Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Morgan PR blog has a new home now! Check out www.morganpr.co.uk

After nearly three years on Blogger the Morgan PR Blog has moved to a new bespoke home!

Please visit www.morganpr.co.uk and discover how the blog is integrated into our new website.

You can also view similar types of post thanks to new categories!

You also no longer need to log into the blog to leave your comments!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Ministers spend £30,000 on media training

'Ministers spend £30,000 on media courses' so screamed a headline on the Mail Online yesterday after the remarkably modest spend was revealed via the Freedom on Information Act.

Morgan PR offers media training and while we have yet to help a Minister, our media training services have helped businesses in Newbury, West Berkshire and throughout the Thames Valley to better create and manage their reputations in the media.

We also offer a free download on '15 Top Tips for Surviving the Broadcast Interview' which anyone hoping to get on the televison should download for free and read! By all means forward it to any Ministers you might know!

The Daily Mail's online story is something of a non story in reality - of course Minister need media training when rabid journalists from just such publications are pursuing them! What is more, these courses are - as the story reveals - actually delivered by other journalists.

We use journalists when we deliver our courses, although to be honest it was not my time as a reporter alone that prepared me to deliver the media training services that Morgan PR offers to Newbury businesses, but it was actually the time spent as a press officer for Thames Valley Police that allowed us to truly glimpse the demands that the media can make.

The joke goes that as a journalist I was a poacher and turned gamekeeper when approached by Thames Valley Police, before becoming a sought after poaching and gamekeeping consultant when Morgan PR was launched in 2002.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

“Be Seen, Be Safe” message given to Little Jogs Day Nursery children

Little Jogs Day Nursery in Hungerford held a ‘Safety Day’ on today to help the children stay safe when they are out and about in Hungerford.

PC Claire Drewitt, Hungerford Neighbourhood officer, came along to talk to the children about what the police do and how they help them stay safe. The children all enjoyed hearing about the different roles that the police have and seeing the pictures of police dogs, horses and the helicopter.

PC Drewitt said, “The children were all very attentive to my input today and it’s great to be working to educate them in such a positive way.”

The highlight of the trip was when the children went outside to the police car and were allowed to sit in the driver’s seat, with the lights flashing and siren sounding.

The nursery children have new high visibility safety vests to wear when they are out and about on their frequent trips into Hungerford town. These smart vests have reflective strips and the name and logo of the nursery on the back.

Neale Marney MBE from the West Berkshire Rapid Response Car also popped in to speak to the children and explain about staying safe on the roads, to make sure that they don’t need his services!

Deputy Nursery Manager, Claire Taylor, explained: “It is very important to us that the children understand how to stay safe when they are out and about. We are really grateful to PC Drewitt and Neale Marney for talking to the children today and helping them to understand how important road safety is. The children look great in their new vests and we are looking forward to many trips out in them over the hot summer months”

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Disorder in court - Twitter magistrate wrong to resign


Talk about disorder in court - Professor Steve Molyneux, a magistrates of some 16-years-standing, has been forced to resign after he Twittered about life on the bench, in what appears to a rather dramatic and ill considered reaction by an all too remote part of the judiciary to someone embracing new technology.

It seems to be a kneejerk and recoiling reaction much in the vein of the Daily Mail who variously report that Twitter can make you immoral through to Facebook gives you Cancer. Yet constantly magistrates' courts lament the lack of coverage for its work and with the demise of so many district and local newspapers in the current climate it seems that court coverage will diminish ever further. And remember it is important not only that justice is done, but that justice is seen to be done. Twitter could have helped that!

'ProfOnTheprowl' is Prof Molyneux's Twitter name, which does have a slightly sinister undertone, and if you read the fulsome account in the Daily Mail he did make some quite detailed tweets, including one that was prejudicial about considerations for bail, which as a journalist I would never have reported - and I spent countless hours reporting court! But hang on, these were only read by a relatively small audience - which is no doubt set to grow in light of all the publicity and blogging that it taking place. They were being made in the absence of any guidance - and remember magistrates are not legally qualified. Did he make mistakes? Almost certainly - should he have been pilloried in this way? Definitely not!

The clumsy attempt at crisis management (it was never a crisis, but they treated it as one!) might just have worked because so few people are concerned with what happens in Magistrates courts. For all the current furore,it was on the 18th March this year that he twittered about his resignation and only five weeks later it has made it into the real world - and that only after The Shropshire Star reported on it.

How could it better have been handled? Oh so much better!

I am reminded of an occasion as a very young journalist, held back by the onerous requirements of A-levels (yes, that young!) when my school kept finding itself in the headlines - through none of my efforts (any local newspaper should have a myriad of ways to learn what is going on in a school!). However, I found myself hauled before the headteacher and literally accused of telling tales out of school! Youthful indignation meant I would never confirm nor honestly deny and I asked for proof and it only ended when my editor stepped in and took the unique step of saying I had never supplied information on the school. I always felt - and this was without the benefit of the crisis management subsequently learned at Thames Valley Police as a press officer - that a better way to have handled it would have been to embrace my involvement with the newspaper to promote the school!

In this case of Prof Molyneux, would it not have been better to asked him to come up with a policy for allowing Magistrates to use Twitter? Or to simply explore whether it was wise for Magistrates to use new media to discuss their work? When you consider that across the UK the demographic of magistrates is predominantly white and retired, using new media might attract younger people to the bench - how amazing would that be?

After all, it is not as if Magistrates do not blog - check out 'The Magistrate's Blog' which is popular and up to date on 'musings and snippets from an English Magistrate' - although significantly it is anonymous. You have to wonder is anyone else in

I once heard about a case where a judge fell asleep during a trial and it was the media who reported that who were spanked for defamation - but that is another, legally perilous story!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Oh Canada... in Northumberland! Recovered with great PR?

Oh Canada... in Northumberland? What a magnificent blunder! Alberta in Cananda used a photo of Bamburgh Beach in Northumberland (pictured above) - this is landlocked Alberta (although it does have many nice lakes!). Viral uproar is raging around the net and the story is being comprehensively reported - creating a public relations nightmare.

While closer to home the headlines are harsher and called the Alberta Government to account. So what do you do in such circumstances? Well no comment will not suffice - it rarely does when public relations turns into crisis management. Although that said, Calder Bateman, the Alberta public relations company responsible for the campaign has stayed tight lipped about the blunder - and to be fair, with a Government client left making excuses it was probably the best course of action for them. As their flashy and sparse website says: "Our work speaks for itself. In fact we've already said too much." Quite!

Fortunately the Alberta Government did have an inkling of how to deal with this and turned to its own 'Your Alberta Blog', where it posted a refreshingly honest and apologetic account under PAB (Public Affairs Bureau) screwed up. They say:

The whole world seems a twitter over a screw up by we of the Public Affairs Bureau, Government of Alberta.

