Tuesday, August 16, 2022

2021 Business Predictions: Fran Prince, Head of Communication at Champions (UK) plc

It’s that time of year, when Business Link Magazine invites the region’s business leaders to offer up their predictions for the year ahead. 

It has become something of a tradition, given that we’ve been doing this now for over 30 years.

Here we speak to Fran Prince, Head of Communication at Champions (UK) plc.

As the journalism industry has largely gone remote during the impact of the pandemic, reporters’ beats have shifted, and resources have been strained. Many journalists are no longer simply a news reporter or lifestyle feature editor, they are working across the board in new industries and many are also no longer as easily contactable via phone with systems such as Gorkana or Cision not yet being updated with personal mobile numbers.

For brands looking to increase their brand awareness this has made reaching the right person even more challenging, and so it is ever more important for PR professionals to really research their target media via any means possible, such as following their individual articles and the publications they write for, right through to connecting with them and interacting on their twitter feed and LinkedIn.

The rapid digitalisation caused by the pandemic, has meant the face-to-face and event-based PR has almost fallen off the radar. And now, much like consumers, journalists are looking for that something ‘extra’ in order for them to cover a story.

Exclusivity and a personalised pitch has become a basic expectation, especially where PR’s are looking to add SEO backlinking value into their stories. But it is ever crucial to stand out from the crowd and I predict new pitching methods will come to the fore for brands, for example a 10 second video pitch via a direct message on social media or sending supporting creative such as miniature video interviews alongside your copy will assist journalists in reaching their social audiences.

Don’t forget that a face-to-face meeting even if done virtually can add character, depth and personality to your story.

While at first the pandemic implemented buzzwords such as ‘Covid-19’ in almost every subject header, as we look to the future PR’s must hammer home a unique message in order for journalists to even consider opening their emails. Think about a pitch as if it was an advert to buy a product, what key factors would you include?

At this time, we are all looking for the good in the world, sparking positivity and emotion in a story will also increase your chances at getting coverage. So stories that tell of community spirit, social responsibility, or sustainable initiatives to assist the global objective of reduced environmental impact are all doing well at present. These stories also resonate with the journalists own thoughts, values or concerns and so relatability assists your message.

Finally, it’s important that brands continue to preserve their presence in their respective industry, building up their thought leadership and reputation as experts will ensure they remain relevant, trusted and desirable to consumers. PR agencies must also adapt to the needs of their clients, it must be about applying the right resource to maximise the result, there is no point in running press release if the hook isn’t timely or relevant for instance.

As businesses are now closely reviewing their budgets more than ever before, adapting your offering to deliver a multichannel and digitalised campaign strategy is crucial to the survival of PR. It now must encompass a fully circular virtual space via brand awareness through articles, repurposing these into e-shots, content for your website and social media, right through to building video and infographics out of it.

With our newspapers now in our pockets 24hours a day via mobile devices, our stories must acquire 70% of the readers viewing time, so by delivering content on multiple channels and touchpoints this will increase the chances of engagement.

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