Journalists Need Reliable Public Relations Partners Now More Than Ever

72Point will be exhibiting at February’s Marketing Show North. The article below originally appeared on the 72Point website.

“If there’s one thing PR professionals can do to help journalists do their jobs better, it’s ensure that any press releases they do send out have a clearly stated news hook”.

That’s the findings from this year’s State of the Media survey by Cision which polled 1,355 journalists from across six countries on their perceptions of the media and communications industries.

The study found that journalists rely on public relations partners now more than ever, with the traditional press release being the most trusted piece of content.

Seven in ten hacks said their relationships with PR professionals remained as important as ever, while 20 per cent said they are more valuable.

In an age where budgets are thin and brands are increasingly being relied on to fund content generation, the results are hardly surprising.

Out of all the issues the industry is facing, 28 per cent of the journalists surveyed said staffing and resources were the biggest challenges in the industry over the last 12 months.

Social networks and search engines bypassing traditional media came a close second at 25 per cent.

Fake news, blurred lines between editorial and advertising and issues around freedom of the press rounded out the list of challenges.

So good news all around for the PR industry, which seems to be going from strength to strength over the past few years.

But it would do us no good to rest on our laurels.

Hidden amongst the upbeat news on the PR industry are several warnings about a decline in standards.

As the opening paragraph suggests, diluting the news hook in favour of a more brand-driven topline seems to be one of them.

It is a common gripe that we contend with at 72Point.

As part of the UK’s biggest independent news agency our editors are among the most ruthless in the business when it comes to getting sign-off on news copy, and if the news hook isn’t compelling, the story doesn’t get filed.

It is a blessing in disguise in an age where news desks are getting bombarded with press releases on a daily basis. With former editors and journalists working in-house it allows us to overcome the first hurdle of ‘pitching in’ before the story goes out, which is why all our stories come with a guarantee of coverage.

As the Cision report notes, most journalists are happy to work with public relations professionals, “provided they’re receiving information that’s accurate, newsworthy and can be used to enhance their coverage”.

In a nutshell, that is our USP.

We provide stories that are properly researched, current and have a strong news hook that will start national conversations.

According to the data, 22 per cent of journalists said original research on trends was important to them, with 45 per cent saying they want more press releases with a clearly stated news hook.

Another 27 per cent said PR professionals should have data and expert sources ready to go when reporters need them, with authors concluding that: “No matter what happens in the industry, eye-catching, fact-based storytelling is still paramount”.

They said: “The PR professionals who can help reporters and editors with their work — by providing accurate, information-rich press releases and by giving journalists access to sources — will be the ones who will enjoy the greatest success”.

Our 5,269 pieces of online coverage last year suggests that is precisely what we are doing at 72Point.

The Advantages of a Full Service Provider

We’ve all done it at some point in our lives. Searched endlessly on various sites to see which deal works out cheaper. It can be the same for companies when you’re trying to find someone to work with across a variety of services such as marketing, PR, creative and events.

If it’s the first time you are looking to outsource a marketing/ creative/ PR or events company as part of your overall business strategy, or if you are considering trying something new, it can be daunting. Luckily help is at hand in the form of full service providers.

Using a full service provider has many pros including:

  1. A dedicated account manager to work alongside you at all times, allowing them to understand your company’s objectives inside and out.
  2. Having a one stop shop for all your needs equals less of your time being spent trailing through numerous sites.
  3. Teams have more experience in dealing with all different environments and can solve problems in a timely manner.
  4. Using separate providers for different services is risky and may result in work being inconsistent.
  5. After working in the industry for many years and building up trusting relationships, full service providers have endless resources.
  6. Any strategies will be linked and work together to benefit all aspects of a your company’s needs.

For more information about Shoppertainment please visit our website or keep up to date with us on social media…

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Linkedin: Shoppertainment Management


With Prolific North Live 2017 just around the corner, Refresh PR’s managing director, Laura Mashiter, looks ahead to the event and the agency’s plans to shake up the status quo.

