E166: Thea Chippendale

Boosting Sales With Effective Digital PR Campaigns: Insider Tips And Insights

thea chippendale headshot black and white

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Podcast Overview

Do you feel that you are banging your head against a brick wall when it comes to Digital PR? You are not alone.

It’s a marketing tactic that is often misunderstood by marketing professionals due to a lack of experience in this field in general. 

Done correctly, it can be a real solid revenue generator for your business. It’s not just a crisis management tool anymore. It’s both a brand and performance based marketing tactic. 

That’s why we had to have Thea Chippendale back on the podcast to share all. And she doesn’t sugarcoat it. It’s a challenging industry, but with the right strategy in place, it will grow your business. 

eCom@One Presents:

Thea Chippendale

In this episode, Thea Chippendale shares her untraditional career journey and how going viral has led her to running her own Digital PR freelancing business, TLC Freelance. During her time at Rise at Seven and MediaVision, Thea has worked on global brand accounts, from the likes of Misguided, New Look and PrettyLittleThing to Moss Bros, MyProtein and SpaSeekers. She has learned a thing or two about what works for effective Digital PR. 

Listen to this episode to find out how you can leverage creative PR, thought leadership, product PR and reactive PR to create campaigns that achieve your marketing KPIs. Struggling to get heard in the journalist inbox? Don’t worry. Thea shares her insider tips to help you form relationships and deliver a personalised approach with journalists to get your story covered. 

There’s no better way to learn Digital PR than through a real life campaign. So, Thea steps through her favourite project with an enterprise personalised jewellery client. She shares exactly what she did and how she changed her approach mid way through the project. 

It’s time to focus on the future. Is TikTok or Google the leading search engine? Find out how human behaviour is changing and what that means for your business. 

Tools, insights, actionable tips and expertise. This podcast episode is one with real value to help you utilise the power and influence of Digital PR as part of your eCommerce strategy. Listen now! 

Topics Covered

01:58 – From going viral to Rise at Seven to freelancing for some of the biggest eCom brands in the world 

06:30 – How brands can leverage creative PR

09:17 – Utilising thought leadership 

13:51 Lost art: Journalists lack personal relationships with PR professionals. How to use a personalised approach

15:58 – Building relationships with journalists and how to do it. Some love personal,  others prefer professional. Balancing communication expectations with journalists

18:54 – Thea’s favourite PR campaign with a mid-range personalised jewellery client

22:02 – How to make a journalist look good so the publish your PR story

28:21 – eCommerce clients need flexible strategies for success

31:51 – Businesses must consider the benefits of different strategies, such as product PR and reactive PR, to increase sales and establish expertise

36:44 – Google vs TikTok for the winning Search Engine? Behaviour is changing and what that means for your business 

38:17 – Using tools to track accurate data 

41:31 – Book recommendation 

Richard Hill [00:00:04]:

Hi there. I'm Richard Hill, the host of eCom@One, and welcome to episode 166. Yep. So a 166 episodes in, and we've got an absolute cracker for you this week. Now Thea Chippendale is somebody that we had on to the podcast probably about just over 2 years ago. We've only had 3 people on the podcast twice. Thea is one of our trusted Partners and advisers works with the team on a few projects, and she's been in this morning working with the team in the digital PR side of the business. Now Thea, I spent the last 5 years working on some of the biggest brands here in the UK with their digital PR.

Richard Hill [00:00:38]:

With an absolute wealth of ecommerce experience, Theo It breaks down some simple strategies that you can implement in e commerce. Some of the pitfalls that you need to avoid, and she steps through, the details of a very successful campaign here in the UK. If you enjoyed this episode, please hit the subscribe or follow button wherever you are listening to this episode now. Let's head over to this fantastic episode. Hi, and welcome. How are you doing? Alright.

Thea Chippendale [00:01:03]:

I'm good. Thank you. How are you?

Richard Hill [00:01:05]:

I am very good. Thank you. I'm looking forward to this there.

th [00:01:08]:

So am I.

Richard Hill [00:01:09]:

It's been, I think just over 2 years ago Yep. Since you were first on the podcast. You've hit the, with Ash to come back, so that's a good sign.

th [00:01:17]:

Yeah. Definitely.

Richard Hill [00:01:19]:

So I think 3 people have actually, made it to the Honored. Return ticket. But I think, for those that maybe I'm sure there's maybe 1 or 2 that haven't listened to the 1st episode, so I think it'd be good for you to kick off and then introduce yourself Tell the listeners how you got into the world of PR.

th [00:01:36]:

Yeah. Definitely. Well, just want to say thank you for having me on. This is a very more elaborate setup than What we had previously. But yeah. So I've been in the, PR industry for just over 5 years now, and I had kind of Maybe in an unconventional story. I'm not really sure. But I basically I got out of uni.

th [00:01:58]:

I'd just done an advertising and marketing degree here in Lincoln, And, I was approached by a lady called Keri Rose who I'd previously Kind of being connected with before because I've gone viral on, on, Twitter and everything like that. And she basically came to me and said, oh, I'm signed up a new agency with somebody. Would you be interested in coming? We've potentially got these new clients coming on board. And I was in a job working at a flooring company, and I was like, do I want to stay at a flooring company and talk about carpets and Would or do I want to potentially go somewhere where I can see it growing into an incredible agency? So, yeah, I took that Sort of jump, and I moved over to Rise at 7. And I was given the incredible opportunity at my age and my, like, Lack of experience to work on big clients like Missguided, and then moved on to look After well, not look after look after along with other people. PrettyLittleThing, LookFantastic, Myprotein, So many clients that probably I'm not doing it justice the amount of stuff that I did during my time at Rise at 7. But I spent my about two, two and a half years there, working on these clients, doing loads of different Different campaigns. And then I moved on to an agency in London called MediaVision, and they are Quite a big agency in sort of their ecommerce.

th [00:03:34]:

They also have loads of property clients. They have loads of financial clients as well, and they gave me the incredible opportunity of being able to lead my own department, which is where I was able to grow a team From me and another girl to 6 people, I was able to implement new strategies, new ways of working, loads of different things. And I was truly I think I feel like every step of my career so far has just been an absolute blessing, to the point where now I'm now freelanced. I work for myself, which means I get to cuddle my dog more.

Richard Hill [00:04:13]:

Not today though. Are you here with us?

th [00:04:15]:

Oh, I know. I miss her. I'm used used to just being by the desk and being out

Richard Hill [00:04:19]:

there. Maybe next time we'll arrange to bring her in with you.

th [00:04:23]:

Dog Cuddles. Yeah. She would definitely love being with everyone.

Richard Hill [00:04:27]:

Well, thanks for that. I think, so literally then you were You were spotted. Was that would that be the would that be the sort of initial spark?

th [00:04:37]:

Carrie basically had it in her mind, that she wanted to get people on board that that maybe not had a gun viral, but had that sort of Experience. Yeah. Like, Yeah. Yeah. And, because she hired me and then she hired a another guy called Mark Rolfe, who was quite well known within the industry for doing silly things, but He was also a very interesting guy, and she hired him at the same time. And it was good kind of, like, prepublicity, I would say, because obviously everybody knew my name, Everybody knew Mark's name when we started and it kind of, like I'm not saying that we were, like, the people that theorized to who they are.

Richard Hill [00:05:17]:

We're for both of you, I guess.

th [00:05:18]:

Yeah. Carrie and Ken Wright were definitely the, the the the big people of Rise of 7, but, I think it was a very smart move.

Richard Hill [00:05:27]:

Yeah. We've had Ken Wright on. That was a very popular episode.

th [00:05:31]:

Oh, he's a popular man.

Richard Hill [00:05:32]:

Isn't he just? Isn't he just? So obviously, 5 years ish later on, I'm still working in a, you know, a very, how can I put it? You know, an an agency that's grown substantially, and then moving very specifically into an ecommerce specific agency. And, obviously, our list is ecommerce stores. So obviously you've got a nice breadth of experience there working in you know, we've had a good chat beforehand, working in a lot of different verticals, lot of different industries, which I'm pretty sure if you're listening now, They would have worked in 95% of the industries that you guys are in. But I think digital PR and ecommerce is not something that really gets talked about a lot. You know, I think it's it's becoming a lot more popular. And if you're in the industry like us, yes, a lot of agencies sort of maybe bolt it on. Yeah. But they're maybe not, you know, experts at it, and they sort of Attachit to the SEO side.

Richard Hill [00:06:22]:

But for those that are listening, you know, what would you say is now about the sort of things that are working now with digital PR and ecommerce?

th [00:06:30]:

Yeah. I mean, I think a lot of the time with these ecommerce brands, it's always been the big big boys that have been the ones that have been doing it. But I think with the way that, sort of, the digital car industry is changing, big players within the ecom industry have been using all These creative techniques that are not working as well in the industry anymore, which has given the room within this industry for these smaller Yeah. To come forward and to be able to show their expertise and be able to use these digital PR digital PR techniques that they might have been too afraid of, to use before. But For me, some of the key digital techniques that I think are coming out of what is happening within the press, within, like, Journalism at the moment as well, are things like influencer collaborations. I think that's something that's really slept on in terms of, digital PR techniques. I know when we used to work with, big brands like PrettyLittleThing or, even smaller ones like Playful Promises, which were a lingerie brand, they came to us and said, we're thinking of doing this collaboration with so and so. And what we would do is we would work with that influencer to get some, like, exclusive interviews out and be able to get that into press, which probably wouldn't have got into press before if they hadn't have had us as well as that influencer to collaborate with them as well.

th [00:07:54]:

So do you think that's a probably It's hectic that people don't ever think to use that much.

Richard Hill [00:08:00]:

I think a lot of people think that digital PR is for Big brands, you know, and that you have to have this yes. Maybe a little bit of a mystery around it, like, when I think we talked to a lot of e comm stores. Right? What, to, maybe start a conversation or having a dialogue with them about doing some digital PR. They're like, it's a bit alien to them. They're like, well, what even is it? They just think PR as maybe a press release or Yeah. PR has been on Sky News. Or Yeah. Whereas, you know, there are things obviously that are you can simplify Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:08:29]:

The thing right. Well, actually, as a brand, everyone's got something to say, really. You know, usually, there's a spokesperson or 2 in a in a business or there should be ideally. Usually, the founder or Yeah. Somebody influential in the business.

th [00:08:40]:

Well, I think as well as that, there has just been such a trend within the industry of having these big, Creative, high budget campaigns.

