Four Advantages of Working with a Boutique PR Agency

Businesses that actively engage in press outreach are more likely to capture the attention of customers and prospective clients, as well as achieve the kind of business results that create long-term success. If you are a business on the lookout for a PR partner, a boutique PR firm may work very well for you.

A boutique Public Relations firm is a stand-alone business or agency that offers PR services for businesses of all sizes. It can offer you several advantages and benefits that a global firm may not be able to. Some of these are as follows:

1- Agility and Flexibility

Large agencies often require more processes, more approvals and more levels of authority than smaller ones. This could result in potential roadblocks and a slower pace of work. For clients who want to move fast, a boutique PR agency could be a better option. Such agencies are nimble and can quickly respond to client needs while maintaining creativity. Turnaround is faster because there are fewer layers. Boutique agencies are also highly flexible because often their success depends on this very ability. Each team member must be an expert at his or her job and develop additional skills, depending upon the project. Each person is also exposed to a broad array of tactics and learns when to use each tool to solve a range of client challenges. The team is focused on client goals, not necessarily his or her defined role. In other words, flexibility is literally wired into boutique PR firms.

2- More focus and senior involvement

Because of the smaller scale, professionals at boutique firms are often closer to their clients and spend more time helping them achieve their business goals. They also often have fewer clients, which means they can place a greater focus on your business. They have more time to spend on achieving your PR objectives and creating a relationship with you. Boutique firms usually comprise seasoned professionals with years of industry experience. This means that you, as a client, will benefit from plenty of senior-level involvement and counsel.  

3- Billing and Value

With lower overhead concerns – including office space and employee count – boutique firms are often more affordable. This is an advantage for small businesses who don’t have huge budgets. Further, clients get excellent value for their money. Boutique firms are committed to continual improvement and willing to go the extra mile, while remaining budget-friendly.

4- Innovation and Creativity

Smaller agencies typically do their best to think out of the box and are not constrained by processes and management layers. This in turn, results in innovative campaigns and creative ideas for you as a client. When it comes to agency work, creativity and innovation is the name of the game and while boutique agencies are not only more willing to try new things, it is also often their bread and butter.

If you are on the lookout for a PR partner to help you achieve your communication and business objectives, reach out to us today on +971 4 3873443 or askSherpa@sherpacomms.com

The Power of Effective Media Relations

Businesses are constantly in quest of an increase in awareness and as well as the creation of a strong brand and a positive image. One of the most effective ways to do this is through the power of effective media relations.

The term ‘media relations’ means working with the media in order to spread awareness amongst the public of an organisation’s mission, policies and practices in a positive, consistent and credible manner.

Harnessing media relations effectively is an essential skill for the public relations practitioner and can help businesses as follows.

1- Reach a Wider Audience

Media relations means that your brand’s messages can reach a much wider audience. The average daily newspaper in the UAE has a circulation of 85,000-115,000 copies per day and a trade or business magazine distributes 15,000-20,000 copies per month. Through effective media relations, a business can feature its brand in any of these publications and create awareness amongst thousands of new consumers.

2- Credibility of third-party endorsements

The credibility of earned media coverage is far superior to that of paid advertising. Through effective media relations, you can build a connection with your audience and promote your business’s key messages. When this happens, consumers are more likely to believe and take note of something written in an article, rather than an advertisement that has been paid for. In the long run, this enhances your brand’s reputation.

3- Shorten Sales Cycles

Effective media relations can indirectly impact a business’ sales. This happens when you drive third-party validation of your services and expertise through effective media relations. In turn, it causes customers to be more inclined to make a purchase. A credible review from a respected publication or blogger can shorten the overall sales cycle.

4- Becoming an industry expert/thought leader

One of the goals of business owners is being known as industry experts or voice of authority in their fields. At the same time, the primary focus of media relations is cultivating a long-term, positive relationship with the press, for the benefit of your business. Effective media relations could mean that media will approach you when they require a source or an opinion for a story. Such coverage can be incredibly useful in establishing a brand as a leading voice in the industry and show your company’s expertise and market knowledge.

5- Managing a Crisis

Every business or brand undergoes a crisis at some point in time. During this time, it is very easy for the public to change brand perception. Mishandling an emergency can significantly change how your customers and partners view the business. That’s why it’s important to leverage the power of human connection during any crisis. Effective media relations mean that you can communicate your point of view and ensure accurate reporting to contain the crisis. A brand can protect its reputation by leveraging relationships that are solid.

6- Enhance Other Aspects of Your Marketing Program

In addition to driving more traffic to your website and improving SEO performance, effective media relations can also boost other areas of your marketing programme. Some examples of aspects of your marketing programme that may be enhanced include materials for content marketing, such as white papers, website content and blog posts, as well as social media marketing initiatives.

A strong media relations strategy must incorporate consistent messaging, well-targeted media lists, newsworthy media pitches, compelling content and measurable goals. Businesses that work towards effective media relations will then reap the benefits that contribute to business growth and increase customer acquisition.