In our branding initiative, we put together some very striking images of our beautiful province, and wove them around a narrative that we came to call the Alberta story.

At one point in the narrative we mentioned our regard for people in other places, and in that place we used the only image that did not come from Alberta. Intentionally. We all knew that every single image we put out to represent Alberta had to be of Alberta, or we would be roasted...

Then we screwed up.

We took images from the narrative, and used them as standalone still pictures on our website. And along the line, we grabbed that one, solitary image that was not from Alberta and added our nifty new "Alberta" signature.

We're sorry.

The picture has been removed from the cycle of standalone images, however it still lives in the narrative, as you will see in the above link.

And, Northumberland, you are beautiful, too.

Nice touch on the comment about Northumberland! Although they do still try and claim it was intentional to have a foreign section included, which mitigates the fullness of the admission.

Even dark clouds of negative public relations can have silver linings - traffic to Alberta's websites has naturally gone through the roof and even when you dimiss the Northumberland photo, this is clearly a stunning part of Canada. Of course, it is a brave an Machiavellian person who makes the mistake to achieve this.

A more recent post on the Alberta blog actually talks about the 'One Lonely Ray of Sunshine' being just this increase in traffic.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Oh Brother how fab art thou?


Oh Brother how fab art thou? The normally excellent Brother HL 4040CN laser printer here in the Morgan PR office has been problematic - dark smudges and inkspots were making printed pages look awful.

We were worried about what the customer service would be like trying to track down help for a printer that was by mere days, more than 12 months old. You hear horror stories of lives wasting away on hold to premium rate numbers in distant lands...

We test customer service through our mystery shopping services, including telephone mystery shopping and video mystery shopping and while we do find many good examples, it is often the case that the bigger the company the worst the customer service will be!

We need not have worried. We contacted Misco, who we bought the printer from last year, and they we happy to help and immediately connected us to a Brother helpline - where a very patient man talked us through taking the machine apart and cleaning it - and he was suitably impressed to discover we had actually already done this after reading about in the manual - sometimes it pays to RTFM!

Anyway, he talked us through cleaning it more and we discovered one of the print cartridges appeared to be leaking. Luckily we had a replacement and with that in place it was all working - and all this in about 10 minutes chatting to very nice man from Brother!

And there was more - as the print cartridge was made by Brother, he supplied us with a address to send it back to them where they will explore what went wrong - and they would then supply us with a replacement.

How about then for excellent customer service? Good public relations too - much of PR is about getting people talking about you and not only have we blogged, it has been mentioned in emails and we'll Twitter about it too.

The icing on what has been a most delicious cake will be if Brother spot this blog or the Twitter postings - that would be truly remarkable customer service if they are monitoring the blogosphere for issues good or bad!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cybersquatters target Susan Boyle, but how about your domains?


Cybersquatters have been targetting Susan Boyle from Britain's Got Talent - the Guardian hasreported that people have been busy registering domain names related to the senational singer.

Many will have good intentions and want to set up fan websites, but no doubt some have more sinister aims and will be hoping to cash in. Cybersquatters may have dropped out of the headlines - reflecting the scarcity of lucrative domains - but they still roam cyberspace hunting for vulnerable domains that may not have been re-renewed or simply become available. We will assume you have secured www.yourbusinessname.com or as close as you can get, or even better for search engine optimisation (SEO): www.yourservicetpluslocation.com but there are other domains that are of growing importance and the cybersquatters are sailing towards them in ever greater numbers.

We are talking Twitter - you do need to register your business and personal names on Twitter and you need to do it quickly! This is easily done if you visit www.twitter.com and click join. Follow the simple instructions and you will soon have your Twitter domain name - mine is www.twitter.com/nigel_morgan and we have a host of others we know we will use in the future.

So even if you scoff at Twitter and believe that, much like what you said about compact discs and The Internet, 'it will never catch on', believe us when we say Twitter is here to stay. Cnet reported that between February 08 and February 09 it grew by 1,382%, rocketing from 475,000 users to 7,038,000 - and has probably doubled since then!

If you do not register your Twitter domain then someone else will. Do it, do it now! Tell your colleagues and friends to do it now! You can thank us later!

If that inspires you to take action, then also think about visiting Squidoo. As we reported in our April newsletter, Squidoo was set up way back in 2005 by our favourite marketing guru Seth Godin and essentially it is made up of user generated ‘lenses’. These are easily created single web pages the are great for Search Engine Optimsation SEO and much like twitter would be www.squidoo.com/yournamehere so just like Twitter they are disappearing as more people use the site.

Squidoo has different categories of lenses, including business and many make significant sums of money through affiliate marketing. We are turning some of the downloads you find within our free resources into lenses. You can see The Seven Deadly PR Sins and The Joy of Six on Squidoo and will notice that while the words are much the same; the format has changed and most importantly will be reaching a new audience. Through very simple steps our domains are protected and our e-footprint just got bigger!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How to get the most from your public relations budget


Absolutely you should get the most from your public relations budget - but today Morgan PR is talking about The Budget - the one that the media are in a lather about and hunting for businesses and professionals to react to the Chancellor's announcements.

So what are you talking about? How does it impact on your business in Newbury? Or West Berkshire? Anywhere in the UK? The Budget will have a mighty impact and if you can articulate that to your local media they will listen and busily promote your business as they report your views.

So whether it has helped your business or caused harm - or perhaps it has ignored your plight entirely, you have a terrific public relations opportunity sitting in your lap - but you have to act fast. The half-life of this story fades away very quickly and beyond today that chances will be thin on the ground.

So, just take a moment and jot down the key way the budget impacts on your business. Next write down three key points you would make about this impact. Say them out loud and try them out on a colleague - do you sound authorative? Angry? Inspired? Decide your 'motivation'!

Next, call your local paper and local BBC and independent radio stations and ask to speak to the reporter covering the budget - and tell them your key points. Try to stick to them lest they report an aside you make or something less relevant.

Then contact Morgan PR and let us know how successful you have been! Good luck!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Morgan PR newsletter hailed 'Best Practice' by ActionCOACH at Newbury business seminar


Morgan PR's newsletter has been hailed as an example of 'Best Practice' by none other than ActionCOACH at a seminar held at Newbury Racecourse today.

ActionCOACH is the world's leading business coaching organisation and we were delighted to discover that seasoned ActionCOACH Alex Petty was featuring us during the free 'The 6 Steps to Business Growth' seminar held at the Nuffield Health, Fitness and Wellbeing Centre in the town.

Morgan PR is a veteran of ActionCOACH and familiar with the six steps and we know all too well how important keeping in touch with clients and prospects is - and this has been a key driver in producing such a quality newsletter for the past seven months.

We work with Julian Wellings of Expertise on Tap to ensure that our wise words are presented in the best possible format and that the distribution goes smoothly, never knowingly spamming anyone and follow the best practice guidelines that he has explained - the combination of careful target and considered delivery is why we achieve consistently high open rates, click throughs and forwards.