Richard Hill [00:08:49]:


th [00:08:50]:

But I do think we've sort of changed as a as a world, as a, PRs, like I said, as journalists have changed, and they're just not interested in those big, high budget creative campaigns anymore. They want to go back to They're data led. They want to go back to the thought leadership kind of PR strategies, the ones that don't cost as much money but can get equally as good results, for these ecommerce brands. So yeah. Definitely.

Richard Hill [00:09:17]:

Yeah. It's like thought leadership. You know? I think it's, you know, most people that are running a business, they have an opinion on Life in there, things that were aligned to their business. But to be able to take that opinion when something happens in, You know, the news or something topical, you know, I say, and I think, you know, I say we're we're listening to this and it's the high of summer. I know it's not gonna be. When this launches, it's gonna be almost the high of winter, but It's the highest summer, and you're a brand that sells barbecues, and you're a brand that sells grass fertilizer, and you're the brand that sells lawnmowers. You're the brand Well, of course

th [00:09:51]:

All the journalists want

Richard Hill [00:09:52]:

all the journalists and various publications journalists, you know, want coverage and content to do with and that's the same no matter what industry you're in. Yeah. So for those guys that are maybe struggling to connect, Okay. We've got a brilliant garden brand company, and it's the it's the height of the summer. What would you say to those guys about, You know, getting in contact with people and getting that coverage, you know, with some tips to do that. I think a lot of people just they're struggling here. I think, Well, we've we've got literally got the best lawnmower brand, the best barbecue brand, or the best range of barbecues in the UK. We've got a 35 degree heat wave.

th [00:10:31]:


Richard Hill [00:10:31]:

Well, hang on a minute. I'm sure we can connect the dots.

th [00:10:34]:

Honestly, things like that is I think people try and over complicate it too much and they or they try to be too promotional. So it's there. We're too complicate everything. So it's the journalist is like, why the hell? What is this? Or they try to be too emotional and to sell the products too much that journalists is like, what is this gonna offer my readers? What is it gonna make them want to share it or anything like that? So offering your expertise as a, ecommerce client, so your barbecues, What's the best way to, I don't know, clean your barbecue with, like, the cheapest materials but get the best results kind of thing? That is the kind of stuff.

Richard Hill [00:11:15]:

The best way to barbecue a steak would be a cracker, mom.

th [00:11:19]:

That's all, you've got a small space how to keep How to Bit it. Yeah. That kind of stuff. Anything like that is very much everybody thinks, oh, that's too simple. Nobody's gonna wanna listen to that, but you'd be surprised. You all you need to do is go on the Express, go on the mail online, go on the metro, look at everything that they're writing about, There is always something along those kind of lines Yeah. That they're interested in. And even just looking at, like, journalist requests, what they're looking for, will help To spark some ideas of where you can go within that industry as well.

Richard Hill [00:11:57]:

And I guess if you're let's go back to the, you know, barbecue, outdoor. There'll be Very specific publications in that industry. And whether that's the outdoorsman, if that's even a thing about sure, all all the, you know, the lawn care expert, all

th [00:12:10]:

Some of the niche publications you end up falling to as a PR is ridiculous, and I wish

Richard Hill [00:12:15]:

What's the craziest one you've been I think that you can mention it's not a bit dodgy.

th [00:12:20]:

I was just about to say, I wish I'd got the list of there's loads of people that have put on, like, Twitter the random Yeah. Weird.

Richard Hill [00:12:28]:

The Rock Kletter. That's probably not even that weird, really. The Soft Kletter's Monthly. I don't know if that is that one?

th [00:12:37]:

But, But, yeah, there is definitely some very, very niche publications. So if you ever think that you you can't get a piece of coverage or something, you can. It's there.

Richard Hill [00:12:46]:

It's just, you know, where it's like walking into WH Smiths back in the day. There would be, like, 500 yards of magazines. It's not some obviously, it's digital more so. Of course, WH Smiths is still That is still you know, I still like going in there and some you know, you see the, you know, the 16 magazines on fishing, you think, no way. You know, obviously, fishing is very broad, but, you You know, there's obviously publications and online communities and groups of people for anything and everything pretty much the wilder, the wackier, the, you know, you name it. It's out there, isn't it?

th [00:13:15]:

And there's still, like, online publications that are being built and everything like that. I know there's a new London one that is just being built at the moment. There's always gonna be more that is gonna come. So if it's not there, maybe make it.

