Press insights: Who is moving at the FT, Telegraph, BBC and more?

It may be the time of year when people take their summer breaks, but the fast-moving worlds of journalism and digital PR never stop. Our media relations team has been working hard to keep up with the comings and goings of the industry’s top journalists. Here are a few we’ve spoken with recently:

FT Adviser’s Simoney Kyriakou is interested in hearing from resilient, successful female leaders. She also has an upcoming focus on the FT’s diversity awards, which are being hosted early next month.

Simoney is working with an intern named Saksha Menezes, who recently wrote a feature aimed at young people advising them to start saving. Saksha has a bright future in the industry, and PR people pitching fintech and financial education stories for young people would be wise to reach out to her.

The Daily Telegraph’s Will Kirkman describes himself as a personal finance reporter, and his beat tends to cover savings, energy, cars and insurance. He works under the editor Adam Williams, and he’s well worth reaching out to with stories that are affecting peoples’ wallets.

Judith Burns offers a little more detail on the story that the BBC is leaving London. Several specialist sections are being set up at regional capitals, including a science and environment team in Cardiff, a technology group in Glasgow and an education and identity office in Leeds. PR people in these regions and sectors like science, technology and engineering should keep a close eye on the developments.

Several journalists are also taking their next steps:

  • Tom Calverley has been promoted to Assistant Business Editor at The Guardian.
  • Julia Love has been appointed Technology Correspondent at Reuters, based in San Francisco – noteworthy for all of us in the tech PR
  • Lizzie Roberts has been appointed Health Reporter at The Telegraph.
  • Jim Armitage has now started in his role as Business Editor at The Sunday Times.
  • Sophie King is joining MoneySavingExpert.com as a Senior Reporter.

Read more about how we conduct media relations or get in touch today.

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What is digital PR?

Digital PR is the use of online trusted, independent, unbiased, third parties to positively influence a brand’s target audience.

I often get asked the question: What is digital PR? And the answer isn’t that simple.

Contents

Digital PR as social and online media

Before digital, there was just PR. And PR was all about negotiating with journalists to generate media coverage in newspapers, magazines, on radio and on television. And then the internet came and disrupted all of that: people started spending less time reading newspapers and magazines or watching TV and more time online, so it became harder to reach them through traditional PR methods. =

So digital PR was born. For most traditional PR agencies, digital PR simply meant:

  • They could generate coverage on websites instead of in print publications
  • They could promote any stories on social media.

But digital PR is about so much more than that, as any good B2B PR agency will tell you.

Digital PR as search engine optimisation

While PR agencies were increasingly targeting online and social media, search engine optimisation companies also laid their claim to the term ‘digital PR’. An SEO agencu considers digital PR to involve everything from citation building (posting instances of a business’s name address and phone number around the internet), to generating back links from press release distribution (not recommended!), to ‘outreach’ activities (traditionally known as media pitching) – see this blog on outreach from leading SEO software company ahrefs, as an example of how SEO agencies approach media pitching.

But quite a few SEO agencies broke Google’s rules with their approach to ‘outreach’. SEMRush, for example launched a new service (see Twitter conversation) offering ‘guest blog posts’ (or byliners/op-eds as they’re more commonly known in the PR world).This was a manual outreach service delivering guaranteed links.

A picture of step 1, 2 and 3 of digital PR

Google was all over this and SEMrush instantly shut the service down. But why was this not allowed?

  • SEMrush asked for the target URL and anchor text – if you can stipulate this then it indicates a degree of control over the coverage – this screams spam. If you’re from the world of PR you know you have to work very hard to get basic messaging included in coverage when dealing with journalists, let alone getting links to certain landing pages included (almost impossible unless you’ve got great content on your domain the journo is referencing).
  • They refer to the service as ‘guest post outreach’ – Google isn’t a fan of ‘guest posting’: “Lately we’ve seen an increase in spammy links contained in articles referred to as contributor posts, guest posts, partner posts, or syndicated posts.” Check out the related blog postfor more detail.
  • It promises post publication in 16 days or less. Once again, if you’re from the world of PR you know you may have to wait weeks or minutes for coverage depending on the editorial/opportunity you’re dealing with. If you can control publication time then you control the opportunity. If you control the opportunity then you’re essentially paying for an advert. Google does not permit followed links in adverts (obvs – you’re gaming the PageRank system).

So what is the right way to do digital PR?

Outreach is essential to generate back links the right way – from digital PR: linked mentions of your brand name in opinion pieces and news associated with your company. This is not the aforementioned ‘guest blogging’ – this is traditional PR with the happy by-product of authoritative links from editorial sites. After all, links from contextually relevant third party sites to your website are crucial for great keyword rankings. And how do we know this? Because Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, told us what the top two organic keyword ranking factors are:

“I can tell you what they are. It is content. And it’s links pointing to your site.”

Other than link building there are two other areas that marry SEO to digital PR.

Click through rate

Google’s former chief of search quality Udi Manber testified: “The ranking itself is affected by the click data. If we discover that, for a particular query, hypothetically, 80 percent of people click on Result No. 2 and only 10 percent click on Result No. 1, after a while we figure out, well, probably Result 2 is the one people want. So we’ll switch it.”

So if everyone performing a search has been subject to brand B’s digital PR efforts (i.e. have read about brand B in horizontal and vertical online titles) and associates the brand with a particular search term/topic, then even though brand B ranks below brand A in the organic search results, it picks up the majority of the clicks because searchers recognise it. Before long, it moves into position one.

Expertise, authority and trust

In August 2019 Google set the SEO world alight with a blog on expertise, authority and trust (EAT for short).

Suddenly every SEO in the land was touting EAT as the new ranking signal you just had to get right. Google was asked so many times about EAT that it went back and added an addendum to the original blog post in March 2020 explain that EAT was about overall web presence rather than a specific thing (e.g. like adding author profiles to your website).

It’s about the quality of content on your site and various other on and offsite signals. One of which we suspect is brand mentions in authoritative editorial publications (not linked mentions necessarily, just brand mentions, otherwise knows as implied links). And why do we suspect implied links are important? Because at Pubcon 2017 in Las Vegas, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes was subjected to a detailed interview on developments in SEO.

He referenced the search quality raters, the human  beings Google uses to manually review search results according to the Google search quality rating guidelines. Illyes suggested that the quality raters would know a brand was ‘quality’ if it’d been featured in an authoritative media publication.

Interviewer: “If ‘The Wall Street Journal’ writes an article about you, then that’s probably a good thing?”

Illyes: “Yeah. Basically, that’s how the ranking algorithm works as well.”

He went on to confirm: “…the context in which you engage online, and how people talk about you online, actually can impact what you rank for.”

So what conclusion do we draw from this? Being featured in contextually relevant publications is key to EAT and important for organic search engine rankings. We also suspect simple brand mentions are now becoming more important and acting as ‘mini votes’ – and how do you get these brand mentions? Answer, digital PR.

To conclude this section, digital PR positively impacts:

  • Trusted inbound links
  • Click through rate
  • Expertise, authority and trust

What activities are included in digital PR?

Well, if digital PR is all about building your brand’s reputation online, and all PR, online and offline, has to involve the use of a trusted, independent, unbiased, third party, then digital PR
would usually cover:

  • Social media influencer relations
  • Social media advertising
  • SEO
  • Online article placement
  • Blogging
  • PPC
  • Video production
  • Inbound marketing
  • Review generation
  • Email marketing

I think most marketers would agree social media influencer relations and online article placement sit squarely in the digital PR camp. The argument I would anticipate is: ‘But how can you include SEO if all PR, online and offline, has to involve the use of a trusted, independent, unbiased, third party?’

