The Quick Word Company (client) explains why limitless data of digital doesn’t mean vast quantities of online content. Web writing is a discipline that many businesses still haven’t committed to.
In today’s digital landscape, engagement is important. Despite what you may think, we’re actually reading more than ever – blog posts, tweets, an article or website copy. Businesses are now self-publishers, and on many different platforms, and some just aren’t grasping how big a responsibility that is. Our words have lifespans beyond the moment, they’re our emissaries. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me – well, actually, yes they will. They’re out there working for or against us all the time.
We see a lot of websites with pages and pages of content – far too much! It’s important to remember that good web content has utility; it should serve a purpose. So before you click publish ask yourself: How does this piece of communication support our goals? How does it align with our mission and vision? Is this the best place to publish this information or would it be suited elsewhere, on social media or as a blog post? To ensure consistency, establish a content or editorial team and think of them as your word wizards. They’ll reinforce the house style guide and will have final say on what’s allowed to be included – no editing by committee here!
Good web content is also empathetic – which means it needs to care about who’s reading it. Many businesses fall by the wayside when it comes to actually being nice in their written communication. Don’t be one of them. Even if you are a big, grunty business, you can still have a warm, clear voice that helps readers navigate effortlessly through your website to find what they’re looking for. Yes, you may write in long form in your formal communications, but when it comes to web copy you need to scale back. Long-winded sentences and over-the-top formality can get in the way of your message. Think about your reader and put yourself in their shoes. They may be reading on a small screen on their morning commute or they may be time-poor and exhibiting what we refer to as ‘natural scanning reading behaviour’ – seen both in the wild and in captivity. Use a series of headers so your readers can locate themselves and summarise your key messages.
A great example of good web content is publishing empire, Conde Nast. Considering the exceptional repertoire of their titles and publications, users are really encouraged to act and seek out more. They don’t over sell anything, keeping content accessible – relevant and purposeful. They never write more than they need to in order to get their message across. Even better – is they find a way to create their own tone of voice when discussing their very distinct brands, which include Glamour, WIRED and of course, Vogue. They format their content to make it easy for readers to find their interests while maintaining their professionalism as the corporate face of these brands.
The limitless options and ‘space’ to write web content can often translate to overwriting. Remember, quality over quantity, be purposeful – if done well, good content can earn you the trust and engagement you need.
By Amadou Doumbia, Account Manager, CRED Communications Ltd
This past 5 May saw me hosting my first event for the Hong Kong PR Network (HKPRN). The network was founded in 2008 to bring together junior and mid-career communication professionals, looking to network and learn from industry experts. I joined the leadership team due to my passion for the PR industry as well as organising events. With the support of the network, the May event explored the theme “Communication & Reform – The Evolving Role of Communications Strategy in Social Change”.
My goal was to address how important strategically planned communications were to gaining public support, as well as how communications professionals could adopt the latest industry practices to their careers. Overall, it was a great, engaging and thought-provoking event.
The evening’s panel included:
Joshua Wong, social activist and Time Magazine Person of the Year
Tom Sims, Asia Business Editor of The New York Times
Ashley Hegland, Regional Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Edelman PR
Tony Verb, Marketer, Producer and Documentarian
The main question from the discussion was whether strategic communications could aid social change. Everyone on the panel agreed it was possible. But more importantly, they all stressed that digital was key to spreading a message. The panel told the packed audience to remember one rule in any tactic – keep the message simple. When it’s simple, it’s easy for everyone to understand your purpose. When it’s simple, it’s easy to tailor the message later for different groups. When it’s simple, you create a call to action everyone can remember.
For the communication professionals who attended, the event left them with several important takeaways:
Know your audience – If you want a specific group’s support, know how to properly use the communication channels they frequent
Be clear, be simple – Make sure your message is relatable and easy to understand to everyone
Have a purpose and stick to it – As your key strategy, your purpose should define all of your communication efforts. People might forget a product, but will always remember a purpose
Master social media – Social and new media are now just as important as traditional channels. Know what’s available, and master how to apply them
It was a great honour to organise the May event for HKPRN. With over 100 professionals in attendance. As an Account Manager for CRED Communications, the network offers me the chance to not only stay on top of new industry practices, but also ensure they’re effectively applied to our client’s campaigns.