Signing up to Prolific North Live was a no brainer. Not only will we have the opportunity to be in front of 5,000 delegates, but we’ll also be exhibiting alongside more than a hundred of the North’s most forward-thinking creative businesses.

Collaboration and sharing best practice is something we do day in, day out, and Prolific North Live is the perfect platform to grow this part of our business model. At the same time, the event presents new opportunities to break the status quo and talk about some of the topics we creative types sometimes try to avoid.

To do this, we’ll be asking people in the industry to tell us their pet hates, to really get under their skin and better understand what we as an industry need to do in order to successfully adapt and evolve. So, if you’ve had enough of hashtags or feel your blood boiling when you see a QR code, why not visit stand 85 and put them into Refresh’s Room 101.

As technologies and consumers’ needs change, new opportunities for innovation and creativity arise but, inevitably, so do potential frustrations. At Refresh, we continually revise and improve our ways of working to ensure we’re ahead of the curve and adapt quickly to any changes to reduce any impact on our collaborators or clients.

The expo is the perfect opportunity to take a step back and reflect on what the industry would like to change, open the lines of communication between different businesses within the sector and start working to address these issues.

So, whether you work in-house or in agency, we want to hear from you. If you want to share your Room 101 suggestions ahead of Prolific North Live, tweet us @RefreshPR, or join us in the main expo area at 12.10pm on Thursday 16th February to hear the results and find out what we’re doing to combat these issues!

PR Agency One: How to recruit and retain talent in this competitive market

Recruitment in general isn’t easy. But in the digital, media, and marketing sectors where we’re experiencing a severe skills shortage, recruiting and retaining talent can be close to impossible. In this industry and within agencies in particular, job-hopping has sadly become the norm. But does it really have to be this way?

As a business that has grown rapidly in size in four years and recently won two awards for best small PR agency, we have lived the highs and the lows when recruiting and retaining the best talent.  Here are a few things we learned along the way.

Start with the basics

If you own a successful business that’s going through a period of growth, you’ll automatically be attractive to talent and it might even come to you. But being successful, and having people know that you’re successful, are two different entities. Don’t shove your key messages down people’s throats (and try and avoid being too smug), but a little self-promotion will go a long way. Create a blog on your website, it’s the best way to shout about how great you are. And reach out with PR when you hit important milestones. Remember success attracts success.

Working on your employer brand (and employee benefits)

When you’re up against the likes of Google that have on-site physicians and nurses, travel insurance, and free legal advice – hell, apparently Google even has secret gardens on the roof terrace in their London office where staff can ‘escape’ – employer brand and staff perks can be more important than a wage. This might be an extreme example, but if you want the best talent, especially in our sector, doing things a little differently won’t hurt.

It’s about creating an environment that reflects what you want for your business, and a place where employees actually want to spend time. Do the basics: bonuses, free mobile phones, and childcare vouchers are all things that businesses of all sizes can offer to build a picture of a brand that cares about its employees. And a meal or a drink in the pub after work goes far in our experience, too. Plus, if staff are happy they’re going to shout about it and you’d benefit from encouraging them to do so, especially on social media. Doing this builds a natural employer brand that candidates, especially those that are young, will relate to.

Company culture

It’s not just your employer brand you need to get right, though. Company culture is crucial if you want to get the best people through the door and keep them. And often these two things go hand in hand.

Working in the digital/media/marketing sector, you’ll be fully aware of the company cultures of your competitors and how the region as a whole has a culture that stops people moving down south to seek work.

The culture of your business shapes how it operates and has final say over how potential candidates see you. Young people often make up the bulk of the workforce in businesses in our industry. And this age group care about the working culture often more than promotions and salaries, so bear this in mind in interview processes. Appoint good managers that reflect your business’ objectives and attitude (i.e. they’re not just technically skilled, but also approachable, accommodating, and their personalities don’t clash). Remember, a business’ biggest asset is its people.

Also, as mentioned earlier, make sure your website and social media channels properly reflect your company culture. The first thing candidates will do is Google you, so show them what you’re about and make sure you’re consistent.

