Category Archives: Public Relations

2024 PR trends – our predictions

By Mark Hayward

There are some things that will remain constant when it comes to the benefits of PR for companies, regardless of industry, market or audience they’re looking to reach.

 Content will always be king, storytelling will always help engage an audience, and quality media coverage will always add credibility to a brand.

However, 2024 brings a new era of technology and an evolution in the way we as consumers process and engage with PR content.

Here a just a few of our thoughts on the changes ahead.

AI and technology

Earlier this year, just to test out how AI might produce PR content, I asked ChatGPT to write a press release that we had recently distributed.

I think our jobs are safe!

The press release it produced was possibly the worst piece of PR writing I’d ever come across.

Journalism and PR is more an art than a science. There is a process you go through, yet the ability to drive quality content is still a very human and creative expression. Something that will always remain in the hands of a human.

Where AI can add value for PR professionals in 2024, is not to mimic human creativity but to support research, to streamline tasks, to free up more of our PR consultants’ time to be able to refine and develop quality narratives – the part of PR where human involvement remains key.

Emotion, personality and empathy

In my humble opinion, people have always bought from people.

Any company, brand and consultant, regardless of industry, needs to show their human side through its communication. The need to show personality, to open up and engage with emotion, and most importantly show empathy through communication, is something businesses should look to achieve in 2024.

In sales, you are always taught to sell the benefits of a product rather than the features. This means you talk about how a product or service will help solve a problem rather than the practicalities of what it does.

I’d argue we need to take this a step further.

Consumers want to know how a product makes us feel, emphasising and addressing the problems and challenges people are facing today. This means that you need to talk on a more personal level to your audience, which will achieve a much greater level of connection.

I therefore believe 2024 is the year to show a greater level of corporate empathy and personality.

Building trust and credibility

Trust has always been something that is earned, not demanded or dictated.

Whether individually or as a company, to build trust we must consistently deliver on our promises, on time and meeting (if not exceeding) the expectations we have laid out.

I believe that trust is one of the fundamental pillars of business success. Without trust and credibility, a business will have a short shelf life.

Alongside visibility, one of the core benefits resulting from good quality media relations activities is enhanced trust and credibility for a business or brand.

So businesses that harness the power and benefits of PR will be well placed for long term, sustainable growth.

Sustainability and the environment

Over recent years, consumers have been gravitating towards sustainably focused brands. A trend that I believe will continue.

Businesses with a genuine focus on delivering a sustainable, environmentally and socially sound business model will be well placed for success in 2024.

Consumers are also more savvy, and in many ways more sceptical, of environmental claims made by companies.

Issues with greenwashing and false or inaccurate claims, have meant that it is vital for companies to 100% walk-the-walk and be able to prove their commitment to sustainable business practises across their organisation.

Industry accreditation and research data proving a business’ commitment to doing the right thing will become ever more important, and articulating that narrative through PR will reaffirm that commitment to the consumer.

Any brands, businesses or individuals keen to hear how PR can help add credibility and raise visibility, contact us and will set up a call to find out more about what you’re looking to achieve.

New Signing for Sway PR’s Sports Marketing Team

Sway PR, an award-winning Manchester based PR agency, has appointed Mark Wardle to its Sports PR department, adding yet more talent to the growing Manchester team. 

On top of recent investment in an expansion into Scotland, Sway PR’s newest appointment shows a real commitment to growing in Manchester, where the agency was founded in 2011.

“Manchester is home to some of the country’s biggest sports clubs, brands and governing bodies. It’s a natural base for our growing sports team and we are delighted to have Mark join us to realise our vision for Sway’s Sports PR team,” said Mark Hayward, managing director at Sway PR.

He added; “Mark brings not only a wealth of experience and talent, but a real passion for the sector, something that made him an obvious choice for the role.”

Wardle previously worked for Jargon PR, a leading Tech PR Agency, and for the worldwide media agency Publicis Groupe, yet has always wanted to move into Sports PR.

He commented, “It’s been an incredible start, working on a project that’s secured international media coverage including highlights on BBC News 24, Channel 4 News, the Guardian, Independent and Daily Mail to name a few.

“It’s an exciting move for me, and I look forward to applying my experience in traditional media relations, social media management and content management, to Sway PR’s clients.”

Sway PR is growing rapidly, recording a 350% increase in turnover since 2020.

In 2022 the company was recognised with a win at the Creativepool awards, judge Sabine Huckmann calling their work “PR craftmanship”; and more recently in 2023 winning a silver at the CIPR North West PRide awards.

Sway recently restructured to create three divisions; Consumer, Sport and B2B.

Hayward added; “Mark has a fantastic track record of delivering for his clients. He has already fitted seamlessly into the team and we look forward to his valuable contribution.”

Mark will be heading up the Sport team at Sway PR with the view of growing the department and continuing their award-wining work.  