Understandably he was thrilled to know our partnership has won yet more fans and commented: "I'm delighted to be working with Morgan PR producing their monthly e-newsletter and to hear that ActionCOACH view it as a best practice example. I'm equally delighted every month when Nigel Morgan tells me that he's gained new business as a direct result of his e-newsletter!"

There is still time to see Alex Petty in action (pun woefully intended) this Thursday 23rd April 2009 at 6.15pm for a 6.30pm start at the Nuffield Health, Fitness and Wellbeing Centre at Newbury Racecourse by telephoning 0845 003 9177.

Alex Petty explained: "We will take delegates through the six proven steps to build a successful business. This workshop is designed for every business and will take them through each step to climb the ladder of business growth and have a commercial, profitable enterprise that works without them; they will see how their business will grow through the six steps."

There is also the chance to meet Alex Petty and other local business coaches on Wednesday 29th April 2009 when they host 'Leverage - The Game of Business'. Now Morgan PR are so adept at this sensational board game that the last time we tried to play we were appointed bankers! This is a fun way to learn the skills to 'leverage' your business and the £15 ticket price will help raise money for Mencap West Berkshire. Again call 0845 003 9177 if you would like to take part.

How to choose a photographer for your public relations


The latest edition of Creating Reputations, the Morgan PR Newsletter is out today and already analytics are showing it is proving popular as ever - not least our latest free download: 'How to choose a photographer for your public relations and marketing'.

If you are a subscriber of Creating Reputations you will already have the link, alternatively take a look at our Free Resources, where you will not only find 'How to choose a photographer' but also our other free downloads!

We were prompted to write about choosing a photographer after having such a fabulous time working with the very talented Neale James when pulling together a portfolio for this site and our other marketing collateral

This month's newsletter also takes a look at Squidoo and looks at our two lenses on the popular website - namely The Seven Deadly PR Sins and The Joy of Six - How to Ensure Press Release Satisfaction. The more observant of you might be saying "Hey - aren't they available on your Free Resources?" Yes, and they have also been blogged about and Twittered about - the point is ensuring they reach as wider audience as possible!

We aim to give our readers help and advice on all things public relations by publishing the monthly newsletter. It also offers Morgan PR terrific Search Engine Optimisation by adding sparkling and fresh relevant copy to our website - be sure to subscribe today!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Thatcham Kitchen Designs offer peace of mind in the recession

With the recession biting ever deeper, prudent homeowners are being very careful when it comes to investing in the future value of their home - which is why the safeguards offered by Thatcham Kitchen Designs are proving such a winner with people opting to focus on the most important room in the house.

Morgan PR has worked with Thatcham Kitchen Designs for a number of years now and uses public relations techniques to promote their remarkable attention to detail and passion for delivering personal customer service is ensuring they are keeping busy in these challenging times.

Last year ended with at least two local kitchen companies disappearing and this has made people understandably nervous about entrusting either their money or their dreams of a new kitchen lightly. Thankfully Thatcham Kitchen Designs is one name on the high street that can be relied upon: it is your local experienced company accredited to the KBSA, which offers safeguards for customers who use the services of Approved Members.

Owner Caroline Ware explains it better than us! She says: “While our reputation as a reliable and friendly company precedes us, people can buy with confidence knowing that we are members of the KBSA - the Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association.

“The KBSA offers unrivalled comprehensive consumer protection, including its Consumer Care plus scheme which covers, deposits advanced payments and a six year warranty for our workmanship, which is completed to Trustmark standard. We are an established company and a business that people can trust and the KBSA accreditation is proof of that and guarantees peace of mind for our customers in these worrying times. They can buy with confidence.

“Whether people are choosing a new kitchen because they cannot sell or because they recognise that a quality kitchen will help sell a home even in the slowest market, we can offer a solution. It is such an important room of the house that given the choice between similar homes, where one has a quality kitchen, it is that one that will always be chosen first."

Kevin Ware said: “Customers recognise the excellent value for money we offer too, with a comprehensive range of choice at competitive prices, people can find the kitchen they want. We visit your home for a free comprehensive site survey, we support that with detailed design and quotation including installation by skilled craftsmen.”

Thatcham Kitchen Designs, your established friendly kitchen design studio is open at 44 The Broadway, Thatcham from 09.30 to 17.00 Monday to Thursday, 09.30-16.30 Friday and 09.30-13.00 Saturday. Telephone (01635) 863853 for more details or visit their website where you can request a brochure.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Photo galleries help make newspaper websites 'sticky'


Photo galleries help makes newspaper websites 'sticky' - which is great web design as that means they encourage visitors to spend longer on the website as they click through the glorious images. It is also excellent Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as bloggers like Morgan PR here in West Berkshire, will link to such galleries and Google loves those inbound links.

Of course, the internet has delivered a terrific medium for newspapers to showcase photography in away the print equivalent never could. Do you recall how we would pore over those glossy 'Review of the Year' style supplements admiring photographs that were rarely seen in such concentration.

It also means that stunning photographs that might not cut the mustard as news, do get showcased - like these two Ferruginous Pygmy-owls called Bruno (left) and Braulio which were donated to the National Zoo of Managua, Nicaragua which is featured on the Telegraph's Earth Picture Galleries. It was captured on flash memory by a professional photographer from epa - the European Presssphoto Agency.

Such galleries has driven a growth in the popularity of such professional services - although equally the price has been driven down on all but exclusive images as budget pressures prompt newspapers to turn to cheaper and often generic stock photography. The quality can still be exceptional, but some readers might be surprised to discover this is happening. Significantly, when we read newspapers online we normally open all of them in tabs on the Firefox browser - and you quickly spot original photography and this can influence what we read. A lesson there surely?

Another clever approach is the use of user generated content - and it doesn't come cheaper. Times Online does this really well, and here readers are not necessarily clicking to see truly remarkable images (although to be fair they often do) they are making comparisons with their own efforts in a way they never would with professional images. Again making the site very sticky.

Incidentally, while you have certainly seen plenty of epa's work, you might have heard of them too. The company built a name as the leading newsphoto source from Europe since its foundation in 1985. epa is owned by eleven of Europe’s finest news and pictures agencies and they send out more than 1,000 photographs every day. They have also recently signed a deal with Google under which the search engine will host epa content on Google News. Under the agreement, Google News users will be able to quickly and easily find original text stories and photos from the online services. This is a contrast with many newspapers who bitterly resent that Google searches and returns links to their content without realise that Google is driving traffic to their websites!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Very public relations with funny lady Lucy Porter

When it comes to crisis management we do not often find Morgan PR helping out comedians! However, tonight we were at Arlington Arts to see the comic Lucy Porter and I found myself throwing her a lifeline - or rather a lively line as her show ended.