But if you want the best – you have to pay the best

Making your business look good and an exciting place to be will attract the talent to interview. But once they get there, they’re still going to need to be wowed with the basics – the main one being pay.

If a candidate knows they will enjoy coming to work every morning then they are less likely to need the biggest pay cheque in the world. However, although treating them occasionally and incentivising will work for some, for others they’d rather see it reflected in their pay cheque.

Money talks and you’d be naive to forget it. Paying staff well will reduce employee turnover and therefore lessen the amount of times you will need to recruit. It will save you not only money in the long-run but valuable time, too.

Do your research into salaries in the industry and find out what your competitors are up to. This is also helpful when retaining staff – I’m sure you wouldn’t be shocked by how often they will be approached with other roles and the main incentive is always cash. Speak to recruiters and find out what the going rate is, and then exceed it.

Set objectives and review them

Candidates want to see room for progression in their role and for a business overall, and so a good performance management process is key. The CIPD has some good pointers, so could be a good place to start. But a few things to think about are: long term goals, considering the individual and teams as a whole, development of the whole business as well as employees, and management/encouragement of behaviours.

You’ll know as well as we do that having a specific goal to work towards is the best encouragement for hard work.

We could go on forever talking about the different ways you can make people want to work with you, and stay. Have regular reviews with staff, set objectives for encouragement, offer training, pay for decent recruiters so they find you the best talent, and be flexible and family-friendly. But most of all make sure your staff are happy. If they aren’t they’ll leave. Know how each is getting on and make efforts to make sure you have a content team. Word travels fast if you don’t.

Five minutes with PR Agency One

1. Can you tell us a bit about PR Agency One and what you do?

We build and nurture reputations for businesses, as well as boosting their visibility online. As a fully integrated public relations business, delivering both B2B PR and consumer PR, we’ve got an expert team trained in both traditional and digital practices. As one of the first to combine PR and SEO, we’ve cracked the age old dilemma of how to measure results via our proprietary evaluation system OneEval. We’ve won awards for our evaluation which is what we’re proud of and why we’ve grown so rapidly over the last four years or so.


2.    What made you sign up as an exhibitor at ProlificNorthLive?

It’s a brilliant platform to get our clients from across the North important messages about the digital sector out there, and as champions of digital ourselves, we’ve been keen readers of Prolific North since it emerged in 2013. When we found out about ProlificNorthLive, it made sense for us to get involved and join the thriving digital community in our brilliant region. We want to show our support for the industry and to meet other, like-minded people, that are as excited about it as us.


3. What are you looking forward to bringing to the event? 

Mostly, we’re excited to network with the people that are building this brilliant community with us to see how we can work together to make it even more successful. Manchester wants to be the tech hub of the UK, and to do so we all need to come together at events like this to make it happen. We’re also excited to discuss with delegates the ways in which we can all individually bring something to the table.


4. What excites you most about the North’s media and creative sectors? 

The North is a great place to be because it makes the fast-paced nature of the industry feel a bit more manageable than some of the other regions within the UK. We attract world class businesses and talent from all over the world, but we still have a tight community, which is unusual.
5. Why is the North such an exciting place to be right now for creative and digital businesses?

There’s so much happening and heaps of opportunity for businesses to work together. And although there is healthy competition, there is a real feeling that we all want each other to succeed. With plans like TechNorth, there really is no better time for businesses to be here. Innovations like graphene that came out of University of Manchester, prove there is a strong academic profile in the region.
6. Where do you see PR Agency One in five years’ time?

We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and building on what we already know, to stay ahead of the game in terms of PR and the digital space. As one of the first to adopt the digital first approach to PR, we’re committed to make sure that we remain ahead of our competition and build new innovations into the business to do so.
7. If PR Agency One could have a dinner party with three people, dead or alive, who would they be?

Eric Cantona because he’s the King. Also, being French probably means he eats well and knows a good bottle of wine when he sees it.

The mercurial Mark E Smith from The Fall.

And Kate Moss.  Definitely Kate Moss.



Twitter: @pragencyone