Our answer to that as a leading London B2B SEO outfit is: from the target audience’s viewpoint, organic search results and online media coverage share one thing in common, they are both published on independent, unbiased portals. No, Google isn’t independent and unbiased, but neither is a newspaper. Personally I don’t see the difference between being featured on the front page of a newspaper versus the first page of Google’s search engine results pages for a particular keyword. Both are ways to publicise your brand to a target audience, only difference being, we can measure the impact of the page one ranking whereas it’s much harder to measure the impact of the print coverage.

What are good digital PR KPIs?

A good digital PR result is therefore anything that positively influences a brand’s social media or organic search profiles, or any positive online media coverage. They can be split into outputs and outcomes – this is important – after all outcomes are what will positively impact your bottom line and what your FD cares about. Here are example digital PR KPIs:

Social media influencer relations:

  • Have you increased your target audience community size? (output)
  • Are increasing traffic from your social channels to your website? (outcome)
  • Have you created new brand advocates? (outcome)
  • Are your posts being shared by relevant social communities/influencers? (outcome)

SEO:

  • How many links have you built? (output)
  • Are your keyword rankings improving? (outcome)
  • Have you managed to increase traffic from search engines to your website? (outcome)
  • Is increased organic traffic resulting in more leads? (outcome)

Online article placement (including reviews):

  • Have you got more positive coverage that your competitors? (output)
  • Have you increase implied links (brand mentions)? (output)
  • Have you secured coverage in tier one online media targets? (output)
  • Have their key messages been pulled through into media coverage? (output)
  • Have you secured good reviews on sites that rank highly for keywords the target audience will be searching for? (output)
  • Have you seen an increase in referral traffic from online article placement? (outcome)

How do you measure the success of digital PR?

Now we can answer the ‘What is digital PR?’ question, we can begin to think about how to measure success.

Public relations has typically struggled because it’s hard to measure its contribution to a business’s bottom line. Interestingly digital PR doesn’t suffer the same problem. Anything that’s directly responsible for increasing website traffic and conversions is very valuable to a business and something worth paying for.

That’s not to say traditional PR doesn’t contribute to sales, but it does so in an indirect way (e.g. makes it easier for telesales teams to get through to prospects, increases a company’s credibility etc. – very valuable, but hard to put a number on).

Traditional PR agencies that are confident enough to leave outdated PR metrics in the past where they belong, will often suggest PR success measurement is based on how well their clients’ businesses are performing. If business performance is good, business objectives have been met, and PR has visibly supported the process, then the PR campaign has been successful (this is the fundamental logic of the Barcelona Principles pulled together by AMEC, designed to help the PR industry prove its worth), but by that logic, if revenue and profit is down, then PR has failed.

However, this isn’t always the case. The PR campaign may have been excellent at raising awareness with a target demographic but that demographic may have not been the right target audience for the brand, or it was the right target audience, but that audience wasn’t ready to buy, or were put off by something else. Point being there are a million variables that may obscure the effectiveness of a traditional PR campaign.

By contrast, measuring the effectiveness of digital PR is relatively straightforward, especially if you have access to the following tools:

Google Analytics (GA) – the staple software you’ll need to measure digital PR success. Using GA enables you to measure (amongst other things):

  • Organic traffic levels
  • Referral traffic from media websites
  • Referral traffic from social networks
  • Source and medium of client website goal completions
  • Type of user your client’s website is attracting

Keyword tracking software – at the high end of the SEO spectrum you have tools like Moz which will help you track your keywords and give you access to a wide range of SEO tools, like Link Explorer, that come in very handy when running SEO campaigns. On the other hand, if you are primarily interested in plain old keyword tracking then you won’t go far wrong with a product like Authority Labs.

Social software – while social tracking tools like SharedCount have been used in the past to track all social sharing from major social platforms, their effectiveness is now limited as it has no access to Twitter and LinkedIn. Truth is, the best way to do this is to set up social tracking in Google Analytics – Hootsuite’s guide is perfect for beginners.

What is the difference between traditional and digital PR?

Going back to our definition of what digital PR is:

Digital PR is the use of online trusted, independent, unbiased, third parties to positively influence a brand’s target audience.

Therefore there is no fundamental difference between offline and online PR, simply the channels through which they’re delivered. Whether online or offline a good story is still a good story and if it’s carried by an ‘trusted independent third-party outlet’ then traditional and digital PR are similar. The difference is in the channels used to promote the brand and the way the online and offline versions of the discipline are measured.

How does digital PR fit into a marketing strategy?

To answer this you need to ask another question: what is your digital strategy?

If your audience is millennials and your strategy is ‘Be where they are’ then social media will be important channels, and brand ambassadors promoting products a great tactic.

If, however your strategy is ‘Get them when they’re ready to spend’ then SEO will be key, along with PPC and other point of purchase marketing disciplines.

How do you pick a good digital PR agency?

Now the tricky bit; how to pick a digital PR agency. Questions you can ask any prospective digital PR partners include the ones I’ve detailed as subheadings above. And if you’re leaning toward hiring a PR-led SEO agency for digital PR support (and you should!) then watch Google’s video on hiring SEO support – a lot of the lessons apply (after all, it’s all very well a digital PR agency generating the best links for your organic search campaign, but if they can’t do the technical onsite piece then you’re pouring a lot of fuel into a broken engine).

Armed with the knowledge from this blog you should be able to have a fairly informed conversation with any ‘digital PR’ agency and confidently ask the question: what is digital PR?

If you’d like more information on digital PR, or advice specific to your business, drop the author of this blog post Luke a line. He’d be happy to help!

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What journalists want

At TopLine, we already feel like we know what journalists want. But we still thought it worth asking. So we spoke to 33 journalists working at the likes of the FT, BBC, Guardian, Times, Telegraph, Economist, New York Times, Wall St Journal and CNBC and they told us exactly what journalists want. Here’s what they said:

Journalists want comments on the stories of the day

We asked journalists whether they want to hear from organisations (and PR people) about the top stories of the day. And many of them do. But timing, being concise, relevance and quality of comment are important.

“Simple enough, really: I tend to want as much comment as possible, as quickly as possible. It’s no skin off my back to ignore/delete for stories I’m not covering, and when it’s useful, it’s very useful!”

Alex Hearn
UK technology editor
The Guardian

“I just archive this stuff [comments] in case I need to search my inbox later for someone to comment on a topic, all that matters to me are their qualifications to do so.”

Christopher Mims
Technology columnist
The Wall Street Journal

“There is never any harm sending stuff and obviously if the points being made are a new angle that makes it more attractive to use. If it is a story that is coming up, a note to say here’s so and so and here is what they can say is useful too. What is less useful is sending stuff after the story has been published as unlikely to add unless there is a really good reason to.”

Reporter
BBC

“Another turn-off is people not getting straight to the point, burying what they’re trying to say in an attachment.”

Specialist reporter
The Times

“Even better if it someone actually involved/affected by the story rather than just commenting.”

Andy Bounds
Enterprise editor and north of England correspondent
FT

“I’m always looking for comments for stories. When I get a few, I tend to pick the comments that work best for the story …. It just depends on the line I’m taking and how well something fits in or adds to it.”

Alice Haine
Business Correspondent – London Bureau
TheNational.ae

“Happy to give $0.02, but this is just me, not a policy. Journos generally just trust instinct about whether something is good or not.

“So – the reality is we get so many emails, and most of them are unusable, which is why PRs often don’t hear back at all.

“On major events, we often get unsolicited comment from someone in the game trying to sell something – that goes straight in the bin. For example, a cyber security firm whose comment amounts to nothing more than “X shows just how under threat consumers are and big tech has to do better. That’s why we’re committed….”

“It adds nothing of value. So-called “newsjacking” is useless, and frankly, insulting.

