Digital PR

800 471 JBH - The Digital PR Agency

Funding Female Founders: The Shocking State of Female Founded Businesses Revealed in New Study

By analysing companies from the UK, the US and globally we have revealed the industries and countries where women are flourishing and which countries are falling short. 

Women have come a long way in the last 100 years. In 1918, they were finally able to vote, in 1919, The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act became law and in 1970, the UK Government passed the Equal Pay Act and in 1997, Marjorie Scardino became the first CEO of a FTSE 100 company, but we’re still not seeing enough women rising through the ranks in unicorn companies around the world.

According to Business Insider, every day 849 businesses are founded by women in the US alone, in 2019 21 female-founded unicorn companies were created, a number higher than ever before.

Women have been making their mark in the workplace with more women than ever before rising high up in the ranks and revealing their potential. Whilst progress has been made, female founders are still outnumbered by males. 

Revealed: 2% of the World’s Top Companies have Female Founders

Of the top 100 companies from the Forbes Global 2000 list, just 2% of the top 100 are founded by women, that’s just 2 companies in total. 

Only two of the top 100 companies were founded by women, both companies are also in the tech industry, one of the most competitive fields. 

Both female-founded companies were created in the late 20th century compared to the other 98 companies which began as early as 1792, the list has an average founding year of 1940. Sadly it is not surprising or shocking that these companies have male founders as they were formed during a time of limited rights for women, a time when women held much less value in business or even day-to-day life. 

2% is a figure that women know all too well, according to MarketWatch 2.2% of all investments in the US go to companies founded solely by women. Only 2% of female-owned businesses reach $1M in revenue, this is much lower than men.

Female Founders Thriving Worldwide

Combining data from Crunchbase and other sources, we have revealed the best place for female founders worldwide. The data reveals that the US is the top country for female founders with 3.8 out of 4, more than double the score of China which came in second place.

This data aligns perfectly with previous research, the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2019 offers great insight as to why some of these countries fall so low on the leaderboard. The index shows that cultural perceptions of entrepreneurship align with our data where the US comes out on top with Uganda close behind. 

Industry Insight

Taking the top-funded companies in each country we have found the industries who back their businesses the most, revealing the financial industry is the top player for funding with over £16bn from just one company.

According to The World Bank, the US had a GDP of almost £16 trillion, this means that the top-funded female-owned company in the US is worth just 0.09% of the country’s GDP. The amount of funding received by the US top funded company is representative of every person in the US giving the company over £40 each.

The State of US Female Founders

Using data from Crunchbase we have ranked the top female founder-friendly states in the US. California has been crowned the best state in the US for a female to start a business.

Most people may predict New York as the top state for business, California actually comes out on top for female founders. Not only does California have the powerhouse that is Los Angeles, within the San Francisco Bay area sits the famous Silicon Valley. Described as the mecca of tech and innovation and holds incredible tech opportunities. 

Backing Britain

The UK is the home to so many well-established companies and bright-eyed up and comers, many female-founded businesses started in the UK such as Starling Bank. The UK sits at number four on the global list but which area of the UK backs their female founders the most?

The UK holds so many funding opportunities, London wins by a landslide with £3.9bn of funding, the capital of England is also the business hub. Amongst the other contenders, there are some expected cities such as Manchester, however, lesser-known towns such as Colchester and Stevenage that both have more funding than Newcastle.  

How We Can Help Female Founders

Research by The Boston Consulting Group and MassChallenge reports that although females are incredibly underfunded, female-founded startups generate more than twice the amount of revenue per $1 of funding. 

While women are becoming more and more successful in the business world there are important steps we need to take in order to ensure women break through the gender divide. 

Co-founder of JBH the Digital PR Agency Jane Hunt says: 

“Being a female founder brings setbacks and challenges that male founders don’t have to experience. I’ve had to work harder than male colleagues to earn respect as a company founder and boss, but also as an expert throughout my career in marketing and PR. It’s fantastic to see other female founders succeeding and that there’s more support for women to start businesses today, especially in traditionally male-dominated industries. With data showing that female-led businesses are more successful, I’d love to see more opportunities for women in the c-suite in the future”.

There are a number of ways that female founders can be supported, it is incredibly easy to support these businesses from just a click.

Here are some great ways you can help:

  • Share the Love: If you like a brand’s services or products, nothing is more helpful to them than you shouting about it. Whether it is through a review or an Instagram story expressing your positive experience it helps a lot.
  • Constructive Feedback: If you have any issues with a businesses services they will welcome the feedback, by emailing them telling them your thoughts and feedback not only will they likely help resolve any issues but it will help them improve in future.
  • Donate your Time and Expertise: Rather than generic monetary donations, if you consider yourself an expert in your field offer mentoring or advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • Buy Local, By Females: Choosing a local female-owned business will mean more to the owner than you can imagine. Rather than supporting large corporations, head to a local business which will give you a much more personal experience where your purchase isn’t just one in a million.
  • Remember… Someone Else’s Success Is Not Your Failure: Whether it’s a friend or a stranger, someone else’s success should be congratulated, a simple like on Instagram or a follow will help them grow.

How you can help women across the world

Many charities and organisations exist with the sole purpose of supporting women and helping them reach their potential. Where you want to volunteer, educate yourself or donate, find the links below:

What Support Can Women Business Owners Get?

