaged stories with relevant metrics, case study examples or other interesting information that will make their job much easier and significantly boost the chance of being picked up.

So make a list of journalists you would like to target. These journalists will be related to your industry and will be a great target to build media relationships with. If you already know who you would like to target, but aren’t sure how to go about it, check out our previous edition of this newsletter on pitching to journalists.

Don’t be promotional

When pitching journalists don’t be too self-serving. Offer interesting data, tips, insights on trends and other industry information that editors will deem as interesting and useful to their readers. Quality content is more likely to grab the attention of both reporters and readers, and garner attention for the company at the same time.

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* This post was originally published in our newsletter The Communications Workshop. Sign up to get more free tips on communications and marketing here!

The dark arts of stunt PR

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Do you remember when Stormtroopers marched across London to promote the release of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”? Or when Deliveroo installed a 6-metre wide wall of free burgers in Shoreditch to celebrate their 10-millionth burger delivery in the UK?

These were all successful PR stunts aimed to raise awareness of as many people as possible to a cause or product. These stunts were successful because they combined three key factors: they were bold, memorable, and got high levels of engagement from the public.

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try a stunt to get people noticing your brand? But, first, let’s start with the basics:

What is stunt PR?

Stunt PR, also known as a publicity stunt or sometimes even a gorilla campaign, is a planned stunt designed to attract as much of the public's attention to the organizers or their cause. Publicity stunts have a long history with being disruptive, but it’s a great tactic for building brand awareness --think of it as the ancient version of viral videos. When done right, they can help your business grow exponentially.

How can stunt PR succeed?

In the PR and comms industry, stunts are not uncommon. But for your stunt to succeed, it will need to be entertaining and engaging, while also having a coherent narrative that integrates well with your overall marketing message. There’s no point in doing a stunt if it’s not relatable or isn’t easily referred back to you.

Most stunts work better when they have a picture or video element associated with them –and if that’s the case you need to resist the temptation to use corporate branding and logos. Credit the audience and media with some intelligence and respect. Great campaigns prompt people to learn more; they will want to know ‘who did this and why?’

Remember Carlsberg’s 'best poster in the world'? Using a slogan is a great example of an effective PR stunt. In 2015, the beer brand unveiled the ‘best poster in the world’ in London’s Brick Lane –a billboard that dispensed free beer. It was an incredibly simple concept, but perfectly on-brand. Unsurprisingly, the stunt generated a lot of interest on social, with #probablythebest generating over 3M Twitter impressions in just one day.

How can stunt PR fail?

A common way for a PR stunt to fail is if no one gets it. When Oprah was still hosting her TV show she attempted to pull a major PR stunt to help promote the Pontiac G6. The talk show host gave away one of the cars to everyone in the audience and said “Pontiac G6” over and over again, but today, hardly anyone remembers what type of car she gave away, they only remember her famous statement “You get a car! You get a car! You get a car!”

If the public remembers the stunt but doesn’t understand what you’re promoting, then the stunt isn’t worth it. When you pull a stunt, make sure that the thing or company you are promoting is unmistakably associated with the stunt.

How can stunt PR help your company?

PR in any form is a good way of boosting your company’s social reach and helping you gain more customers. Best of all, it brings about a public awareness on a large scale in a short amount of time.

Fairly unknown/new startups can greatly benefit from stunt PR, not only because you have more room to experiment with your marketing and carry less risk compared to much larger brands, but because the result can bring massive brand awareness to your product or service and drive impressive growth figures.

Are PR stunts pricey?

Sure, they can be. The examples above are from relatively large brands with big marketing budgets. But that doesn’t mean you can’t come up with some remarkable publicity on a low budget. Remember the good old flash mob? That just took a couple hundred willing participants and a video camera.

Also, social media is a great tool and is a free way of pulling stunts without the high costs of high-end publicity stunts. Utilise the community and followers you’ve built to create a social buzz.

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* This post was originally published in our newsletter The Communications Workshop. Sign up to get more free tips on communications and marketing here!

