Human after all

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“Journalists aren’t interested in you or your organisation; they’re interested in covering great stories that are a perfect fit for their audience. So anything that sounds like you’re just trying to plug your company – rather than provide compelling content – is an instant turn off… tell stories, use visual imagery and anything that appeals to the senses.” – Janet Murray, The Guardian

The simplest display of humanity can spur an emotional connection. Sentiment plasters the pages of newspapers and media websites. Christmas adverts which do more than just sell products are one timely example, charity collaborations are another. People want to hear about their local heroes and journalists are keen to pitch these stories to their editors.

Journalists write stories. And what is a story if it contains no characters? What audiences really want is to get to know the people behind the brand. To understand the motivations and aspirations that drive that particular business and inspire its customers.

As a PR or marketing manager, it can be all too easy to get swept up in key messages and corporate objectives, and to lose track of what makes your target audience tick. But, no matter what your business, you should always look for a way to make your story resonate on a personal level.

Bringing the human element of a piece of news to life is the job of a successful PR. It’s what makes a good story. The sort that people can’t help but read, or watch. More and more, journalists at major online news outlets are asking for video content to supplement their articles. Whilst beautifully crafted hi-resolution images have their place, a short video clip of a store manager giving a roundup of Christmas treats to look forward to can add another dimension to a news piece. Better still if the video is pieced together with interviews and clips filmed at a customer’s local store, resulting in a multifaceted story that’s relatable to the outlet’s audience.

The Trump and Leave campaigns have highlighted more than ever that there is a disconnect between people and storytellers. This is the proof that PRs and brands need to explore and understand, leaving those that build locally relevant stories at a distinct advantage when trying to connect with the consumer. It has to be the starting place not the destination.

The art of newsjacking

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Here, we explore why ‘newsjacking’ is one of the great ways law firms can increase their brand awareness and drive business, using the ongoing Uber test case as a prime example.

As a PR agency, we’re always on the lookout for different ways of generating media interest in our clients’ stories. This is particularly true when working with law firms, where competition for column inches is high and legal journalists are few and far between (as well as notoriously hard to get hold of!).

So what can we do to cut through the noise?

One of the advantages of working in the legal sector is that there is never a shortage of stories that need commentary, or indeed people that want to comment on them. Almost every story we read, be it political, financial or about Harrison Ford’s broken leg, will have a legal implication that consumers and businesses can consider.

Take the ongoing Uber employment tribunal as an example. After much deliberation, the judges will soon deliver their hotly anticipated verdict on whether the global firms’ drivers should be classified as ‘workers’ or ‘self-employed’ in the UK. Whatever the decision there will undoubtedly be mass media interest, so with many legal PRs vying for the top spot on what this means for employee rights and how the news will affect the burgeoning gig economy, we needed to be prepared ahead of the proposed judgement on 12 October.

PR top tips for newsjacking a legal judgement:

  1. Consider both eventualities and prepare the necessary statements and content so you’re ready to hit send once the judgement lands
  2. Talk to relevant people within the business who can deliver insight on the impact of the decision – any data will be gold dust
  3. Research the media that are active on the story and be prepared to feed them your content

Even the best laid plans never go exactly as you think however….judgement day came and went without so much of a hint at the result – and we’re still waiting more than a week later. However, those initial conversations have still proved fruitful, with us being asked to provide commentary from our client for the BBC’s piece, ‘What does Uber’s employment case mean?’

Unfortunately, we don’t always have the luxury of two months to prepare, so moving fast on these opportunities is an absolute must. Thankfully, law firms have experts in almost every field so we are primed and ready to shed light on the next breaking news story!

Snap vs Instagram – The battle for the top

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Many organisations are in constant competition with one another and the need to stay one step ahead of the competition is crucial for their survival. Instagram and Snap, formerly known as Snapchat, are no different. But what happens when two organisations offer the same feature? Billions of users start to compare and decide which one is best for them, it’s natural. For organisations, it’s about weighing up the pros and cons of which platform suits their brand personality and hits their target audience in the most effective way possible.

For years now, Snap has laid claim to their story feature, allowing users to take short videos of themselves and share with their friends for 24-hours. With an ever-growing number of features and off-the-cuff content (both for users and advertisers), Snap made a bid to overtake Instagram as the dominant social media platform. It did this by using its ‘vanishing content’ model to encourage everyday users to document experiences without the burden of permanence weighing on their publishing decision and in theory it translates to authenticity and high levels of engagement on the channel. However, with the introduction of ‘Instagram Stories’, Instagram had openly challenged Snap on their own turf.


With the announcement that over 100 million people are already using the new Instagram stories every day, this had caused quite a stir on the internet and sparked debate across the country. Many said that this would signal the end of Snap. After all, the platform was the first to come out with a ‘story’ feature.

On paper, Instagram is more widespread – people have more followers on Instagram than Snap, the age range is wider, targeting age groups up to those in their 40s and 50s and has an even split in gender, whereas Snap users are 70% female with a growing popularity among the younger demographics. For brands, the introduction of the Instagram Stories could be ground-breaking – allowing companies to share authentic videos and photos in a friendly way so as not to feel like an advertisement and to connect with their ever growing followers ‘in the moment’.

It is pretty safe to assume that at least some of the people that may have become Snap users are now more likely to stay on the platforms they know – in this sense, Stories is  less about stealing Snap’s audience and more about slowing down its expansion. However, Snap did not appear to be intimidated by Instagram’s announcement of Instagram Stories. Instead, nearly two months later, it has introduced its very first piece of hardware – the Snap Spectacles which feature one of the smallest wireless video cameras in the world built into a pair of popping eyewear.

In the battle to win audience attention, both are seeking their own ways to stand out. For Snap, it is about innovating and developing something new that keeps users coming to their platform, something they can’t get anywhere else – Snap still has the upper hand in the puppy filter category, but it’s only a matter of time before another social media channel re-establishes this feature on theirs. For Instagram, it is about showing users why they should forget the other social media channels, like Snap and stay with them instead, by improving already invented features and developing these for their platform.

By eliminating differences between the two platforms, Instagram ultimately taps into Snap’s under 25 age group, making its platform more appealing to organisations that are interested in targeting a wide as well as younger age group through their marketing communications strategies.

In order for Instagram’s use of Stories to not hinder Snap’s aim for massive growth and expansion, the next move needs to be big, with new offerings, both in terms of innovative advertising options for businesses, as well as on-platform tools including filters and add-ons for consumers – not forgetting the somewhat trendy Snap Spectacles.

The battle for audience domain will eventually be won over time…the question is which one will stand victorious?