Female founders help:

Female founders in STEM help:

Women in business networking platform:

Methodology: 

Using a mix of sources including CrunchBase, Tide, MasterCard and Linkedin we have calculated the best places for female founders globally, in the US and the UK. Each component was ranked based on normalization ranking with a maximum score of one or 10 to find the best destinations. These ranked components include:

  • % of women business owners
  • Top funding amount 
  • Number of female-only founded businesses with rounds of over $100M in 2019
  • Estimated number of female founders
  • Total funding of state or city
  • Number of founders on Linkedin
1000 665 Jane Hunt

WATCH AGAIN: Data Fails – A data analyst reveals the mistakes we’re ALL making

If you missed our webinar with Thierry Ngutegure, data and insights manager at Rise at Seven on data fails you can catch up now. Jane and Thierry discuss the types of mistakes we’re making when we use data in our digital PR campaigns and how to solve or avoid them. There were so many great pieces of insight and tips, so well worth a watch or re-watch!

 

The webinar covers:

  • Ideation phase: How we approach “I wonder if there’s is data on” vs “We should do a survey about”
  • Research techniques: How not everyone gets 110% out of their surveys/reach techniques and the analytical tricks we’re missing
  • Content creation: 32% is not a third and 22 people in Leeds does not speak for the entire of Leeds – data etiquette
  • Methodologies: why your methodology should be as good as your headline/hook

About Thierry

Thierry is the Data & Insights Manager at Rise at Seven, overlooking everything data and research-orientated. Aligning with operational efficiencies, reporting strategies for SEO/PR, data-led content creation, data journalism and consumer research.

An expert in data-led insight, Thierry’s roots in biological sciences and consumer economics makes sure the audience is always at the core of everything.

Thierry’s client experience spans Berghaus, MyHermes, Missgudied, PrettyLittleThing, Gocompare, Uswitch, MyProtein, GAME, Ladbrokes and Badoo/Bumble.

Follow Thierry on Twitter

 

Next Webinar:

Sign up now!

 

1000 666 Eva Cheng

9 Chrome browser extensions that every Digital PR needs in their life

When working in Digital PR everything is fast-paced, from the campaigns you run to the stories running in the media, what’s new news can suddenly change to old news in a flash.

So why make life hard for yourself!?

There are some amazing tools and extensions that can help you navigate the world of Digital PR. We’ve compiled the ultimate list of Chrome Browser extensions that every Digital PR needs in their life! 

Adblocker

Keeping up with the news and the current trends is one of the most important parts of working in Digital PR, it can help you land links via link jacking and reactive content. To keep up to date with the news at times we have 3,858,328 news tabs open from numerous publications which makes our computers sound a bit like a spaceship about to take off!

Waiting for a web page to load can be agonising, which is why you should 100% download an ad blocker chrome extension, this will increase your page load speed by a vast amount.

Here’s one I’d recommend: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ad-blocker/kacljcbejojnapnmiifgckbafkojcncf

Top Tip: Sometimes publications can recognise that you are blocking their ads, so you may need to disable your ad blocker here and there. Pinning your chrome extensions into your chrome toolbar can be very handy, here’s how; 

  • Click on the “Extensions” button in the toolbar next to your profile avatar.
  • A drop-down menu will show you all the installed extensions that are enabled. …
  • In this list, next to each icon you’ll see a pushpin icon. …
  • Click on the “pushpin” icon to pin or unpin a Chrome extension in the toolbar.

Keywords Everywhere

When prospecting or coming up with new campaigns, the Keywords Everywhere extension is a lifesaver!

This chrome extension that shows you monthly search volume, CPC & competition data on 15+ websites. It also has built-in tools to find keywords from your seed keyword and can show you keywords that any page ranks for in the SERPs. 

Keywords Everywhere shows you the Trend chart, Related keywords, “people also search for”, & long-tail keywords in widgets on the right-hand side of Google. They can also see the estimated organic traffic and the top 5000 keywords for all pages on Google.

Add to your browser from the Chrome app store here:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/keywords-everywhere-keywo/hbapdpeemoojbophdfndmlgdhppljgmp

NoFollow

Links links links, we love links!

When you get a link it can feel amazing – but how can you tell whether a link is a Follow or NoFollow link? With this NoFollow chrome extension, it outlines NoFollow and detects NoFollow links.

Links are at the core of digital PR; they are the reason we do what we do. Digital PR campaigns are meant to promote a brand, create visibility, and attract backlinks from authoritative websites. But there is the much-dreaded NoFollow: But is it necessarily bad? Find out more by taking a look at our 101 on NoFollow links here.

Add to your browser from the Chrome app store here:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/nofollow/dfogidghaigoomjdeacndafapdijmiid

HolaVPN

When working with clients across the world, you may need to prospect for publications which aren’t UK based. In the past, I’ve had trouble with accessing niche publications across the pond, as it has recognised my VPN and blocks me from accessing the site.

Hola VPN allows you to change your location so you can access a site no matter where you are.

Add to your browser from the Chrome app store here:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hola-free-vpn-proxy-unblo/gkojfkhlekighikafcpjkiklfbnlmeio

Email Tracker

Going live with a campaign can be nerve-wracking, but when you launch a campaign and a journalist replies requesting more information or specific data then you do it in a snap. But what if you sent them the data or tailored press release but you’ve heard nothing from them?

Email tracker allows you to see how many times your recipient has opened an email, so you can keep track on whether your email got lost in their inbox or if they are ignoring you 😬 … the cheek!

Add to your browser from the Chrome app store here:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/email-tracker-for-gmail-m/ndnaehgpjlnokgebbaldlmgkapkpjkkb

SimilarSites

When prospecting for a subject you aren’t familiar with, SimilarSites is a great tool. 

SimilarSites will give you a list of websites which are similar to the one you are on. It is perfecting for prospecting niche publications and can direct you to a handful of websites related to the one you are currently browsing.

