Friday, October 31, 2008

Morgan PR reveals the Seven Deadly PR Sins in Newbury Business Group 10 Minutes Masterclass

No sooner do I become chairman of the Newbury Business Group than I find myself in the hot seat for the 10 Minute Masterclass! Having spent many of my previous presentations explaining tips and tricks to boost your PR it really did seem about time to explain where it can go wrong.

You see, for all the marvellous advice on the best ways to get good publicity, there are some things that you should never do, or at least not without careful consideration. These are the bear traps for PR prima donnas where journalists with sharpened pens await the unwary. These are our Seven Deadly PR Sins that the PR professional knows to resist.


Lusting after journalists is generally not a good way to go about getting something published, nor is any covetous approach to a story. For instance, pursuing a single publication with wild-eyed abandon rarely works and depending on your story and the background you can often achieve great exposure by having a story published locally first.


You should know when enough is enough in PR. You may be on to a good thing but do not outstay your welcome. Anyone who gorges themselves on a PR opportunity without considering how this will be interpreted runs the risk of the journalists being turned off and the next story you have will be ignored, however good it might be.


If Gluttony is over indulging in PR, then Greed is about hungering after that feckless feast without regard for a balanced diet. This greed is not good. Journalists rarely respond to desperation and they actually find those repeated calls irritating. So do not be greedy. Ensure that the story is worthy of coverage and accept what it gets. Learn and provide a better story the next time. Or become known as greedy and see how many column inches that translates into.


There really is no excuse for any kind of behaviour that either sees you blithely ignoring a PR opportunity or worse still, not helping a journalist once they are writing a story. I can recall times as a journalist where a good news story died on the vine because calls went unreturned. Very rarely is doing nothing the best option. Sloth is a very good way to destroy your PR reputation, though!


‘Do you know how much we spend on advertising?!’ No, they don’t and they really do not care. Journalists do not sell advertising and very rarely will they cower at the threat of you pulling advertising. Take a deep breath and work out how to make right the slight that prompted you to think of foolishly threatening to withdraw advertising.


You may see stories that competitors have succeeded in getting published and wished that you had thought of whatever has claimed them the headlines. Be inspired, but do not dwell. What can you learn and do better next time. Certainly do not be tempted to brief against your rival. That is the advanced class and needs careful consideration.


Be humble in victory. Certainly there may be times when you are entitled to puff out your chest and bask in glory, but let the media pour on the pride, you should be modest and even slightly embarrassed and your PR will have far greater impact than trading on vanity. Richard Branson, anyone?

What do you think?

If you have fallen foul of any of these sins they may not be deadly if properly addressed. They can however leave any PR strategy starting from a disadvantage. If you think you have suffered for committing a public relations sin we can help you repent! Seriously, with a little tender loving care and a deft bit of remedial PR, Morgan PR can help you back on to the right path.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

West Berks Rapid Response Car caught on camera

Morgan PR is proud to support the West Berks Rapid Response Car in Hungerford, indeed our logo can be seen on the boot of the car as it rushes about on life saving business.

So when new photographs were needed for a leaflet we were more than happy to oblige; working with Neale Marney MBE and a range of volunteers who were keen to contribute we were able to stage three typical scenarios where the Rapid Response car - there are three across West Berkshire - might be first on scene.

A road accident

A cyclist has fallen from their bike

More of the cyclist - with the logo nicely framed!

Taking someone's blood pressure

It was good fun and when used we hope the photographs will bring home to people the reality of what these volunteers do, which ultimately is save lives in our rural community, when it can take precious extra minutes for the ambulance to arrive.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Blogging Birthday - the Morgan PR Blog celebrates being two years old today!

Hurrah! The Morgan PR blog has reached the ripe old age of two years - and this is the 359th posting. How does that sound to you?

Well, statistic vary wildly, but a common one I've seen suggests that almost half of all new blogs will be dormant or abandoned within three months and certainly very few of the blogs that I have followed at launch ever lasted.

