Happy 1st Birthday, David!

Throughout University I worked hard at my Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies course, I was section editor of the university newspaper, Gair Rydd, and held a managerial position in a high street retail store in Cardiff. With no experience in Marketing & PR I found it difficult to get into the industry. A year ago, our Director, Louise, hired me with the intention of teaching and coaching me on how to succeed at Technical Marketing and PR. After celebrating my 1st birthday this week, I wanted to summarise what I have learned this year.

In the last year I have learnt so much more than I could have imagined. From day one I was dealing with clients first hand, writing copy and attending expos. After six months in my position as Junior Account Executive, I was promoted to Account Executive, something I am incredibly proud of.

I thoroughly enjoy the roving reports we produce when visiting clients at expos or events. I participated in a video course when I started at Technical Marketing & PR, which taught me how to create professional looking content on a mobile phone. This has been a fantastic opportunity for me to improve my video skills, interview our clients, and help them produce content.

All in all, this last year has been a big year for me, both professionally and personally. In my first few weeks at Technical Marketing & PR, we were exhibiting at the Introbiz Expo, something we are excited to be doing again this year on stand 259. The Introbiz Expo is one of the biggest business expos in Wales and we are excited to exhibit and have lunch with Lord Sugar! In January, we attended education technology show Bett with our client Promethean, which was a fantastic opportunity to see how technology is being utilised in the education sector. Another big event for the business as a whole was the CIPR Cymru Awards where we were shortlisted as ‘Outstanding Small Public Relations Constancy’, and even though we didn’t win the party was brilliant and a great opportunity to celebrate our successes with some of our clients! Whilst all this has been going on, I also got on the property ladder, buying my first property in Cardiff Bay. My commute to work has improved ten-fold, I am no longer stuck in traffic for an hour and a half, now it takes me just 12 minutes!

I am incredibly pleased with my successes over the last year at Technical Marketing & PR, and I am looking forward to seeing what the next year will bring. Thank you to the team for my amazing cake!

Sharing a Passion for Our City

We love Cardiff, and when we found out that a local charitable organisation needed help to create a video promoting the city to its members worldwide we were more than happy to help out.

Cardiff Round Table is a group set up to encourage fun and friendship, in addition to raising money for charity. One of their biggest events you’ve probably heard of or even possibly been to, is Sparks in the Park Cardiff. The annual firework display is extremely popular, and members of Cardiff Round Table put in a tremendous amount of effort to organise the event and raise a lot of money.

Round Table groups exist all over the world and every year meet up in a different city to celebrate the achievements of Round Table. In 2019, the International Union of Clubs (IUC) event will be hosted by Cardiff, so Cardiff Round Table needed a video that would give ‘Tablers’ from far and wide a brief insight into what our beautiful city has to offer.

We came up with this video which was presented at IUC in Roubaix, France, in June. It was a privilege to be able to help the guys!

If anyone is interested in knowing more about Cardiff Round Table, the social and networking aspect, or the fantastic charity work they do, get in touch here.

 

Lucky Number 7!

We’ve just turned 7 and we’re super excited to be celebrating this milestone. Here are seven things we’re most proud of since we landed:

  1. Technical Marketing & PR is Born

In June 2011, Louise Matthews, landed Technical Marketing & PR. With over 10 years’ experience of working in marketing and PR, as well as strong links to businesses in the construction, engineering, manufacturing and technology sectors, Louise identified a gap in the market for a PR & Marketing business that specialised in creating technical content.

 

  1. Virtual Marketing Manager Service Launched

Identifying a need in the core sectors for flexible and competitive marketing support, the Virtual Marketing Manager Service was born. Technical Marketing & PR has positioned itself as an agency that can seamlessly integrate with existing marketing teams to provide flexible support, no-nonsense marketing planning and implementation.

 

  1. Relocation and Rebranding

In 2015, Technical Marketing & PR relocated from its offices in Derby, to Barry in South Wales. Following the relocation, Technical Marketing & PR exhibited at the Introbiz Expo where the new branding was launched, and the company announced it was laying down roots in Wales.