Add to your browser from the Chrome app store here:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/similar-sites-discover-re/necpbmbhhdiplmfhmjicabdeighkndkn

SEOquake

SEOquake is another great tool for prospecting, it also provides you with key SEO metrics, along with other useful tools such as SEO Audit!

Once downloaded you can see the SEO bar is an additional toolbar located at the top of the browser window, and it presents core metrics – a number of which can be customized. You can organise your SERP result based on location, SEMrush backlinks, SEMrush ranks and language! 

Once you have filtered your SERP results, you can download your SERP as a CSV, which can act as a prospecting list for the campaign you are working on! 

Add to your browser from the Chrome app store here:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/seoquake/akdgnmcogleenhbclghghlkkdndkjdjc

MozBar  

MozBar, the all-in-one SEO toolbar for research on the go, a great free tool which you can use to check a website’s domain authority. 

By predicting Google’s ranking metrics MozBar has created its own metrics to rank websites, the higher the domain authority on a site = reliability & trust. MozBar gives you instant metrics while viewing any page or SERP.

Add to your browser from the Chrome app store here:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/mozbar/eakacpaijcpapndcfffdgphdiccmpknp

Hunter IO

We’ve all been there, frantically searching on Vuelio, Gorkana or Roxhill for a journos email address and then stalking them on their social media to find yourself on their cousins, daughters friends Twitter page – lost in the abyss and confused at how you even got there. 

Thankfully most journos or webpage email addresses can be found via Hunter!

With Hunter for Chrome, you can immediately find who to contact when you visit a website. Along with the email addresses, you can get the names, job titles, social networks and phone numbers. All the data has public sources detailed in the search results.

If the email address for the journo you are looking for is unavailable then Hunter will give you the most common pattern from the website, so you can take the chance at guessing your recipient’s email address!

Add to your browser from the Chrome app store here:
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hunter-find-email-address/hgmhmanijnjhaffoampdlllchpolkdnj

We are always looking for new chrome extensions and tools that can make our lives easier!
If you use a tool which you love and we haven’t mentioned it in this blog, drop me a tweet at @evachengPR or @JBHdigitalPR with your favourite tools so we can check them out. Afterall sharing is caring!
PR in a pandemic
1024 682 Rebecca Moss

PR in a Pandemic: 5 Campaigns that Worked in 2020

What did PRs learn from top lifestyle journalists amid COVID-19?

As the year comes to an end, we look back at the toughest 12 months of our careers and we’re pleased to say that we’ve not only survived, but we’ve thrived.

On the 21st April 2020, we launched the first of our ‘Missing Link’ webinars, where we called upon top lifestyle journalists Almara Abgarian and Sian Elvin to tell us how and what to pitch as PR’s living and working in lockdown. 

We listened. We learned. We grafted long and hard hunched over our makeshift desks to ensure our campaigns were timely, newsworthy and interesting. 

And it worked. 

Even with the sudden sidestep of the pandemic, and even through the growing pains of remote working, JBH grew. We built the team, built the accounts and most importantly we built links. 

We developed campaigns to be proud of which is why we have decided to showcase five of our favourite campaigns that smashed all expectations this year.

 

OnlyFans Rich List Campaign

1. OnlyFans Rich List

OnlyFans is the site that’s encouraging celebrities and influencers to flash for cash – and we discovered that it’s set to make them millions.

After seeing many celebrities and influencers flock to the paid content creation site, we used the OnlyFans earnings calculator to estimate how much celebrities and influencers could make, if they started producing and promoting exclusive content via the OnlyFans platform. 

Whilst the campaign was a tongue in cheek look at pop-culture, it actually sparked some wider conversation around monetising content, landing this piece in Glamour

This campaign was an immediate success, with Love Island star Megan Barton-Hanson and Singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi sharing and tweeting about the OnlyFans Rich List, proving that digital PR has wider impact than just link building for SEO

This campaign continues to pick up links, both organically and through newsjacking; whenever we see that a new celebrity or influencer has joined the platform, we big name we dust the rich list off, and newsjack it for even more links and coverage. 

Results:

  • Total Links: 48 (and counting) 
  • Average DA: 71

 

 

Ministerial Mansions PR Campaign

2. Ministerial Mansions

If you’re running the country, you don’t usually go home to an average three-bedroom semi in the suburbs. Instead, you’re more likely to retreat to an opulent mansion that would quite literally take your breath away.

This data-led campaign for online estate agent Emoov looked at 20 ministerial mansions that the world’s most powerful leaders call home, and then calculated just how much they would be worth on the market today (and which world leaders had enough in the bank to be able to buy it for themselves) 

This campaign was not only incredibly fun to do, but it also spread far and wide, with people eager to report that the Queen could not afford to buy Buckingham Palace or that Trump could afford to buy The White House a few times over. 

But we didn’t stop there. 

With Buckingham Palace topping the list, we knew we wanted to squeeze more coverage for, beyond property and lifestyle publications (which we’d already achieved links for). So we decided to put the palace up for ‘sale’, which went wild following coverage on the Express

This campaign was a hit in many countries including the US where we gained coverage in The Wall Street Journal and many other large publications around the globe. Politics can be a niche subject to nail, but this unique research landed perfectly and created a great conversation piece for publishers. 

Results:

  • Total Links: 72
  • Average DA: 60

 

 

Dirty Delivery Report PR Campaign

3. Dirty Delivery Report

Sustainability and eco-focused campaigns have been doing very well in recent months and as Black Friday approached during lockdown V.2 in November, we investigated how much CO2 could be produced by the millions of packages set to be delivered across the country. 