Friday, October 24, 2008

From Crackpot to Consultant - an entrepreneur tells all at Newbury Business Group

Friday dawned with another sparkling breakfast meeting of the Newbury Business Group, West Berkshire’s foremost networking organisation.

This morning we heard from stalwart member and local entrepreneur Tony Quinn, who took us on whistle-stop tour of his success-studded career to date, visiting the highs and lows and some of the crackpot ideas he came up with.

Actually that should be ‘Crackpot’™ - ‘Heat ‘em, fill ‘em... then eat ‘em’ – This was an innovative naan bread pot that could hold the curry within and Asda loved it with thousands of units being sold... until the day that the supermarket decided all its curries should be microwavable – and the Crackpot goes soggy in the microwave! So ended that dream!

Moving on he soon got to IQ Consulting and expanded on the normal one minute presentation we each get to make every week.

He explained that IQ offers practical advice that works. It was not about gobbledygook, marketing acronyms, guru books or indeed gurus of any kind. It was very much about big ideas – and every business has a big idea, they just might not know it yet!

He said: “I have started, built and sold two businesses successfully. I’ve had a business go to the wall – and I’ve learnt a few things on the way.”

Tony (pictured left) has also become an Accredited Associate of the Institute for Independent Business and uses its Business Support Programme to help prospects with a free business review that can take up to 2 hours.

“The session will unearth a goldmine of good and bad in every facet of the business and by the end of the session the owner will be more aware of every aspect of his business than he was before. It is as simple as that.

“If there is sufficient need, a Business Support Programme will be proposed to fix the need and this attracts a fixed monthly investment to IQ. This programme will be managed by IQ but parts of it may be delivered by other IIB Associates with specialist skills and parts of the fix could be delivered by Newbury Business Group members."

The 10 minute presentation concluded with Tony stressing that we should make sure he knows exactly what we do as we could be part of the fix!

Those are wise words for any networker; referrals from the people you meet rely upon them actually understanding what you do. If they don’t, they won’t!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hungerford day nursery Little Jogs now online with launch of new website

Little Jogs Day Nursery has unveiled a new website designed to keep parents up to date with activities at the nursery and to inform prospective parents about what it has to offer.

Morgan PR designed the website: which has just gone live and already is catching the attention of people searching for nursery care in the Hungerford area through effective search engine optimisation.

The nursery’s owner, Sandra Fell, explained: “We enjoy a good reputation among our parents and many of them refer their friends to us. However we would never take for granted the people who move to this area who might not realise we are here.

“Also, with the slowdown in the economy we have been getting more enquiries from mothers and fathers who are finding they have to go back to work; hopefully the website will help parents facing that difficult decision. Indeed, one of the pages is specifically aimed at helping parents ask the right questions of any childcare provider.

“There are pages on each of our three rooms: baby, toddler and pre-school together with explanations of the provision and approach in each of those.

“We also aim to publish news on the site regularly to keep everyone up to date with all the exciting things we do here at Little Jogs.”

The new website was designed by Diane Morgan of Morgan PR, whose own daughter Beth used to go to Little Jogs. She comments: “We’ve always know what a terrific nursery Little Jogs is, so it was lovely to have the opportunity to reflect that on the world wide web. The team at Little Jogs are a really warm and friendly bunch and all the children are so cheerful - hopefully this website reflects that.”

Incidentally, news of the new website is spreading and it has already been published online at Newbury Today.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Neat trick but still spam

Like any businessman who spends time using email I loathe spam and alongside the phishing scams, 419 banking bonanzas from Africa and various priapic therapies I get just as annoyed with genuine - but unsolicited - sales pitches.

One that did make me smile though was an email from some sign writing company that had gone to the trouble of designing an applet that wrote the Morgan PR web address across the boot of a car, while the website itself (visited via a browser rather than click on the email and reveal my curiosity!) allowed you to write anything you fancied - see above!