If you are looking for a communications partner to assist with your PR activities, get in touch with us at askSherpa@sherpacomms.com

How To Use PR To Increase The Impact of Your Event

At some point, many businesses are presented with an opportunity to host or participate in an event in their area of expertise. Whether the event is large or small, it can benefit from the use of an effective public relations strategy. A well-planned PR strategy can help companies to raise the profile of their business, generate leads and build brand equity.

Here are some of the ways by which PR can help increase the impact of your business:

Invite the press to your event

Inviting the press to your event will help take your message to a much wider audience. When reporters write about the event they attended, more people read about it in turn. It is advisable to email journalists a few weeks ahead of the event to invite them and see what angles can be of interest to them. Try always to find a nice story to tell. Your invite to media can include all relevant information such as when and where the event is taking place, a concise description of the event and who from the business or VIP guests shall be present. It is also a good idea to share this information with listing sections in newspapers in advance, in order to let more people know that such an event is taking place. This may take some time, but it is worth doing in order to boost the reach of your event. Finally, it is important to put together a media kit for the event. Reporters need to receive information about the event in a certain way, and a media kit is the best suited to that. The kit should ideally contain a media release, factsheet, corporate profile, hi-res photos of your speakers and any other information which you think may be compelling and useful to reporters. PR team that works with you can help you with all those tasks.

Use the event to position business owners/senior management as industry experts/thought leaders

Becoming an industry expert can have a profound impact on your business and bottom line. When you start building a network of advocates who admire and respect your expertise, referrals start coming your way. Other people in the industry may also see you as a trusted advisor and mentor. It is therefore critical for businesses to look for opportunities to build their position as thought leaders and events are one such way to achieve this. Investing in speaking opportunities at the types of events your potential customers would be likely to attend and engaging with the key reporters present at these events can go a long way in positioning yourself as an industry expert.

The power of announcements

Having an announcement related to your business at the event can make you stand out from the crowd. An announcement could be related to the launch of a new product or service from your business, a new partnership, the next business deal and more. Such news is almost always of great interest to press attending the event and can increase publicity for a business participating in the event.

Create a strong and complementary social media strategy

Social media can be the perfect complement to your public relations strategy to promote your business at an event. You can create an event on Facebook or a post on LinkedIn, invite your friends and ask them to share it. Similarly, Instagram is perfect for events as the site is based around visuals. Twitter, on the other hand, can be a great platform for live tweeting from the event; it will help you keep your audience engaged, just don’t forget to tag relevant accounts and use keywords/hashtags. Combining the judicious use of social media with the right public relations strategy can promote your event in a big way.

If you are looking for a communications partner to assist with your PR efforts, get in touch with us at askSherpa@sherpacomms.com

HOW SOCIAL MEDIA CAN COMPLEMENT YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY

Public Relations as a function has been around for almost a hundred years.  However, over the years, the PR landscape has constantly evolved and undergone a series of changes. The latest is the addition of social media as a tool to complement traditional PR efforts.

Like PR, social media has also constantly evolved. It has gone from being a tool merely to share photos and personal updates, to being a critical component of just about any function, including marketing and PR. As a business owner (or as an employee of the business), there are many ways in which social media can complement your marketing and PR efforts and in turn give your business a boost.

Here are some points to consider if you would like to explore the benefits of social media as part of your marketing outreach for your business:

1.  Social media to inform and educate your audience

In its most basic form, social media can be used to inform and educate your target audience. An easy and very economical way to distribute news and any information related to your business and products is via social media. Using social media to build your audience starts with being active in all the places your audience already uses. Channels to consider setting up on are generally Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Instagram and Snapchat are also other platforms to consider, especially for lifestyle brands. Once set up, you can build your social media presence by promoting it to the people you already know. Some ways of doing this are by adding links that direct people to your website and leveraging your email list. You can also add links to your social pages in your email signature or your newsletter.

2.  Social media is a cost-effective tool

While social networks use algorithms to filter content that users view, it is possible to take advantage of the low-cost advertising features offered by the social networks to promote your content and special offers more. Often, social media advertising is cheaper than traditional advertising, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money to reach more people, deliver the key messages, and grow your business.

3.  Social media can help you stay competitive

Using social media to share original content is a great way for your brand to stay top-of-mind. You can tell your story consistently and across various platforms. It offers you the opportunity to stay in direct contact with your customers. You can also track their feedback and any complaints within seconds.

4.  Establish thought leadership for senior management

Social media can be used very effectively to position business leaders as expert industry voices and trusted advisors. The key here is to be consistent in your outreach, read the pulse of your audience correctly and stay abreast of hot topics and provide a valuable point of view on them. This will go a long way in building an audience that gradually comes to rely on you for advice and respects your judgment, which in turn builds regard for your brand and allows it to stay top-of-mind.