After crunching numbers we predicted that, with sales estimated to rise by at least 14% vs last year, Black Friday 2020 could be responsible for 429,000 tonnes of carbon emissions; the equivalent to 435 return flights from London to New York.

The shock factor of this data is what made it so fascinating, landing on the BBC, Telegraph, Forbes and various industry publications the campaign ‘delivered’ 46 links with an average DR of 68. 

Results:

  • Total Links: 46
  • Average DA: 68

 

 

Worlds Best Subway Systems PR Campaign

4. The World’s Best Subway Systems 

Whether you travelled as a commuter or a tourist, it’s likely that you’ll have travelled on at least one of these subway systems. From the London Underground to the Shanghai Metro, we ranked 10 of the busiest subway systems based on what travellers find the most important, for our client Essential Living. 

Using a variety of factors to rank them including price, comfort and friendliness we were able to determine the best metro in the world. This campaign was not only eye-opening for us but also to the 117 publications across the world that became captivated by the campaign, including TimeOut, CountryLiving and Tag Spiegel

Global rankings like this have the potential to spread to all corners of the world, whether it is the top country boasting their metro credentials or low ranking countries reporting the bad news. 

Results:

  • Total Links:117
  • Average DA: 60

 

Celebrity Chefs Credit Report PR campaign

 

5. Celebrity Chefs Credit Report

There was once a time when fame and wealth were the exclusive domain of actors, singers and sports stars, but in recent years, the money has been spreading into the kitchen, too.

Chefs are now celebrities in their own right, with incredible net worths, From Nigella to Jamie, we crunched the numbers to reveal which celebrity chefs are the most successful.

As this campaign is evergreen, each time a chef releases a new book or TV show, we can pick up where we left off and re-issue the campaign for more links and coverage

With top chefs from all over the world featuring the report, we were able to generate coverage in brand new markets for Money.co.uk hitting publications in Italy, the Netherlands and more. In total, this campaign cooked up 42 links with an incredible average DR of 71, including Vanity Fair, Esquire and the Mirror

Results:

  • Total Links: 42
  • Average DA: 71

 

JBH digital PR experts reveal what they have learned about conducting PR during a pandemic 

We asked members of the JBH team what their key takeaways were from running campaigns in 2020 and how they will take these learnings through to 2021’s digital PR campaigns. 

 

Rebecca Moss

Rebecca Moss – Digital PR Director

“I think that running campaigns in 2020 has proven that news jacking will become vital for hero campaigns to get cut through. Teams will need to be agile enough to accommodate this new way of working and clients need to be open to it too. The news agenda moves so quickly that larger campaigns (and the people running them) will need to be flexible, willing and able to pivot at any given moment.”

 

Lauren HenleyLauren Henley– Digital PR Manager

“This year has reinforced how important it is for campaigns to be credible. There is still an abundance of fake news and as Digital PRs, we shouldn’t be fuelling or adding to this. It has also taught me to be bolder with ideas. With a deluge of depressing news, lighthearted campaigns have shone through and offered a welcome distraction. As long as PRs are being mindful, we should all embrace more fun campaigns.”

 

Sophie Campbell

Sophie Campbell – Senior Digital PR Executive

“Learning to prepare for the unexpected has been a key learning from 2020. Watching campaigns that within a day became completely irrelevant to current affairs and having to try and successfully change its course was a challenge a lot of PR specialists will have had to have faced during the past year, but it’s also taught us to think ahead and ensure we consider all possible outcomes so that we are able to land those links.”

 

Sophie ClintonSophie Clinton– Senior Digital PR Executive

“I think 2020 has taught us how important it is to absorb the news and make sure every campaign is in keeping with the news agenda. With restrictions changing across the UK throughout the year we have had to be flexible with our campaigns and be able to pivot or change up the content. By doing this you can also take advantage of the news to hook your campaign to a breaking and/or trending topic.”

 

Tori SaundersTori Saunders – Research and Content Writer

“2020 has been a huge opportunity for development. We found that people are navigating a sea of uncertainty, especially within the media so having data-led campaigns which use credible sources remain so important. Data-led campaigns with strong methodologies will also make outreach more streamlined and offer insurance to publications.”

 

Hannah Sheaf

Hannah Sheaf – Digital PR Executive

“This year has taught us that communication is key in every aspect of our lives. If a topic has provoked a discussion, whether at work or at home, look into it. It may be a good starting point for a campaign. The most successful campaigns come from sharing insight and ideas with your team to achieve the best possible end result for your work.”

 

Thomas O'RourkeTom O’Rourke – Digital PR Executive 

“I think 2020 has proven that audiences need an equal balance of hard and soft news. Many of the best campaigns in 2020 offer an opportunity for escapism, giving the reader a chance to take a break from the hard hitting news we see everyday on TV. I think moving into 2021, we’ll see a lot more digital campaigns that try to unite us as a nation, through humour and other emotions that audiences can connect with.”

 

 

 

1024 682 Rebecca Moss

How to generate campaign ideas with topical Trust Flow

So you want links to your websites, but it should not be any link… ideally, backlinks come from authoritative, trust-worthy websites that are topically related to your website.

That is an important bit: topically related. Of course, you would not turn down a link from a high authority website in another niche, but when you invest time in link building, outreach and digital PR, you would want to focus on websites in the same niche as yours. After all, relevancy matters.

Identifying suitable websites to outreach to can be easy for some industries and difficult for others. Sometimes you need to find creative link building ways. This is where topical Trust Flow can help.

What is topical Trust Flow?