 

  1. Going for Growth

In 2017, the decision was made to move away from the business model of working with a team of ‘permalancers’ and recruit permanent in-house staff. Though working with ‘permalancers’ had historically worked very well for the business, Louise Matthews, wanted to grow and develop a strong close-knit team in South Wales where she could pass on her experience.

 

  1. Investing in Marketeers of the Future

In 2018, Technical Marketing & PR has offered paid work experience placements to students, reaching out to Cardiff University and Cardiff Metropolitan University to seek candidates. There is a need for hands on paid work experience placements in the sector and Technical Marketing & PR is keen to provide this wherever possible to give future graduates the experience they need to transition into jobs in the sector.

 

  1. Sustainable Partnerships

This year marks the 7th anniversary of the company’s partnership with clients such as Promethean, SIG, ROCKWOOL, Bowden Group and Lumin. These long-standing relationships are testament to the level of service the Technical Marketing & PR team offer.

 

  1. Looking Forward

Business growth and development continues to be a significant focus for Technical Marketing & PR, the company is expanding the team and investing in staff development to further enhance the range of services it provides. The team are looking forward to strengthening long-standing relationships and welcoming new clients on board.

 

To celebrate our 7th birthday, we’ll be doing a series of prize draws over the next few months on social media so make sure you’re following us. If you’d like to pop in for a chat, a cup of tea and maybe some birthday cake, then drop us a message!

Are you GDPR ready?

What is GDPR?

GDPR is the new General Data Protection Regulation which will come into force from 25th May 2018. It will replace the current Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. The new regulation intends to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals in the European Union.

 

But what about Brexit?

Even though the UK is set to leave the European Union, the government has fully committed to GDPR. From a global perspective Europe is leading the way with GDPR and although data protection is constantly developing, the rest of the world is likely to follow over time. And if nothing else, all you would have to do is store one EU citizen’s data on your system and you would have to be compliant with GDPR anyway. Any company not compliant with GDPR would face significant difficulty in trading with the EU.

So, what does GDPR actually involve?

Valid Consent: There will be stricter rules surrounding consent to use people’s data. Obtaining consent for processing personal data must be clear and seek an affirmative response or opt in system.

Transparency: People will have a right to see what information you hold about them. You must be able to tell any one person at any time how their data is being used.

The Right to Correction: Individuals will have the right to rectify any information that is incorrect.

The Right to Erasure: In some cases, people will have the right to have their data completely erased.

Data Portability: People will be able to request their data is moved from one service provider to another.

The Right to Object to Automated Processing: Individuals will have a right to object to certain types of automated processing.

 

How will GDPR impact PR & Marketing?

GDPR will impact all areas of businesses, it’s not just an issue for compliance teams. GDPR will arguably change the way in which marketing departments operate. In marketing we work with a lot of data, particularly when it comes mailing or analytics. Communications data such as name, email, phone number and address, all fall under the GDPR remit.

With GDPR in place, marketers will only be able to mail people who have opted in to receive messages. The sign-up process must include information to subscribers about the brand that is collecting consent, and outline information on the purposes of collecting their personal data. Records need to be kept of the given consent.

But what about people like journalists who make their contact details readily available? Although you are unlikely to face consequences for mailing journalists you must not be complacent. Only send journalists relevant content and do not abuse the access you have to their information.

There is no allowance for data collected without consent prior to GDPR. Many companies will want to work with marketing and PR firms to make themselves visible in new campaigns to retool and build brand awareness to encourage new opt ins.

You might think that there is going to be a mad rush to collect new data, but this is where ‘privacy by design’ comes in to play. Privacy by design is about being responsible users of information and only collecting the minimum amount of data required to conduct business operations. The data must also not be stored for any longer than is necessary.

Working with other organisations

In an increasingly globalised world of information sharing and collaboration, businesses often work with other partners or services to outsource areas of work. The original data owner is responsible for ensuring there is a procedure in place to confirm the data is used appropriately. There needs to be a formal control in order so that the information is only used for the purpose agreed. This could take the form of a contract or formal assessment of data security and privacy. It’s all about showing that you have effective regulation and control processes in place.

