McQueenie Mulholland

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Don’t fall at the first hurdle, keep PR newsworthy

PRSue McQueenie

Getting your PR placed in news publications is no easy feat, but don't fall at the first hurdle, always make sure your PR is newsworthy. Read more to find out how. 

Who do you know? Starting a marketing or PR campaign

Marketing, PRRob Mulholland

There are many questions to consider when starting marketing or PR campaigns – what’s our objective, what’s our budget, do we have the time or the right skills to pull off the work? But don't forget to think about who you know.

The Importance of the Creative Brief

MarketingSarah Thom

The creative brief, sometimes written by clients, sometimes written internally by the agency, is a fundamental element of any marketing communications campaign. The main objective of this important document is to minimise confusion and clearly define the parameters of the project for both the agency and client; ensuring that the project is completed to the correct specifications (in terms of design, purpose, budget and time limits). This further guarantees that time and money are used efficiently and not wasted.

These briefs transmit the information which has been put forward by the client, regarding the project, to the agency in a clear and concise way which means that everybody is clear on what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by, but importantly they act as a spark of insight to get the creative process going.

There are several different areas that a brief needs to address; it should clearly define what the project is, for example, a monthly newsletter, who the target audience is and the objectives which the client wants to be met by the project. At McQueenie Mulholland we see objectives as vital as they determine what success looks like to the client and act as a guideline to accurately measure the results of a given campaign.

Another important aspect of the brief is the budget; the project budget of the client is essential as it determines the scope of the campaign, how much time is spent on it by the agency and how long the campaign will last. The activity’s schedule and deadlines should also be indicated in briefs to ensure that everyone is aware of the time restrictions that are in place allowing the agency to plan accordingly. The most important component of a brief could be argued to be the proposition. We recommend that propositions are short, concise sentences, which through its brevity gets to the point in outlining exactly what the client wants the campaign to achieve. Propositions help keep the agency’s team focused.

Further information to include is: what information about the campaign do we, as the agency, know already? And the flip-side from that what information do we need to know to complete the work.

A brief can go through a variety of processes before being finally approved. At McQueenie Mulholland we first write an initial brief which is then internally circulated to our planning strategist and then our creative lead for approval. After this it is then sent to the client who has final sign off. It’s only when both the client and the agency have agreed and approved the brief that the project can begin.


Our top tips for writing creative briefs:

 
  • Keep the brief simple and to the point- excess information can take away from the objectives of the project and blur what is important
  • Invest time into it – although briefs are meant to be short and concise this does not mean that they’re not worth spending significant time on them to complete; the more work put into a brief at the beginning the more easily good work will follow
  • Don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions when writing the brief: if you are confused about an aspect of the project, don’t be afraid to ask the client or other people in your agency for the answers. It will benefit both you and the brief if you have a clear understanding of what is required
  • And finally, be creative: briefs are more than just informative, they are meant to be motivational too. So don’t be afraid to mix things up a little bit and think outside the box!
 

PR that's not just PR but Content

PRSue McQueenie

TALK to any marketer who knows their stuff and you’ll be sure to hear the words digital, channels, analytics and content as they discuss strategies for your business or charity. 

And it got me to thinking, in this modern, digital world of instant news and instant information, is there really still a place for good old fashioned PR? 

I have to confess to a bias here, my background is journalism and PR; Robin, the other half of McQueenie Mulholland comes from the marketing and charity world. When we set up our company we felt our skills complimented each other, but I think we have both been surprised at the resilience of PR over the last year. 

With all the client work we do we look at the message we are relaying, who it is being relayed to and how that audience consumes the message. And traditional media, whether newspapers or magazines, TV and radio, still play an important role. The majority of our clients still view the traditional media as vitally important in reaching their target audience. 

So we were pleased that one of our core products, PR, continues to be relevant. But, the thing is, we’re not calling it PR anymore. We’re calling it content (there’s that word again!). 

And this blog is about sharing what we’ve found has worked especially well for our clients, which has been using a traditional piece of PR as a core product which is then developed to be used across many different channels. 

We still approach a subject in the same way. We talk to our clients about what they want to achieve with their marketing and PR. We research and write the subject the same way PR experts have done over the years and then we use our contacts to place the piece - whether it be in the local paper or a national glossy. 

But then we what we do is we give them even better value for money. We take that story (or content!) and we develop it for the client to use on their website, we change it again for them to use on social media, we change it again for them to use in their e-newsletter...the list goes on. One piece of writing (or content) developed for each channel according to the audience we are targeting - it’s brilliant! 

And do you know the beauty of it? We can measure it. So in the dark old days before the internet you might have received a few more calls, or had a few more people visit your shop, now we can see how many people click through to your website from a newsletter or interact with you on social media. And because we can measure it we can make it work even harder for you. 

So, yes, there is a future for PR - in fact it looks pretty rosy. We just have to call it content...