What to expect when working with PR agencies

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Being a startup founder is endlessly busy work. A small team building a household name from the ground up can seem a daunting prospect. But with a PR agency on board, your fantastic idea can be catapulted into the Goliath you know it can be. It takes a career lifetime to build the knowledge of the PR landscape and the contacts that PR agencies have, but, for you, that expertise and contacts list is unlocked as soon as collaboration begins.

Working with a PR agency is a bit like having a pocket rocket marketing partner. They are always there, operating in the background. Then, when you need that real push, PR agencies blast into action and make it happen. PR, Events, Social Media, Influencer Engagement, Speaking and Consulting are the bread and butter of agencies. These areas are hugely important when growing a business, as they are often the first things that an audience will see of a company. To take just one example: you can be sure that if your social media accounts look unloved and unkempt then a prospective customer will be put off from buying your product. If these key areas are not your forte, it makes perfect sense to take the weight off your shoulders and dedicate your time to growing other areas of your business, leaving the PR and Communications to the experts. There are many agencies, ready to use their long-established connections and well-honed skills to solidify your brand in the 21st century.

What to expect

As with every partnership, one must expect a certain amount of bad with the good. The understanding of a sector and generation of visible, quantifiable results can be difficult to grasp at first. Although it’s possible to transform your business into an overnight success story, PR agencies cannot guarantee it will happen quickly. But you can be assured all PR muscles will be flexed to make it happen as soon and efficiently as possible. When you’re a startup starting from zero, it’s about gaining momentum over time.

Having regular and open dialogue is essential. PR agencies will fire ideas at you and the quicker your response is received, the quicker PR agencies can get on with implementing those ideas. In the world of social media, news stories fade into the cyber abyss very quickly. So, if say a PR agency secured you an interview with a high-profile publication, it would be essential to reciprocate enthusiasm right away, so the agency can strike whilst the iron is hot. Any foot-dragging could mean missing out on opportunities.

In this way, your success is also the agency’s success. Regular catch-ups are an excellent way to track and measure performance. Setting clear goals initially is key to the work that PR agencies do. The more that they know about you and your business, the more efficient adopting your house style becomes and the quicker work can get started.

How to work effectively together

Working together is a key aspect of a PR agency and client relationship, it is important to do this at an optimal level. You can trust the agency to be doing the job that was agreed upon and you will be notified on progress toward the agreed goals in reporting.

But a great agency will also give you the strategic input and insight to feedback on the ideas you may have - and this is where you need to be open to receiving friendly criticism and open to sharing a lot of information on what is happening in your company. Visibility is key for PR to success. A strong partner wants to ensure you look great at the right time, to the best audience, across multiple channels - agencies come with lots of experience, so take onboard the feedback and suggestions they provide.

Dealing with rejection is a huge part of PR, so it is important to recognise this and not be disheartened. A story could take months of preparation but then eventually not run at all. This might be because of various reasons, from a change of plans from the editorial board to having to compete with breaking news. However, you can be certain that if the PR agency can see how your product could fit into a media conversation, then it will know who would be interested in it - and can get that pitch onto their desk.

Bill Gates recognised the value of PR - and he made a pretty good success of his business. One of his famous quotes is exactly about his approach towards this type of work: “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on Public Relations.”

So what are you waiting for...?

BY JAMIE GRIFFIN, JUNIOR AT CEW COMMS.

How to use influencers

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When you’re a startup you have to think of creative ways to promote your brand and social media is a great tool for this. Building a following can be challenging, but using the influence of others can bring a boost to your channels!

Influencers are people who have power over an audience, who listen to what they have to say --usually on social media.

Getting an influencer to endorse a product usually costs money, but influencers come in all shapes, sizes and follower numbers.

Today, we'll take you through a few ways to connect with them to build a relationship and get more followers from engagement. If people see that someone of power or influence has endorsed you for whatever you’re doing, chances are they’re more likely to follow you. But before you know how to use influencers, you need to know who to pick.

1. Identify

First figure out which influencers are relevant to you, and not the ones that you like the most or who have the biggest following (although this can help). If your business focuses on travel, then influencers relevant to you might be senior social media managers at Airbnb, Tripadvisor, Expedia or other similar travel agencies. Remember to focus. You might enjoy looking at Ed Sheeran’s Instagram but targeting him as an influencer for your business might be completely irrelevant.