 

“GDPR won’t impact small businesses like mine”

GDPR will impact all businesses. Rightly so, larger businesses and corporations will have a lot more work to do to make sure they are GDPR compliant, as they often have large databases that feed in to one another. It will become mandatory for large businesses processing high volumes of data to appoint a Data Protection Officer. But small businesses also need to be able to prove they are compliant, even if it’s in the form of a 1-page document. You need to have some sort of document you could show a compliance officer to demonstrate you are GDPR ready. Any business you work with inside the EU, where sharing data is involved will be required to assess you to some extent in terms of GDPR. So, it’s worth getting it right.

 

What are your obligations?

Accountability: Demonstrate compliance by maintaining accurate data processing records.

Data Transfer: You are only allowed to transfer data if the appropriate safeguards are in place.

Data Security: All data must be kept secure and protected.

Data Breaches: Data breaches must be reported within 72hours.

Data Protection Officers: DPO’s will be mandatory in organisations processing large volumes of data.

Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA): DPIA will be mandatory if you’re processing activity results in a high risk to any person’s data rights.

 

What will happen if you don’t comply?

Regulators are super serious about data protection and responsibility this time around. Regulators in the UK have begun a serious recruitment drive, so companies will certainly be subject to checks. Data Protection Authorities and the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) will be able to flag companies that are not compliant and carry out an assessment. Consumers and individuals will also gain power from this perspective as they will be able to make complaints about any organisation they feel is using their data irresponsibly. Hefty fines will be placed on businesses who are not compliant with GDPR.

 

What next?

There is certainly a lot of information to take in surrounding GDPR and it is important to do your research and make sure your business is compliant. The emphasis is on being responsible data users and being able to demonstrate how you comply rather than defending yourself if you don’t. GDPR is a great opportunity for businesses and organisations to get into shape and promote how you control data use in a professional manner.

 

Benefits of GDPR

Enhance customer trust

Improve brand image and reputation

Strengthen data governance

Tighten information security

Increase competitive edge

 

It’s important to do your research and get the correct protocols in place. The ICO website is a great place for more information on GDPR. Check it out here.

Online Content: ‘The Perfect Mix’

In celebration of ‘Pancake Day’ we thought we’d give you a sweet treat to indulge on. We all know if you get the pancake mix wrong, they can end up being a disaster. Online content works in exactly the same way, you need to start with the right ingredients to come up with something that will appeal to your audience. So, here’s what we believe to be ‘The Perfect Mix’:

 

  • Start with a captivating title 

The chances are the first thing your reader will see is the title. You need to make sure that you grab their attention by telling them what the content is about, but equally don’t give away the punchline. It needs to be a teaser that pulls them in and drives traffic to your page or website.

  • Keep paragraphs short

Smart phones and tablets are now the most popular devices to view content on, so make sure you consider this when you’re writing. Short and concise paragraphs mean that when viewed on a mobile device the content won’t appear too ‘heavy’ and the reader is more likely to remain engaged. A few sentences per paragraph are generally ample.

 

  • Add a strong image

People are far more likely to remember content if paired with a strong image, they’re also more likely to click on it. People love visuals and are programmed to better remember information if associated with images. If your content includes lots of data, why not use an infographic?

 

  • Avoid using industry jargon

While you may be proud to know a wealth of industry jargon in your sector, it can be hard to decipher and off-putting to your audience. Say what you have to say in the simplest way possible in plain English, it’s far easier for your audience to digest.

  • Break content up into sizeable chunks

When writing, break up your content into small sections that you can later extract and use on social media. This is an easy way to make sure you have strong bits of content that you can push through your social media channels and direct traffic back to the original content piece.

 

  • Consider using video

Popularity of video content is on the rise and represents an increasing amount of internet traffic. All you need to do is take a look at your social media feeds to see that video content is everywhere, it’s easy for people to view and make sense of, even on the move. Because of subtitles, most videos don’t even rely on sound. The best videos are visual, short and concise and generally last less than a minute. You don’t even need a camera, the quality of the video recorded on your smart phone or tablet is sufficient for online use and there are apps available to help you to edit your video content so that it looks professional.

 

  • Make your content relevant

When sharing content on social media look out for opportunities to capitalise on your output. Tailor your content towards international days or celebrations that are likely to trend on social media, it will likely increase the amount of traffic to your post. Whether you coincide your content with general or industry specific days/ events, targeted and planned output tends to be more successful.