So clever yes, but unsolicited and junked accordingly.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Impromptu lunch discovers sensational food at sensible prices at The Carnarvon Arms

Fresh from a successful client meeting Morgan PR found itself near another client's venue; we publish the newsletter for Merchant Inns so when the Carnarvon Arms was so close and lunchtime was calling it was something of a done deal.

It is interesting, I have actually written about the food many times for advertising features and yet have never managed to coincide a visit with a suitable meal time. We have on occassions called by on a Saturday lunchtime with every intention of eating, only to discover the car park positively overflowing, which while a sign of good food it does suggest it is already full and we have ventured elsewhere.

It was actually quite busy today and tasting the food it was easy to understand why this venue was bustling on a Monday lunchtime.

The food was sublime I went for the scallops with crispy bacon and butternut squash puree, followed by a hearty plate of 'Mr Parson's Sausages' with mash and shallot gravy. Actually I suspect that Mr Parsons is none other than Gerry Parsons, another client of Morgan PR and founder of the wonderfully named Butcher's Dog Sausage Company. Certainly the meaty might of these beautiful bangers was consistent with those we pluck from our freezer on a regular basis.

I never doubted that the food would be good, but it was a delight to discover just how good!

We are just about to start work on another edition of The Merchant for Merchant Inns and I shall be eyeing the location of its growing stable with a road trip or two in mind.

Friday, October 17, 2008

New Chairman for West Berkshire's foremost networkers - Newbury Business Group

We've blogged about West Berkshire's foremost networking group many times in the past; Newbury Business Group is the antidote to the bureaucratic money-making nonsense that typifies many such organisations

At the group’s weekly meeting earlier today the outgoing chairman, Mark Arrowsmith of Snappy Snaps, handed the reins to yours truly.

When I first joined Newbury Business Group a little over a year ago I was so impressed at its dynamic nature and real commitment to benefiting its members; it is totally independent and not stuffed to the gills with ridiculous rules and ulterior motives.

Too many networking groups are little more than money making venture for their founders and you only have to look at the member turnover in these groups and contrast that with the typical length of membership at Newbury Business Group to spot how much our group is valued.

There is some terrific collaborative work that goes on within the group and members bring one another high calibre referrals that will lead to significant business – although there is no compulsion to bring referrals, our members give them because they want to.

It is also a really great way to start the last day of the week and we bounce out after breakfast ready to do business and each week a different member offers a 10 minute master class focused on their area of expertise that always inspire.

We meet 7.30 every Friday morning at Donnington Valley Golf Club and guests are welcome to join us and enjoy a free cooked breakfast. We encourage prospective members to visit two or three times to decide if they want to join Newbury Business Group. It costs £100 to join the group and then £100 per quarter, which pays for everyone’s breakfast – members and their guests – and the annual Christmas party too.

Why not give Newbury Business Group a try?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Morgan PR sponsorship deal with The Corn Exchange - Newbury's flagship arts venue

When Morgan PR met the Corn Exchange's charming Development Manager and marketing guru Philippa Syme it was only a matter of time before we too joined the prestigious ranks of companies proud to be associated with West Berkshire flagship arts venue.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, the Corn Exchange attracts more than 100,000 visitors annually from West Berkshire, South Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Wiltshire. Since opening as an arts centre in 1993, ticket sales have risen steadily with average attendances at an extremely healthy 65%.

So apart from being a really important local facility there is a real benefit to becoming a corporate sponsor of the Corn Exchange. For example they produce a quarterly brochure which has a print run of 32,000 and is mailed to 16,000 Corn Exchange bookers with the remainder distributed across the region.

Previous Corporate Sponsors have worked with the Corn Exchange to entertain clients, reward staff or impress prospective customers. They have benefited from the positive PR of association with a well-respected venue at the heart of the community and from the direct effects of visible crediting within the brochure, press coverage and the use of direct mail initiatives with Corn Exchange audiences.