Just as you would research journalists who can write about you, research influencers who should know you.

2. Organise

Create a list and think what you want from your targeted influencers and what you can give that will interest them. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking on your own terms but it's important to always be empathetic. Think first what value you can provide, then dive in. Additionally, organise your profile, make it look slick and make it stand out from other accounts. You want your branding to be memorable, but not annoying or invasive.

Your research will help you to decide what the best approach may be to engage with this person.

3. Engage

It’s now time for contact. The two main ways to do this are through the main social media channels and email. DM them, ask them questions, flatter them, express gratitude, and whatever you do, always provide something of interest. Tell your story where possible (but don't send swathes of text!) and highlight where your two brands run complimentary. Show them the opportunity.

Do this by researching what their interests are beforehand and then making the effort to send content that is personalised to them. For example, if you work in the sleep tech space and want to engage Arianna Huffington, which tweet is likely to stimulate a response?

“Thank you so much @ariannahuff for all your research on the importance of sleep, it helped my business so much”

Or

“Love your work on sleep @ariannahuff, what are your thoughts on smart beds and sleep tracking technology? Are they worth the cost?”

The difference doesn’t seem great, but it is. For the first tweet, you have somewhat mentioned the influencer’s interest but the second tweet is much more inviting for a response. Not only are you asking a question, but you’ve taken the time to understand the space this influencer is in and provided a more personalised tweet, increasing the incentive for a reply. This is the mindset you need to maximise engagement.

4. Build a relationship

Remember the 3Rs. Relationships are built through Rapport and the Right intentions. It would be unwise to engage an influencer just once. By developing a relationship you can exchange value in the longer term.

You do this by staying in contact and providing the other person with something that is valuable to them, which could be anything ranging from a certain service to a funny message exchange on Twitter. This is the process of building rapport and will help strengthen the relationship.

5. Measure your results

It’s great to engage influencers and foster mutually beneficial relationships, but this needs to have an impact on your business. So, if you do get engagement from an influencer, look at the statistics. If sales are going up, ask yourself: is this due to the influencer or some other correlation? The point is, always be savvy and results-driven. If it works, invest!

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* This post was originally published in our newsletter The Communications Workshop. Sign up to get more free tips on communications and marketing here!

Setting and sticking to goals

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Setting goals is easy, but how good are you with sticking to them and actually achieving the milestones you set?

We came up with a little list to make sure you’re on top of everything you set to achieve!

Define a target
Let’s get started! What do you want to achieve? Write it down. It might sound silly, but once you can visualize what your end goal is, it will become clearer and easier for you to establish a plan of action.

Be realistic
When we start we feel like anything is possible and end up setting ambitious goals that might be a bit hard to achieve as the months go by.

The secret here is to be pragmatic when deciding what you want to achieve. Use 13-week cycles to set important milestones for achieving your big goal, and don’t set too many! For example, if your ultimate goal for the end of the year is to achieve £200K in revenue, you can set yourself to achieve one quarter of this amount in 13 weeks. The actions you put in place for this could be to work on your marketing strategy, revise your pricing, and develop relationships with current and future clients.

Three clear quarterly objectives that help get you to your end of year achievement would be perfect!

One way to organize your goals is by setting them as S.M.A.R.T. 
Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Relevant
Time-bound

Making objectives easier to meet will give you a boost of confidence and energy when you get them done, motivating you to keep moving forward. You can always revise them as the year progresses.

Create a plan of action
Once you have clearly outlined what you want to achieve it is time to create a plan to get this done. Try writing down three actions you think will contribute to you achieving each milestone and do everything you can to stick to it. TIP: Look at these regularly to remind yourself to keep doing them!

Get organised!
The best way of keeping everything in check is to get yourself organised. There are a ton of apps you can download to help you with that --Evernote, Wunderlist and Trello are just a few of them. If you want to try something analogue, why not try a bullet journal?

These are also good ways to track your progress and keep you motivated. It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you get it done!