 

  • Add hyperlinks

Think about your content and whether it relates to anything in your wider content portfolio. If so, add some hyperlinks linking through to the content. The chances are, if people have made it as far as reading the body of your content they will also be interested in other content you’ve shared. Hyperlinks are an easy way to direct and increase traffic to different areas of your website or social media platforms.

So, there you have it, the perfect mix for online content. If your business needs support or advice on online content, then get in touch. We are more than happy to offer up some of our time for a free consultation.

 

 

TMPR’s 12 Days of Christmas

Christmas is a time for giving… so here’s the gift of 12 days of PR and marketing tips from us here at Technical Marketing & PR.

 

On the first day of Christmas TMPR gave to me…

 

 

A Partridge in a Pear Tree (The marketing branch of your business)

There are many branches of your business that are key to its success. When it comes to the marketing branch, if you don’t have internal resources, bring in scalable and flexible support when you need it. Find out more here.

 

2 Turtle Doves (Your relationship with the media)

Turtle doves are known for their courtship and loyalty to their partner. This is exactly how your relationship should be with your core media. Deliver on your promises and be available to talk to them at any time. Building good relationships will increase your chances of securing positive coverage. Also in times of crisis, if you have solid media relations they are less likely to be so damaging towards you. Click here for more advice on media relations.

 

3 French Hens (International reach)

International reach is crucial if you’re looking to expand your business into new markets. Social media is one of the most cost-efficient ways of drawing international attention. The web is a huge space and using social media platforms as marketing tools can really broaden your reach. Find out what Facebook means if you’re B2B here.

 

4 Calling Birds (Tweet tweet)

Twitter is a really useful social media platform for SMEs when used correctly. You can engage with your customers, check out the competition, develop your brand image and use it for marketing to a wider audience. Follow us on our twitter to keep in touch, we like to share some useful tips!

 

5 Gold Rings (Winning gold)

We’re so proud when our clients win gold, or are even shortlisted for industry awards. This is a great way to recognise the hard work of your company, to get your name out there and secure some publicity. We can help you identify award opportunities and plan PR around them. Our client Promethean has recently been shortlisted for ICT Company of The Year (Over £3m turnover) at the Bett Awards 2018!

 

6 Geese Are Laying (Bring your brand to life)

Creative copy writing with a sharp technical edge can really bring your brand to life and ensure that your key messages are always heard and understood. Click here to find out more about creating powerful copy.

 

7 Swans are Swimming (Drive your business forward)

Swimming is all about moving forward. Case studies and testimonials can be an effective way to grow your customer base. Potential customers like to know you have customers that are completely satisfied. Find out how to create powerful case studies and testimonials here.

 

8 Maids are Milking (Make the most of your PR agency)

Your PR agency are experts in what they do, use this to your advantage and utilise them for all the help and expertise you can. Regular contact and keeping everyone on the same page is key. See our guide to getting the most from your agency here.

 

9 Ladies Dancing (Moving in sync with your PR agency)

Having a PR plan is important to make sure you and your agency are in sync. A dance wouldn’t be seamless without choreography, so why engage with a PR agency without a solid PR plan? Find out more about getting the most from your agency here.

 

10 Lords are Leaping (Aim high in those search engine results)

Leap high in search engine results by getting SEO right. Since Google’s updates to its algorithm, any decent SEO strategy is based on quality, dynamic, multi-media content, blogs, social media interaction and regularly updated web content. Have a look at our guide to digital PR here.

 

11 Pipers Piping (A consistent flow of content)

Any effective strategy must be sustained, you should always have ideas in the pipeline. One of the first mistakes an organisation often makes when engaging with a PR company in a campaign, is that once there has been a ‘big splash’ things can lose momentum. Work closely with your PR team to ensure there is regular quality output. Check out our guide to getting the most from your agency here.

 

12 Drummers Drumming (Make some noise)

When it comes to PR it’s all about attracting attention for the right reasons and making yourself stand out from the crowd. Use these 12 tips as a starting point to strengthen your marketing strategy and work better with your agency… and if you don’t have an agency, we’d be happy to chat through how you can maximise your internal resources.

 

For more tips like these throughout the year, sign up to our mailing list here. From everyone here at the TMPR team we wish you a very Merry Christmas and every success in the New Year!

