Instagram, Press Releases, Blogging and all things PR, with Elaine Fleming

20 May, 2020 | Podcast, Season 4

How do you know your story could be newsworthy? Is there a special kind of magic needed to write newsworthy press releases? And if so, can anybody tap into it so their stories are snapped up by journalists? 

Let’s find out in this week’s Whin Big podcast, where we meet Elaine Fleming, Director & Founder of Ginger PR. We unravel the success formula behind attention-grabbing press releases, discuss how time tracking can change the way you run your business, and learn how adding a cheeky sprinkle of antagonism into your daily social media posts can go a long way to making an impact online!

As always the show notes are here to guide you through the podcast episode, so do listen to the podcast for even more advice, tips and resources for building PR into your marketing efforts. 

The role of public relations in today’s marketing strategies 

Elaine has worked PR for over 18 years and has seen a change in the role PR plays in her clients’ marketing plans. Whilst media relations is still at the heart of everything they do at Ginger PR, they have to be flexible for today’s clients. This means offering a wide range of marketing services such as social media account management, traditional marketing services and even content creation. 

“Media Relations is the jewel in our crown but clients have a wide variety of needs. We’re working with them to elevate their brand presence and increase awareness and that doesn’t come from just one avenue.” – Elaine

The value of public relations 

Elaine feels there is a real lack of understanding in the value of PR, across the marketing and advertising industries, as well as client level. She enjoys working with clients who come with preconceived ideas of how PR will work for them and showing them the value of Ginger PR’s approach.

“If someone was to read an advert and recognise the value in it that’s great. But if they read an article written by a journalist then it has three times the effect on the reader. That’s how PR can be so effective.” – Elaine

Scheduling time to work on Ginger PR’s PR

Understanding the importance of creating space to work on the business is important to Elaine. She started to use time tracking (a tool she previously scoffed at) to identify gaps to work on her own PR. Time tracking has been eye-opening for the business. As a team, they have identified projects that use more resources than necessary and it has helped them catch the little tasks that should only take five minutes, but in reality, take much longer. A very useful tool!

A snapshot of the GingerPR time tracking spreadsheet

A PR agency’s social media strategy

Elaine combines an informal posting strategy on Facebook and LinkedIn with her main focus on Instagram which is the platform that Elaine personally enjoys using and is most comfortable with. She told us about going through a nerve-wracking process of switching Instagram accounts to separate her personal and business accounts. The switch gave her a fresh perspective of Instagram which lead her into a consistent pattern of posting the company’s logo every second day. 

Elaine has found a posting strategy that works well for the business and has built up a bank of useful props and other techniques to keep her grid fresh and interesting whilst keeping a consistent brand identity. These are all discussed in more detail in the podcast.

“When I advise people about which marketing channels to use for business I always say to use the channels you’re on as a user. If you spend your downtime on Twitter because it’s your favourite – then market on Twitter. Even if it’s not a perfect fit, you’ll do a better job of marketing on a platform where you’re comfortable and you know the community.” – Katie

Blogging strategy – what to do when you can’t stick to a writing habit

Both Katie and Elaine agree that finding – and sticking to – a blog writing schedule is tricky. Elaine shared her technique for getting around that. She uses inspiration from her favourite Instagram captions to write short blogs which she then posts on LinkedIn.

Understanding PR when you don’t understand PR

As director of The Whin, Katie wanted a clearer insight into certain aspects of PR. If you have been thinking of building PR into your marketing strategy then you’ll find out exactly how to know when your story is newsworthy and what the links are between your ideal customers and the range of publications that may print your stories.

The 4 steps to writing great press releases

Learning that journalists receive hundreds of emails and press releases each day, Katie asked if there was a special magic to writing a press release that stands out from the crowd.

Elaine agreed that magic is always helpful, but she also shared four important points to cover when writing. As always, there is a lot more detail in the podcast so don’t forget to listen so you can catch even more useful stuff:

  1. Sum up the whole story in the first two sentences. Get all the relevant information in there and it becomes your first paragraph. You can add the rest of the detail after.
  2. If your story has a geographical location – use it in the early sentences so journalists can see the relevance straight away.
  3. Use quotes – this is your chance to inject personality and energy into the piece. Newspapers want to entertain and excite.
  4. Get a quote from an industry specialist. A third party quote makes all the difference (and is where a PR agency comes in very useful)

“I like writing Instagram captions. You can cut straight to it and there’s always a nugget in there. There’s no intro or rambling. You just top and tail it and have something fresh and tight there. It works for me. I like it neat.” – Elaine

Links to other resources & websites

Ginger PR on Instagram

Ginger PR on Facebook

Ginger PR on LinkedIn

More about Elaine and Ginger PR

Elaine has worked in PR since graduating 18 years ago. She’s worked for a number of Scotland’s best agencies and creatives over the years. She set up Ginger PR ten years ago and has grown the independent agency to offer a wide range of services to the lifestyle and business sectors.

What it’s really like to grow your business with IG Reels, with Abi Sea

Today’s guest is the wonderful Abi Sea, long term friend of the podcast and returning guest. Our conversation today has been all about growing an audience with Instagram Reels, but maybe a little different than the conversation you’re expecting. We talked about the imperfections of our approaches to Reels, the ...

How to get started with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads, with Digital Gearbox and Serious Readers

Today we are talking about Pay Per Click advertising as part of our ongoing series about strategies from growing your audience online. My guests today are Becky and Michael, from Digital Gearbox, and Josh from Serious Readers, and I’m really looking forward to diving into those conversations. If you’re on ...

Marketing Automation and Audience Growth, with Automation Ninjas and The R&D Community

Today I’m chatting with an expert and a business owner on the subject of Marketing Automation, and how that can help you capture an audience early on, and set you up for forming good audience relations in the long term. Our first guest is Kenda Macdonald, from Automation Ninjas. Kenda ...