“We also don’t want people emailing us the day or several days after a story to offer their ‘perspective’. Literally yesterday’s news, but happens constantly.

“Good contributions like this are usually set up in advance – so the savvy big analyst firms will drop us a line and say: ‘Hey, if you’re covering event X we expect to happen later this week, we’ll have person Y available if you need reaction – let us know’. That means we can either ask them to send us instant reaction when it happens, or have someone ready to call when we realise we need an expert. But – and this is crucial – they only do it for big events and when they actually have an actual expert to offer!

“For true unexpected breaking news, the unexpected offers can be useful – but we’re probably only going to use one person, at most two, so speed is factor.

“So, to go back to your ‘A or B’ question – if you’re the first to reach us with the obvious insight (A), you might get picked up. But only if we actually need a talking head to do that job.

“And on ‘hard news’ we’re rarely interested in perspectives (B) – but would be more interested if there’s a wider story to be told or an interesting follow-on or related tangent.”

Senior journalist
BBC


“Only other bugbear is emails that blatantly show PR hasn’t read the paper, e.g. I thought you would like this for your education section (which we don’t have) or sending emails that have nothing to do with education. Thank you for asking.”

National newspaper specialist reporter

“But there are any times when I have been working on a feature about something else three months down the line, and I’m having trouble finding experts, and I think ‘I wonder if anyone has emailed me about this?’ And often there are some PR reaction emails that I didn’t use at the time, but which now provide a person to contact about a different issue. So it’s not worthless, even when it isn’t used for the story that provokes it.”

Reporter
The Telegraph

What journalists want is a different view or a new angle

Most of the journalists we spoke to said that they’re after a new dimension to the story, a different angle, or a quote from someone directly involved.

“I’d always prefer a comment that makes a good point which might not always be obvious, and that may shed new light on a story. I get a lot of commentary which could be filed under ‘blooming obvious’. Pithy analysis and quotes are what I’m after.”

Business correspondent
BBC

“Generic comments are unlikely to be helpful. Often we’ll be under pressure to find the ‘day two’ angle on a story so something that might move it on or provide a different perspective is typically more valuable than more of the same-type comments.

James Cook
Special Correspondent
The Telegraph

“If there’s breaking news it’s sometimes helpful to receive commentary that reflects what’s been said, to incorporate quotes when something needs to be posted quickly. But I’d always prefer new angles.”

Reporter
FT

“Comment should be related to the issue but add a bit more. We need to keep story length down so don’t add every comment. Getting your comment in early increases its chances.”

Reporter
BBC

“I appreciate the question. Whether or not reaction or commentary is useful for me for any given story, and what I need from it, is quite variable and contextual.

“If I had to pick one, I think new light and new perspective are usually most useful: if it’s something that has been said already, then it needs to be the best possible quote expressing a common view, whereas if it’s a new perspective it may be included simply because the journalist thinks it’s an important point to note.

“Alternatively, a direct stake in the issue or ability to speak with some authority can be enough reason to quote someone. Is this person/company directly involved or affected? Or have power or influence over the situation? Represent the views of key players?

“Common reasons I don’t use rapid reaction/commentary (though these won’t be news to you, I’m sure):

• “Obvious view or analysis likely already covered in my own contextual paragraphs about the story (‘it comes at a difficult time for x…’)”

• “Too tentative, cautious, bureaucratic, equivocating, fence-sitting, etc (tho obv caution is sometimes warranted)”

• “Focuses too much on what the speaker’s service or company can do, which is understandable but rarely relevant to the story”

• “Too much of a stretch, or too marginal to the issue – e.g. the speaker doesn’t really seem to have highly relevant expertise or influence”

• “Variant of the above: so much of a stretch as to be offensive, farcical, insensitive or all three”

• “Late”

Reporter
The Telegraph

“Thanks for asking. To answer both of your questions, I don’t use the canned comment that gets sent out on the back of every development. It’s often not particularly helpful and as it’s often done quickly, I’ve seen people send out emails withdrawing it or changing it too much to trust it. At least on my desk, we always interview and get our own quotes.

“What’s of more use is an email saying that so-and-so is available to comment on X issue, but more importantly, saying why we should talk to them, and why they have an opinion that’s worth relaying to readers. For instance, they have government/industry experience directly related to the area in question, or they’ve done some research on this specific issue and have valuable insights. There are too many experts out there who are given that moniker by dint of just being in the industry or having some military/civilian experience that’s unrelated and we rarely consider them as a result.

“Listing the other areas they’re well-suited to comment on helps also, I work on a range of stories and I often come back to people months later when I’m actually working on something they could be useful on (contrary to popular belief, we don’t just ignore pitches, it’s just that we tend to only respond to the ones that are relevant in that moment given the volume we receive).”

Reporter
International news website

“Much better to have a different point of view.”

Business journalist
BBC

“I rarely, if ever, want commentary that just echoes what’s already been said, especially if it’s a day after the news breaks. If I’m writing a follow-up, then it will be moving the story on so comments well after the news is breaking generally need to find or respond to a new angle.

A national newspaper reporter

“New perspectives/light would be good.”

News reporter
Mail Online

“And I’m pretty much only interested in reach outs when someone has a legitimately novel set of facts or is calling attention to something that I haven’t been following closely but should be.”

Reporter
Wall Street Journal

“We usually get lots of emails the day after a story runs offering commentary that says nothing new. That’s pretty useless. Sometimes I write a scoop and then get emails from PR people saying, “Patrick, you may have seen the news that…” — which is sort of infuriating! Good PR emails are personalised, not sent to 1,000 of us. I’m often in need of breaking insights – like within an hour of a company’s earnings. No use sending thought on Peloton a day after I’ve covered. And ye .that’s what happens.

“Definitely regards ques 2, though it’s more the opposite — I remember the good commentary and am more inclined to open that. I have to ignore most of my inbox anyway.

“I always tell PR people to sell me on the trend, not the company. Most companies are waaaay too small for me to write about their news – but if you sell me on the wider story where I can write about 3-4 companies doing X and Y, you can sell me on why your client should be the lead example.”

Patrick McGee
San Francisco Correspondent
FT

Some journalists want you to get to know them

Rather than just sending your pitch or your comment out blindly and hoping for coverage, some journalists want you to get to know them. It’s worth the investment as you will be educated on what that journalist wants, which will put you in a better position to tailor your comments to their requirements.

“If an organisation wants to be quoted in the FT, the relevant expert should build a relationship with the relevant journalist. We don’t use stuff that gets emailed all around, because that would make us the same as all the other newspapers…”

Malcolm Moore
Technology news editor
FT

“On CNBC.com’s tech desk, we generally don’t take pitches for reaction or comment on breaking news. We’re looking to break news, and once it happens, our reporters have their own sources they can call for comment and analysis.

“I can’t speak for other parts of the organization, however. There may be other news teams here who are happy to consider these kinds of pitches.”

CNBC

What journalists don’t want…is spam

Some will be harsher than others when it comes to unsolicited pitches, but spamming journalists with high volumes of low value emails won’t get you very far.

“I’m not going to put someone on my blacklist just because they appear in my inbox, feel free to send.”

Reporter
International news website

“Everyone has a huge inbox and no one is looking for more spam.”

Malcolm Moore
Technology news editor
FT

“When a PR person sends me more than 2 emails in a row on a chain I automatically mark their address as spam and, presto-change-o, gmail never shows me anything from them again.”

Christopher Mims
Technology columnist
The Wall Street Journal

“I would ignore contributions if orgs *constantly* sent me untargeted and badly thought through stuff, but there are only a few repeat offenders on this score! The stuff you’ve sent recently for example has been useful and targeted so I would generally read…”

Reporter
FT

“I think PRs that send lots of stuff get ignored as it just seems a bit desperate.”

