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What makes PR Centre different from a PR agency, PR consultant or online copy shop?

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03/06/2015

PR Centre has created a niche in the UK for outsourced PR. There are several things we do that makes us different – and helps us fill the gap between a PR agency and PR consultant, without treading on their toes.

 PR Centre v the traditional PR agency

In one way we ‘compete’ against traditional PR agencies because we have a far lower price point. But the audience for a PR agency is very different. Businesses that engage PR agencies tend to do so on a retainer. The PR agency will handle their public relations and crisis communications needs based on a number of hours or days retained per month.

Typical customers for PR agencies are medium-sized or large businesses that have marketing teams, or need to outsource their whole marketing and PR output to one agency. Typically you can pay a PR agency anywhere from £500 to £1500 a day in the UK – but expect a retainer of 2 to 8 days per month.

Our customers ‘retain’ PR Centre because we’re always there online with a guaranteed turnaround time for their press releases (or blogs and web copy). If there are crisis communications to handle we can respond quickly using our express service. We can also then distribute releases quickly and accurately, wherever they need to go. Even to a named contact level.

So, we can output what PR agencies do, but we don’t provide the additional services such as creating ideas, liaising daily, strategising, event management… If you need this, then look at a PR agency such as The Oxygen Agency (our sister business).

 

PR Centre v the PR consultant

PR Centre can provide much of the output you’d expect from a PR consultant, but we do not provide the hand-holding service that they can offer.

PR consultants typically have experience in specific market sectors, with the insight and knowledge your company may need in that area. It’s not uncommon to find a travel specialist or retail specialist PR consultant. They would often be slightly cheaper than a PR agency, which has multiple staff to work on your account. So they may be more suitable for the lower to mid SME client.

PR consultants often don’t have the budget to handle significant press release distribution, and PR Centre has many PR consultants who use our distribution services as an addition to their service portfolio. Some even use PR Centre as an outsource for press release writing when they are busy or on a deadline.

Depending on the PR consultant, expect to pay £300 to £1000 a day for their PR services.

 

PR Centre v online copy shops

There has been a huge increase in the number of websites offering press release writing and copywriting, and they market themselves heavily. PR Centre has come across several of these – and while we can’t say they are all poor, our customers have shown us samples of very low quality work at bargain prices. We’ve seen rates as low as 10 US dollars for a press release. It’s no wonder some customers come to us to re-do their work.

While these companies ‘compete’ with PR Centre, we do not want to compete against such a service. Why? Quality is important to us. We’re accredited to ISO9001 which is the international quality standard, so you can expect a quality press release when we send you a draft. We nearly always get it right first time.

Often these copy shops will be based overseas, and their writers will not be native English speakers – even when their website or address is in the UK or USA. This poses the risk of grammar errors, factual errors, duplicated copy or a release that is not suitable for its target press audience. At PR Centre we draft well-targeted, original copy. You will have no risk of duplicate content by Google when it comes to SEO. We also know that editors and journalists don’t suffer fools gladly – and they’ll reject a badly written press release.

All of our writers work in-house at our Devon offices and, as you may expect, are expert in our trade

In summary, if you don’t have the budget for a PR agency or PR consultant, and don’t require the level of hand-hold that they provide, PR Centre may be the perfect long-term solution.

Keeping ahead in the PR race

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30/04/2015

People want news – and they want it NOW! So, how you keep ahead of the PR race?

Now, more than ever, we are living in an age of instant gratification. Gone are the days where you have to wait days or even weeks to receive something you have ordered. Amazon have even gone so far as to patent the term ‘anticipatory shipping’, a process set to revolutionise e-commerce by delivering goods to customers before they even realised they wanted them. (In fact we’ve only just finished writing and distributing a press release for a PR Centre client that talks about drone deliveries that fly in your goods!).

With that in mind, it is more important than ever to streamline business processes in order to meet the demand for things right now. We are all under pressure to keep our content up to date, and here’s how PR Centre can help with this:

The millennial generation has grown up with technology, meaning they are not used to having to wait for anything. Consequently, we are living in a digital age that never sleeps, is constantly ‘switched on’ and anything could happen at anytime. Our team of dedicated writers has a wealth of expertise and knowledge, with their fingers on the pulse. We know how important it is to be proactive as well as reactive and can swiftly write a story that will get noticed. We also have a network of over 32,000 media contacts to distribute your press release to, should you wish.

Other ways you can stay ahead PR race and meet the demand for things right now include:

1.     Ensuring your content is up to date. Keep blogs and social media posts frequent so visitors are not left waiting for information and can access new content on your platforms, ensuring they keep visiting and your sites are looking fresh. Consider using a social media management tool or dashboard to provide quick responses to queries and schedule content to ensure a continuous presence, regardless of the day or time.

2.     Using analytics to see how visitors are navigating your site and what they are looking at. This information can help you predict trends, buying and behavioural patterns. We’re not suggesting you should invest in something as advanced as ‘anticipatory shipping’, but having a good idea of when your site is most active, what people and looking for and what they are purchasing can help you forecast patterns and consequently stock and staffing levels to ensure that customers are receiving a more efficient service.

3.     Giving customers a multichannel experience. Distribute messages via multiple platforms to give customers the opportunity to access the same data and information,  and perform the same actions, such as making a purchase, regardless of the channel they are using (computer, tablet, smartphone or physical store), their location or the time of day.

4.     Knowing time is of the element. With numerous 24 hour news channels and the power of the internet, stories can break at anytime. Reacting and responding quickly to relevant industry and business news is vital. Don’t have the staff or time resources to cover a story or write copy? Our team of writers will react quickly to provide you with a press release, web copywriting or blog content. Depending on which service you select, you could receive your first draft the very same day.

The news angle and how to find it

By

13/04/2015

How do you get editors to use your press release?

If they’re to attract a second look from an editor then you have some rules to follow. So press releases ought to:

• use the “funnel” strategy i.e. sum up the story in the first para and add quotes, then include the background further down
• use double spacing
• put company data, photograph captions and contact details toward the end.

But if you fail to get the news angle right, then you’re just preparing to fail. That’s what the editors will seek out.

 

Ask the right questions

It’s very easy to become too involved with your subject matter, and you can overlook the most obvious news angle. Ask some relevant questions:

What do people think about this?

Or ask what the reader may be thinking:

What’s in it for me?

If the headline fails to answer those questions, the editor will move onto the next news item in their growing pile of press releases…

 

Finding the perfect news angle

To get that killer news angle then ask yourself the questions the reader will have, such as…

• what impact will this have on me?
• how much time, money or effort will you save?
• how long have I got to respond?
• does someone famous endorse it?
• is this new?
• what’s unusual about that?
• does this relate to me?
• will this make my life better?
• is this the right time of year?

Cover as many of these issues as you can.

 

Identify your audience

Not every reader is the same. Not every publication is the same. So think about whether your release meets the needs of different people. You may need to change the news angle for some audiences; or perhaps change the tone or content to meet their needs.

Typically we find up to three angles or audiences for any release. At the highest level these could be:

• For local press
• For industry or trade press
• For national press.

 

Make it too good to miss

The icing on the cake for a press release is a quote and or photo from someone who is well-known in the field – perhaps a business guru, local expert or celebrity. Regional stories often hinge on a local angle, so see what councillors or the Mayor think and get them to approve a quote. Never take a quote from another source – no matter how amazing it sounds. Do the leg work yourself.

When you’re done it’s ready for distribution. But if this is all too much for you, then we’d be happy to write the press release for you.