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Top 5 Client PR Traits

TipsLast week, we ran through some of the traits that successful tech PR pros need, but how about clients? The relationship between PR agency and client, be it a quick fling for a project or a marching down the aisle long-term retainer, is a two-way thing.

The best clients, and so those that are most successful, understand this and will work with their agencies to provide them with the knowledge they need to hit their shared objectives successfully. Here are five traits of top PR clients:

  • Don’t be a jack of all trades: And a master of none. You know your business and your customers better than anyone, the most successful clients know exactly what they are qualified to comment on and don’t try to comment on every passing trend.
  • Trust us: We’re not doctors, but we know what we are talking about. The best clients trust their PR advisors when they give them advice and don’t just go it alone.
  • Spend money: Now, we’re not just saying this, but PR is important – don’t neglect PR and invest in it where you can, the results will pay dividends down the line.
  • Content is king: Very often, clients produce lots of great content internally or for sales purposes that can be useful for external PR. And then they forget to share it with their agencies! Don’t forget to send us that whitepaper.
  • Think about what is important: Do you want to be in the channel press, do you want to be in the tech press, do you want to be in the business press? Having a few ideas about what outcomes you want from PR before you start is crucial.

The world of technology throws up lots of different types of clients, from small start-ups developing innovative solutions to established companies supporting customers with legacy technologies. Wherever you are on the spectrum, having or developing, these traits will ensure that the relationship you have with your PR agency is a fruitful one.

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Coverage Cup round up w/c 13 April 2015

Coverage cupThe last week has seen the Spark team firing on all cylinders and racking up some really impressive coverage for a number of clients. First of all the release of Verizon’s 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report saw a fantastic 29 pieces of coverage including The Guardian, BBC and FT. Coverage covered a wide range of angles from the relatively small danger of mobile malware to the staggering speed that phishing emails take to ensnare victims. Verizon were closely followed by Egress this week, who managed to secure 14 pieces for from a Freedom of Information request detailing the lack of cybersecurity employed by top law firms in the UK, with stories appearing in The Register and Computing amongst others. Next up, JDA had some excellent hits including The Independent, Retail Week and Internet Retailing based on the findings of the company’s latest retail CEO study. Finally, Ampersand’s Head of Content Strategy Rebecca Martin had an interesting byline on Marketing Tech looking at about the impact of the sharing economy and personalisation on marketers.

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Top 5 Tech PR Traits

classroom-379216_640Public Relations is a changeable beast. It encompasses anything and everything from media relations to event management, to content production and far more in-between. It also spans every industry and imaginable niche. Nowhere is this truer than in tech PR; where conceivably, on a daily basis you can go from talking about big data in drug discovery to business intelligence dashboards in the NHS, to fin tech applications in the cloud.

Being able to juggle, understand and communicate such varied themes is a challenge. Here are some top tech PR traits that all PR pros need – from the very greenest graduate to the most frazzled flack.

  • Organisation: Without fail, the ability to organise oneself, manage your time, meet deadlines and handle several clients at once is crucial. They don’t call PR plate spinning for nothin’!
  • Liking technology: Incredibly, if you don’t like technology or you can’t tap into your inner geek, it’s pretty hard to find interesting things to say about it. If you prefer handbags to HPC, tech PR probably isn’t for you (handbag PR definitely is).
  • Put it in a nutshell: The ability to understand, digest and then communicate complex technical information in a few simple sentences cannot be underrated.
  • Project confidence: It’s a PR-eat-PR world out there, and you can be sure every other agency in the world is pitching for that national cloud feature. So being able to confidently tell a journalist exactly why they should talk to your client is going to come in handy.
  • Be literate: Tech PRs very often find themselves writing about topics that could charitably be called ‘dry’, being able to inject some life and soul into your writing is invaluable.

So, now we’ve covered some of the attributes of successful tech PR pros, what about our clients? It takes two to tango you know, and we’ll take a look from the other side of the aisle next week.

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Interview with Essential Retail editor, Ben Sillitoe

Essential RetailSpark recently caught up with Essential Retail’s editor, Ben Sillitoe, to provide us with an insight into the publication, how PR’s can best work with him, and his thoughts on the future of retail.  

What is the main purpose of Essential Retail and how will the title evolve over the next five years?

Essential Retail’s main purpose is to provide the retail community with up-to-date news, commentary, interviews and insights related to how technology is impacting their industry. We aim to keep vendors updated with news on their competitors and where retailers are directing their investment, while at the same time informing retailers about the latest solutions and industry trends that can improve, disrupt or transform their operations. As we grow, I expect Essential Retail to provide even more data, a greater injection of personality and more in-depth unique interviews with major retail technology players – in all likelihood with an increased focus on an international scale, reflecting the globalisation of retail.

For the PR community out there, can you provide some tips on how and when it is best to pitch stories to you?

I prefer to receive story pitches via email. If you’re going to call me, then please make sure it’s in the afternoon because, any earlier, and we will usually be focused on getting our morning newsletters prepared. We love a case study, so if you have some interesting technology to talk about, then I’d love to be able to talk to a retailer who is already putting it to good use.

What is your main gripe with the world of PR?

I think it’s important to have a positive working relationship with the PR world, so I do enjoy many of the connections I’ve formed with the so-called dark side! However, if there’s one thing that really annoys me, it’s receiving completely off-brief, speculative story pitches. I get hundreds of emails a day, but this deluge would be nicely streamlined if PRs took a closer look at the content we actually create.

Other than editorial stuff, what other opportunities can PRs get in touch with you about?

We’d love to be able to work with tech companies on roundtables, breakfast briefings or mini events. I’m also happy to chair panel discussions at industry events. Our parent company’s heritage is events, and we run a range of retail-related conferences and exhibitions throughout the year – none bigger than RBTE, every March.

What do you see as the most important developments in the retail space at the moment?

Retailers realising the importance of stores and ensuring they are upgraded to meet the demands of the modern shopper. Online and digital retailing isn’t going to make the physical store disappear, but retailers need to understand that success lies in connecting all the best and most relevant aspects of new technology with the traditional forms of retailing. A lot of this relates to the burgeoning mobile payments space, but there is huge potential in how retailers can further communicate and build loyalty with customers or would-be customers via their mobile devices.

To keep up-to-date with the news and views on Essential Retail visit or follow them on Twitter @essretail

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Coverage Cup bumper round up

Coverage cupIt has been three weeks since the last Coverage Cup round-up, but the Spark team has hardly been idle achieving some great coverage for various clients. As a result of spotting an issues response opportunity early in the day regarding the G20 leaders data breach, Egress CEO Tony Pepper cited was cited across a whopping 113 different news outlets including The Mirror, The Daily Mail and The Scotsman. Next, Verizon’s Chief Identity Strategist Tracy Hulver featured prominently in a Financial Times feature on the on-going battle between hackers and security companies to ensure password safety. Trustmarque also rounded out a strong month of coverage with customer case study coverage regarding how Western Isles NHS Trust has implemented QlikView to help improve patient care. 


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