Category Archives: PR

10 reasons why you should hire a PR company

I came across a blog last week entitled “10 reasons why you should get rid of your PR firm”. Personally I feel all the reasons are rubbish, well for Big Cat at least.

In response to the blog I thought I’d do my own “10 reasons why you should hire a PR company”

Now I’m not one of those types that thinks every company in the world needs a PR firm, it all depends on circumstance, resources, what you actually want to accomplish and whether or not you can achieve it yourself.

Most PR companies deserve your time because……

1) We know our market

There are a vast range of resources out there which allow PR companies to analyse their market, whether it be software such as Media Disk which allows us to find the right journalist for the right story, or online websites such as Mintel which contain a whole wealth of stats and figures on any topic you could imagine. If you want to know your market you’ve got to put the time and research in.

2) We speak English

Many PR firms have a number of B2B clients which specalise in technical goods that Joe-Public aren’t interested in. Due to the type of market, much of the material has to be technical as well, however you have to be careful not to overload it. If you’re writing for the trade press, the reader will know much of the technical info already so you can get straight to the point. There’s no need to skirt around the topic, most times its better to dive in straight to the point.

There’s also an opposite to this. As PR’s we’re often asked to “flower-up” a release, make it more interesting and appealing to the reader. Again, this is another trap that a good PR knows to avoid. It’s ok adding the extra multi-syllable word here and there, but you have to be careful not to overdo it, otherwise your release ends up looking like an 18th century novel rather than an article for a newspaper.

A good PR can write a release to fit any subject area, whether it be B2B or for the general public. Through research, practice and meticulous proof reading you can ensure that any release is ready for its target audience and is easily understandable.

3) We’re not journalists

Journalists are 100% essential for any PR. Building rapport with journalists makes life a hell of a lot easier, and I’m not on about sending them gifts (which I’m sure they love), just treat them normally. A couple of my closest friends are journalists and the one thing they hate is people who brown nose. Just show a general interest, they’re not aliens (which surprisingly many people still believe). It seems (despite how much both sides disagree) journalists and PR folk are more a like than either of them realise.

4) We care

I’m relatively new to the industry however I still get a buzz when I get a piece of coverage, it doesn’t matter how big it is or whether its national or in a small local paper, to me coverage is coverage. Hopefully I’ll always feel like that.

One thing I can’t stand is blanketing out a press release to a million journalists. If you’re a good PR you have your contacts and know who to target. If you’re venturing into a new arena, do your research and pick up the phone. However its better to find out when journalists aren’t on a deadline though and time your calls for then.

Sending out a release to 14 titles isn’t a result to me, it’s not until I see the story in the appropriate publication that I know the job is done. I’m pretty sure this is how the client feels as well as telling them the release has been sent out isn’t what their paying for.

5) We manage our resources

I’m going to use the old cliché here and say that all businesses are under pressure to generate the same if not greater results on far fewer resources. However its upto the good PR to keep tabs on the resources and manage client expectations accordingly. Over-servicing has become essential over recent months, however the majority of the time its the only way to get the results. Quality should always overcome quantity.

6) We’re good at publicity

This is sort of self-explanatory. How else would you know about a good PR company unless their good at publicity? There are so many platforms to promote a company whether it be via newspapers, trade titles or social media. However word of mouth and recommendations still seems to be the best way to get new clients.

7) We don’t like ruts

Any good PR loves a challenge and something new to dig their teeth into. That doesn’t necessarily mean a new client though. It’s a PR’s job to make their own work interesting, that’s the challenge. Injecting life and new ideas into a campaign not only keeps the client happy but also the agency team.

8 ) We choose good clients

We’re not all money grabbing Fat Cats, many of us like to pick who we work with and for very carefully. There are a number of PR firms in Birmingham, including Big Cat who are proud of who they work for and the results they achieve. A lot of the time people think its the client that chooses the PR firm, but the PR firm has to have some say in it as well otherwise the campaign will never succeed.