Trust Flow is a metric by Majestic and measures how authoritative a website is based on its backlink profile. The higher the TF, the more authority the website has. The BBC for example has a TF of 95, Wikipedia follows with 94.

There is a sub-metric called topical Trust Flow. It assigns a topic to each website and calculates the Trust Flow for all websites within the topic. The below screenshot is for Wikipedia.org:

Screenshot of Majestic showing topical Trustflow for Wikipedia.

For such a website, you would expect a wide range of topics. In this case 14.13% of the backlinks to Wikipedia come from websites within the travel niche, 5.25% are from other encyclopaedias and so on.

Other available topics are for example Business, News, Sports, Health, Home, Shopping and Games. There is a topic for your niche too!

How to identify opportunities with topical TF

Identifying the topic that relates to your business is the easy step. How do you find websites to outreach to that are within the same topic?

Identify competitors

At first, you want to identify competitors for your website – we do not mean the shop across the road that sells the same items as you do, but those websites that compete with you for the space in Google’s SERPs. In some cases, you might have a competitor for your business who is selling the same products or providing the same service as you, but who relies on other channels than SEO. When you are looking at SEO opportunities, you want to look at those competitors that are doing their SEO well. Tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush provide a list of competing domains based on your keyword rankings. If you don’t have those tools available, you can put your most important keywords into a Google search and see who shows up. You should verify though that the website is indeed a competitor in terms of business model and product offering.

The competitor’s backlink profile

Once you have competitors identified, you can put those domains into Majestic to find the one with the best backlink profile. A high TF or a high number of referring domains is always a good point of call.

Let’s say that you have a health-related business. A good website to draw inspiration from is healthline.com. It has a TF of 52, with a topical TF within health and more than 160k referring domains:

Screenshot from Majestic showing the summary of stats for healthline.com

If we want to see where this website is getting backlinks from, the best place is the tab called Ref Domains.

The best opportunities are websites with high authority. We therefore sort the list by Trust Flow and refresh the list:

Screenshot from Majestic showing how to sort referring domains by trust flow

In the last step, we want to filter the list for websites that have a topical Trust Flow within the health topic:

Screenshot from Majestic showing how to sort referring domains by topic.

 

We start selecting those from the top and will receive a list of health-related websites, sorted by authority (TF) that link to a competitor of ours (in this case healthline.com):

Screenshot from Majestic showing how to sort referring domains by topic.

Content ideas and an outreach list

If we click the numbers in the column called Backlinks, we can see the exact URLs of the pages that are linking to healthline.com. This provides a good understanding how the website attracted links from high authority websites and will guide your link building strategy. Once analysed, you will have plenty of ideas for your backlink campaign assets and a list of domains to pitch your content to. Happy link building and don’t forget to get in touch if you need some help.

1000 665 Jane Hunt

If you work in digital PR then you need to rip up the rule book

It’s not that rules are there to be broken, but in times of immense challenges and uncertainty, the old rules just don’t apply in the same way. 

If nothing else, this year has proved that you don’t need to follow a rule book for building a business and delivering a service. But what you do have to be is adaptable.

Adaptable brands always thrive in times of crisis.

And JBH is no different. We’ve thrived during 2020, tripling in size and revenue, but it’s no coincidence and I think it comes down to one key thing – we’ve been able to adapt quickly and learn as we go.

“Sometimes you just have to take the leap, and build your wings on the way down.” Kobi Yamada

So what has 2020 taught me?

  1. There is no one ‘right way’ of delivering a digital PR service and campaigns
  2. Speed is everything – you need to be setup to respond to opportunities in a matter of minutes rather than hours or days
  3. Forget the silos. Digital PR involves all stakeholders and agencies should be working with SEO, PR, social and wider marketing teams – especially amid a crisis
  4. Traditional public speaking has been replaced by webinars, vlogs and podcasts and I don’t think this will shift back again once the pandemic is over – this is our new norm
  5. Brands are much more specific about what success looks like and agencies need to adapt and respond to each brands unique objectives and challenges
  6. Campaigns should always seek to go beyond delivering just links and add additional value to the brand or business
  7. A blended ‘always on’ approach is required for digital PR requiring a skillset that fuses hero and reactive PR techniques
  8. PRs need to be multi-skilled and agile, constantly learning, questioning and tweaking
  9. With so much competition for talent, we’re focused on providing the best training, bringing in outside experts to provide a range of knowledge and perspectives
  10. There is more scope for fast career development than ever before, for those with the right attitude, the sky’s the limit!
  11. Tear up the rule book, what worked traditionally won’t anymore. The only thing that is consistent is that the world of digital marketing is constantly changing and there isn’t time to sit back and relax or you’ll get left behind.

So 2020 has taught me that instead of following an old set of rules, we need to be constantly rewriting the rules, challenging ourselves and figuring it out as we go – and that’s ok.

1000 665 JBH - The Digital PR Agency

WATCH AGAIN: Missing Link #5: How to harness newsjacking for digital PR

Over the last 6 months, newsjacking and reactive pitching has become one of the favourite techniques in our digital PR toolbox. This method provides so many opportunities to earn links, build brand awareness and also help to turn around any underperforming campaigns for our clients.

In this webinar, Rebecca Moss, our digital PR director takes you all through her newsjacking process, from sourcing news stories and ideas, to the importance of being set up to succeed. She’ll also provide some tips to get you started and maximise your opportunities, as well as sharing examples of this technique being used effectively by brands all over the world.