We’re Proud to Sponsor Helen

Here at Technical Marketing & PR, we like to do our bit to help those less fortunate than ourselves. In recognition of UK Charity Week, we thought we’d tell you about our sponsorship of Helen Ripley. In 2017 we were honoured to be Helen’s main sponsor on a life-changing two-week trip to Nakuru in Kenya, organised by Derby County Community Trust and African Adventures. The trip was such a success in terms of the difference Helen made, we are proud to be Helen’s main sponsor again in 2018. Here’s Helen telling us a bit more about the work she was involved with on the trip and what motivated her to take part:

 

“This year we went and worked with the Ungana Academy in Kenya and we’ll be going back to the same place in 2018 for two weeks. The school has 320 pupils between the ages of 3 and 16. Some of the children live in houses as small as my bedroom, up to 7 people and no running water. Their toilet is a hole in the ground, and 16 families share this. They live on a diet of mainly rice and beans.

When we’re out there we spend lots of time interacting with and getting to know the children and adults. In our team there are some teachers, and they spend time teaching the children English. This year we were also tasked with taking down an old classroom and building a new one.

We take bubbles, balls and stickers with us for the children, they absolutely love it. It is so heart warming seeing them laughing and playing when they have so little. Many of the children’s back packs are worn through and they have shoes without laces – we try and help out with these as well as basic school stationery. Where we can, we visit some families at home and take them food parcels. They are so grateful. We also cook a meal with meat for some of the families. To you and I this is normal, but they only eat meat on very special occasions, it’s a luxury.

The trip is something I have always wanted to do. I feel like I’m at a point in my life with my family growing up, that I can do it. I will admit I was a little worried that it would be a very emotional experience, and it is. But at the same time, it is so rewarding and so positive seeing how much of a difference is being made to the lives of the children, and how genuinely happy they are to have such basic things. It really makes you appreciate what we have.

The difference we can make to these children’s lives really stood out for me when we were able help a little boy named Clifton from the Jubilee School. His leg had been injured in a car accident and his bone was exposed and infected. Together with the charity Start Small we were able to raise £7,000 to help with his surgery, physio and the after care. Without this he would have undoubtedly lost his leg and died.

I’m really looking forward to going to the school again in 2018, the work we do makes such a difference. I’ve run events such as raffles and discos, all to raise funds for the trip. It’s thanks to the kind donations from people and the sponsorship from Technical Marketing & PR that I am able to support the school again.”

Helen will be heading over to Kenya on 19th May 2018. Though Helen has achieved her goal of £2,500 to be able to go and help with the project, your donations are still welcomed and will really help. The donations cover Helen’s flight, materials and lots of resources. Some of the money will also come back to the Derby County Communities Trust to support children in Derbyshire with physical and mental disabilities. The Trust works with these children through engaging them with sport. If you would like to donate, you can do so here.

At Technical Marketing & PR we spend a lot of time working with schools alongside clients in the technology sector. Seeing how lucky children are in this country to have access to the latest edtech only makes it even more important for us to support the wonderful work Helen is doing in Kenya. We wish Helen every success in May and can’t wait to hear all about it.

Facebook: What does it mean if you’re B2B?

Facebook is another potential channel to reach your customers or prospects (or employees)… so the answer lies in whether these people are engaged with Facebook more so than any other social media channel. If you decide ‘yes’ then you need to then make sure you have access to content and the resource to manage this content – if these building blocks are in place then read on for a few best practice B2B tips…

Facebook Page

This is your opportunity to officially promote your company, where you can take ownership of your online reputation via a ‘Page’. Consider your Facebook Page as your second website, while you can use it as a tool to drive traffic to your corporate website, your Facebook Page will allow you to connect with your audience in real-time. Use it to write targeted posts and to showcase your employees and the work your business does day-to-day.

Drive sales

If you’re using your Facebook Page to share timely and relevant content, there is a probability that you will be able to convert some of your ‘Likes’ into new business leads. You can either do this organically via sharing regular updates and hoping they convert to sales, or take advantage of Facebook Ads. These will enable you to increase your reach and target the right audience, and you can set a budget that meets your business’ needs. You can also use Facebook Insights to provide you with valuable information about how your audience is engaging with your page, enabling you to better tailor your adverts with the aim to drive sales.