To learn more about my work with The Hong Kong PR Network, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Quotes from speakers:
Tom Sims: “The world is now digital. You cannot expect to gain public support, especially with rapid turnaround, without using digital. But what’s more important is how you use digital. It isn’t enough to just spread a message and expect an audience to appear.”
Tony Verb: “Relevance should always be a concern in communication efforts. If you’re trying to share a message across the world, you need to make sure the message is just as relevant for someone in Hong Kong as it for someone in the US.”
Joshua Wong: “Without Facebook there would be no Occupy Central, without Facebook there would be no Joshua Wong. It really was that simple. We set up hash tags and encouraged people to share images such as themselves wearing black t-shirts or carrying yellow umbrellas. Within just a week we had 30,000+ followers on Instagram.”
Ashley Hegland: “Having a clearly defined and passionately communicated purpose to what you do is key component to consumers today. They want to know where your ingredients come from; how sustainable is the packaging of your product; does your company support fare wages for all workers. These factors make today’s businesses stand out.”
I am currently doing a bachelor of Communications, majoring in Public Relations and Marketing at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. An internship was a great opportunity for me to determine whether I am well suited to the field I am passionate about. Hence when I finished my penultimate year I sought an internship in Hong Kong.
Being part of CRED Communications has definitely been one of the most significant steps in my life. My role was more as a full time employee at CRED. My participation wasn’t confined to just admin. I was offered boundless hands-on opportunities that brought a sense of accomplishment throughout the duration of my internship. I was lucky enough to be engaged in a project from scratch. CRED allowed me to explore a variety of roles and to contribute creatively. The knowledge and skills derived and deepened from the experience were invaluable.
At CRED, I found not merely vibrancy and enthusiasm, but also a sense of belonging. I was treated as part of the team from day one. In fact, I got the chance to attend a press conference just three days after I started. The people were definitely my favorite part of the experience working at CRED. The team is absolutely sophisticated and professional. They are my colleagues, mentors and friends. Besides, they were also encouraging and supportive. Whenever I made mistakes or was confused, they were always there to guide me patiently.
Needless to say, what I have acquired from CRED is far more than what I have offered to CRED. It was totally beyond my expectations. I will definitely miss the dynamic team of CRED. It may sound cliché, but the internship has made my summer remarkable and fruitful. I can say with certainty that CRED will offer every single intern an irreplaceable PR working experience and chances of participation. I truly recommend the paid internship programme and services by CRED Communications.
Last but not least, I would like to thank everyone at CRED. It’s difficult to say goodbye because you guys are too AMAZING! Thanks for having me and always being so warm. Take care.
CRED Communications is always looking for hard working happy interns who enjoy being part of a dynamic team. If you are interested in working at CRED please contact Mandy Queen on email@example.com.
Advertisers, marketers and PRs are becoming increasingly aware of the power and effectiveness of niche marketing. And when targeting a specific audience that is passionate about a subject, brand or item, the best allies are those that these consumers often go to for trusted opinion: bloggers. With an overwhelming 97.6% of surveyed bloggers in Hong Kong being approached by PR companies, marketers would do well by knowing how to better engage these influencers.
This shift away from mass marketing has put the spotlight on bloggers and their growing leverage over consumer behaviour. In recognition of these influential media outlets, CRED Communications surveyed around 100 food and beverage bloggers in the SAR and received 42 responses. The survey, conducted this summer, gives food and beverage businesses valuable and surprising insights into how this new media segment views itself, what motivates bloggers to keep writing, and others. The findings have been quite revealing.