Emma Jacobs
Work & careers columnist
FT

“And yes – if organisations repeatedly send crap, I de-prioritise reading their emails. Some journos I know have tens of thousands of unread emails – we just get too much to treat every single one equally.”

Senior journalist
BBC

“Yes – a lot of it gets ignored. Especially if I get sent anything domestic, as I work on an international programme.”

Business journalist
BBC

“I never pay any attention to commentary that comes via a PR source and have never responded to an invitation!”

John Naughton
Freelance columnist

“Thank you for the questions. I just don’t think that we are typical. So the answers not really helpful. I do ignore most of what gets sent to me, we rely on our own enterprise.”

Senior journalist
The Economist

“Repeated asks are mildly annoying and occasionally result in a blocked email address.”

Reporter
Wall Street Journal


“I ignore 99.9% of unsolicited PR emails because they come from people I have no reason to trust and/or they do not give me information that breaks news. I only responded to this email because the term ‘quick question’ is one I often use in email subject lines.”

Reporter
Wall Street Journal

“Repeatedly getting comment I can’t use isn’t a black mark against an organisation, as I don’t expect people to read my mind and get me perfect stuff! But if I receive a lot of comment on stories which are way outside my job and beat, then yes I will generally unsubscribe as I presume I’m either on the wrong list, or the person sending it hasn’t looked my job up – I don’t cover any business/econ stories yet get dozens of comments daily on it, for example.”

National newspaper reporter

A huge thanks to all 33 journalists who responded to our questions!

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UK university ransomware FoI results

As a leading B2B PR agency we like to practice what we preach. As such we regularly run our own online PR campaigns related to tech PR subjects that interest us, like cyber security. This campaign involved us submitting Freedom of Information requests to 134 universities in July 2020 to establish how many had been subject to ransomware attacks. Of the 105 universities that responded, 35 admitted to being attacked (33%), 25 said they hadn’t been (24%) and 43 refused to answer (45%).

With most universities reporting isolated incidents, Sheffield Hallam University and City, University of London stood out, reporting 42 attacks since 2013, and seven attacks since 2014, respectively. The following table contains the results in full. Please contact us if you’d like the data in a spreadsheet for further analysis.

 

University/ QuestionHas your university been subject to any ransomware attacks in the last ten years (definition of ransomware here)?If so, when
did they take place?
Have you paid a ransom/s in return for data stolen during aforementioned ransomware
attack/s?
If you’ve paid ransom/s, then what’s the total amount you’ve paid?
Queen
Margaret University
Non/an/an/a
University of Leicester refused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of EssexNon/an/an/a
Royal College of ArtDoes not
hold info
Does not hold infoDoes not hold infoDoes not hold info
Glyndŵr UniversityNon/an/an/a
Royal Academy of MusicNon/an/an/a
Manchester Metropolitan UniversityNoNoNoNo
De Montfort UniversityYes2019 & 2016No, restored all affected data via our enterprise backup
solution
n/a
University College LondonYes14th June 2017No ransom was paid.n/a
University of Bedfordshirenon/anon/a
Aberystwyth UniversityYesCant confirmnon/a
University of WolverhamptonNon/an/an/a
UALrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Oxford Brookes Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of Brightonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
The University of EdinburghNoNoNoNo
University of WinchesterYes2016Non/a
University of LondonYesJanuary 2016Non/a
University of BradfordNon/an/an/a
Barbican / Guildhall School of Music & DramaNon/an/an/a
London Business Schoolrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Queen’s University Belfastrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of Warwickrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Teesside UniversityNon/an/an/a
Cranfield UniversityYes2016 and 2017non/a
Queen Mary University of Londonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
London South Bank UniversityNon/an/an/a
Heriot-Watt UniversityYesrefused – 35(2)(g) – FOISA sectionNon/a
Liverpool John Moores UniversityYes2017refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of NorthamptonYes2017Non/a
University of SussexNon/an/an/a
Leeds Beckett UniversityYesSeptember 2016
February 2017
June 2017
Non/a
University of Strathclyderefused –
section 30(c) – (FOISA)
refused – section 30(c) – (FOISA)refused – section 30(c) – (FOISA)refused – section 30(c) – (FOISA)
University of Leedsrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Coventry UniversityNon/an/an/a
Northumbria Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of HuddersfieldYesJune 2018 and September 2018Non/a
Nottingham Trent UniversityYes2014Non/a
St George’s University of LondonNon/an/an/a
University of ManchesterYesNot recordedn/an/a
University of BathYesNot recordedNon/a
SOAS, University of LondonNon/an/an/a
University of CumbriaYesOctober 2015Non/a
Kingston Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
York St John Universityrefused –
Section 43 (2) – FOIA
refused – Section 43 (2) – FOIArefused – Section 43 (2) – FOIArefused – Section 43 (2) – FOIA
Robert Gordon UniversityYes2015 & 2016Non/a
Buckinghamshire New Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Sheffield Hallam UniversityYes42 attacks since 2013Non/a
University of ReadingYesrefused – 31.1.a – FOIANoNo
Harper Adams UniversityYes2016Non/a
The Royal Veterinary CollegeNon/an/an/a
University of East Angliarefused – 12 – FOIArefused – 12 – FOIArefused – 12 – FOIArefused – 12 – FOIA
Durham Universityrefused – 12 – FOIArefused – 12 – FOIArefused – 12 – FOIArefused – 12 – FOIA
Anglia Ruskin UniversityYes2014-15Non/a
Canterbury Christ Church UniversityNon/an/an/a
University of WorcesterNon/aNon/a
University of Hertfordshirerefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Edinburgh Napier Universityrefused – 35(1)(a) – FOISArefused – 35(1)(a) – FOISArefused – 35(1)(a) – FOISArefused – 35(1)(a) – FOISA
Bath Spa UniversityNon/aNon/a
University of Oxfordrefused – 31(3) – FOIArefused – 31(3) – FOIArefused – 31(3) – FOIArefused – 31(3) – FOIA
City, University of LondonYes14th April 2014
23rd June 2015
26th June 2015
19th Feb 2016
16th June 2016
1st February 2017
16th February 2017
Non/a
University of Plymouthrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Liverpool Hope UniversityYes2015Non/a
The University of SheffieldYes2015Non/a
Cardiff Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Cardiff Metropolitan UniversityYesJuly 2016Non/a
Glasgow Caledonian UniversityNon/an/an/a
University of ChichesterYes2015Non/a
University of the West of Englandrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
King’s College Londonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Royal College of MusicYesMarch 2015Non/a
Imperial College Londonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of Cambridgerefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of West LondonYesOnce in early 2017 and twice in early 2020Non/a
Abertay UniversityNon/an/an/a
Aston Universityrefused –
section 43(2) – FOIA
refused – section 43(2) – FOIArefused – section 43(2) – FOIArefused – section 43(2) – FOIA
University of Glasgowrefused – 30 – FOISArefused – 30 – FOISArefused – 30 – FOISArefused – 30 – FOISA
Swansea Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of Nottinghamrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Goldsmiths, University of Londonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Brunel University LondonYes2015Non/a
University of GreenwichNon/an/an/a
Birmingham City UniversityYesn/aNon/a
University of Yorkrefused – 36 (2c) – FOIArefused – 36 (2c) – FOIArefused – 36 (2c) – FOIArefused – 36 (2c) – FOIA
University of St Andrewsrefused – 18 – FOISArefused – 18 – FOISArefused – 18 – FOISArefused – 18 – FOISA
Ulster Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of Liverpoolrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of Exeterrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of SunderlandYes2017Non/a
Bournemouth Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Newcastle Universityrefused –
31(3) – FOIA
refused – 31(3) – FOIArefused – 31(3) – FOIArefused – 31(3) – FOIA
University of South WalesNon/an/an/a
Royal Holloway, University of Londonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Lancaster UniversityYes2013, 2015Non/a
University of Surreyrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of DerbyYesFeb 2016Non/a
University of the West of ScotlandYes25th January 2016Non/a
University of Salfordrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of East Londonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of PortsmouthNon/an/an/a
University of Stirlingrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
The Open UniversityYesJanuary 9 2013 and January 1 2014Non/a
University of AberdeenInformation
not held
n/aNon/a
University of GloucestershireYes2015/16Non/a



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The top fintech publications in the UK and how to work with them

As a fintech PR agency, we deal with the media that fintech professionals love to read and follow. Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about what the UK’s top fintech publications are looking for and how best to work with them. Here’s everything you need to know about the UK’s fintech media and some of the leading fintech journalists.