9) We make the industry look good

All in all the majority of PR agencies do a dam good job. Every single one is different, each with their own methodology, quirks and perks. I’m not saying that all agencies are fantastic, far from it, however they don’t deserve the bad reputation which they seem to have developed over recent years.

Some of the countries greatest product awareness stunts were designed and implemented by PR firms, so next time think before you come out with a comment such as “Oh, you’re one of those.”

10) We love what we do

Simple as that. We, the team at Big Cat love what we do. We love our clients, we love our work and we love each other (well  most of the time). Becuase of this we do a damn good job, and this is why we continue to work with some of the best clients in the country

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It’s Christmas time….

Well it’s been a busy old few weeks here at the Big Cat office. Usually during the run up to Christmas people start winding down, brew the mulled wine and pop open the mince pies…no such luck here, it’s been hands on deck.

Last Friday saw the launch of NEC Funworld, Europe’s most exciting funfair, which Big Cat PR and Marketing had a helping hand in promoting. Featuring over 60 adrenaline fuelled rides including The Superstar, Frisbee and Frog, it’s enough to turn your stomach (which Chris Brown can testify too).

As with any launch though, you have to have a high-profile celebrity, and boy did we have an act. X-Factor legends John and Edward performed a number hits on the night which included their very own interpretation of “Ghostbusters”. The hall was buzzing with atmosphere, with a crowd of screaming girls (and a few boys) chanting “JEDWARD! JEDWARD!”. Some of the girls had been queuing up since 1:00pm in the afternoon and during the time had practiced a little routine to wow the twins with.

The launch event was a great success though with the Big Cat team even having some time on the rides themselves….well we had to make sure all the rides worked ok.

But, no rest for the wicked though. 3 days left till we break up for Christmas and we still have a pile of work to get through. Some great projects coming up in the New Year though which we’re really excited about, however it’s all a bit hush hush at the moment so you’ll have to wait and see what they are.

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New Kid on the block

Hi I’m Chris, 22, originally from Wolverhampton, now living in Birmingham. My favourite film is “A tale of 2 sisters”, favourite food is Cornish pasty and favourite band is Epica.

Right, that’s the introductions out the way. If you’d hadn’t guessed from all the tweeting I’m the new Senior Account Executive here at Big Cat, working alongside Natalie in the PR team.

This is the start of my third week here at Big Cat, and in all honesty the first chance I’ve had to blog. It’s been an incredibly busy two weeks in the office, filled with client meetings, tenders and the occasional rubbing of shoulders with celebrities…what a life eh.

My role here at Big Cat will be to support Natalie on all fronts as well as look after clients’ needs/wants in regards to social media. So if you have any questions about what’s trending in the world of social media or just want some advice, don’t be afraid to drop me a line.

Stay tuned to the Big Cat Comms blog as we’ll be keeping you up to date with the goings on in the office and what’s happening in world of PR.

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Big Cat Communication blog is launched

As promised last week, Big Cat’s seperate departments have started launching their own blogs.

We have lift off!

We have lift off!

The first to go up is our PR blog run by Natalie Hartland. She will be giving advice, comment, ideas and general thoughts from the world of PR and communications. The blog has its own twitter feed also.

Obviously it is a very much industry focused blog that will hopefully become a valuable resource for people in the sector.

Our marketing and events blogs are very close to launch and I will of course keep you updated on their happenings.

This blog will start to focus more on Birmingham and Social Media rather than trying to cover advice and comment from our four departments.

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Hi again, Sharkey and George reporting from the board room……

We have been having a great time in the BigCat office this month, lots of visitors and interesting things to report on….

After recently celebrating Birmingham Pride here in the fish bowl (George is gay) we became excited to over hear that the creative team will be working on floats for Pride London on the 4th of July. The home office has commissioned us to create their float … rumour is that it will be a Shakespeare themed float, that ties in with this years ‘Come out and play’ theme. George is more than excited and is hoping for an invite to ride along on the float.
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The PR and Marketing team have had yet another success within the mystical world of social media after winning a contract for Bournville College. Sadly I don’t think the College has anything to do with Bournville chocolate – It would be a major perk of the job if we got some freebees thrown into the bowl.