Fifty-five percent of bloggers surveyed claimed to have a monthly readership of over 10,000 – with 14.3% over 30,000. Needless to say the majority, 42%, believe they are as important as mainstream media, while 38% think they are important to a niche audience. With bloggers realising their contribution to market movements and impact on how consumers think and buy, marketers are urged to view bloggers in the same light as traditional media, and act accordingly. This means finding new and effective ways of engaging them. While it is true that most bloggers still treat blogging as a hobby (69% of those surveyed answered “having fun” as their main reason for blogging), 52.4% see it as an opportunity to learn more about the subject, in this case food and beverage. Some 45.2% see blogging as a way of growing an audience. Clearly, bloggers are motivated by passion and the need to be heard — not material gain — and most likely attract readers through unbridled enthusiasm, as well as creativity. It is not surprising that 31% believe that establishing a clear and unique voice is the most important aspect of blogging.
Bloggers, however, do see the potential entrepreneurial opportunities that come with being a trusted, albeit subjective, source of information. Almost all of those surveyed, 97.6%, have been approached by a PR company and 52.4% have gained professional opportunities as a result of their blog. When asked whether PR companies understand the blogging community, however, 38.1% said no. Not the majority, but still a significant figure. This means advertisers and PRs should consider elevating bloggers’ status as a medium in their marketing plans and at the same time treat them differently from traditional media outlets. Give them the same amount of respect but engage them in a refreshing, intimate manner.
As expected, 71.4% of answers said ongoing partnerships or friendship with the PR or brand, as well as interesting news about the product would make them more open to receiving communication from a marketer. Relevancy of the product or news to the blog made up 59.5% of the responses. Bloggers are all about trust, whether in relationships with partners or their readers. It is imperative that PRs establish more personal ties with bloggers that also allow them to keep their editorial integrity. Pushing for coverage, or having a sense of entitlement over blog space or bloggers’ time is a no-no if one wants them on their side. Bloggers want complete control over their content and the way they handle requests for sponsored content, which shows in their preferred manner of contact: 83.3% said email is the best way to correspond. As for attending events organised by PR agencies in Hong Kong, 69% prefer weekday evenings between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and 61.9% want to do this on the weekend. Not a surprise at all with 92.9% of respondents being part-time bloggers with day jobs and familial obligations.
So, how must a marketer deal with the blogging community if there is to be a harmonious, win-win collaboration? According to the bloggers surveyed, doing the appropriate research into the content and focus of the blog is crucial before making contact. Sending irrelevant information or products is a waste of everyone’s time and makes a bad first impression on the marketer’s part. Bloggers must be able to sample the product and give an honest opinion, which means they won’t write about it for the sake of writing about it. The product has to be something relevant to their audience and one that they could recommend.
Cold-calling bloggers and pushing for coverage is a sure way of turning off a potential collaborator as well. It is also best to treat them like individuals with different strengths and interests. Giving them too many guidelines on how to review the product would feel more of an imposition on them; remember they are their own editor and publisher and are bound by their own guidelines. Understanding that they answer only to their readers is important and knowing that trust is the commodity they respond most strongly to is imperative.
CRED Communications is very grateful to all the food bloggers who participated in the survey. We hope to make this an annual survey. Please contact CRED Communications for an informal discussion about how to build CREDibility of your restaurant or food and beverage brands.
The 2014 Council of Public Relations Firms of Hong Kong Young PR Professionals Competition is now open for entries.
This is a great opportunity for students and young public relations professionals to showcase their talent to Hong Kong’s PR leaders and accelerate their careers. Competition forms can be downloaded from the http://www.cprfhk.org/.
Founder and Director at CRED Communications Ltd is the programmes chair of the Council.
It has been an amazing year for us at CRED Communications. As we reflect on some of our notable achievements throughout the year, we would like to first and foremost thank our valuable clients, whose continued patronage and trust in our public relations and social media marketing expertise, has made 2013 a roaring success.
We launched CRED Communications three years ago and we are growing by leaps and bounds, setting the trends here in Asia –– and have made a name for ourselves as one of the top independent PR agencies in Hong Kong for exhibitions, conferences and trade shows, and the food and beverage industry.
The CRED in CRED Communications not only stands for our desire to get clients CREDibility, but also Creativity, Results-Focused, Engaging and Dynamic. It’s what has attracted and kept big name clients, garnered respect from our peers, and afforded us longevity in the PR industry.