The top fintech publications

1. Finextra

@Finextra on Twitter

Finextra is an independent membership-based media outlet aimed at senior business professionals. It is one of the top fintech news sites with over 300,000 visitors every month. Banking and fintech professionals can become members for free to gain access to the site’s unique analysis and breaking news.

If you’re seeking coverage in Finextra, we recommend reaching out to eagle-eyed senior reporter Hannah Wallace. The site is known for its high-quality video content, and Hannah often leads the journalistic side of these. For example, FinextraTV Stories is an ongoing series on fintech, banking and payments technology. It is a great place to get a client in front of a global fintech audience – the majority of Finextra’s readership is from the US and UK.

Earning a spot in Finextra is notoriously difficult because competition is fierce. The head of content at the site is Madhvi Mavadiya, who also works as a fintech contributor for Forbes, so she’s a valuable contact if you can establish a relationship with her.

2. FinTech Futures

@FinTech_Futures on Twitter

Established in 2018, FinTech Futures bills itself as the definitive news source for the worldwide fintech industry. As one of the top fintech publications, it carries reporting, interviews and a range of features. Despite its global focus, it pays plenty of attention to the world of UK fintech.

Ruby Hinchliffe is one of the industry’s best fintech journalists, and she currently works as a reporter at FinTech Futures where she publishes upwards of five news articles a day. Her email inbox is constantly overloaded, so it’s worth trying to engage with Ruby via LinkedIn. Ruby focuses on the backstories of companies and CEOs, and she prefers to speak with female or BAME spokespeople wherever possible.

3. Sifted

@Siftedeu on Twitter

Europe-focused Sifted centres on financial and startup news. The publication spun off from the FT in early 2019, and many of its staff are veterans from the esteemed paper. This heritage has launched Sifted to a position as one of the top fintech publications.

Isabel Woodford is a dedicated reporter at Sifted who covers all things fintech. In addition to fintech, Isabel has been known to write about crypto, emerging markets and fempower. Interestingly, her brother is the founder of Zero Hash, leaders in the digital asset trading industry. Isabel’s DMs are open on Twitter, and that’s a great way to get in contact if you have something she might be interested in. Another tip from us for approaching publications like Sifted is to act as a tipster for industry news in addition to sending your own PR pitches.

4. The Fintech Times

@thefintechtimes on Twitter

The Fintech Times claims to be the world’s first financial technology publication, and it boasts an impressive following. The site receives over 65,000 unique visitors every month, and the circulation of the print version is over 150,000 copies annually. As one of the top fintech publications, The Fintech Times covers both news and editorial, as well as fintech blogs and other features.

If you’re hoping to earn a spot in The Fintech Times, it’s worth speaking to Polly Harrison, a hard-working reporter with the paper. Polly also works freelance, and has written for The i, Huffpost and Fabulous Mag, among others. She prefers email pitches – but don’t send her press releases – and she is always open to setting up a call to meet new and interesting people. We’ve found Polly to be extremely friendly and forthcoming, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you think you have an exciting story.

5. UKTN

@UKTNofficial on Twitter

Starting life as Tech City News, an outlet covering developments in London’s tech scene, the publication has since grown to cover breaking industry news all over the UK. After rebranding as UKTN – which stands for United Kingdom Tech News – the publication has established itself with news, thought leadership and predictions and now stands among the country’s top fintech publications.

UKTN also has an impressive social media presence, with many leading journalists following to stay on top of the latest in fintech and related fields. One notable follower is Insider editor Shona Ghosh, who we’ve spoken with as part of our Journo Intel series.

We recommend reaching out to Akansha Srivastava, UKTN’s knowledgeable editor in chief. Akansha began her career at the Indian Business Times before climbing the ladder at India’s Gizbot to become managing editor. She has plenty of experience with PR people, so a straightforward approach is likely to work best.

6. Business Insider

@BusinessInsider on Twitter

Business Insider – which is now a subsection of the larger publication Insider following a rebrand – may not be a dedicated financial site, but it has coverage that rivals other fintech news sites. The site boasts a significant readership and impressive social following, so it’s a great target for fintechs hoping to reach a large audience.

We have experience working with Callum Burroughs, an insightful reporter at Business Insider working under Shona Ghosh. Callum covers fintech, startups, and VC, and he’s responsive on email if you aren’t too long-winded. He is also happy to meet with clients in person or over the phone.

The nationals

In addition to earning attention from some of the top fintech publications, many financial businesses also seek the attention of the national media. While they are less fintech focussed than the industry press, the national media confer prestige and reach a far larger audience. Here are some of the national publications that have put out thoughtful, insightful writing on fintechs in the past.

1. The Economist

@TheEconomist on Twitter

With its focus on the financial world, technology and politics, it’s no surprise that The Economist team can handle a fintech story. If you have story with international relevance, reach out to finance correspondent Matthieu Favas. He covers global banking, private markets, soft commodities and insurance, as well as writing about major developments in fintech. Matthieu likes to blend financial stories with geopolitics and – in rare cases where his interests intersect – with his love of wine (he used to be a wine merchant in a previous career).

2. The FT

@FT on Twitter

The FT’s focus on the financial world and its intersection with technology also make it an influential player in fintech media. Consider pitching stories to Tim Bradshaw, the paper’s global tech correspondent. Tim has been the leading journalist covering the rise of Stripe, the world’s most valuable fintech, so other fintech stories would need to be significant to earn his attention. He’s also deluged with pitches, so even the best stories may need a little luck to catch his eye. Tim has a respectable social presence with almost 100,000 followers on Twitter – and he managed to get in early and snag the username “@Tim.”

3. City A.M.

@CityAM on Twitter

London-based City A.M. covers investments and financial news, and the team considers fintech news within their remit. Your best bet for coverage is reporter Angharad Carrick, who is open to pitches by email or Twitter DM. If you’re considering pitching, bear in mind that the City A.M. team meets every morning for an editorial meeting at 10:30am with the news list by 4:30pm and the stories filed by 8:00pm.

Ultimately, communicating effectively with journalists is a skill you can learn like any other. While getting started in the media relations business may feel intimidating, we promise that you’ll soon learn that journalists are just people – albeit extremely busy ones. By putting in the time to understand their beat and reaching out to them respectfully, you can build lasting relationships. Getting on good terms with fintech journalists is the first step to accessing their powerful media coverage, followed linking and profile-raising abilities. In other words, dealing with journalists is a worthwhile investment.

If you’d like some help with your fintech PR strategy, we’re happy to get involved. We have had our share of success working with the UK’s top fintech publications and nationals, and we’re always eager to share what we’ve learned. Contact us for an informal chat about your needs and we’ll determine whether we can help you or point you in the direction of someone who can.