Together with Diane we were brazenly sat front and centre and like many of those in the front row found ourselves interacting with the petitie comic. Some of you will be breaking out in a sweat at the mere thought of sitting at the front of a combative comedy show, but as a veteran comedy reviewer it rarely bothers me - although even I am wary of the blitz style comedians who bludgen you rather than risk a witty heckle.

Comedians are often surprised at how comfortable I am - when Russell Howard - the West Country funny guy on Mock the Week - was at this venue and tried to get a rise out of me he gave up saying it felt like lapdance comedy!

I actually stopped reviewing comedy a few years ago when I realised my reviews were getting ever more harsh even though upon reflection that my guests and the rest of the audience had thoroughly enjoyed themselves. So now we tend to be quite choosy about what we go and see, and having found Lucy Porter entertaining when we saw her last year at South Street in Reading, we came back for seconds.

She has a disarming charm that lulls the audience into relaxing, before her potty mouth and wicked sense of humour jump to the fore and delightfully shock. It was an innocent story about her singing while doing chores at home that prompted one audience member to ask if she sang on the toilet. So began a rich vein of humour that had Lucy asking the audience for suggestions of appropriate - or rather inappropriate songs.

I offered up Queen's 'Flash Gordon', where Flash would become flush - which kinda worked but I knew I could do better. And I pondered as the show marched on and she promised the show would finish with the 'song'.

However at the end the suggestions were poor and it was in danger of falling flat... which was when I offered, with reassuringly good comic timing, the Kate Bush song 'Wuthering Heights', with the second word being substituted with an altogether more scatalogical term! It worked and went down a storm.

The really interesting benefit of the interaction was the discovery of just how many people in the audience knew us, many stopping to say hello at the end. So being funny can be great public relations!

It also meant we were still chatting when Lucy Porter popped out to collect her bits and we got chatting with her generously saying 'Wuthering Heights' had saved the show. We swapped stories on legendary heckles - including one I am responsible for that has since been told by other comedians - but that one is NSFW - Not Safe For Work.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Apprentice - Why Morgan PR has soured to Sir Alan Sugar's circus.


Did you see the first episode of the new series of The Apprentice? It has attracted record audiences by all accounts in today's media - yet we chose not to watch it. Why? Excepting the obvious and scatalogical condemnation, just why we have abandoned Sir Alan in his hour of needing viewers deserves exploration.

I'll admit I did see the clip that the BBC released earlier in the week to oil the PR cogs and honestly? It was terrible - my dog was flinching at the high pitch squealing ridicule as the apprentice candidates lambasted a garage salesman that he must be wrong quoting his current supplier's charges of £60 to wash three Hummers - when they wanted £300. I know not the outcome, and nor do I need to. It confirmed the worst suspicions!

This programme is so cynically edited to elicit the greatest sense of drama that it leaves little for the viewer to garner any business information from. Okay - it is entertainment and that must be what most viewers want. But don't try and pass it off as anything other than a gameshow.

We also abandoned Dragon's Den just a few episodes into the last series for much the same reasons - and our objection to the blatant way the Dragons (more like wolves if you ask me!) would gang up to ridicule and wear down a candidate... before Colombo-like returning to throw them a lifeline which would tempt them into some awful in-equitable share deal.

I think the only time Dragon's Den would work for a business is if their name was a web address - the marketing of the repeated web address would drive traffic, especially if it were a decent product.

I guess the most amazing thing is that people volunteer for these programmes!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Women in Newbury use networking to raise £600 for charity - doing something clever for money!


While many put on red noses for Comic Relief, over 100 people were donning their thinking caps at Newbury Rugby Club, for a charity quiz in aid of the Rainbow Rooms at Newbury Hospital.

Women in Newbury, one of West Berkshire’s most lively and entertaining networking groups, organised a quiz with the proceeds going toward Newbury and District Cancer Care Trust. The quizmaster was Roland Gardner, Chief Executive of Newbury Building Society, who ensured that there were enough fiendish questions to tax even the most experienced quiz goers in the room.

Morgan PR's very own Diane Morgan chairs the networking group and she explained: “This is the second event the group has held in aid of the Rainbow Rooms and we are thrilled with the response and generosity of those attending. As well as our fabulous raffle with many prizes donated by local companies, Giles Penfound, of Giles Penfound photography kindly donated a limited edition print from his Skies series that was auctioned on the night and reached a winning bid of £100, going to Newbury's finest search engine marketing experts Inspiration Inc.”

If you would like to find out more about this growing group, please visit the Women in Newbury website or contact them on 0845 003 1077 - the group's hotline sponsored and manned by Verbatim.

Pictured above are (from left) Michelle Lucas of Greenfields Consultancy, Roland Gardner, Chief Executive of Newbury Building Society, Win chair Diane Morgan from Morgan PR, Caroline Billington of a-count-a-bility, Ros Comins from Newbury Building Society, Dr Paul Millard, Newbury & District Cancer Care Trust.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

NRG Networks in Bath: seminar on 'Surviving the Broadcast Interview'

Morgan PR heads west today to co-present the 'Surviving the Broadcast Interview' seminar at the NRG Networks meeting in Bath. We take to the stage with former BBC Producer and founder of BizView.TV, Dave Harries.

Our background in broadcast media management for Thames Valley Police gives us a terrific insight not only into what the broadcast media want, but also how best to present that and how to avoid the all too common pitfalls when stepping in front of the video camera or radio microphone.

We are expecting 20 for the lunchtime event being held at the University of Bath and knowing the script it is destined to be a lively event.

Morgan PR will be offering '15 Seconds of Fame - 15 Top Tips for Surviving the Broadcast Interview' as a free download on this month's 'Creating Reputations' Newsletter - subscribe now on this page if you are not already among our loyal readership!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Organic PR: The Video - discover why so many people are raving about this Morgan PR event

Two busy weeks have passed since Morgan PR delivered its Organic PR seminar at the Sheepdrove Eco Centre. It has been tremendously rewarding to see so many of the delegates following our advice and already they are creating a home grown buzz by simply reflecting what they do through blogs, on Twitter and Squidoo.

In a pesticide free nutshell, we maintain that every business is capable of Organic PR and by leveraging the activities within their companies through a joined up strategic approach they can promote themselves to their customers - and of course the media. In the seminar we argued that video goodness was part of that mix so, not surprisingly, we had commissioned a video of the event.

We have talked about Julian Wellings before on this blog for his excellent newsletter support through Expertise on Tap, he is also behind Julian Wellings Films and created this brilliant record of the day:



What do you think? We are touched by the heartfelt testimonials given by so many of the delegates and you can see these on the video. They were – with lovely clickable Google-friendly goodness:

You may have guessed we talked about the importance of hyperlinks and it seems only fair to offer links back to these generous delegates.