With this in mind, it is our pleasure to share with you some of the highlights from 2013.
The year got off to a flying start with our exclusive press preview for CARTES Secure Conexions Asia, the leading smart technologies event in Asia Pacific. We were chosen to represent the high-level conference and exhibition for a third consecutive year. Building long-term relationships with our clients and gaining their utmost trust and confidence is truly rewarding for us.
The Hong Kong media event for CARTES took place in the middle of January, which was followed by another press conference in Singapore at One Raffles Place, the city’s highest rooftop bar.
The beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year was marked by landing another campaign for RDI (Resource Development International) Management Learning, the world’s largest independent provider of UK University qualifications programmes by distance learning. Proving our PR and social media marketing prowess, we doubled its number of social media account followers from 10,000 to 20,000 within a year.
We launched Heichinrou Restaurant’s new Cantonese menu in Hong Kong. Heichinrou Group, the owner of Japan’s oldest Chinese restaurant, has been our loyal client for more than two years.
Our winning streak of securing bids for top clients continued when we were selected to represent Vienna-based emarsys, one of the fastest growing companies in cloud marketing. Covering Hong Kong and Singapore, CRED Communications put its Regional Managing Director, Ohad Hecht, on the pages of publications such as The Economic Times, The Standard and E-Zone.
The CRED Communications team provided on-site PR support for CARTES Asia, which resulted in 300 articles being published across Asia Pacific about the event.
We officially joined The Council of Public Relation Firms in Hong Kong (cPRfHK), which promotes best practice among member public relations consultancies and key stakeholders –– and is revered by the local industry.
As a Hong Kong-based company and one that takes corporate social responsibility (CRS) seriously, we always make a big effort to give back to our local community. For the third year running, CRED Communications supported City University/Edinburgh Napier University’s BA (Hons) Marketing Management Live Project by taking another Hong Kong student of the course under its wing. Being part of the programme involves mentoring budding PR and marketing executives and giving them real projects to work on.
We flew over to Bangkok, Thailand, to support the 25th Annual FIRST Conference, a forum for computer security incident response teams from around the world. It drew big name sponsors such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft –– and representatives from more than 240 corporations, government bodies and institutions.
VIP guests and journalists sailed away with us on Elite Charters’ 86-foot motor yacht Mahala Lin for its bespoke luxury getaways and corporate events launch.
Mandy Queen, our founder and director, was appointed as a board member of the cPRfHK and elected as the programmes chair. The latter puts her in charge of all council events where she is responsible for everything from sourcing venues and securing sponsors and speakers.
More mega-events came our way, this time we won the contract for HIMSS AsiaPac13 Greater China eHealth Forum, which is aimed at providing global leadership to utilise IT and management systems to improve healthcare. It was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, and we secured wide television and radio coverage for the prestigious function. The president of e-Health Consortium of the Hong Kong Hospital Authority, and the secretary for the Food & Health Bureau Hong Kong gave opening addresses.
CRED Communications was approached again by DiningCity to reprise our partnership with them for Hong Kong Restaurant Week. The event was sponsored by American Express and had more than 80 participating restaurants.
We organised our first event for the cPRfHK on the trade descriptions act at Coast in Soho. Deemed a great success, the event saw many new faces from the PR industry mingle with existing members.
Mandy Queen was featured in an important video by Edinburgh Napier University. She discuses her participation and role as mentor in its Live Project programme for marketing management students in Hong Kong.
Our company also expanded to Singapore by joining up with PRrecious Communications.
Heichinrou Restaurant Group, which has become a long-term client, entrusted us again with its latest account. This time we launched its reservation-only, Cantonese private seafood kitchen called Club Heichinrou in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong.
Another PR triumph for us, was booking television and radio interviews with CNBC and RTHK respectively for Gillem Tulloch, group leader of Asianomics Group, one of the regions most trusted researchers on Asian economies and Asian companies. Gillem spoke to the media about his company’s huge rebranding strategy carried out by Unison Creative.
We also lent a strong PR hand to StartupHK’s Mobilliance event, which emarsys sponsored.