 
The webinar covers:

  • Where to look for newsjacking or reactive pitch ideas
  • Why speed is so important to success when using this technique
  • How to deliver a pitch journalists really want
  • How to build links more consistently from newsjacking
  • How to think like a press office
  • Q&A – Opportunity to ask Rebecca anything about newsjacking

About Rebecca
Rebecca Moss is the digital PR director at JBH, leading a team of experienced digital PR experts to deliver PR and link building campaigns for clients across a range of sectors, including personal finance, home and lifestyle.

Rebecca works strategically with PR and SEO teams to ensure the campaigns JBH creates not only build brand awareness and credibility for our clients, but are also sensitive to current news stories.

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How to Newsjack with your Digital PR Campaigns (plus 20 sources of inspiration)

There’s no getting away from it, resource-heavy hero campaigns will always have a place in digital PR and newsjacking can elevate them above and beyond what you set out to achieve originally.

What is newsjacking?

Bestselling author David Meerman Scott explains newsjacking as a technique that allows you to introduce ideas and opinions (from yourself or from your client) into a breaking news story.

He describes the lifecycle of a breaking story as a ‘bell curve’ and in order for newsjacking to be effective, you have to hit the bell at the right point, just as the story has broken.

In the traditional sense, newsjacking would always be run as a separate PR specialism, rather than in conjunction with a larger campaign. But we’ve quickly realised that blending newsjacking techniques into our larger campaigns yields better results, in terms of quality AND quantity of links generated.

And as such, we don’t define it as an extra service, it comes part and parcel with every campaign we run for every client on the roster – it’s just part of what we do.

How to use newsjacking as part of your digital PR campaign

If you are running a digital PR campaign, there will be a reason for that. And it is usually due to the topical nature of the idea. Without even realising it, you’re basically ready to incorporate newsjacking into your outreach process.

Live and breathe the topic of your campaign

At the very least, you have to have an interest in the topic you are trying to newsjack. From following subject experts on Twitter and LinkedIn, to subscribing to newsletters related to the subject. You’ll be really surprised at how much this passive action can help frame your thinking.

Keyword research for digital PR can be different to keyword research for SEO

For each campaign you are running, uncover the keywords that would show you similar content related to your campaign. This is a bit different to keyword research for SEO.

You’re looking for keywords that will trigger Google Alerts to show you news stories that you can hijack for coverage.

So what does this look like in practice?

For example, we ran a campaign called Ministerial Mansions which discovered the world leaders with the most expensive homes for online estate agent Emoov.

Buckingham Palace topped the list and we knew we wanted to squeeze more coverage for this campaign, beyond property and lifestyle publications (which we’d already achieved coverage and links through our usual media outreach). So we decided to put the palace up for sale.

The Royal Family isn’t something I pay much attention to, but I needed to know it inside out to get the most out of this campaign. So rather than spend hours reading up or watching ‘The Crown’, I set up Google Alerts/Talkwalker Alerts for the following keywords: 

    • Royal finances
    • Buckingham Palace renovations
    • Royal cutbacks
    • Royal family cost to the taxpayer
    • Royal family salaries
    • ‘The Crown Netflix’

When the Royal Household published its annual financial statement for 2019-20, we were able to push our ‘Buckingham Palace Valuation’ story out as soon as we started seeing those stories come through. And we did it again when series 4 of The Crown aired on Netflix.

Trends are your friend and embrace the push notification

Google Trends and Twitter Trends – I have these pinned to my browser tabs and check them periodically throughout the day.

Push notifications on your browser and your phone can also be really useful – set them up for news publications so you can see exactly what is happening, as it happens.

Fun fact: The trends you see on Twitter are directly related to the people you follow, so make sure you are following the right people related to your campaigns to see the most relevant trends.

Newsjacking can be evergreen

When you newsjack a digital PR campaign, you get more than one shot at success. In October, we launched the OnlyFans Rich List for SlotsUp following the Bella Thorne controversy. We set up Google Alerts for all of the celebrities included on the OnlyFans rich list, and continually re-issued the campaign as and when we needed to:

  • Lewis Capaldi’s birthday
  • Jordyn Woods set up her account
  • Megan Barton-Hanson tweeted about OnlyFans earnings
  • Cardi B joined OnlyFans
  • Chloe Khan joined OnlyFans

And we can continue to do this each and every time a newsworthy name joins OnlyFans.

Prepare expert comments in advance (if you can)

If you can prepare and get approval on comments in advance of a big event, then do. But be prepared to tweak them as you go. However, some of the best newsjacking we’ve done has been off the back of a larger campaign, and hasn’t necessarily needed any additional commentary.

Use newsjacking to elevate a ‘slow burn’ digital PR campaign 

I am a realist, and I accept that not every single campaign will smash it out of the park. Some will be a slower burn than others. Why not try some newsjacking techniques to see if you can light a fire underneath a slow burn campaign?

Looking for newsjacking opportunities? Here are 20 sources of inspiration to help newsjack your digital PR campaigns

Make newsjacking your digital PR campaigns easier by having a few extra things in place before you begin:

IFTTT & #journorequest
If you’re anything like me, then you might sometimes forget to check #journorequest, but thanks to a handy TikTok tutorial from Mark Rofe you can set up IFTTT (IfThisThenThat) to send you an email every time a relevant request comes up. Here a trigger I set up for any property related #journorequest:

You can even connect this to Slack so that opportunities drop straight into a channel for the whole team to see and action. 

Spotify daily drive playlist
Even if you don’t drive, take a look at your Spotify account to see if you have the Daily Drive Playlist. It combines music with timely world updates from reputable sources. Mine always has The Times Daily News Briefing.

#tomorrowspaperstoday
A voluntary service bringing you the front pages of the papers before they hit the newsstands – give them a follow here. The BBC also have a dedicated page which is updated every evening.