Richard Hill [00:13:29]:

So I guess, you know, your the guys that are listing now, you know, you've you've got your store. You know, you've you've been established for many years. You know, you sell a specific range of things. What would you say about them having, like, a go to list of journalists They're they're, like, 5, 6, 10 journalists that they're sort of keeping an eye on, building relationships with. Is that something you'd recommend?

th [00:13:51]:

Yeah. 100%. I think there's definitely The lost art of journalists building journalists relationships in PR at the moment. I think There's so many agencies at the moment that are just relying on what we tend to call the, the spray and pray method where they just literally just send personal leases out to Anybody and everyone without even thinking about whether that'd be relevant to them, without making it a bit more personalized. Yep. And I think it's definitely the lost art at the moment is people not spending that time connecting with the journalists, making sure that the journalists knows that you've researched them, why That press release will be really important to them, why they think that they should cover it. I think people are just And I guess it's the the pressure of the industry at the moment, the pressure of clients wanting results fast. But I think it's really important to sort of take that a step back And think about your end relationship with a journalist.

th [00:14:47]:

Like, they are gonna be there

Richard Hill [00:14:49]:


th [00:14:50]:

For Whatever. But, like, they're gonna, you know, for a long time.

Richard Hill [00:14:53]:

And And if they move, potentially, there probably good chance they may move within that industry. Yeah. So we talk a lot about going to events in your industry, you know. So, you know, we as a company, we go to a lot of ecommerce specific events, you know, and we build our network. And, you know, we always advise to ecom stores if you're in, let's go back to the barbecues and the outdoor. Of course, there's I know there is a the NEC in the UK and obviously all around the world, there'll be Fans that are very specific to your industry, go into those events. And at those events, there'll be different PR events. You know, there'll be different socials and where you'll meet.

th [00:15:25]:


Richard Hill [00:15:26]:

You know, the if you like the movies and shakers in the in the industry or whether that's journalists, whether that's owners of different networks, whether that's different content creators, you go back to the influencers. Of course, There's a whole array of different, PR potential contacts. So it's putting time into that, those guys. But, obviously, those could be, in theory, friends and sort of commercial, wins for the business for many, many years whether they move on or a lot of people stay in an industry for quite some time, if not forever. You know? You know?

th [00:15:58]:

I mean, I was saying to you guys earlier that, when I used to work for my big ecom fashion clients that I used to have a roster of 5 journalists that I knew Would cover my story because I'd built that relationship and that trust with them. Some of them I still follow on Instagram now, that kind of thing. I think, like, As much as I never got the chance to take a journalist out for drinks because we were in the middle of a pandemic, it would've definitely something that I would've done in that sort of time. And I think I do think journalists kinda still expect that, but then there are is also a new breed of journalists in terms of the young ones that probably Don't want that. Yeah. So I think that you've gotta sort of, like, balance it out a bit and see who who is open to that, who actually wants to have a conversation with you. Because sometimes shameless. Do you just want to be, like, closed off and just get a job done as much as you wanna get your job done?

Richard Hill [00:16:47]:

I guess it's making it simple for them as well, isn't it? If they if they then go, okay. You know, they come back to you and say, oh, could you comment on x, y, and zed? If you wait 2 days to comment, they're probably gonna think, oh, they're not very responsive. Yep. Yeah. So having things prepared on the, you know, on the understanding that you will get requests for things. And if you're prepared with some semi stock, Yeah. When I say stock answers, it's not, you know, like, they're boring, repetitive.

th [00:17:13]:

Yeah. You

Richard Hill [00:17:13]:

know, you're prepared basically with and that's how we would we do it for our clients. You know, we've got clients that will We'll get requests from their industry, and we've got a series of, responses that obviously their tone. We know that's they would sign that off, It's it's about the speed and having something ready.

th [00:17:31]:

The the the quickest way you can ruin a relationship is by not being responsive. And Even just over communicating sometimes is better than just, like Yeah. Ignoring them for a bit whilst you're waiting, to avoid, like, disappointment or anything like that, but on yeah. Over communicating is

Richard Hill [00:17:48]:

Yeah. Is key. That's usually let's down most of, you know, full stop mark everything Anywhere. Thing. Yeah. I think that's, there's nothing more frustrating on either end, you know, like, if we've working with clients and managing their PR, And we've got had this amazing request, but we just need a bit more information from the client, I. E. You guys listening, you know, but You're not responding.

Richard Hill [00:18:08]:

Yeah. You missed the thing. There was a you know, there's a potential to be on the 6 o'clock news tonight, and now, you know, it's down tomorrow. So

th [00:18:15]:

Yeah. Well, I think it's key to understand as well the different, timelines that journalists work on. I think This kind of a perception that some journalists might be like, oh, it'll take me a week to do an article, but sometimes people want something literally within a couple of hours. The KPIs that journalists have got at the moment is just absolutely ridiculous. So they need to get things first fast, quick, out the door.