Mandy Queen appeared in All Leaders Magazine to reveal some of her secrets to success in PR and social media marketing, and advised readers on how to create lasting relationships with clients.
The governmental body Korean Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation came to us to promote and organise Hong Kong’s first and largest K-Food Fair. We took care of celebrity participation, press conferences, social media marketing, VIP invitations and on-site interviews for the three-day extravaganza achieving over 100 pieces of media in record-breaking time.
We also drove media attendance to the BroadGroup’s finance and investment forum in Hong Kong.
It felt like a grand finale to an exciting year when we spread the news of our latest client Sushi Shikon’s three Michelin star win to the press. We immediately arranged four exclusive events at the award-winning restaurant for high-profile guests and prominent members of the media.
Our celebrations continued when our loyal client French trade show company Comexposium, the group behind CARTES Asia, signed us on for the fourth year in a row.
Mandy Queen wrapped up the year by organising the cPRfHK’s Double Happiness Awards for in-house PR professionals and the cPRfHK’s Xmas party at mamoz. It was a labour of love for our founder and director who organised the special event, which attracted generous sponsors, engaging speakers and ensured 50 per cent of the profits went to charity while promoting best practices within the local PR industry.
Happy New Year!
The CRED Communications team is truly grateful to all our wonderful clients for choosing us for their PR and social media marketing. We wish you all a fantastic New Year and look forward to working with you in 2014.
The Council of Public Relations Firms of Hong Kong (CPRFHK), an organization dedicated to best practices in public relations, today announced the winners of the ‘Double Happiness’ awards.
As the business of communications continues to change and evolve at a rapid pace, the most successful in-house marketers are those who have a true ‘extension of the team’ approach to their PR firms. The ‘Double Happiness ‘awards provide a platform to identify those professionals who demonstrate best practice agency management. Building on the success of the 2012 awards, the CPRFHK added an additional ‘Digital’ category, reflecting the industry skill set evolvement.
The competition, which was open to all in-house PR professionals in Hong Kong and their agencies, attracted a wide range of entries from agencies and their private sector clients. The winners of the CPRFHK 2013 ‘Double Happiness’ awards were:
Corporate Industry Leader: Greg Brutus, AT&T and Helen Cheung, McDonald’s
Brand Marketing Industry Leader: Jennifer Lam, Hong Kong Land
Brand PR Manager: Flora Chan, P&G
Best Use of Digital PR: Valerie Kurniawan, Flextronics
“The ‘Double Happiness’ awards recognize that the best public relations work occurs when there is a solid partnership between agencies and their clients,” said Rachel Catanach, Chairman of the CPRFHK. “This year we revisited the criteria to truly reflect the changing communications landscape. Emphasis was placed on facilitating integration amongst agency teams alongside robust briefing, creativity, strategic direction and measurement. It’s these factors that contribute to not only a successful partnership, but also successful business.’
The judging panel included Jeremy Walker, Managing Director of Golin Harris, Alastair Hetherington, CEO Asia of RLM Finsbury and Marlene Guernsey, Associate Partner of RLM Finsbury.
Alastair Hetherington commented, “It was inspiring to see the number of entries we received this year and the firm commitment that in-house practitioners are making to their agencies, to their mutual advantage. The winning industry leaders all stood out for their ability to understand the importance of strong, trusting relationships with not only their PR agency, but all agencies, as integration becomes ever-more important.”
Flora Chan, PR Manager P&G and winner of the Brand PR Manager category commented: ‘It’s an honour to win this award for something I do every day without thinking! Having trust in the professional advice your agency gives you is of upmost importance – it’s what you hire them for. In this super digital ‘always on’ world, decisions need to be made quickly. I trust the Ketchum team to assist me in making those decisions and also to support me as and when I need them. We work together to make sure our messages, strategic direction and measurement are robust, aligned and linked back to business performance.’