We also made a rather generous offer to delegates - as we had paid for Julian Wellings Films to be at the seminar, we were able to share his skills. Delegates were able to record their own promotional video and someone who took up this offer was Mary Thomas of Concise Training - you can view her video below, which perfectly explains how you can benefit from working with her:



We have already had numerous enquiries about the next Organic PR event and will have a date very soon. Do contact us if you would like to reserve a place. We are also exploring delivering the seminar within companies - we would be keen to hear from anyone interested in this service.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A personal recommendation from Seth Godin? Not quite! But Morgan PR does his kind of PR!

Morgan PR has long raved about the marvellous Seth Godin - his books are those most frequently pulled from the shelves, his blog was the first to be honoured with an RSS feed (ensuring we received his blog post promptly) and his books are also frequently given away by us to clients.

So reading his latest blog post: The difference between PR and publicity, has created great excitement in the office because his definition - those most people only do publicity and few doing PR - is one agree with and absolutely, Morgan PR does PR as defined by Seth Godin!

Ask any of the delegates at February's Organic PR seminar we delivered and they would concur. PR is about storytelling and it doesn't always involve the media! Some of our most successful PR has involved a the deft and timely use of Twitter and this blog - with not a journalist in sight (apart from my own reflection!).

Godin says:

A publicity firm will tell you stories of how they got a client ink. A PR firm will talk about storytelling and being remarkable and spreading the word. They might even suggest you don't bother getting ink or issuing press releases.
Yes! Exactly! We do that!

Now, we would forgive you for muttering about the Morgan PR chickens and eggs, querying which arrived most promptly. Are we merely expounding the law according to Seth Godin, or was this always our approach? Honestly... I could not be sure, so long have his books been read that they must have influenced us. Of course, that is why this eptiomy of abundance has written the books!

However, even when this highly sought after poaching consultant was a mere gamekeeper at Thames Valley Police (press officer!) and before I'd be enlightened by Seth Godin's writing, I sensed that some of the best PR I did involved getting the right people talking without a word ever being printed or broadcast. It was never about the headlines - that was the fire fighting. It was about laying the foundations and cultivating the mavens - and it still is.

We quoted our all time favourite Seth Godin line at our Organic PR seminar to encourage delegates to take what they had learned and embrace Organic PR with some actions. We quoted:
Stop trying to be perfect and start being remarkable
Many heeded this fine advice and more on that tomorrow when we post the video of the event!

Morgan PR's new photos from Neale James truly rock thanks to www.animoto.com!



Fluttering around Twitter earlier I discovered www.animoto.com which can take your photos and create a short film as funky as this one for free!

We had been pondering how to showcase the fabulous photographs taken by Neale James - the award winning photographer you may know from such websites as www.nealejames.com and www.breathepictures.com.

They are for our new Morgan PR website (coming very soon!), but already are creating a stir - not least the Avatar created for my Twitter persona - featured on this video and can be viewed if you follow me on Twitter!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Pension planning over breakfast - just a normal day at the Newbury Business Group

While it is a complete myth that ostriches, when frightened will stick their head in the sand, it is a very useful metaphor when trying to describe the default position when it comes to pension planning.

The uncomfortable importance of pension planning was the thorny subject of the 10 minute presentation at the Newbury Business Group this morning, with member Deane Anderson, an Independent Financial Advisor from Bates Investment Services tackling the challenge with enthusiasm and good humour.

Trying to explain exactly what he said her presents something of a challenge and probably breaks all kinds of compliance rules - suffice to say he started by explaining the pension planning was nothing more than tax efficient savings, went on to firmly illustrate the point, before fielding all manner of nervous questions. You were almost waiting for someone to say: "Well... I've got this friend who is worried about their pension..."

Actually the diversity of questions clearly illustrated why up close and personal advice is essential and Deane made it clear he is the expert we should use!

If I could have invested all the pennies that could be heard dropping within the room this morning... well, that would have been my pension sorted!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Are the national newspapers guilty of 'bulking up' their sales figures?

Do you ever pick up a free copy of a newspaper when you are in a hotel? Or at the airport? Maybe in a fast food restaurant or coffee shop? It might be free to you, but those freebie newspapers count as 'bulk sales'.

Newspapers establish their advertising rates based on the overall sales figures, including these so called 'bulk sales', so it is easy to see how tempting the it must be to fake these figures.

The figures are monitored by the ABC, the Audit Bureau of Circulations, and Roy Greenslade reveals in today Media Guardian that they are about to launch an inquiry to see whether there is any massaging of the figures going on. Apparently they will reveal discrepancies that may herald the end of bulk sales.

The timing could not be worse. Newspapers already suffering the slow hemorrhaging of advertising revenue to Google are now seeing pagination plummet because of the recession. This puts a squeeze on the rates that advertisers will be prepared to pay - if an inquiry reveals figures are dubious it could see the ABC reduce official circulation, prices will have to be reduced still further.

Quoting the most recent ABC figures Greenslade reveals:

"Some daily titles are heavily reliant on bulk sales. According to the ABC report for the month of January, the Daily Mail's bulks averaged 128,770 a day (107,501 of which went to airlines). The Daily Telegraph's were 109,319 (92,088 to airlines), which was almost 12% of its total "headline" sale."
The grim reapers of the recession might not be so keen to report on these stories about themselves, but for businesses who are wisely seeking to market their way out of the recession, it makes it more important than ever to negotiate a good price!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The wraps are off exciting networking venture in Newbury - could you be part of The Non Exec Set?


The first rule of ‘The Non Exec Set’ is - you do not talk about ‘The Non Exec Set’. The second rule of ‘The Non Exec Set’ is - you DO NOT talk about ‘The Non Exec Set’. Third rule of...

Well, whether you or not you are familiar with David Fincher’s 1999 Oscar nominated adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Fight Club, you will get the idea that The Non Exec Set is something of a secret organisation – or at least it was! Now the wraps are off!

Yes, one of the toughest requests of a blogger is not to mention something you so want to write about, and the launch over a year ago of this innovative approach to networking has left us fair to frothing over the keyboard at times!

Peer support within large corporate organisations is one of the key elements so often missing among smaller businesses, however two enterprising women from West Berkshire have quietly launched an innovative group called ‘The Non Exec Set’ which remedies this. So successful has the group become that it is set to hold a dining event with a difference in May.

Michelle Lucas (pictured above right) and Lucy Venables (on the left) first met one another at a networking event and discussing their corporate backgrounds prompted a shared belief that there was a gap in what networking could offer. Michelle Lucas explains: “In our transition from corporate life to working in small business we were missing the peer support that you get within large companies; from management team meetings to discussions around the coffee machine.

“We felt that there were other small business owners who had made a similar transition and if we got a group of these people together, we could use the benefit of our joint business and professional experiences to provide that missing support.”

Marketing guru Lucy Venables of Red Prosper Marketing had started her career as a chef and career coach Michelle Lucas, who founded Greenfields Consultancy, had a dining table that held eight people, so the Non Executive Set group was born as a monthly informal dinner party meeting and Morgan PR has been lucky enough to find itself sat around the table on numerous occasions and has met some terrific people – and was never able to blog about it!