Richard Hill [00:18:37]:

Yeah. Speed. Yeah. Yeah. So obviously, you've worked on a lot of brands. We talked about a lot of brands before we hit record, this morning. So maybe step through one of your favorite PR projects, brands that you work with, and the results that you got for them.

th [00:18:54]:

One of my favorite campaigns that I worked on was for a jewelry client at my old, company MediaVision, and, it was for Abbott Lion who do kind of, like, mid range jewelry, and, like, initial personalized jewelry as well. And it was a really simple campaign, so I don't know why it's my favorite one. It's just more We've kinda struggled a bit getting coverage, for the 1st, like, month or so. So I kind of stripped it back a bit and thought, What can we be offering journalists right now? Because they're not interested in the product PR or the data led PR that we're kind of doing. What else could they be interested in? So this is when I started to look more into maybe doing a bit more thought leadership for ecommerce clients. What we basically did is we worked with the client to Put together some tips and tricks, hacks, cleaning hacks kind of thing, about easy ways for people to clean their jewelry at home. And all we did was we got some information from their product designer kind of person who had that expertise of the products, and how best to look after them. And we put the together, this comment as well as all of these different cleaning methods that they could do From there were some really random ones like vinegar, all of that kind of stuff.

th [00:20:12]:

And we basically pushed that out, And we're able to get coverage on Mirror, Daily Mail, Daily Star, all of those big ones.

Richard Hill [00:20:23]:

So that sounds like a really exciting campaign. So, obviously, you know, when I think about you, just talking that through as a person that wears certain jewelry, you know, just as a as a because I think that's half the problem is, coming up with the ideas, you know, and obviously that particular client, jewelry client, Sliding different types of jewelry and and, you know, fairly expensive things, I'm sure. But, ultimately, That's the sort of thing that a lot of peep that idea. That's the sort of thing that a lot of people will have on their minds about all the jewelry they've got at home that's been sat in the drawer for the last 3 years. Cleaning it. Yeah. You know? So, in terms of success with that campaign then, how successful was it?

th [00:21:03]:

Yeah. So, I mean, Obviously, we got loads of links with it. Loads of social shares came from that. Loads of, obviously, traffic from the publications that we got, which obviously meant that then there was some really incredible SEO benefits that came with that, which led to a massive increase in sales. This then led to a couple of award nominations. I think it's, this thought leadership Technique and, tactics is kind of, like I said before, slept on a bit because You have to think about it from a journalist's perspective of they want to they want their articles to rank as well. They want to be at the top. Mhmm.

th [00:21:45]:

So if you can provide answers to commonly asked questions, commonly searched questions, then they're going to want to feature that. So that was kind of the The reasoning behind doing this idea as well is we wanted to make sure that journalists could get the hit the KPIs that they wanted to as well.

Richard Hill [00:22:02]:

I think that gets missed, isn't it? At the end of the day, you're working with journalists quite often in PR, but they've got to look good at the end of it, not just right with The story live next. Obviously, they they've got you know, like I say, they've they've got targets and deadlines and things to hit, but they wanted to be doing good work. Yeah. But from that one idea, you know, that then leads on to, like you say, the other metrics that get hit, which tie quite nicely into sort of proving the benefit and the value of PR, because I think this is a question in the agency that we get, you know, and I know we've talked about it before. You're demonstrating the value and the return on the investment in digital PR. Yep. And, obviously, there's various ways to track that, you know, and, building domain authority, You know, which is is it's a metric. It's not a multi metric, but ultimately, if you're building link profiles, you're building backlinks, and it's a bit of a dirty word.

Richard Hill [00:22:54]:

We try not to drop the The backlink word, you know, on the podcast, but ultimately, if you're getting more mentions, but in a very authoritative Yeah. Obligations, you know, the big Rands that we've all heard of. You know, we've mentioned a couple already. And then from there, we talked about I know off camera we talked about, you know, they get mentions on certain networks regionally, and then they get picked up nationally. Mhmm. So one relationship with 1 journalist in your town

th [00:23:18]:


Richard Hill [00:23:19]:

About the jewelry for us as an example could lead to then the whole country or various other cities and towns. And then that led on to awards, you know, and then that and that's that's something I know literally right now, we've got a Couple of clients that we were having a discussion in in house because we've got, I think, his 3 award dues in 1 night. Wow. And we're like, how are we gonna cover Some of the guys some of the guys are good to go on and join. I'll go. I'll go. I'll go. I'll bet you will.

Richard Hill [00:23:44]:

I'll bet you're flipping Garrett because Yeah.

th [00:23:46]:

Free alcohol.

Richard Hill [00:23:47]:

Free food. Yeah. Bonus. But obviously, awards, you know, just quite often, you know, awards, a bit like podcast. Obviously, we're on a podcast now, awards, podcasting. You know, that doesn't get talked about too much, but, you know, our listeners, if you think about what awards could you enter in your industry for in terms of, Yeah. You must have done something pretty cool. You know, just setting up the business and getting to where you are now is a good story usually.

Richard Hill [00:24:11]:

You know, and then if you got it in a specific niche, there's an award in a specific you know, whether it's that local, you know, quite often I think a lot of people Start with our local business awards, and then it goes national, and then it can go into depending on size of business. But awards obviously can give you a big coverage as well.

th [00:24:26]:

Yeah. Definitely. And I think it's a good, also I'd like point of somebody completely impartial to your Business to your anything is saying

Richard Hill [00:24:39]:

good work. It's nice, though, isn't it? And again, I've, I think for the team recognition, you know, if you're if you're listening, you know, It's not I'm sure it's not a 1 man show at your organization to be able to go and celebrate. Yeah. I remember we I was like, I'm dropping off our business here, but we Depends of COVID. And, there was a they were in Lincolnshire for the guys listening that are sort of UK based, which is sort of central UK ish. And, We're 18 months into COVID. Obviously, shocking time, really. In in reality, you know, we're crazy busy with ecom and everything.