Start the work!
Now that you have realistic goals, an action plan and are on top of everything, just go get what you want! Remember: don’t be too hard on yourself and be open to change. When something is not working, make adjustments. Go over your strategies to improve your results and do not be afraid of trying new approaches.


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* This post was originally published in our newsletter The Communications Workshop. Sign up to get more free tips on communications and marketing here!

Different ways to think about growth: a creative approach

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You may have seen the furore over recent comments by Kendall Jenner about her hot-wiring of the fashion industry through her elite family connections. But, unless you are an affiliate of the Jenner - Kardashian ilk, there’s no real sure-fire way to become an overnight social media star. Their friends may stick to them in photos hoping for that much-coveted tag, drawing millions to their profiles, but it’s unlikely doing this with your friends in a picture holding happy hour cocktails is going to yield the same volume of traffic to your Instagram. So we have to think a bit differently when it comes to generating growth in our personal and work profiles. Building your personal brand and spinning the ordinary are two of the approaches you can take on.

Building your brand

Building a profitable personal brand online takes time and careful cultivation. Being generous with likes and follows will help you to get noticed, but once the fish has bitten, you need to reel it in and keep it in the net. Your content must be polished, grammatically correct and engaging or no one will follow you. Don't aim for perfection early on. Instead allow your brand to evolve naturally over time and concentrate on providing massive value and focus on over-delivering to your target audience. It’s perfectly fine to emulate other profiles that look how you want yours to, but be sure to put your own distinctive spin on them. This will clarify your message and crystallise your brand in the process. Think of your profiles as a person that you are creating: they need a personality, a face and a voice. It’s up to you to decide what those are.

Spin the ordinary

Trends come from everywhere and can be reworked, reinvented and repackaged. What starts off as an absurd idea is soon absorbed into the ordinary, especially in popular fashion, just take a look at Vetements clothing. For example, Vetements spun an ordinary DHL workmans t-shirt into the must-have item of 2016. They did this by taking a recognised item that would not have been looked at twice in the fashion world, and put it on the catwalk. This idea was so bizarre, that it transcended boundaries and made run-of-the-mill into high-end. Notwithstanding the huge impact this had on how one views high fashion, it enabled Vetements to charge 41 times more for the item than DHL did. 

But in PR and Comms, this is where you can go viral, generating huge sales and returns from relatively little effort. What is an area of your business that you could turn upside down in a way that would get people talking, and tell their friends about it too?

Thinking differently and conveying a message that resonates with people will cause them to attribute positive feelings to your brand, which should result in them spending their money, or time, with you.

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That is some following to follower ratio! The main KFC Twitter account is incredibly selective with the accounts that it follows. The selection is reflective of their ‘secret’ recipe which includes a mystical variation of herbs and spices. For this reason, KFC follows the Spice Girls and six guys named Herb. This is a quirky and fun use of the conventions of social media, which generates traction to the page, conversation and furthers brand awareness.

So what are the ways that you can use this concept to see growth in your personal or work business?

Is it the 31st of July, or is it Avocado Day? The unofficial world calendar is teeming with dates that can be exploited for a wealth of social media opportunities. Take Avocado Day… if you are, for example, a car insurance company, you could create a campaign around the phrase:

“Happy #NationalAvocadoDay! We do smashing deals on #car #insurance… but it’s essential that you avo-ca-do” 

It is important to clarify, here, that if you do decide to use a “national day”, to make sure that you are doing it for good reason. That being, that there is a clear connection to your business and to consider a good will initiative of some form. Not everything has to be about monetary gain and it can build positive connotations to your brand if your genuine good nature is reciprocated in your social media output. 

If you want to drive more people to your profile, compliment those who know you. People enjoy being complimented in real life and you can guarantee that they are  well received within the online world. A further example of a date-harnessing opportunity could be to use National Coffee Ice Cream day on 6th September. 

If you are in a shared co-working space, you could set up a makeshift stand at your desks, where people have to share and tag you in a post if they want an ice cream, or (cheaper!) a coffee. This way, you’re showing a jovial nature to your company and, effectively, creating your own targeted adverts. The ice cream and coffee devourers will be followed by relevant accounts to their sectors, which are very difficult to target directly without seeming overbearing with sponsored posts. By getting onto their timeline through a mediator, who is singing your praises whilst you sing theirs, represents a ‘win’ all round for your Twitter analytics that week. 