Google Alerts
Not just for monitoring brand mentions, pop your campaign-related keywords into Google Alerts and see if you can react to any of the results that come back.

Push notifications
Those annoying little notifications popping up on your screen can actually be helpful when it comes to newsjacking opportunities. Outside the usual big news outlets, sector specific publications have begun to do this too.

Newsletters
Subscribe to the newsletters of publications you want coverage on. A few of my favourites include:

Metro Lifestyle | BBC News Daily | Sheerluxe Daily News | Stylist | Reuters Morning Digest| Daily Mail Travel Newsletter + loads more

Days of the year calendars
I’m still on the hunt for an amazing ‘Days of the Year’ calendar integration for my Google calendar. This PDF version from 10Yetis is great, though.

24-hour news channels
These are usually the first to break any news story, so another good source of inspiration that you can have on in the background.

Alexa; read me the headlines from X
Rather than waiting for the hourly news bulletin on the radio, if you have a voice assistant ask for the headlines from whatever publication you’d like to hear them.

Ask Chrome to open a specific set of pages
In Chrome settings, you can ask it to open up a specific set of pages each time you start up. For me, it’s Google News Top Stories | Twitter Trends | Google Trends

Independent news outlets
If you’re tasked with securing local coverage and links, then looking towards independent news outlets could give you the edge.

News wire services
Many of the big news publications get stories from The Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg News. You can also subscribe to their newsletters and follow them on social media to give you an up-to-the-minute overview of what’s happening.

Feedspot content reader
It can feel a bit overwhelming having to check all these different news sources every day, so this is where Feedspot can help. It’s a content reader that brings together all these news sources, so you can see at a glance, what’s trending/breaking and you can explore more, if you want. Here’s my Feedspot

Reddit – https://www.reddit.com/r/uknews/
Reddit is the front page of the internet so keeping an eye on subreddits related to your campaign keywords is a great idea.

Facebook groups
Another great source of newsjacking inspiration here, especially if you’re looking for local or very niche coverage. Journalists scour these groups for story inspiration, so why not do the same too?

Daily news briefings & podcasts
Most major news outlets have a daily news briefing on Spotify plus podcasts can be an untapped source of inspiration too – I have created a playlist with all of my favourites in it for easy access – give it a follow

Tweetdeck / Hootsuite
Use a twitter monitoring tool to flag up relevant key phrases as and when they appear on Twitter. 

Buzzsumo
Buzzsumo automatically orders by engagement, which means older articles come up first. Use the filter to order by date, which means you see new popular/trending stories first in the list.

Twitter lists
There are a couple of ways you can use Twitter lists for newsjacking. You can either set up a list following a hashtag or topic eg #GBBO or follow pre-curated lists like this

Website change monitoring
If you’re waiting for a data set to be released from a site such as the ONS, it’s worth setting up an alert via a website change monitoring tool to alert you as soon as that page is updated, rather than having to remember to go and check the page. Visualping.io and Sken.io are just a couple of free options.

Newsjacking your digital PR campaign – 3 key takeaways 

  1. Use tools and alerts to your advantage – get newsjacking topics delivered right to your inbox.
  2. Don’t worry about planning ahead too much – it’s more important to be quick and accurate when the time is right.
  3. You don’t have to be ‘always on’ – but it is helpful if you’re frequently watching and listening out for opportunities.
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We got a link, what next?

This just made your day: The alert you have created in ahrefs has informed you about a new link to your website and it points to your latest digital PR campaign. Jackpot! But does this automatically make you the employee of the month? No!

There are a few things you would want to check about any new link to understand if it is really the big win or if you have some cleaning up to do. Even with the best preparation and research before you reach out to any journalist, there are still some surprises that a live link can bring.

Which domain is that?

Not only work some journalists and bloggers for multiple websites, they often also publish on sub-domains and that is important when it comes to your link building reports as the metrics for a sub-domain can often vary greatly from those of the main domain.

In most cases, the KPIs of a digital PR campaign specify the minimum DA, DR or TF and you want to ensure you are tracking those correctly. The standard example for this used to be blogspot.com. If anybody wanted to create a blog on this platform, that blog would be hosted on a subdomain, e.g. myblog.blogspot.com. When we were trying to find an example, we noticed that most of those blogs are by now hosted on a dedicated domain, but we found some other examples:

It is not just blog hosting platforms, sometimes also authoritative websites create subdomains for certain types of content, e.g. the German magazine focus.de (TF 72) has subdomains for games, product comparisons and vouchers: games.focus.de (TF 32), gutscheine.focus.de (TF 44) and vergleich.focus.de (TF 43).

A language specific subdomain too can make a difference: Wikipedia.org has a TF of 94, the German equivalent de.wikipedia.org has a TF of only 78 and the Portuguese pt.wikipedia.org only a TF of 47.

That is quite a difference in metrics to measure, so before you open the champagne, you want to make sure the link contains what the label says.

Look at the link in its purest form

Apart from the domain, you also want to take a look at the link itself. The most obvious thing to look at is the anchor text which in most cases will probably be your brand name. If you see it being misspelled or the journalist has used an anchor you would not want to be associated with your brand, you should contact them and ask for it to be changed.

You also want to determine whether the link is a follow or nofollow link as this is in most cases something you want to include in your link building report. The easiest way to find this is in the source code of the page which you can access via CTRL+U or right click on your mouse and select “view source”. Via the usual search functionality in the browser (CTRL+F) you can find the anchor text on your link. We can use an example of a recent article published by Forbes that references many authoritative websites.