So naturally whilst we a leveraging our own PR, we are already speaking to some of our clients about what this theatre in Newbury can do for them.

Below is our first advert that will be appearing in the forthcoming program!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Breathing fire into the Dragon's Den

We spent this morning at Mary Hare School near Newbury where sixth formers from there and also from John O'Gaunt Community Technology College were competing in a Dragon's Den style competition.

The event was organised by the West Berkshire Education Business Partnership and my role was to introduce them to SWOT analysis and also to act as one of the business advisors, guiding and inspiring them as they consider video presentations from three local companies who were pitching for £100,000 of funding that the various teams of sixth formers had to invest.

It was great fun and really exciting to hear them identifying real strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats - some which would put practicising business folk to shame.

We hope to offer some coaching to the winning team ahead of the grand final and it would be good to follow this through, so watch this space!

Website launch for Women in Newbury

Many readers will know of Morgan PR's involvement with networking group, Women in Newbury.

We have recently been responsible for building the new website for the group which can be found here. It would be unlike us to let this opportunity go by without making a bit of a song and dance about it, so the Newbury Weekly News were informed with a press release, which went into the paper last week and can be found online here.

The group has a Race Night planned at Newbury Rugby club on the 7th November (see previous post here) to raise money for the Rainbow Rooms at Newbury Hospital, a very worthy cause. Tickets are available from the Corn Exchange, Newbury Building Society, Nature's Corner and Encore. Please do come along, have some fun and help us to raise money for a great charity.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Morgan PR Newsletter launched today

Morgan PR launched its e-newsletter earlier today and going by the veritable deluge of emails we've had back there is a temptation to believe that the analytics are going to be encouraging.

We have been working with newsletter guru Julian Wellings of Expertise on Tap since meeting him at a 4Networking event in Newbury back in the summer. I'd heard him speak about the power of sending e-newsletters and confirmed many of the facts I already new... and here we are with our very first e-newsletter out there!

If you are reading this blog and would like to receive next month's 'Creating Reputations' e-newsletter then please log on to our website and subscribe there.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Harrow at Little Bedwyn - Michelin starred marvel only minutes from Hungerford

After a productive week and ample excuse to celebrate Morgan PR let call handling supremos Verbatim take the strain while we took the short four-mile journey west of Hungerford to the marvellous Michelin starred venue: The Harrow at Little Bedwyn.

Remarkably it was back in June we were last at The Harrow, which is far too long to neglect such brilliant food, wine and service, so with a long lunchtime to spare - or rather putting everything on hold for a long lunch, we indulged, tempted by the Set Tasting Menu we had seen on The Harrow's excellent emailed PDF newsletter. The menu changes daily to make best use of the freshest available ingredients, but you get the idea from the sample sample menu pictured right.

Before it was the new season Veuve Clicquot that we were raising aloft, today however we were treated to what is officially the finest Sauvingnon Blanc in the world! Specifically, the Tamar Ridge Kayena Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2007 was recently awarded the International Sauvignon Blanc Trophy at the prestigious 2008 Decanter World Wine Awards. Poetically, The Harrow is the current Decanter Restaurant of The Year.

The Harrow, founded in its current form by Roger and Sue Jones, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year . While it is undoubtedly a popular venue, we have only just started visiting and far too many people we talk to will know about this terrific restaurant on our doorstep, but have not visited!

They should. The food, often cooked by Roger himself - as it was today - is superb and ably partnered with the best wines from an extensive wine list of some 900 wines. Service is superb with Sue a virtuoso of the fine arts of front of house, as are general manager Peter Hinchciffe and restaurant manager Heather McKnight.

There is a temptation to believe that a Michelin star, or indeed a cluster of AA Stars can render a restaurant both outrageously expensive and impenetrably stuffy. Thankfully The Harrow was neither and while we eventually stuck with the £30 tasting menu it would have been easy and affordable to wander into the a la carte and indeed the hefty wine list.