Written by: Ben Beckles, Media Relations Consultant

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Everything about building a good client-agency relationship

Contents

You could argue that the quality of the client-agency relationship is the single biggest predictor of success. Get it right and you’ll enjoy fame, leads, customers and awards. Get it wrong, and you’ll waste heaps of money, miss incredible opportunities and probably end up hating your job. It’s just not worth letting this relationship fail. Read on for the web’s most comprehensive guide to building an amazing client-agency relationship.

What is a client-agency relationship and why is it important?

A client-agency relationship is the tangible and intangible agreement between an organisation (the client) and the company that is providing marketing, video, animation, search, advertising or public relations services (the agency). The relationship starts when the client briefs the agency, continues through the pitch and selection process to when the work is awarded and a contract is signed.

But the relationship goes much further than this, to cover how the client and the agency work together. This includes what the deliverables are under the agreement; the rhythm of meetings, reports and interactions; how ideas are brainstormed, agreed and implemented; how much collaboration there is between the two parties; how feedback is delivered and how the contract ends.

The client-agency relationship is a really important determinant of how successful the work is, how happy the client is with the results, and how much the team members on both sides enjoy going to work in the morning.

What makes a good client-agency relationship?

Both the client and the agency have an equal role to play here in the development of a successful client-agency relationship. And the best relationships share some common characteristics: trust, collaboration, chemistry, mutual respect, accountability and honesty.

The agency’s objective is to help the client achieve its goals. And it’s important that the client works with the agency to facilitate this.

The agency’s role

  • Learn the client’s business: In order to deliver the best work, an agency really needs to understand the client’s business, their objectives, their USPs, why their customers have chosen to work with them and what the client needs from the relationship.
  • Set clear KPIs: These should be carefully thought out and they should be realistic, achievable and agreed with the client in advance. It’s highly unlikely that the agency will deliver outstanding work that leaves the client delighted if success hasn’t been defined.
  • Hire and train experts: Clients choose agencies with specialist skills, networks and knowledge. And so it is incumbent on the agency to ensure that their team is up to the task.
  • Have the right systems in place: The only way an agency can deliver a consistently high level of service is by having the right systems in place. Good systems (from filing to approvals to onboarding new team members) prevent costly mistakes.
  • Get it in writing: Whatever piece of work the client agrees to, make sure they agree it in writing. This ensures that everyone is on the same page. If an approach has been decided verbally, or discussed in a meeting, the agency should follow up with an email outlining their understanding of what was agreed and don’t start the work until this has been confirmed by the client.
  • Report back honestly: Keep the client informed with regular reports. These should cover progress towards KPIs, but they should also include qualitative feedback on how the project or account is going. If a journalist hated the pitch, the agency should tell the client and tell them why. If the designer thinks their brief is too boring for the target audience, hold a focus group and feed back to the client.
  • Be creative, enthusiastic and opportunistic: The best agencies are constantly challenging the status quo (such a cheesy phrase – we found it used a million times online when researching this piece so just had to include it), looking for opportunities to delight their clients and just generally loving the work.

The client’s role

  • Trust the agency: For an agency to do the best possible job, the client needs to trust them enough to share their confidential information with them, knowing that they will keep it confidential (remember there is a contract in place with a confidentiality clause).
  • Help them: The client knows their business better than any agency ever will. The best in-house marketers will recognise that this can be a mutually beneficial relationship – working with an agency can be invaluable in helping them achieve their marketing and career objectives. They know that both parties will benefit from a great client-agency relationship, so they help their agency out. They remove roadblocks and help them access the right people in their business to make the marketing strategy a winner.
  • Provide honest feedback: When you spend a lot of time with someone there are bound to be differences in opinion. Couples quarrel, and (likely) so will clients and agencies. The client-agency relationship isn’t always a smooth one, and bumps in the road are to be expected. Be honest about any issues that arise, as that’s the only way for them to be resolved.
  • Be responsive: Clients should respond to agency queries and give them feedback on ideas. Approve the copy they send over, or argue with them about it.
  • Pay on time: Chasing clients for money is so awkward. There is a contract, and the agency is meeting its end of the bargain. The client should meet theirs and pay on time.
  • Respect the business: Agencies are businesses too, which means they can’t gift their clients unlimited resources to work on disorganised campaigns. There will be a certain number of hours or certain deliverables in the contract and there will be some room built in for flexibility. But it won’t be unlimited.
  • Respect the agency’s relationships: Agencies spend years building great relationships with journalists and influencers. These relationships are key to that agency’s ability to deliver their work – but they can be easily damaged by clients’ not showing up for interviews, being rude or not delivering on a promise. That affects the agency’s whole business.

Things both the client and the agency should do

  • Socialise: Socialising is important. It builds trust and rapport and gives the agency insight into the client’s business that they might not get otherwise.
  • Be human: Recognise that whichever side of the client-agency relationship you are on, you are dealing with human beings on the other side. These mere mortals might put the occasional foot wrong, but be generous, graceful and polite in how you deal with them.
  • Let the relationship evolve: A good client-agency relationship should never stagnate. It should grow as the client grows, and evolve to keep pace with changes in the marketing landscape.
  • Be realistic with budgets: The agency shouldn’t over- or under-sell its services and the client should compensate fairly. Use our guide to PR costs as a basis for working out budgets.
  • End the relationship like a grown up: Even good client-agency relationships won’t last forever. Things change. Companies change. Agencies change. Requirements change. Budgets change. Sometimes the chemistry isn’t right. Or maybe the brief just needs a refresh. Whatever the reason for either party needing to end the relationship, do it with grace. Start with a phone call. Follow up with an email. Thank them. And work like grown ups to reach a happy conclusion.

What factors may hinder agency-client relationships?

You can usually spot well in advance when an agency-client relationship is set to fail. Here are some of the most common warning signs:

  • The brief is too loose: If the client doesn’t know what they want, there is no way that the agency will know. Clients need to nail that PR brief: What are the objectives? What is the budget? What is the context? How will success be judged?
  • There isn’t enough collaboration: If the client appoints their agency and then steps back to await results, or if the agency runs a creative marathon with the brief without understanding it, the relationship will fail. The client is the expert in their business. The agency is the expert in its discipline. The best results come when these two areas of expertise are brought together.
  • Someone pretends to know more than they do: No reasonable client expects their agency to be experts on all parts of their organisation and industry. And no reasonable agency expects its client to understand the technical ins and outs of their specialism. It’s okay to say “I don’t understand” or “Can I book a product demo to really understand what your software does?”.
  • Everyone’s too polite: Sometimes, or rather quite often, someone needs to hear the truth. Maybe that story the client has their heart set on is just never going to catch the media’s attention. Or maybe the agency didn’t quite understand the client’s messaging in a piece of copy. Or someone misspoke in a meeting. Whatever it is, be polite, but not too polite – communication is key and it’s essential that feedback is honest and clear.

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The top SME publications in the UK

As an SME PR agency that works with companies that sell to small businesses, we regularly deal with the magazines that SMEs love to read and follow. This means we’ve learned a lot about what the UK’s top SME publications need, and how best to work with them. Here’s everything you need to know about the UK’s SME publications.

The SME trades

Business Matters

Business owners look to Business Matters for its coverage, analysis, and interviews with key tastemakers and leading entrepreneurs in UK small- and medium-sized businesses. The title has some of the highest-profile business leaders as columnists and regularly offers “getting to know you” profile features.

Journalists at the title report to editor Paul Jones. The team is currently working remotely, and they expect this to continue for some time. Notably, Business Matters also has strong, high-engagement social profiles on Twitter and Facebook. The monthly printed publication has a readership of over 200,000, and the website attracts over one million unique visitors every month.