To be fair, the confidentiality bred content. The dinner party environment and the commitment to confidentiality allow for some candid questions around the table and some very honest answers and advice from fellow members of ‘The Non Exec Set’. There is rarely a problem that a business owner would be facing for the first time that someone else would not have already dealt with.

Lucy says: “The Non Exec Set is an informal forum where we can discuss the day to day challenges of running our companies - issues our members raise cover marketing, finance and HR, as well as having a setting where they are able to share new ideas – testing the water in a safe environment.”

The growth of the group has seen it move venues and it now alternates between The Square in Weavers Walk Newbury (sister restaurant of Morgan PR favourite Le Petit Square) and The Lamb Inn at Hermitage (although it is technically in Curridge!) and the energy and enthusiasm among members has prompted an ambitious idea which we are delighted to support.

Michelle Lucas explained: “There is a distinct bullish mood among the Non Exec Set members; we do not believe we should lie down and let the economic climate take over. There is lots of activity and positive energy in the group and we want to share this with others, which led to the idea of a larger dining event, on Wednesday 20th May at Donnington Valley Hotel, where we will open up the Non Exec Set and have a number of dinners focusing on topics including people, finance, IT and sales and marketing.

A website explaining more is currently being created by Morgan PR associate Adrian Scott of Companion Computers that will allow those interested in joining The Non Exec Set to discover more about the May event, and the aims and objectives of the group.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Katharine Jayne is an uplifting slice of fashion right in the heart of Newbury

It is nice to discover a fashion retailing success story at a time when the papers are full of news about shops closing down. In the past 18 months Newbury born businesswoman Kate Johnson has established her shop, Katharine Jayne in the Market Place as one of the friendliest places in the area to pick up the latest fashion looks.

Earlier today Morgan PR met with Kate Johnson (or Katharine Jayne Johnson if I were to give a clue to how this store came by its name!) and over coffee she revealed how a career in fashion, including a spell as a fashion and lingerie buyer at Camp Hopson, prepared her well for launching her own business.

"Some people would say it wasn’t a good time to start a new business but having my own shop was a long-held ambition of mine” says Kate. With over 20 years experience in the fashion industry and now buying for ‘Katharine Jayne’s ‘ fifth season, Kate has a clear idea of what works for her customers. “I was determined to appeal to all women, which is reflected in the portfolio of our brand mix so we keep everything wearable but interesting and within sensible budgets.

"We offer clothes that are well made and use quality fabrics so our customers look and feel good wearing them. Fabrics are very important to me and my customers. Many of the ranges are offered from a size eight to size 16 and if we do not have a particular size in store we will try and meet requests. I see one of my most important jobs is to bring in something new and exciting every season."

We were given the opportunity to meet Kate thanks to the Newbury Weekly News, for whom Morgan PR write many of the features that appear in Newbury Business Today, and you can learn more about Katherine Jayne in the edition out on March 12.

Also, keep clicking on the Katharine Jayne website - it is nearing completion and should be bursting into life any day now.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Meet the Chamber - Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce host event at Sheepdrove

The best thing about such a fabulous venue as Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre is that you can never return too soon, so we were delighted to be back later today – this time for a Meet the Chamber event that attracted more than 80 members of the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Morgan PR has only recently joined the Chamber and thus far has been thoroughly impressed by the communication and sheer volume of events being promoted by the Chamber.

It was great to be back in the majestic Oak Room with so many fellow professionals and we made many promising contacts that we look forward to working with in the coming months. It was also good to see plenty of familiar faces too.

Organic PR seminar offers joined up solutions

Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre proved a stunning venue for Morgan PR's Organic PR presentation today and it was clear from the sheer excitement and ethusiasm generated by the people who attened the event that we had helped them - we said that this seminar would help them 'enjoy a bountiful harvest in spite of the recession' and we believe that will happen when they employ the tactics we revealed today.

We had been asked to present the seminar by the Federation of Small Businesses as part of the FSB Trading in Tough Times series and there can be little doubt that the tough times had brought record numbers to such a seminar, and from a varied and diverse background.

We sought to balance a terrific amount of information on how to leverage your organic PR - and we have yet to find a company that is not abundant in opportunities - with concrete strategies on how to implement that information to benefit their businesses. A trio of workshops gave delegates the chance to confere on their tables and decide what they would do first when they returned to work.

We were delighted with the enthusiam created during the workshop - there were so many of those attending who we writing down what they were going to do and already many have emailed Morgan PR to tell us what they have done!

We also had the event filmed for our own future public relations by the fantastic Julian Wellings Films and will be posting that video here soon. Part of our presentation explored the value and indeed expectation of video and what a tremendously powerful piece of PR it can be.

Do you belong to a business group or networking organisation that would benefit from our Organic PR seminar? We are also preparing another public event

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Record numbers set to attend Organic PR workshop at Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre

With less than 24 hours to go until Morgan PR presents the Organic PR seminar at Sheepdrove Eco Conference Centre, there are record numbers set to attend the recession busting workshop. We have seen increasing numbers attending the range of seminars we give to businesses and networking groups and it is clear how popular any event it that can offer the chance to beat the recession.

We were asked to present the seminar by the Federation of Small Businesses as part of its Trading in Tough Times Programme and the event has drawn both FSB members and non-members alike.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Neale James takes fantastic photos for Morgan PR

Morgan PR had a deliciously indulgent afternoon today in the oh-so capable and thoroughly creative hands of Neale James, one of the Thames Valley’s foremost professional photographers.

With the latest generation of the Morgan PR website rapidly taking shape it was time to secure the kind of images the fabulous website that has been designed by the very talented Adrian Scott of Companion Computers – the most can-do web guy we have been lucky enough to meet.

As one of our associates Adrian was also with us for the photo sessions and performed a variety of roles from the obligatory web guru through to a reporter and even a paparazzo! Also on hand to be captured on memory card was Miriam McCallum, NLP trainer extraordinaire and another Associate.

We should have sight of the new photographs next week, but just the fleeting glimpses on the back of the cameras gave us an exciting preview of how brilliant these photographs will be – rest assured we will give you a preview here on the blog!

We've worked with Neale James many times before and he took the photos for our current website and also photographed Nigel Morgan for an exhibition once!

Speaking of blogs, we had to trawl all the way back to the start of Neale James' blog to find an image of the man who admittedly spends most of the time behind the camera! Definitely take the time to admire the wonderful photography showcased there.

Friday, February 20, 2009

What is your Myers Briggs Type? Personality matters at NRG Reading

There was a most excellent seminar at the popular NRG Networks meeting at Wokefield Park in Reading earlier today; the pre lunch seminars are generally delivered by members of the networking group and today we were learning about building rapport

Naturally as I became a Certified Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming earlier this year I was keen to see how Eleanor Yearwood, an executive coach from Key Talent Partners, would approach this essential part of successful business. After all, people buy people and rapport is all about... well, building rapport.