Now, where was that stand…...? 😉

BY JAMIE GRIFFIN, JUNIOR AT CEW COMMUNICATIONS.

How to nail an event

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Ever thought about running an event for your company? Do you feel a bit overwhelmed when you think about the planning process?

We’re going to give you five steps needed to get cracking on arranging your own event. It could be a product launch, a panel discussion, a social or even a conference (eep), but these points are designed to make it easier to plan a successful event.

Then, we’ll give you the added steps to market your event and make the most out of the content!

PLANNING

1. Identify Goals and Objectives
Why are you setting up the event? What do you hope to achieve? Answer these questions before you start --you need to have objectives in mind.

Keep your goals focused and clear. Simply saying that you want to ‘increase brand awareness’ is not enough. Increase brand awareness with which demographic? Make sure you challenge yourself to be specific and avoid being vague. This will help you pin down exactly what you want.

2. Carefully Budget
Setting up an event, in theory, is easy. Making it a reality is difficult. Budgeting is the first practical hurdle.

If you’re a startup, an event really doesn’t need to cost the earth. But you do need to give yourself a little budget to have some fun with, to keep your guests happy and in order to compete with the other events of the night. (Seriously, free drinks still make a difference).

But you can minimise costs elsewhere --one way is looking to partner with other organisations such as co-working spaces who can offer space for free if you allow members to join the event.

You could see if a local boutique alcohol brand would be interested in having a stand, or offering a discount if you buy in bulk. You yourself could look at sponsoring an existing event, which brings an added audience and brand awareness value.

Be inventive, keep costs low and options open.

3. Identify your Audience
If you’ve set an objective and goals, you can set an ideal target audience. Whether it’s customers, investors, recruits or a wider audience interested in a core topic, you want the people you’re inviting to have a strong incentive to show up and to be genuinely engaged when they do.

Figure out your primary and secondary audiences. And who else would be welcome to join. Now design the content for those people and event type for those people.

The reason you pick a speaker, a time, a theme, a drink, a canape (or pizza), all ties back to these people attending and engaging, and you achieving your goals.

4. Content
You need content. And you need a network.

People come along for one reason, the value your event will give them. That value usually comes down to what they learn or who they meet.

The content and guests of your event are key. But the world we operate in is also FULL of events, so you need to be inventive. Avoid having a “Me-Too” event. You want to say something new and be memorable.

Think about themes as headlines. If you were reading a paper, would you stop and want to read that article?

Now think about how you get that headline across. Do you just want one expert, or four people with different opinions? Is it a thought leadership piece or a debate? Is it many debates? Is it a whole magazine full of content? Is it open discussion, enabling a room to mix and chat?

If you’re launching a product, what do you want people to learn about it? How should they interact? Can it be in display?

Some other key points and rules to live by when it comes to content:

  • Balance your speakers in ALL aspects. Make diversity a crucial part of your event, and don’t limit that to just race or gender, but backgrounds, organisations, popularity and opinion. No one wants to listen to a panel where 4 people look and sound the same. BORING.
  • Choose speakers/panelists that will help promote your event.
  • A moderator is normally underlooked, but critical to keeping your event flowing. An entertaining and engaged moderator can help make or break a panel.
  • NO MORE THAN FOUR PEOPLE ON A PANEL EVER (WE’RE SERIOUS ABOUT THAT ONE)
  • Keep your content concise (under 1.5 hours if you’re doing lots of talks). Keep time back for networking, don’t cut this part short.
  • If you present on your own company, keep it to under 3 minutes. No one likes an event where they feel they’ve been lured into an overly long sales pitch.

5. Set a date and time
Key factors in addressing an event date:

  • Ensure you have enough planning time
  • You have enough time to lock in key speakers
  • You don’t clash with key industry dates
  • It’s not a Friday
  • You’ve considered the best time of day to get the attendees you want to attend
  • It’s not in the Christmas period, unless you give people a lot of advanced notice

MARKETING

1. Creating promotional content
Rule one. You need to get your event out there and let people know about it. This means creating promotional content that can be used across all channels. Think about the tweets and posts you create, the language you use, the image cards you need, and whether you need photos of speaker, bios and tags.