About the cPRfHK
The Council of Public Relations Firms of Hong Kong (CPRFHK) promotes best practice among member public relations consultancies and key stakeholders. The Council serves as a voice and as a forum for the Hong Kong public relations consultancy practice and promotes public confidence in the industry. The Council represents the majority of consultancies in Hong Kong and currently numbers some 33 members including CRED Communications Ltd.
CRED Communications’ Director and Founder Mandy Queen is the Programmes Chair for the cPRfHK.
As organiser of the 2013/14 programme of events for the Council of PR Firms of Hong Kong, CRED Communications Ltd is pleased to share information about this year’s Double Happiness Awards and a special Xmas party at mamoz bar in Causeway Bay on 3 December 2013 for PR practitioners all over Hong Kong. More information about the Double Happiness Awards can be found here.
Joint communications services across Greater China and South East Asia already taken up by multiple clients
26 August 2013 – CRED Communications, a public relations and marketing communications company based out of Hong Kong, and Singapore-based strategic communications firm PRecious Communications have joined forces as strategic partners to expand their offering to now cover Greater China and Southeast Asia. The two agencies have recently worked together on global clients Comexposium and HIMSS to publicise two high level technology events and conferences across the region – CARTES Asia at AsiaWorld Expo (March 2013) and HIMSS AsiaPac13 Greater China eHealth Forum at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (August 2013). The agencies have also just signed a retainer contract with emarsys – a global market leader of all-in-one email, mobile and social marketing automation applications.
“Greater China and South East Asia are very important markets to us as that’s where our clients see growth. Therefore, we need trusted Public Relations partners who can advise and execute impactful communications strategies together with us,” said Ohad Hecht, Managing Director, APAC of emarsys. “We have a successful working relationship with CRED Communications and were very happy when they introduced PRecious Communications to us. Now we benefit from the best of both worlds working with independent PR agencies to get the right senior council and at the same time spread over various geographies.”
Mandy Queen Managing Director of CRED Communications said: “As a young dynamic agency we are always looking for ways to give the best possible service to our local and international clients. We have been looking to expand our offering across Asia Pacific, especially in Singapore, for the past year and we have found a great partner in PRecious Communications who have a similar work ethic to us and proven results of implementing PR campaigns in Singapore and South East Asia. Teaming up with PRecious Communications means that we can now provide our technology clients with people on the ground in Greater China and Singapore adding even more value to our existing offering.”
Added Lars Voedisch, Principal Consultant of PRecious Communications: “One of the factors of PRecious Communications’ success has been a clear focus on adding value and creating impact, ensuring that all communications efforts are clearly linked to our clients’ business objectives. And we know from experience that working with Mandy and her team at CRED Communications, our clients will get the same can-do attitude and professional service across South East Asia and Greater China.”
CRED Communications will be able to tap into PRecious Communications’ resources and insights to Southeast Asia. PRecious would similarly be able to gain from CRED Communications’ experiences and deep knowledge of the Greater China area in addition to combining both firm’s existing PR networks reaching across the whole of Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.
Current clients of PRecious Communications include AccessData, Evernote, McAfee, and PlayMoolah, amongst others.
Currently, CRED Communications is working with clients including DiningCity – Restaurant Week, Heichinrou, mamoz, Kerry Logistics and RDI Management Learning.
About CRED Communications
CRED Communications was founded in 2010 by Mandy Queen who has over 16 years of delivering PR and Marketing Communications campaigns in Asia Pacific and Europe. The agency is dedicated to the conference and exhibitions industry and lifestyle and technology sectors and provides a range of services including media relations, social media marketing and event management to clients across the world. The agency is a member of the Council of Public Relations Firms of Hong Kong and Mandy has recently been appointed Programmes Chair of the Council. www.credcommunications.com
About PRecious Communications
Our focus is on Corporate Communications, Crisis Management, Reputation Management and Social Media. Combining a clear business-oriented approach with a focus on measurable results, our network of experts helps brands tell their story and tie directly into their overall communications objectives.
We are run out of Singapore and serve clients in Asia Pacific and beyond through our strong links to Europe and North America.
PRecious Communications was a finalist for the 2013 Asia Pacific New Consultancy of the Year Award of the Holmes Report. www.preciouscomms.com