Well we were naturally in for a fun and exciting seminar - lots of moving around as Eleanor spent an hour explaining the four different types of main profiles and how the effect not only our own behaviour, but should also determine how we should act with others when we recognise their own Myers Briggs Type profile.

Actually, it makes much more sense to let Eleanor explain herself - Morgan PR was armed with a video camera, admittedly of moderate quality, and correctly thought that only she would tell you about it!



The seminar was followed by lunch and I was the moderator on our table. Although honestly, my table was motivated and well behaved with some terrific networking going on around the table.

Flushed form the modest success with the camera with Eleanor Yearwood I also asked NRG Networks top dog, the charming Dave Clarke if he would explain a bit more about how this successful networking group works.



What do you think of the video content? We are hoping to bring you more soon - not least some professional content!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

West Berkshire Council stabs itself in the foot with knife crime PR blunder

Public sector public relations is always a challenge. Your organisation represents the people, who by the very nature of democracy are unlikely to be universal in their approval - which is why it beggars belief that West Berkshire Council would stab itself in the foot by appearing soft on knife crime - in the middle of a trial of five teenagers who stabbed a local lad to death.

Newbury Today sets the incredulous tone with this article, an interpretation that must surely have been blindingly obvious would be the outcome.

Before starting Morgan PR, when I was a press officer with Thames Valley Police in Newbury and Reading, I co-operated with the media as much as possible in the very real expectation that at some point in the future I would need their co-operation in return. Mistakes are made in the public sector and being able to buy and hour or two of patience from a journalist who has scented blood - often literally - can be invaluable.

Day to day it simply bought you the benefit of the doubt. Journalists would trust you and give you the space to do the job of representing the police rather than reacting to the media. It also avoided stand offs such as that which happened at the Oxford Mail where they printed blank spaces 'where crimes we are not being told about should be reported' Ouch!

Now the Newbury Weekly News, the printed parent of the online Newbury Today takes a justifiably challenging approach to the seemingly arrogant stance so readily adopted by West Berkshire's elected councillors and often the council's officers too. Whether it is refusing to apologise for the roadworks causing traffic jams (surely you can feel sorry, without actually saying sorry?) or simply refusing to accept that the rising bollards that keep destroying errant vehicles might be legally sound, but morally unfair? Keeping them in place when it is clear they catch out motorists and wreck their cars is a complete nonsense.

Then there are crisis management case we have managed that defy belief at the way the council has behaved, often spending vast amounts of taxpayers' money with no obvious benefit.

So, in the latest chapter West Berkshire Council says it is against the public interest to presume to prosecute shops that sell knives to children. Newbury Today reports:

Officials said that under Crown Prosecution Service guidelines, prosecuting shops selling knives to children may not always be in the public interest. Presuming in favour of prosecution could “cast doubt” on whether each case was being assessed on its merits, trading standards officers said.
Does that sound like nonsense to anyone else? Surely you catch someone selling knives to kids they presume to prosecute until the merits suggest otherwise. Not so hard, is it?

Now for our PR lesson in all this! What should West Berkshire Council have done?

It really isn't difficult to work out! How about "Promised to investigate", or "Address this matter with urgency". Something to buy time and allow the situation to diffuse. They could have said they would investigate and simply shown they were aware of how strongly people felt - especially while under the scrutiny of a reporter expected to provide a story! Or with the proper planning could have anticipated the issue would up and bite them and avoided the controversy all together by doing the right thing for the community.

Still, look on the bright side - at least Noel Edmonds wasn't there, just waiting for another opportunity to rant on Noel's HQ!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Love in a cold economic climate presents both challenges... and public relations opportunities


Morgan PR has been generating publicity for a terrific French restaurant in Newbury, West Berkshire this week and in the way we have helped Le Petit Square there may be lessons for other businesses who are finding winning the affection of customers during the recession.

The key is that the media - this story has already been taken up by newspapers and radio - are constantly looking for new ways to interpret the recession at the moment and if you can find a way to promote your business within this context then it is possible you can create powerful public relations.

So while it may not be the most scientific assessment of the recession, but Le Petit Square is reporting that while loved up diners visiting on St. Valentine’s Day were still gazing dreamily at one another... they were simply spending less money.

Suzanne Hemchaoui, who founded the popular restaurant four years ago, explained: “Valentines is always a huge night for us – for any restaurant – and we could have booked out 10 times over, but there is no doubt the recession is biting. People were spending less on their menu choice, and choosing to drink Champagne by the glass rather than the bottle.

“The French food, the wine – people see it as romantic anyway and St. Valentine’s Day can often bring out a grand gesture or two, with engagement rings being flourished or we are asked to drop a sparkling ring into the Champagne glass – but this year? Non!

“Chatting to some of our regulars, there are couples who are delaying their wedding because of the credit crunch and on St. Valentine’s people left much earlier than they normally do and some were talking about ‘getting back to the babysitter’, which also suggests cost cutting.

“Across the board we are seeing fewer people and they are spending less. The corporate trade that would see businesses coming in for lunch has certainly reduced. That said, we are lucky and we do have a loyal clientele.

“Our hearts were lifted recently after Gordon Ramsay appeared on his TV programme stood in front of a branch of Strada somewhere, and urged people not to visit anonymous chain restaurants, but to opt for the local independent restaurateurs – like us! That actually brought in lots of business and we saw a surge of people coming in and they were talking about it.

“An independent restaurant like ours, with all the benefits of original menus and the flexibility to respond to our customers, does find it difficult to cope with a chain restaurant in much the way a corner shop struggles to compete with Tesco. We have to offer more and we are certainly not being glum about it – we are currently planning an ‘Allo Allo Night’ for May 1st, which will be a blast and we’re hoping to stage some French film nights too.”

What do you think?

The hard news angle is there - people spent less money on St. Valentine's Day at a romantic French restaurant. In reporting this, the restaurant is named, its plans are revealed and a competitor is knocked - by Gordon Ramsay!

A recipe for revenue generating PR - in a recession from Morgan PR!

Monday, February 16, 2009

A potentially life threatening lesson in news sense

My unique perspective as a poacher (journalist) turned gamekeeper (police press officer) turned highly sought after poaching consultant (Director of Morgan PR) does give me an interesting take on the news - and the newspaperman blood still courses through my veins, which is why we insist on any PR aimed at the media as being newsworthy.

"Is it a story?" is the question that I urge clients to ask themselves whenever they encounter a potential opportunity. An easy test is if you find yourself telling other people about it - that could well be a story!

The quest to determine if something is newsworthy should be completed before approaching the media; better you decide it isn't a story than a news editor who might just be proficient in junk mail rules on Outlook!

That said, the media sometimes get it wrong too - whether it is through the trickery of gimmick driven PR or through plain missing the strongest news angle in a story.