Promoting an event requires you to share it on your own channels and on the channels of others involved in helping promotion. Make sure to give them all the material that they could possibly need so it's easy to copy, share and post.

Lastly, your content needs to be easy for you to create, and easily shareable, in order to save time. We’re all a bit time poor, so how do you take that five minute task down, to 15 seconds. Create a folder for all your event resources, and share it with those you’re collaborating with.

2. Using your channels
Create a plan for how you use your owned channels --your website, direct emails, invitations, social media, event page and blog. Start with your community first.

For example, put links in your newsletter, write a blog about your upcoming event, promote heavily on social, use an Instagram story to highlight your event and its speakers and list your event on Facebook.

Once you’ve created your promotional content, create a plan so that you’re communicating about your event everyday. If it’s a public event, post across all your social channels once a day.

Tagging in different people and using alternative hashtags, will be a big help. Build the excitement! If it’s a private event, focus on an email marketing campaign that builds excitement for your invitees.

3. Working with partners
It's rare that you're the only one involved in your event. You may have speakers, a venue partner, even sponsors. Each person you're working with has a network you can tap into.

Make sure those promotional materials you create can be easily shared with every partner and event connection, and ask for their help in spreading the word. 

For speakers, give them content that they can use which makes them look damn good. They'll be more than willing to give your event a few shout-outs.

Once you've tapped into your extended network, take a look at event listings --such as UK Tech News, Tech.London and TimeOut. Also, think about sending direct emails to co-working spaces, accelerators, and any networks that are relevant to your event. Once you start mapping out who you should be contacting and asking for help or providing an offer too, it's easy to see how far your reach can go.

Pssst --don't forget to ping influencers too!

4. Think visual
An image speaks a 1,000 words. In the CEW camp, a gif speaks 10,000, and a video, 100,000!

When you're planning an event, it's always more than just the day. It's the material you create that carries on for months after. It's the next events promotional material. It's video content for social. It's images for your website. Always be thinking about this type of content, and how best to capture and share them.

5. Planning ahead: What content can you get out of the event?
Alongside images and video, what else can you create from the event? Pre-plan what you want, so you can aim to get the best content on the day. 

This could range from speakers quotes to 10-sec videos, newsletter round-ups to full-blown articles and whitepapers. When you're thinking about content, always consider what is most likely to work for your target audience. Don't be afraid to experiment, in order to find the content that works best.

And always --be the lovely host that sends a ‘thank you for attending’ email (which also highlights a key piece of material from the night...)

6 . Event ownership
How will people know this event is your event? Make sure you take ownership. Use your logo --make it visible in photos and videos.

Create a hashtag --one that you will either use for all events moving forward OR one that is used more widely, so other people following that hashtag can discover your event content and discover you.

Own the content --be a clear voice leading the discussion, don't become reliant on guests to do the social media hard work for you.

And on the day? TALK. You have a room of people to network with, so work the room with style.

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* This post was originally published in our newsletter The Communications Workshop. Sign up to get more free tips on communications and marketing here!

How to prepare for an interview with a journalist

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If you’ve been reading our blog posts for a while and putting into practice all our advice (we hope!) you’ve hopefully managed to get some media’s attention. With that, the natural course is that soon enough you will need to start talking to journalists!

Yep! This is what you’ve been working for, so there’s no need to panic. Lay back and enjoy our quick guide on how to prepare for a journalist interview.

1. Research
First and foremost, if you’re meeting a journalist, research them! Search the publication they are writing for, their profiles on social media and check the latest articles they published. Stalk them, but don’t be creepy…

We recommend you read at least three of the journalist’s most recent articles, preferably ones that are related to your sector. The more you read, the better prepared you’ll be.

We also encourage you to find out more about what they regularly cover: is it specific or is it broad? Knowing more about their work will give you an idea of what they are interested in and that you make the most of each other’s time.

2. Review talking points
Ensure you are giving the journalist relevant and useful information, not only about yourself but also about your industry in general.