Customer testimonials 

Facebook allows you to host customer testimonials on your page, so encourage your best brand advocates to post something on your behalf. This will make your page stand out to first-time visitors – and even cheeky competitors having a snoop! With permission these testimonials can be a rich source of content you could use for case studies or in media interviews and press releases

Share videos

Facebook isn’t just about having a text heavy page, bring it to life with videos, in doing so you can capture your audience’s attention for longer. You can either upload exclusive video content or link directly from a YouTube account. You can use it to show features of your products, or have a designated in-house ‘Vlogger’ who can talk briefly about best practice or industry topics.

Engage with the Facebook community

Through your Facebook wall you can post content that will be of interest to your advocates, but also encourage them to communicate with one another. Ask them for feedback on latest products, or provide sneak previews on new products. Be a useful resource to customers, find out any concerns – be those general industry concerns or specific to you – and address them if you can. Don’t leave them to fester; as you want to be seen as a solution provider, this will build empathy and trust with your audience.

As the above points cover, Facebook can be a valuable marketing tool and a current way of connecting with your target audience and beyond. If you’re thinking of making the step and using Facebook as another communications channel, ensure that you have the resource to manage it efficiently. A dormant or barely used page isn’t attractive to customers or potential clients, and if customers are using it as a point of contact for customer service make sure you respond in a timely and professional manner.

Above all have some fun with it, Facebook is a great opportunity to show your brand personality and normalise your brand to the man on the street – keep it professional – but don’t be afraid to show that you’re human too!

The Importance of Using Case Studies in B2B Marketing and PR

In marketing and PR terms, a case study is usually a written account (increasingly also produced in video format) of a project or application where a company’s products or services have been used to good effect. When drafted and used correctly, case studies are a rich powerful tool that can provide you with a whole host of collateral to use for your marketing and PR. We’ve pulled together a selection of tips that we think will help you get the most out of case study content:

1. Customer perspective
Creating a balanced case study is key to having something that will provide you with shareable content. While you want to showcase how effective your product or service has been, you don’t want to be overly gushing about it. Keep to the facts, how did you help your customer? Can you add any measurable values to it? For example did you save them money or time on a project? How much? Use values that will allow readers to build up a tangible picture in their head of just how valuable you are.

2. Structure it
Implement a house style for your case studies, this makes it easier and less time consuming for you to draft, and easier for the reader to absorb. A standard case study structure might look something like this:a.
a. The challenge faced – use this to create context for the reader
b. The solution you provided  – how did you address the issue?
c. The results – try to use measurable, numerical data to build a clearer view
d. Lessons learned – not always essential but can add value

3. Seek approval
Pictures are a great way to bring your story to life, and a must for breaking up big chunks of text, however if you don’t have access to your own photography don’t use images from websites without permission. While it might seem long-winded, it is worth the effort to gain third party approval rather than face the consequences of using material without consent.

4. Follow protocol
This ties in with seeking approval, but if you want higher value content it really is worth putting in the legwork to build relationships with third parties in order to get what you need. If there is a chain of approval, follow it. If the person you’re speaking with suddenly becomes distant or reluctant, stress that you appreciate their time is valuable and you’re hoping to pull something together that will be of benefit to everyone.

5. Treat it as raw content
While it might be easy to file the case study away and class it as a box ticking procedure, don’t let your efforts go to waste! Treat your case study as a raw piece of reusable content, which you can use in a number ways such as:

  • Twitter: Tweet short, succinct fast facts
  • Website content: Host a case study page on your website
  • LinkedIn: Share via your LinkedIn status but also in relevant industry group discussions
  • Sales collateral: Use in direct / email marketing campaigns to attract new customers
  • Press material: Case studies are really just stories, this makes them perfect for feature placement in industry magazines or use quotes from case studies in press releases
  • Internal communication: Don’t forget to share your success stories with the entire business, be proud of your work!
  • Industry awards: Add some credibility to your award entry by using your case study as a customer reference/testimonial

Remember, in B2B marketing case studies really are one of the most valuable tools you can produce. While you can sometimes be met with some resistance it’s worth persevering so you have a bank of evidence that shows why your brand is worth shouting about.