Real Business

Real Business is among the most respected SME publications, and it claims to be the UK’s most-read content brand among people starting, running, and growing a business. The reporters at RB have been great to us over the years, and they’re always happy to hear from companies that have useful insights and data. We have also found that editor Praseeda Nair encourages her team to attend networking events where they can engage with business owners directly.

Due to current demand, there are longer lead times for bylines and opinion articles. If you secure an opportunity and send Real Business your content, it may be a few months before it goes public. The small team is willing to make exceptions for articles hooked to a key date.

Management Today

Every B2B organisation wants to be published in Management Today, and it’s not hard to see why. The outlet focuses on four key areas: business news analysis, management advice and techniques, the latest management thinking, and the lighter side of business. Since 1966, MT has championed British businesses and published writing from company leaders, senior directors, entrepreneurs and ambitious executives.

The team at MT is also known for its conferences which take place throughout the year. The conferences host high-calibre speakers, including the CEOs of organisations such as McDonald’s, Capita, Hill and Knowlton, Bentley Motors, EON and many more.

MT reaches an average monthly audience of 135,000, including 81,000 unique monthly users. While these numbers may seem smaller than other SME publications, MT notes that 81% of its readers are senior managers and above, and 40,000 have signed up to the weekly bulletin – so it’s a more engaged and more senior audience than most.

Elite Business

As with most of the top SME publications, this one does what it says on the tin: it publishes stories about businesspeople at the top of their game. Journalists at Elite Business are keen to hear from business owners doing interesting things, so reach out to Latifa Yedroudj, who leads on most of the reporting. The publication is quite adamant that they are not interested in inconsequential developments like new websites, minor charity activities and me-too “innovations,” so think before you pitch your story.

SME Magazine

If you type “SME business news” into Google, this site will be on page one. SME Magazine collates content from around the web that the editors think entrepreneurs and CEOs need to see. SME Magazine aims to keep readers informed about the latest trends and developments in business and the economy by providing thorough case studies. Richard Burton leads the team at SME and writes many articles every month.

SmallBusiness.co.uk

SmallBusiness.co.uk is a popular site among entrepreneurs and startups. The team covers news and features on starting, financing, and running a small business, as well as hosting a popular podcast series called Small Business Snippets. To get on the podcast with host Anna Jordan, you need to be the founder of a successful British company.

The nationals

BBC News

The BBC may not be the first thing that leaps to mind when you think “SME publications,” but it has several business-focused features, including The Boss profile slot. Landing a spot with a BBC property is the white whale for many PR people – but it’s easier than you might imagine.

We have found success speaking with Will Smale, who runs the site’s entrepreneurship features – he even offered comment for our article on how to write a press release. We have also managed to place a client for a profile in The Boss by speaking with Jeremy Howell. He’s interested in the story and lessons that business leaders can offer rather than the product they’re selling, but if your business’s leader has an interesting background, drop Jeremy a line.

BBC Radio 5’s Wake Up to Money

In addition to the BBC’s online offering, the radio programme Wake Up to Money is a great target for SMEs. The show reaches over five million listeners every weekday morning. Sara Wadeson, based in the BBC’s Salford office, is responsible for business planning for the programme. We have found that guests can interview for the programme remotely from anywhere in the country, and in some rare cases they will even permit pre-recorded interviews.

The Times

Getting your business mentioned in the paper of record is an excellent way to establish legitimacy and attract attention. We recommend reaching out to James Hurley, the enterprise editor, since he edits the Working Life column and the enterprise pages. To get an idea of what he’s interested in, check out his Twitter profile – he’s very active and always taking part in business-related discussions.

The Financial Times

Pilita Clark’s weekly opinion business column in the FT covers all aspects of modern corporate life, and she has been known to write about SMEs on occasion. Pilita’s articles always garner a lot of engagement, so getting a mention is an ideal way of becoming part of the conversation.

Andrew Bounds is another influential journalist at the FT. He is the North of England correspondent and Enterprise editor. He is one of the busiest journalists out there so securing interviews for a CEO is tough. As he put it, “I am always polite, but I can rarely say yes – sorry!”

Sky News

Whereas the business segments on Channel 4 or ITV are relatively short, Sky is known for its in-depth coverage of business in general and SMEs in particular. Sky’s business producer John-Paul Ford Rojas is the person to talk to if you’re looking to get featured. He says that “there is no magic formula for what’s going to work” when it comes to getting on the channel. “The key is tone. I like people who are interesting and tell their story well.”

Freelancers and social media

Susie Bearne

Susie Bearne is arguably one of the best in the business. She contributes to the BBC and The Guardian, among others, and edits features and commissions articles. Susie also runs a successful consultancy business, including the popular course “Lessons From a Journalist: How to Secure Press Coverage.” We have found that a good back story is the key to success with Susie – for inspiration, check out her BBC coverage of Ben Francis, the founder of Gym Shark.

Lucy Douglas

Lucy Douglas is a great freelance journalist whose writing has appeared in The Guardian, Telegraph, Courier and various B2B and SME publications. As a freelancer, Lucy covers small business, startups and entrepreneurship, as well as lifestyle features on beauty, spas and travel. She has a particular interest in responsible business. Lucy has a strong Twitter presence over at @lucydougtweets.

Jon Card

Jon Card is an accomplished freelance journalist specialising in business, technology, media and politics. He has written for The Guardian, Elite Business and others, as well as authoring a book on the subject called “How to Make your Company Famous”. Jon is active on Twitter and will regularly retweet posts with important information for SME owners.

Emma Sheppard

Emma Sheppard, is a freelance business journalist for several major outlets, including Wired, Sifted and The Guardian, among plenty of others. She accepts pitches by email or DM. She has written a plethora of fantastic articles on running a small business, the SME sector and the workplace. She is based in London and has recently launched a small business of her own, a cool riverside brewery.

Rebecca Burn-Callander

Rebecca Burn-Callander is a well-known business journalist with vast experience covering small businesses and entrepreneurs. She is the former enterprise editor of The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, and she has also worked as an editor at both Real Business Magazine and Management Today. As well as writing for various online and print publications, Rebecca provides commentary for TV and radio, appearing on BBC Radio 4, Share Radio, Sky News, Channel 4. She also speaks regularly at small business events across the country, including the Telegraph’s annual conference, The Festival of Business, and has recently launched her own podcast aimed at small business owners.

Dealing with journalists is a skill that you can learn. It might seem intimidating at first, but remember that they are just people, and usually very busy ones. If you put in the time and effort to build relationships with these SME publications, you will be rewarded with media coverage, brand profile, and links to your website. It’s worth the investment.

And if you need help getting your SME PR strategy off the ground, then contact us for an informal chat about what you need – we might be able to help you, or we can point you in the right direction if we can’t.

 

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Why we’re excited about Clubhouse for B2B marketing

With over 10 million users, and growing like crazy, Clubhouse looks like it’s here to stay. We’ve been using the platform for a couple of months now, and we are starting to get excited about its potential as a B2B marketing channel.

Here’s why we think Clubhouse is specially made for B2B marketers:

Clubhouse content is audio only

This means a Clubhouse influencer is someone with something to say, rather than something to show. The only image on Clubhouse is your profile pic, and text is limited to profile and room descriptions. So, Clubhouse strips away all the spurious showmanship, fraudulent filtering and tiresome food-photographing that make Instagram and TikTok so difficult for B2B businesses. Nope, on Clubhouse if you don’t have something interesting to say, you’re not going very far.

Clubhouse is interactive

Clubhouse members can listen in to rooms and raise their hands to ask questions – kind of like joining a podcast live. From a B2B perspective, this means that you get a chance to speak to, and hear from, actual prospects and influencers in real time, offering incredible opportunities for feedback, learning and even selling.