Richard Hill [00:25:11]:

So good pretty good commercially, but mentally, it was just like Everyone was pretty Yeah. How can I put it? Shattered. I was gonna say Shaq, basically. Edit it. Don't edit it. Don't care. But But we're all pre life drained and we've got nominated for a linkages business linkages tech business of the year, and we won it. And the lift that gave the business and the people.

Richard Hill [00:25:32]:

It was like, yes. You know, everyone was buzzing and it was like 10 days before Christmas, so we all broke up for Christmas. You know, like, yeah. There's a couple of funny pictures of me on stage going, oh, you know, not really. Everyone's, like, laughing on stage. Some really good photos of us on the stage, like, 7 or 8 of the key Key guys in the in the agency. There's just a real lift for the business. Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:25:52]:

You know, then in the new year, we we obviously use that a little bit, a lot in our marketing, in our pitching, You know, so the guys, you know, ecom stores, you know, you win an award, you can leverage that on your about us page, your story, your brand story, your email strategy, your Incredible. Yeah. Yeah. I think that's a big thing, isn't it? I think, you know, most industries, there's a 100 people selling those We went back to all the grass fertilizer, but to be able to stand out with that brand story, you know, if you're not the 100,000,000 pound high street brand and you're trying to compete. Yeah. Brand stories quite often are in a big lever Yeah. That has has to the owner or the managers of a business. You can Fairly low cost because, I mean, like, awards, for example, they're usually free to enter.

Richard Hill [00:26:36]:

Mhmm. Obviously, if you then go somewhere, you've gotta you may have gotta buy a tuxedo or a red one for the night or Yeah. Maybe that's not a bad investment, actually. I think if you had to come get a tuxedo on expenses Yeah. And go and enter 2 or 3 Yeah. Awards, maybe buy a tuxedo when you know you've been nominated. Yeah. I just wanted to introduce you very quickly to our sponsors, Pricing.

Richard Hill [00:26:57]:

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Richard Hill [00:27:48]:

So, Obviously, you've worked on literally I know we mentioned you earlier before we hit record. You mentioned maybe 20 different brands you've worked on.

th [00:27:56]:


Richard Hill [00:27:57]:

Now the guys that are listening, what are some of the things that, you know, through your miles of, experience and and working on things. Obviously, not everything I'm sure hits. You know, you might spend x amount of days working on something that's like, you got piped to the post. Somebody else did that. And Yeah. You know, what are some of the maybe 3 specific things there. Our guys need to avoid when it comes to digital PR.

th [00:28:21]:

I think a lot of ecommerce clients tend to just focus on 1 technique and only sort of Put themselves in that kind of tiny little box of being able to only be enabled to go out with products, stories. Well, I think the key thing for ecommerce clients is being able to pivot your strategies based on what's working well in the press, what you could offer as a brand, there might be 1 month where you've got a really exciting product that needs to come out, and that's a really good product PR story. There might be another month where You've put together this really incredible data story that's really relevant to that time of year, and then the next month, you get nothing for something. Yeah. So being able to have a bit of a mixture of strategies that you're going about from product PR, having an always on reactive PR sort of Yeah. Strategy because, again, Reactive PR is unpredictable. Some months you might get 5 things that you'd want to react on. You might then get nothing for 6 months.

Richard Hill [00:29:16]:

That's very true. Yeah.

th [00:29:18]:

So, Honestly, I think just having that the variety of things that you can go out with, is really key. And Having clients, ecommerce clients, that are really open to that and willing to willing to do that is really important. Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:29:33]:

I think that's Probably, like, half the problem with a lot of store owner well, ecom sites because they maybe don't know what they don't know. So you step through there. They got Product led. So what we're talking about there is, you know, like we've mentioned a couple of times, you know, the the the you know, the lawn mower guy, the barbecue guy, what's happening in the range, what's happening in the industry, you know, what it what's happening around the products. Yeah. And then you've got the reactive, something happens, you know, out there and you're the you're the Voice of authority in that industry. Yeah. You're getting called upon, say, have you got an opinion on the street weather that we're having in in the summer? And then, you know, we've talked about, say, data led campaigns taking you know, mapping the the British summer time over the last 15 years turning it into some interactive craziness and and then showing the hottest places in Yep.

Richard Hill [00:30:21]:

In, you know, on a map around the UK and then, you know, Manchester is the best. And oh, no.

th [00:30:26]:

Honestly, the best thing to do with the day at Web PR campaign is pit the Cities against each other Yeah. Because they love to drag each other down. I'm the best, and I'm the best, but that's all they do.