Code snippet that shows nofollow links.

We can see links to websites like the BBC, New York Times and Boston Globe. A link always has the following format:

<a href=”URL”>anchor text</a>

Everything else that might be added to it provides additional information. In the above example, we can see: target=”_blank” which simply means that this link opens in a new window.

What we want to look at is the rel=”nofollow” as this means that it is a nofollow link. Please note that there is no specific markup for a follow link, the absence of “nofollow” usually means that it is a follow link.

Other things you want to look out for is a rel=”sponsored” or all forms of tracking code on the link as those usually indicate sponsored or paid links and do not provide much value for SEO.

Does Google know about your link?

Another important check to perform is whether the page that links to your website is indexed in Google. If a page is not indexed (even after a few days of it being live) there could be some technical or qualitative issues.

The most obvious would be that the page is orphaned, i.e. not linked to internally on the website. If that is the case, you can bring this up in your communication with the journalist. If it is a legit website, they probably appreciate you informing them about the page being orphaned.

If you want to find out whether a page is indexed or not, you can perform a site search in Google. This is how it would look for the above referenced article in Forbes:

Screenshot of a site search performed in Google.

If the page you are looking for appears as in the above example, everything is fine. The page is indexed. If no results come up, the page is not indexed.

The above are some general health checks that should be performed on any link a digital PR campaign brings, not only for your reporting but also to ensure that the links you attract provide value.

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Writers block: How to find inspiration when you are stuck for content ideas

If we’re being completely honest, we all know these situations. You try to come up with a creative idea but all you end up with is an empty piece of paper. It simply does not flow.

We have all been there and it is part of the creative process to be stuck sometimes. The important thing is knowing how to get out of it and keep the creative juices flowing. What to do? How to spark your creativity when you are feeling uninspired?

Look around you

The easiest way to kickstart the ideation process – and we do that often for creative link building campaigns – is to look at the things others have done. No matter the topic – travel, music, even engineering and mathematics – a lot of content has been created and is just waiting for you to be explored. Google your topic and see what comes up:

Screenshot from Google search for infographics about maths

We bet you did not know that there was a math awareness month. This is where the inspiration starts. Other than a Google search, sources like Pinterest, Instagram and Visually can be used to see what others have done in the past. Now look at this content, identify what resonates with you and why. What have they done that makes the topic work? How could you use it and add a twist?

Asking the right questions

Another way to get content inspiration is to find out what questions your audience is asking. This is also a good marketing technique and you are probably taking this into account already, but we sometimes forget that it can also be used to make your life easier. A good point of call is social media. Check what your audience is talking about. Did your social media team publish anything recently that triggered many comments or questions? Here is your starting point.

You can also use Google Trends to find out what people are talking about this week:

Screenshot from Google Trends early November 2020

Other tools you can draw upon are answerthepublic.com or alsoasked.com. All you must do is enter your topic and see related questions coming up.

Screenshot from answerthepublic.com for the topic Mathematics

What is happening around you?

Another approach that has proven useful this year is reactive PR. Traditionally it was understood as a reaction to negative press, but amidst a global pandemic, reactive strategies have become the new thing in digital PR. You are anyways monitoring your industry and you know what is going on. Is there any inspiration in this? Maybe you published a post a month ago that is no longer relevant. You can pick this topic up again. Did any circumstances for your customers change recently? If we stick to our maths topic, we could think of the way how 2020 has changed the way we teach maths. You could reach out to teachers and interview them about teaching from home. Are there any maths topics that are easier to teach in a classroom? How did remote learning change their way of explaining mathematical concepts? That is how easily you get an idea!

Re-utilize your own content

We already spoke about the content others have published as a source of inspiration, but what about your own content? Is there anything else that you can do with content you previously published? Is there anything else you could do with the original data? Maybe you used it for a blog post, maybe there is a graphic you can create out of it. If you had lots of pictures, maybe you can create a slideshow out of those you did not use for the post. If we look back at our maths example, you might have published the interview with the math teacher. Did he mention any specific calculations you could elaborate on? There might be opportunity for blog posts to explain some of the concepts he mentioned in the interview and so on…

What inspires you?

Creative minds can usually tell you exactly what it is that inspires them. Some go to the bathroom, others take a long walk in the woods, others listen to music. You probably have something as well that sparks your creativity. The common trait of all those techniques is to distract the mind. Stop thinking too hard about being creative! Stop the logic! The best way to do so is to get your mind onto something else.

If it does not help or if you simply cannot go for a walk in the woods right now, there are some quick exercises that can get you into the right mindset. You could take a random object, e.g. a chair, and give it new meaning. If this was not a chair, what would it be? A clothes hanger? A bookshelf? A ladder? See what you can come up with, but don’t think too much. Just write down a few ideas.

Alternatively, you could take randomly selected images, look at them and create a connection between them.

When we tried it, it created those 4 images:

Baby dressed up in a beach outfit. Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/hisins30-3587860/ Skateboard flying through the air, the feet are visible. Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/santa3-3503898/
Pink high heels with grass growing in them. Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/manfredrichter-4055600/ Water drops in front of a blue background. Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/inspiredimages-57296/

How do you make a connection? Maybe the baby is dreaming of riding a skateboard, jumping and flying through the air. But in reality, it looks as if it is trying mum’s heels that are 5 sizes too big walking over the grass that the hoar frost has turned wet.

Are you feeling inspired? Try it yourself. Generate some random images and see what this exercise does to your creative mind.

And if nothing helps, you can still get back to the old technique of drawing a mind map. Put everything in it that comes up when you think about the topic and see what you will end up with.