Take this story from the Newbury Today website - a man has had his rifle, which is fitted with a telescopic scope, stolen from his car and understandably wants it back. The police fear the rifle could be used in crime. Where is the story there? Anyone?

I will tell you what it isn't:



Some criminal, most likely to be feeding a drug habit so not renown for good decision making skills, now has a rifle, which by the owner's admission in the story 'could kill someone from half a mile away'. You bet he wants it back!

However, this is a gun - not a kitten! And surely the story is the police condemnation of the stupidity that sees such a weapon left insecure in a car.

Here's the police comment buried in paragraph nine of the story:

Romy Freiburghaus, Crime Reduction Advisor for West Berkshire said: “This careless behaviour does not only make you a victim of crime, but you also potentially endanger other people’s life through your negligence.

“Never leave anything on display in your car. Even an item covered up on the back seat is a temptation for someone to ‘smash and grab’, which this week’s incident proves.

“By following this simple rule you can minimise the risk of becoming a victim of car crime.”
Full marks for working some crime prevention advice in there, but she says the owner has potentially endangered lives through their negligence - there is the story. A headline that runs something like (with sensationalist slant!):

SNIPER FEAR AFTER HUNTING RIFLE STOLEN FROM CAR IN NEWBURY
- police slam owner's negligence


You just hope the gun is safely recovered before anyone is hurt. And while the suggested headline is sensational, it would warn people about the missing gun.

Incidentally, the police press release can be found here - and that plays it straight, but the police press officer would have anticipated the story getting out there in a much more aggressive fashion. After all, the more people talk about the gun, the more likely it is the police will discover who has it and safely recover the firearm.

However, fear of gun crime aside, there is a point here. You need to know all the news angles of your story, and not just the most obvious one. Journalists can interpret stories in very different ways to that expected. Just think how the gun owner's quotes about the rifle killing would have played under the headline we suggest?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

'Twitter could kill your business' - web guru poses tough questions for social media users

It is easy to assume that Twitter and other social media platforms are a business necessity - rather than a business nicety - and fellow blogger, twitterer and prominent web guru Graham Jones has warned that businesses wasting time on such websites could destroy their businesses.

You can read what Graham Jones wrote by clicking here - and we were moved to comment to agree with his warning. It is true, social media can be a time hungry beast - but if you satisfy its craving with the sugar-fuelled equivalent of junk food then you will surely crash and burn. You have to be way smarter than that and as Graham says, knowing what your target audience look at online is key.

This is not really new was much as it is a timely reminder - target has always been King.

Let me explain how Morgan PR does it. We blog, twitter and are well LinkedIn (only ever did facebook as a personal thing, and ecademy was only a flirtation and bursting with spam-like people who do not know me but behave like they do!) and are very careful how we use each and only as part of a coherent marketing strategy.

In its simplest terms we use these tools to populate our permission marketing database - the members of which get our monthly newsletter. All the time we strive to offer them enough value that they continue to grant us permission and over time many become convinced of our considerable expertise and they become customers.

All this is done with analytics that show when you are doing it right and allow you to adjust your approach if you are making mistakes.

We have clients who found our blog on Google, or perhaps went to our website first. Or they Twittered with us or LinkedIn... then, in different journey times, they migrate across to become clients.

Of course, we don't just exist in cyberspace and many people follow us online after encountering us in the real world.

If you are in public relations or marketing, like us, competency in the social media people are discovering is in itself a terrific way to leverage the relationship and can ensure you are able to help more people than ever before - and in the difficult economic times we currently face, that is so vitally important.

Friday, February 13, 2009

'Will the last person to leave please turn out the lights' - powerful energy saving tips at Newbury Business Group

The 10 minute Masterclass slot at Newbury Business Group is always a chance for our members to shine, and none more so than West Berkshire energy saving guru, Anthony Straszewski from Proport Eco-Services, who this week was enlightening us on energy saving lightbulbs.

During a very interactive session Anthony, pictured above, had us shouting out our frustrations with energy bulbs - they are too slow to light up, they are dimmer than normal bulbs, you cannot get spotlight bulbs - the list went on and Anthony would deftly flourish an energy saving bulb that countered our concerns and plug it in, lighting up the room and illuminating our minds in an ever more friendly shade of green.

He clearly made the point that it is really easy to make excuses for not making simple changes that not only save the environment, but can actually save money too. With readily available lightbulbs such as the ones shown to us today saving 80% on old style lightbulbs we could understand what he meant about being green paying in more ways than one.

No doubt many members will be using Anthony's company for its Lifestyle Green-audit™ and Energy Audit. Proport Eco-Services offers a range of energy related services, including Energy Performance Certificates, and unrivalled local expertise on Code for Sustainable Homes.

Morgan PR has been working with Proport Eco-Services on its branding and market position as it moves forward and we have collaborating with fellow Newbury Business Group member Adrian Scott, from Companion Computers to create a web offering to best showcase Anthony's amazing work, including an extranet to help his clients access their energy information online.

Learning to save time over breakfast - secrets of Four FourTime revealed at Newbury Business Group

One minute elevator pitches and 10 minute Masterclasses? Breakfast at Newbury Business Group might sound regimented, but truthfully the dynamic nature of such a remarkable group of entrepreneurs and business owners makes precision timing more of a theory that strictly enforced fact - many say it is the relaxed nature of our group that makes it preferable to the more 'structured' networking groups out there in West Berkshire.

Perhaps if we were running the meetings using Four Four Time, the thoroughly efficient though blissfully simple timer program created by Tony Spiers of, the naturally named Four Four Time company, the meetings might be more as regimented. There is certainly no doubt the this little application can deliver big savings in time and money.

Tony was delivering a 10 minute Masterclass at this morning's breakfast meeting and gave a powerful display of his creation in action.

During the demonstration Tony explained that typically the users discover how much time they save simply by measuring how much time they spend on each task - one client had discovered they wasted two and a half hours a day on personal emails when they estimated it added up to 30 minutes.

The timer can capture multiple tasks and is easily exported to an Excel spreadsheet if required. Tasks can be paused, quickly launched and alarms set too. One user sets an alarm on the timer to remind them to use the timer! Mutli user licences are also available and

Given Tony's background as a trainer - he also offers bespoke training courses in the basic Office programs - he has managed to create a program that is intuitive and that comes with an instruction booklet that only runs to 28 pages. Not the veritable telephone directories that normally accompany new computer programs.

Morgan PR was an earlish adopter of Four Four Time after writing about Tony and his wife and business partner Jill and the successes they have had with the innovative product.

It certainly is easy to use and it was an eye opener for us how much longer some tasks took and indeed how it was also easy to over estimate the time other tasks would take. Now we tend to use it to measure new tasks the first few times to accurately record typical timings and also with the crisis management work that we undertake. We certainly would have no hesitation in recommending it.