Richard Hill [00:30:35]:

Yeah. And then you can take that to that sort of UK map and then reduce it into, say, you know, a a a county, and then you say, which is the ex count, sit, town in that county Yeah. Which is something we've did. We did the whole of the UK, then we said, which is the most x in Lincolnshire, and there's about 15 key cities in Lincolnshire that we

th [00:30:53]:

want to talk. To talk about themselves. To that. Everywhere loves to talk

Richard Hill [00:30:57]:

to you. Yeah. Have other guests, the people chatting on social, oh, no. That's not right. Oh, yeah. It seems the the next thing you know, you know, 1000, tens of thousands of comments, shares, likes, etcetera. And then you've got that, you know, which we talked about at the beginning, which crosses over into a couple having that database for journalists that you can reach out to for, you know, maybe that award entry, you know, the the local awards, the national awards, the industry specific awards, going to conferences, meeting more people that all then Build Your Journalist, your influencers. So maybe 5 or 6 things in the last 4 minutes there.

Richard Hill [00:31:26]:

Yeah. But I think maybe, like you say, A lot of people do do 1 or 2, and that might be down to capacity or it might be down to the fact they just don't know. Yeah. I think, you know, know, I'd say pause the podcast right now, rewind 5 minutes, think how we gonna how we gonna make that list of 5 journalists in the Yeah. Lawnmower. How are we gonna do the data led thing? Where are we gonna get the data from? Yeah. You know? Start I think rushing that out with the team.

th [00:31:51]:

As well, The the these people that have these, businesses need to think about the different things that you can get from each of these, strategies. So for example, product PR, increase your sales, your traffic, but you might only just get affiliate links from that, which is obviously not as beneficial for SEO data led, you're not exactly selling a product, but you are gonna be asked if there's really good links. You're gonna be asked if there's global links, regional links. You have loads of different angles, health leadership. You can get on some really good nationals with that, and you're offering your expertise. You're establishing Yourself as a thought leader, reactive PR, you're showing that you've got access to this data. You're putting yourself into a Really interesting and really sort of trend worthy conversation. So there's always the benefits of each one of those.

th [00:32:44]:

So Lending them together and have the having the ability to have the strategies that can incorporate each one of these is so Crucial, in my opinion.

Richard Hill [00:32:54]:

Yeah. A good mix. Yeah. Definitely. That's yeah. I mean, that's sort of a bit like marketing as a whole, isn't it? If you're just relying on paid ads, for example, and then there's an there's an issue with Google or Facebook changed the rules again for the 14th time this year. But if you've got a nice spread, you know, 3, 4, 5, 6 different strategies under your PR Yeah. Umbrella.

Richard Hill [00:33:15]:

You know, like you say, you can be doing reactive, but then nothing comes to you for 3 months. Yeah. Nothing to react to if that's all you do, with you 3 or 4 contacts, but they don't come to you for anything. Whereas you could have won an award by then or you could have been featured in a product magazine, whatever it may be. Yeah. Okay. So so let's assume our listeners have now got a got a fresh oomph for PR. They've gone out there.

Richard Hill [00:33:40]:

You know?

th [00:33:41]:

Everybody wants to be in this PR now. Okay. Create the next generation.

Richard Hill [00:33:46]:

They're like inspired. They've got award entries. They've bought the tuxedo. But then it's about measuring success. You know? This is what really you know, as an agency and as a podcast, you know, we're very much down to the the numbers we try to be. You know, I think, there was always a lot of conversation in PR about sort of proving its worth. You're doing it. Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:34:08]:

So, you know, what would you say about measuring success when it comes to digital PR?

th [00:34:13]:

So I might annoy some people with this comment, but I feel like in in PR, we tend to focus a lot on the links. Yep. And obviously, that is our main Game here is we want coverage and we want links. But especially for e commerce PR, What we're doing as well is we're creating awareness. We're creating sales. We're creating traffic. We're creating all of that stuff for the each of the strategies that we're doing. So being able to use those as KPIs as well as not just how many links you're getting because you could get 100 links on somewhere and get Nothing through.

th [00:34:52]:

Yeah. But you get one link on that really, really good publication, and you've made Yeah. £100,000 in sales or something like that. So Yeah. I think having that versatility in terms of what kind of KPIs you have for different strategies even. Yep. Is is really important.

Richard Hill [00:35:10]:

So potentially you have a like you said, it it's it's different for different things, but having a maybe a to A Battling, using the word again. Apologies. A Battling KPI. Yep. But ultimately, there's an there's a number, you know, and you do see these Oh, yeah. We got over 500 links for that. We're like, yeah. But did are they really? Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:35:28]:

Whereas if you, you know, going back to our lawnmower, some are example, if you got, you know, 2 links from, you know, the the lawnmower monthly. I don't even know if that's a thing. Probably Where they've got, you know, half a 1000000 readers are obsessed with their lawn. They all spend $2 a year on their lawnmower and their fertilizer. Well, hang on a minute. That's a bit better than, you know, having a link in, You know, I kind of, you know, some other thing that's absolutely unrelated, but it's, you know, people report. So reporting on the right kind of link. Yeah.

Richard Hill [00:35:57]:

Maybe, yeah, reporting on, you know, on the on links as a whole, but just don't get too sidelined and blinded by these big numbers. Yeah. So Reporting on links, re reporting on potential increase in, referral traffic from different sources. Yeah. So it's been great having you back on. Like I say, it's 2 years since you were first on. Great to hear about the the journey over the last couple of years, and then we're gonna get you back on in a couple more years, I think.

th [00:36:23]:

See where we're at.