Writing of wine... back to that Tamar Ridge Sauvignon Blanc, it was truly superb. Being reasonably well travelled in the New World I have always fared rather well picking wines from regions I have visited, often via carefully chosen vineyards. And while I have been to Tasmania, it was the east coast vineyard around Bicheno and the stunning Wineglass Bay that I had visited, clearly missing out on Tamar Ridge in the north. Suffice to say it was a delight to discover these wines could be bought to take home, and indeed we did, a trio of the Sauvignon Blanc.

Sadly we cannot make the next Tamar Ridge event at The Harrow, but have no hesitation in recommending it those who follow this blog. Due to be held on 19th October it promises to be a stunning affair with the very best Tamar Ridge has to offer, matched magnificently with the most impressive dishes that Roger can conjure up. It costs just £75 and you need to call 01672 870871 to book. There are only a few spaces left so hurry

Incidentally, if you have been to The Harrow before, it has a new, lovely clean look (see the photo below) after part of the summer was spent making this delightful venue truly look the business, one that belies its country pub location - which as I have said, is only four miles from Hungerford.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Newbury Business Not Today

One of Morgan PR's clients is the Newbury Weekly News Group and we write many of the profiles and features that appear in Newbury Business Today - which was due out with the main newspaper... today.

So you can imagine how our inbox filled when it was not published! It was published online and on the NWN's main website an article was published (pictured above) that explained production problems now mean that Newbury Business Today will appear next week.

Actually, I suspect advertisers will benefit from the double expsoure that comes from this split publication with some people seeing the features online and then again in print next week.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

They're making a list... at Tiger Tiger

They’re making a list, checking it twice and it doesn’t matter if you’ve been naughty or nice, the excitement among Tiger Tiger customers is palpable – Christmas is coming to this fabulous emporium of delights.

This truly is a most wonderful time of year at Tiger Tiger. Magical at any time of the year and bursting with an eclectic array of gifts and statement pieces, this store is at its busiest at Christmas and not least because of those lists - the wish lists the store offers that make shopping for loved one's a breeze!

So begins Morgan PR's forthcoming feature on Tiger Tiger, the lifestyle and gift store that attracts droves of shoppers to its two branches in Newbury and Marlborough.

We've been regularly writing about Tiger Tiger and the store's founder, Allison Brook, for quite a few years now and earlier today we were at the Marlborough store and met with Allison and her colleague Tracey Avery - together they hunt down the myriad of gifts that have that essential 'Tiger Tiger-ness' that bring loyal customers back to the store time and again, while constantly bringing in new customers too.

When the attitude of so many retailers we meet is doom and gloom Tiger Tiger is bucking the trend and I cannot help but ask which came first - the chicken of positive thinking or the sales egg of success?

Incidentally, the long awaited Tiger Tiger website is due to go live and is already accepting registrations for people interested in shopping online with this fab store.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Backing up over breakfast at the FBBC

A breakfast that is both satisfying, fun and even educational? Yes, it was that once a month trip to the Faringdon Business Breakfast Club this morning.

The satisfying breakfast was a tasty bacon and sausage affair expertly prepared and served by Sadler's Catering
and the fun was more than 20 like-minded local business owners gathered at the Faringdon Gateway Centre for this regular networking event.

David McCarthy from IDEAS-right treated the audience to the education when he shared his expertise on backing up computer systesm, carefully leading us through the need, methods and best practice of this vital part of any business.

He also pointed us to the IDEAS page on his website which is brimming with links to services that he personally has found useful.

I feel special mention should go to Andrew Hoon from CareerFit, who alongside being something of a guru for those thinking about life changing career moves, also has the best sign off line among the many one minutes I hear... he's a professional stalker! Hopefully obviously not in the sinister sense - unless your name happens to be Bambi that is!