Another visitor we have had is a nice chap called Alan Fraser; he’s the CEO of the YMCA Erdington and has been working hard to raise money to build a big social housing development. Alan has asked the PR team to help him raise the remaining £1.5 million needed to complete the build – imagine all the fish bowls you could buy with that!!

As we are Brummies born and bred (Seacago, Brindley Canal) we are in full support of the new Buy Birmingham campaign, we have had a huge response from companies that would like to sign up and pledge to encourage prosperity within Birmingham. Let the team know if you would like more information or would like to join up….they are a friendly bunch and would be happy to help!

We overheard Katy will be leaving us after a year of work experience, we will miss her as she used to clean our bowl, not sure who will do it now?! Arghh!! Katy will continue her summer working in a glamorous events job in America, we may have to jump into the canal and swim to holiday with her – she’s worth it!

If you can’t pop into the office to meet us then please write to us, we enjoy receiving fan mail.

Goodbye for another month, next month I hope we will have some more exciting stories to tell you

Enjoy the sunshine – Sharkey and George x

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360 Links for 22 May

In the time honoured tradition I have some new links to interesting sites that concern some of the 5 departments of our company.

Creative Design: 20 Useful websites for graphic design and textural patterns

Sure this is a slight cheat as I’m linking to a site that is linking to a load of other sites, but its all about spreading the word, and this link will help you get some great advice and inspiration.

Socia Media: How we can measure Social Media

If you read my last post, I give some advice on how we at Big Cat pitch in KPIs and strategise for social media. In this link Katie Paine gives us a nice scientific way of measuring Social Media.

PR and Marketing: What’s the difference between PR and Advertising

I’m willing to assume that if you are reading this blog, there’s a good chance you know the difference, but I am still stultified by the amount of people that can’t tell the difference. Let this site site do the explaining.

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360 Tips: Social Media strategies and KPI

New social media consultants are starting up the world over with the advent of web2.0 and its incredible grip on modern interaction. The majority of these consultants have a history in PR and Marketing and as the three mediums lend so well to each other, it’s easy to see where there is cross over.
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Big Cat has been working on social media clients for several months now and we have settled on a strong and scientific strategic model that, fingers crossed, will continue to deliver results.

Most of our model is based around what you would imagine; objectives, tactics, KPIs, content etc, but trust me, these did not come about easily and a lot of tweeking continues to be done to perfect our model. So far it has proved successful with even the greatest cynics.

Firstly, social media is all about content. You could do everythig right, but if content is poor, no one will care for your campaign or your blog and you’ll soon find yourself in front of a furious FD armed with a balance sheet and a grim determination to find a part of your body to accomodate it. Make your strategy content focused, breakdown all the types of posts you will write, topics, date of publication, why it is relevant and ensure they are tailored for your audience.

Keep your objectives front of mind, make sure that everything you do is geared to achieve those objectives and make sure your client is aware of the synergy. As KPI is the hot potato of social media, excelling in getting across strong objectives and proving you can achieve them is superbly important in convincing a company that social media is worth investing in.

And that’s the big one: KPI. How do you quantify a social media campaign; followers, friends, comments, page views, unique users? Look at your clients website, see how they would quantify the success of their website and adopt those indicators. Chances are there will be a call to action portal that can be posted at the bottom of each post. Oh and one last point: Don’t, under any circumstances, try conning the reader or be salesy in your posts, tweets etc. You will be sniffed and unfollowed before you can say ‘Twitter Twattergy’.

At the end of the day, remember what benefits social media has and simply apply them to your client. Dialogue, attraction, engagement and exposure are all advantages of social media, if you can prove how that will make a company money, you are on to a winner.

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Filed under Big Cat Group, Big Cat Social, Marketing, PR