Unless the journalist was proactive and reached out to you directly or implied they want to specifically discuss your product or service when having a meeting with them we believe in the 90/10 rule.

It’s best to spend 90% of the time providing a journalist with information that can be useful to them so that you can build a great relationship, highlight your expertise and your network, and 10% providing information that is specifically focused on your business. A journalist will typically lead the conversation with questions, and those will give you more of an idea of how much your company or product is the focus.

It’s great practice to create and review your talking points beforehand. Making a list is a good way to make sure you cover all your basis and waste no time.

It also helps if you can come up with a list of questions you think are relevant to your business and prepare the answers in advance. Including the tricky ones!

3. Prep your demo or summary
Prepare for a quick demo of your product or a quick summary of your business that you can share with the journalist. Have a clear explanation and description of your product that is simple to understand - avoid the technical jargon unless meeting with a technical journalist. Having this memorized will make sure you aren’t wasting too much of your limited time.

More importantly, make sure everything is working! You want the demo to be slick and have no issues once you’re in front of a journalist.

4. The interview details
Don’t forget to get all of the agreed details of your interview, including where it will take place, the time and who will be present. You should also have a form of a contact, e.g an email address or a phone number, to ensure you are reachable and kept updated with any changes. And make sure a photo of you is available publicly so that you’re easier to spot if meeting in a public space.

Always be on time! First impressions are everything. Make sure your schedule can accommodate the interview, giving you enough time to prepare. We also highly recommend confirming the journalist's attendance for the meeting the day before and keeping their contact details to hand.

It’s not uncommon for interviews and meetings to fall through on the day, yes it can be irritating, but if a big news story breaks or something else outside of your control happens, always be understanding and get the meeting rescheduled ASAP.

5. On and Off Record
When in a meeting with a journalist, it is assumed that you will be on-record, meaning that the information you provide and the wording that you use can be published and attributed directly to you.

If you have sensitive information, or would like to share information without it being directly linked to you, specify to the journalist that you want it off-record. This means that the information you provide cannot be used in any print, in any form. However, journalists can treat this information as quotable but they won't attribute it directly to you.

If you just want to get to know each other, you can talk on background, but make sure that is accepted by both parties before you start. 

6. Follow Up
This last point is very important and sometimes overlooked. Having a meeting with a journalist is a great start but it doesn’t mean they are going to immediately write about you.

That is why it is important to send follow-ups and regular updates every now and again to build a relationship. Let them know you are available if they need to know more about you or your industry. Try to become the person they rely on for information, even if they don’t specifically write about you. And aim to be super responsive, the quicker you can answer an email, take a call or send over a comment, the more you will be used. If you take forever to reply, they will quickly stop coming to you for help.

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* This post was originally published in our newsletter The Communications Workshop. Sign up to get more free tips on communications and marketing here!

My Summer as an Intern at CEW Communications

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Eight weeks have passed since I jumped off my taxi and entered Runway East in Shoreditch, the home of CEW. Time really flew by since that Friday in June when I joined the team and entered the world of PR and Comms.

I’m one year into my Bachelor’s degree in Business and Economics at Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden. I wanted to gain work experience abroad and couldn’t think of a more multicultural and interesting city to work in than London. 

I came across CEW Communications during my research of places to work and decided to get in touch with Cathy, the Founder & Director. After a few interviews and a delayed flight, I was finally here!

Since I’m a business student I didn’t quite have a lot of previous experiences within the PR and Comms industry but by joining the CEW team I’ve had a great opportunity to learn from the pros.

My first week in I was assigned to create social media content for some of our clients. That’s easy I thought --I was born in the late 90s so I know the different platforms quite well. But how wrong I was!

Marketing and social media are crucial for every modern business, and developing a multi-channel social media strategy takes so much more than just a hobby interest. You need to know your audience, adapt your content, research and invest a lot of time. One of the many tasks I had here included to create Instagram Stories giving tips on how the PR industry works --I’ve made one in which I exemplified how to adapt content to the different social media platforms; follow @cewcomms and watch it. 