5.  Industry Monitoring

Last but not least, using social media regularly is one of the best ways to monitor industry developments real-time, and adapt your business to it. Differentiating a brand’s products and services from those of competitors is a primary concern for marketers in any industry. The ability to monitor trends in real time is an incredibly valuable tool for anticipating changes in the market and remaining at the forefront of competition.

If you are looking for a communications partner to assist with your social media and PR efforts, get in touch with us today at askSherpa@sherpacomms.com

FINDING THE RIGHT ADVISOR TO HELP GROW YOUR BUSINESS

Behind every great leader is a trusted advisor. Whether you’re contracting or running a business as a sole-trader, partnership or company, working with a trusted business advisor can safeguard the future of a business or organisation.

Business advisors are experienced professionals who become an extension of a team and often assist in one or more areas. An advisor who can challenge hard-wired views of customers, act as a senior sounding board and instill (through facilitation) the desired strategies to achieve successful outcomes will be the one who adds the most value.

There are many different types of advisors in all areas of business. Some advisors are generalists with advanced knowledge and expertise. Others are specialists in different industries, e.g. marketing specialists, leadership coaches, financial, insurance or even legal. It is often their knowledge and expertise that can help businesses understand the myriad of challenges while delivering a higher value of services. Their expertise will help you understand how your business is performing, where you’re falling short and how you can improve.

Most business advisors hit the ground running, focusing on accomplishing key areas that are pertinent to a company’s growth and success. Organisations can increase their chances of success and growth, by setting objectives and creating measurable goals with business advisors to help develop a robust plan that attracts the right clients and brings in new business. The most experienced advisors start off by asking the right questions: What are the trends, opportunities and challenges that will shape your business? Savvy business firms often employ a professional consultant or business advisor to develop strategic marketing or operational plans to drive business growth and success.

Build Successful Marketing Strategy

Here are some of the objectives many successful business and communication advisors have included as part of their overall marketing strategy to drive results.

  • Visibility: Raise visibility through sponsored events and other tactics on a local (or regional) level
  • Awareness: Build a loud share of voice with the right people through targeted communications and integrated campaigns
  • Credibility: Enhance reputation by consistently being seen incredible tier 1 media outlets as a subject matter expert and professional in the field of business.
  • Thought Leadership: Build thought leadership status through a publication of unique insights and forward-thinking concepts
  • Digital Presence: Improve search engine ranking and become more discoverable through social media use and a strong online presence

Have a question or need to solve a problem? Just askSherpa for advice – askSherpa@sherpacomms.com

FOUR REASONS WHY BUSINESSES SHOULD INVEST IN PUBLIC RELATIONS

From small to large businesses, every brand can benefit from a strong integrated public relations (PR) and marketing strategy. Getting the right people on board early to work towards a clearly defined goal can set a business or project off on the right foot.

Many businesses often refer to PR and communications for major announcements, event support or in times of crisis. But having a clear, honest and sound communications strategy in place is critical to developing engaging discussions with key business prospects and the broader public. A well implemented PR strategy can contribute significantly to the public image of an organisation.

Below are four reasons why businesses need to consider PR in their overall business plan, strategy and budget:

1. Raise awareness and build credibility

Public relations is about communicating credibly with people who affect business results, such as media analysts, policymakers, the community, partners, customers and shareholders. Creating and executing a successful communications and PR strategy increases positive exposure for a business or brand. When the public read a positive mention of a brand or service, it is essentially word-of-mouth on a large scale. This proves why investing in PR is essential in building a trust pathway for the business.

A consistent PR program will help raise awareness of a product, service or brand, complementing any direct marketing or advertising efforts, which in turn can help secure partnerships, customers, sales and additional funding.

2. Smart public relations can fuel growth

Increased market awareness leads to more opportunities for sales and growth by attracting the right prospects to improve business outcomes.

The unique integration of PR and digital marketing can creative opportunities to develop and convert high-value content assets into lead-generation machines fuelling business growth and overall revenues for the company.

3. PR outlasts advertising and is often the most cost- effective tool for reputation management

PR offers more bang for buck. Establishing the right public image via a publicity campaign is the most cost-effective tool to improving the perception of a business, brand or service. There are several ways to get mileage out of a good story. In today’s digital age, news stories no longer have a ticking shelf life. Visibility on search engines doesn’t decline in time, however, much to the contrary articles continue to gain exposure over time with shares, likes and links by other sources.

4. Crises Management

Well thought through PR plans and strategies cover not only positive news coverage but also handles bad publicity, which can often be avoided. By developing an issues/reputation management plan, organizations are prepared to handle and negate any disaster or negative publicity in the event of a crises. Monitoring the issue on hand can help avoid significant brand damage as well as help mitigate crises in advance.

PR has changed drastically with new rules of social engagement, different consumer behaviour patterns and an altered media landscape.

A properly executed PR campaign that educates and informs people about the contributions of the organization is essential and can enhance its brand recognition making it more relevant to the consumer.

Have a question or need to solve a problem? Just askSherpa for advice – askSherpa@sherpacomms.com

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