Richard Hill [00:36:24]:

You know, The fear is a sort of a a trusted partner friend of the agency. So it's great to have you in the office and and coming in to see us. But, Crystal ball time, really, the next 12 months. You know, what do you think, our listeners should be sort of focused on? What are the that they're gonna get the best sort of bang for their buck on.

th [00:36:44]:

Yep. Personally, I think we're gonna see a bit of a, Not death, but like a a bit of a reduction in terms of people using Google search trend data for, like, their reactive Data led kind of campaigns using that as a source, and I think we're gonna move over to social media being the key place for that. So TikTok, everything like that. I mean, there's been so many conversations on social media about the fact that, Like, Gen z and younger users are now using TikTok as their search engine over, like, us probably using Google as ours. And I know even me, I keep looking at I'm like, oh, what hairstyle shall I wear on TikTok? Yeah. Because it's a visuals kind of journey that you're going on. And I'd rather see somebody do a hairstyle on a video that I would read about what hairstyle to do. Yep.

th [00:37:37]:

So I definitely think that users are gonna be using TikTok a lot more, which means we're gonna get so much more data from places like TikTok. And If you think about how quick TikTok has grown, there can be something that we didn't even see coming that's gonna grow in the next 12 months terms of social media. So I think moving away from that sort of the Google search trends kind of thing that we often see, I mean, you just need to look into the press at the moment, and all of these clients are using TikTok search data Yeah. Over Google search data at the moment. Yeah. Oh, yeah. That's that's how I see things.

Richard Hill [00:38:12]:

I totally agree. And I think, you know, if you're listening, you know, it's where the emerging,

th [00:38:16]:


Richard Hill [00:38:17]:

know, Emerging volume, if we wanna go there, virgin volume. You watch you look at TikTok and you this this video has had 3,000,000 flipping views. Free to go to keyword tool in Google is like 0 searches a month. Well, obviously, it's not true, but, unfortunately, some tools are just a bit out of, you know, they're not, taking their data from a lot of the social media platforms. So TikTok trends and TikTok, you know, we talked off camera beforehand about potentially building a dashboard, you know, which is something, you know, in our agency we're working on, for, you know, a specific industry. So if you're listening, you're you're in the lawnmower niche. I keep getting back to that. You know, what is happening in your niche? How can you build A dashboard that is pulling in all that, you know, TikTok, whether that's TikTok trends, other social media trends that are happening.

Richard Hill [00:39:07]:

There's a video with 5,000 flip or so, whatever it may be, 50000, 5,000,000 views to do with, cutting your lawn to a certain level, you know, but Then you were to jump on that trend and do something with that, create some content around that. I'm sure there's gonna be some interest if there's that many, you know, on TikTok. Yeah.

th [00:39:24]:

Or you can just be like me and not build a dashboard and just spend all income.

Richard Hill [00:39:28]:

Don't do that. So thanks for coming on the show. We always like to end every episode with a book recommendation. Do you have a book to recommend to our listeners and viewers?

th [00:39:38]:

So I don't have a book that's necessarily related PR. That's fine. But it's a book that I keep trying to force on people. Oh. So I recently spoke at Brighton, and it was what I talked about at the end of my sort of slides. And it's a book called Radical Candor. I don't know if anybody's heard of it, but it's a really good book about how to be a really great leader and a great manager. And it's when I moved into a leadership role.

th [00:40:05]:

I sort of found myself struggling with to find places to understand how to be a better manager, how to lead people. And basically, the woman is incredible. Like, she was some high up woman at, like, Google or something like that, And she basically is able to relate her experiences there to, like, problems that everybody as a leader and a manager faces, and literally gives, like, Step by step, like guides to do things. And it's just a really, really interesting book. I especially really like it when books, like, can relate to Personal experiences rather than just being like, yeah. Do this.

Richard Hill [00:40:37]:

Yeah. Yeah. Very real. Yeah. Well, thanks for that. I'll get that on the list. We'll hook that up, all of them on the show notes to book. So for those that wanna find out more about you, Thea, best way to connect with you and find and potentially wanna work with you and find out more about what you do, what's the best way to do that?

th [00:40:52]:

I mean, look me up on LinkedIn. Yep. I'm very active on LinkedIn. Yep. But you can also find me at my website which is t lcfreelance.com.

Richard Hill [00:41:00]:


th [00:41:01]:

And I also send out a newsletter every week that goes through all of the reactive, Creative data led campaigns that I've seen in the week. Yeah. And I also talk to industry experts each week about, what PRs can be looking for. So yeah.

Richard Hill [00:41:17]:

Well, thanks for coming on the show. I look forward to getting you on the 3rd time for that time. It'll be almost a 5 year.

th [00:41:23]:

Yeah. I know.

Richard Hill [00:41:25]:

Thanks a lot.

th [00:41:26]:

Thank you so much.

Richard Hill [00:41:31]:

If If you enjoyed this episode, hit the subscribe or follow button wherever you are listening to this podcast. You're always the first to know when a new episode is released. Have a fantastic day, and I'll see you on the next one.

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