You can’t message another user within the Clubhouse app

At first, this may seem frustrating, but it’s a real benefit. Unlike any other social network, you can wander through the halls of Clubhouse blissfully un-accosted by bots or salespeople. This makes your experience as a user on the app so much more enjoyable, but it also means that when you have your audience’s attention, they’re going to be focussed on you.

And don’t worry, you can connect your Instagram or Twitter account to your Clubhouse account so that you can connect with (and convert) your Clubhouse buddies elsewhere.

Content on Clubhouse is not recorded

Except in some exceptional circumstances where moderators need to be up front about recording (this seldom happens), it’s now-you-hear-it-now-you-don’t on Clubhouse. This is great for B2B marketers, because it means only the most engaged people get to participate. There’s no way for lazy marketers to download the transcript and scrape it for juicy data to pour into their marketing machine.

This also means that members tend to be more relaxed – they’re not worried about your comments going viral. This makes them more authentic (I vomited a little too when I used that word).  And it creates a fear of missing out, which serves to encourage members to spend vastly more time in the app.

It’s a great way to find iPhone users

Clubhouse is currently only available on iOS, but there are plans to expand it to Android this year. So if your target audience is iPhone users, you’ve probably never had a more captive audience.

Clubhouse is invitation only

This gives Clubhouse a false air of exclusivity. In 2020 if you wanted to join without an invite, you needed to join the waiting list – creating a very effective scarcity situation that drove massive demand. Now, however, it’s pretty easy to get a Clubhouse invitation – most users have a bunch of unused invitations. And offering an invitation to one of the (surely few) people in your network who aren’t on Clubhouse yet is a surefire way to gain social currency.

The Clubhouse rules are simple

When you join, you will become a Clubhouse member, which is basically a user. You can follow other members and they can follow you. As a member, you can start or participate in a Clubhouse room, which is an audio chat forum (discussion, debate, interview), usually around a theme. Your room will have moderators who should keep it on track and invite people up onto the stage to speak; speakers who can speak to the whole room and an audience, which is the members in the room who can listen in on the conversation, and raise their hands if they would like to be invited up onto the stage to speak. You can start, follow or join clubs, which are (often private) groups on Clubhouse around a theme.

Clubhouse is for individuals

It’s not yet possible to set up a business account on Clubhouse. This is brilliant news for B2B marketers, because it means that Clubhouse users feel safe that they’re not being sold to. There’s a massive opportunity for subject matter experts on Clubhouse to build their networks the old fashioned way: by following the basic rules of human verbal interaction.

There are loads of businessy people on Clubhouse

Perhaps because it’s audio only (meaning users can have it on in the background while they drive, commute or work), Clubhouse has already attracted a substantial following of business decision-makers. From marketers to small business owners to freelancers to investors, you will find some amazing business brains knocking about on the app.

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The top 14 subreddits for small businesses

Reddit is a website made up of countless smaller communities called subreddits, each focused on a specific topic. There are subreddits for cute animals, sports teams, games, hobbies, careers, and more, so it’s no surprise that there are dozens of communities focused on running a small business.

Visitors to these subreddits use Reddit’s forum format to ask questions, share their experiences, and entertain one another – all out in the open for curious readers to examine and learn from. So, whether you’re already in business or looking for more information before you take the leap, check out our list of the best subreddits for small businesses.

What makes a good subreddit?

To identify the best small business subreddits, we measured:

  • Member count: Simply put, this is how many members are in the sub. A large sub doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best one (smaller subs can have higher engagement) but it’s a good sign of whether the content posted is relevant.
  • Engagement level: We looked at how engaged members are in the sub by looking at the number of upvotes and comments on the top posts from the past year.
  • International: Reddit is a global website, but some subs are very US-centric, so we’ve made a note of whether they’re international.
  • Content-type: We’ve tried to generalise the type of content on each sub, mainly whether they’re advice-driven or just memes.
  • Active moderators: Active moderators (or “mods”) keep the subreddit on-topic and rule-abiding. Weekly updates and “sticky” posts are usually a sign of an active mod team.
  • Rules: There are rules laid out in reddit’s “rediquette” that all subreddits have to obey, but mods can also impose their own rules. Higher quality subreddits tend to have stricter rules regarding the quality of posts and replies, as this helps keep the sub relevant.

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r/SmallBusiness

With over 500,000 subscribers, r/SmallBusiness is a general forum about running an SME. Like-minded business owners celebrate milestones, post relevant news and commiserate when things go wrong. This subreddit is largely US-focused, however, and much of the content doesn’t apply to an international audience.

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r/Entrepreneur

As the name suggests, this is a community of entrepreneurs sharing advice on “side hustles, small businesses, venture-backed startups, lemonade stands” and more. Almost a million Reddit users subscribe for advice and discussion, and the moderators are diligent about keeping the sub on topic. While it’s definitely a US-centric forum, lots of the tips are applicable to entrepreneurs the world over.

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r/AccountingDepartment

This tiny yet active subreddit aims to foster discussions about accounting within a business, making it a must-follow for SME owners. Users post their questions, and members of the community do their best to offer answers, often pointing them to the right tools or resources for their query.

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r/Organization

The subreddit bills itself as the “home base for people who are organised and people who want to be organised.” This subreddit is home to plenty of tips for organising everything from digital files to cleaning supplies, and while it is not overtly business-focused, there is plenty of tidiness inspiration that SME leaders can appreciate.

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r/Startup

r/Startup was, unsurprisingly, on our list of the best startup subreddits. It’s still a loosely moderated forum populated by people sharing their experiences of running startups, and it remains one of the only subreddits which permits self-promotion.

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r/Sales

With almost 150,000 members, r/Sales has clear rules and moderators to implement them, and the content is all relevant if not entirely applicable. Lots of the discussions on the sub focus on the delicate art of cold calls and emails, and while there’s no “right” approach, there are plenty of wrong ones that you can learn from.

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r/Marketing

The marketing subreddit is a place for communications and advertising industry professionals to discuss topics ranging from marketing strategy to segmentation and martech. There are all sorts of posts on the subreddit, including case studies and lengthy advice posts, making it a great place to learn more about all things marketing.

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r/Business

r/Business suffers somewhat from its broad topic, with many posts simply rehashing news stories about giant businesses. However, there are certainly gems of information for those that go searching.

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r/Freelance

The subreddit for freelancers – but not ones looking for work, as the rules make clear, that’s r/ForHire. With clear rules and attentive moderators to fend off self-promotion, this subreddit is a wonderful place for freelancers to learn, support others in their field, and have a laugh.

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r/Restaurateur

This small, active community of restaurant owners discusses the nitty-gritty of running a restaurant. Most posts are questions but, despite the small subscriber count, helpful commenters are always on hand to propose solutions.

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r/Retail

Similar in size and focus to the Restauranteur subreddit, r/Retail is a community for retail workers and business owners to share their stories and advice about working in the sector.

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r/RantsFromRetail

If you’re frustrated by working in the retail sector, look no further than r/RantsFromRetail, where similarly irritated people let loose with their worst experiences. It’s cathartic to read, and many of the submissions are surprisingly funny.

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r/eCommerce

As the regulars on this subreddit will tell you, eCommerce isn’t just the future; it’s the present. They gather to share tips on marketing, software, and the other fundamentals of selling online. The subreddit even welcomes posts seeking creative criticism of eCommerce pages, making it a useful resource for SMEs looking to refine their online stores.

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r/LadyBusiness

LadyBusiness is a small subreddit for women – and trans and nonbinary people – to discuss their experiences in the world of business. If you’re looking for inspiration from female founders and advice about overcoming the obstacles presented by a male-dominated workspace, this is the subreddit for you.

If you’re looking for PR, marketing and SEO services to support your small business, get in touch with us today.

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