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Further, I’ve learned so much more about the tech scene. Working in an area like “Silicon Roundabout” where I was constantly surrounded by inspiring startups was a priceless experience. 

We’re heading towards an increasingly digital future and from being here for the past couple of months, I would say this future looks bright. I’ve been working with clients from all kinds of industry within the tech ecosystem --from PropTech, FinTech and BioTech to Accelerators and Blockchain experts and watching them scale. Companies that make lives easier for so many people with the help of technological solutions. I mean, keyless homes, easy hiring and a full spectrum innovation ecosystem to scale businesses into China sound too good to be true. But it’s not, it’s a future we are already living!

Last but definitely not least, I’ve learned about how important PR is for the growth of companies. Visibility is vital for early-stage startups but making a business stand out is not an easy task. Especially not when there were 10,000 tech companies created in the UK last year. Professional PR can help brands by raising their awareness as well as building credibility around them and making them more influential.

Today, I’m flying back with even more luggage than I arrived with. Not because I’ve spent all my spare time at Oxford Street, but because it’s filled with tons of new knowledge and experience. 

Thanks to Cathy, Doug and Renata, you all are truly inspiring and amazing to work with. I’m very grateful to have spent the Summer learning from you! 

BY BIANCA STRÖMBERG, SUMMER INTERN AT CEW COMMUNICATIONS.

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Psst...We're hiring!

Public speaking for introverts

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Do you get cold sweats just thinking about giving a presentation? Does your face turn red whenever you have to speak in public? Worry no more!

Here are some useful tips for introverts who think the prospect of public speaking is beyond embarrassing. And hey, if you're not an introvert, this advice might just give you an added confidence boost!

1. You don't have to be an extrovert
This point is the most important to understand. When you think of an effective public speaker, you might think of someone who is charismatic, a good storyteller and can hold the room’s attention.

This is all true but there is no reason to think that they must be extroverts because of these traits, even though this might appear to be the case.

Journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell said: “Speaking is not an act of extroversion, people think it is. It has nothing to do with extroversion. It’s a performance, and many performers are hugely introverted!”

Even if you’re shy and consider yourself an introvert, this in no way means you can’t be an awesome public speaker.

2. Prepare
No matter if it’s a small meeting or a TED talk, preparation is key to presenting.

You need to understand what you’re talking about. Whether you're pitching your business or highlighting research, you should know the ins and outs of your topic and anticipate any questions your audience could ask.

Regularly practice your speaking skills when you can. Family, friends, colleagues, your dog, are all suitable for practising your speaking. Ok maybe not the dog, but you might find that a good first audience…

Want to rehearse presenting but lacking a theme? Pick a random topic and explain it to a friend. It could be as simple as explaining how tennis is played.

Start by articulating the rules and requirements and keep things simple. After becoming more competent with the basics you can add some colour!

The point is to ground yourself before adding the juicy points. And with everything, the more you rehearse, the more confident you will feel!

3. Know your audience
This is said time and time again in the PR world. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. Know who you're presenting to. 

Does the audience already understand your topic? Are they a panel of experts? Are you in front of investors? Think about how you should target the room and what you want to get out of being heard.

Put the audience first, and you're own objectives second! That way, you'll reap a much better reward.

4. Think Differently - What's the worst that can happen?
When we're faced with a room full of people it's easy to think of the worst case scenario - but anxiety (if it hits you) comes up with scenarios that if we play the odds, will just not happen. 

  • You won't somehow be naked halfway through
  • It's unlikely that you'll fall on your face
  • And if you've been rehearsing and you're the expert, you will not forget what you're doing!

When you are the speaker, you are in power.

  • You've rehearsed.
  • You know your topic. 
  • You're an expert.

And the absolute blessing? If something does go wrong or you forget something - YOU are the only one who knows that! To everyone else in the room, you'll have done a great job.

Overall, always try to remain calm (we know - it's hard!). Breathing is key...in...and...out...slowly.

But one thing is crucial to remember, there's a reason you're on that stage, and if that reason is key for you - well then buddy, you got this!!!

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* This post was originally published in our newsletter The Communications Workshop. Sign up to get more free tips on communications and marketing here!