“We have ambitious growth plans ahead and Mark is a key part of delivering our vision for Sway PR,” adds Hayward.  

“Not only are we delighted to be adding his experience and PR acumen to the team, but Mark also brings social and paid media management to our portfolio – broadening the scope of work we can take on.” 

Sway PR is already working with many leading sports clients, including Portfolio Sport, Acme Whistles and Precision Fuel & Hydration, and anticipates adding more as it heads into an exciting sporting year.

Wardle added; “I’m delighted to be joining Sway PR; the people and culture are fantastic, and they are always committed to doing their very best for every client, an ethos I share wholeheartedly. 

“I’m joining Sway PR at a very exciting time as they expand the amazing work they are doing in the UK and internationally – it’s great to be part of it. Heading into an Olympics year, I’m very excited to be helping to create amazing work for our clients.”

PR for your exit strategy

By Mark Hayward

If you speak to any PR consultant, they will talk about reputation, sales, marketing and how a great presence in the media can support them all.

All of which is true.

However, an overlooked benefit of enhancing your reputation through great media coverage is when a business is being prepared, and going out to market, for sale.

If you’re selling a business there’s not only a financial benefit to a strong reputation, but it makes you a much more attractive proposition for buyers.

So how does this work?

In the same way a potential employee in an interview is more likely to get the job if they come recommended, with strong references behind them, a business is much more likely to develop strong links with prospective buyers if they have a robust history of media coverage and content that helps to tell their story – in short, a good reputation.

In business, reputation is everything.

Not only does it create a more sellable proposition, but some studies suggest that reputation contributes between 3 and 7.5% to annual revenue. I’d argue in some cases that figure could be a lot higher.

Therefore, allocating budget to building and maintaining your reputation should be seen as an investment rather than a cost.

In reality a company is worth whatever someone else is willing to pay for it, so let’s explore that for a moment.

I believe reputation is linked to the financial value of a business for a number of reasons:

  1. A company’s reputation is the foundation for customer trust and investor confidence. The better your relationship with customers, the “stickier” they become and the greater value they will be to the business.
  2. Reputation can also act like a magnet. Not only helping retain your customers but also attract new ones.
  3. It can also allow businesses to command high prices – ultimately adding to profitability.
  4. If the worst happens, a business with a strong reputation can withstand a crisis, mitigating against potential risks.

So let me ask you this – if you were looking to buy a business, would you pay a premium for a company that not only has loyal customers, but also easily attracts new customers? A company that can charge a premium when the worst happens can easily weather the storm.

For me, that’s a no brainer.

For any business owners looking for an exit strategy, or succession planning, PR is a tool that can not only help make that happen, but also help realise the full financial value of the business.

If you’re considering putting your business on the market give us a call and we can help guide you through the best strategy for leveraging PR.

Contact us for a longer chat!

Sway PR scoops CIPR PRide award

We are delighted to announce that Sway PR has been recognised by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations at the 2023 CIPR PRide Awards for the ‘Nine and a half years is too long!’ campaign on behalf of our client Bipolar UK.

Brilliantly managed by the superb Mia Hodgkinson, the campaign delivered a report, backed by 18 months of research, to decision makers at the Houses of Parliament.

The campaign called for change, and offered recommendations, to address the nine and a half years on average it takes to get a diagnosis of bipolar.

Without the support of amazing clients like Bipolar UK, and talented, passionate and professional members of the team like Mia – award wins like this are simply not possible.

Sway PR job advert – Senior Account Executive / Account Manager

We are recruiting! If you are keen to join one of the best (in our view) growing PR agencies, have a love of sport and adventure and are passionate about delivering value for clients through quality media coverage – apply today!

About Sway

We’re a small PR agency with big plans and want a confident and experienced consultant to join our team.

This role will be focussed on our sport clients including athletes, adventurers, hydration, nutrition and health brands. It would be great if you had an interest in exercise and sport!

As an agency we specialise in media relations and PR consultancy in travel, sport and consumer PR. We drive awareness & engagement for companies ‘that enhance our lives’.

We believe in working hard but flexibly. It’s all about delivering amazing results for our clients.

The role will be working remotely, yet collaboratively with the owner and wider team of consultants.

Who we are looking for…

We are looking for an experienced senior account executive / account manager who is ready to hit the ground sprinting. The person we hire will take on existing client work but will also be tasked to deliver new business targets.

We want someone who is hungry for results. They will be highly capable with client management and experienced in creating and delivering PR campaigns for health and sports brands – and all over it when it comes to engaging with social media.

Along with creativity and understanding, we need someone who is methodical and has an eye for detail. This is a full-time position; however part time will also be considered for the right candidate.

Fitting into our culture

  • Confident: You’ll be eager to get stuck in!
  • Flexible: We believe in living life & getting the job done – and done well. You’re not here to make up the numbers.
  • Methodical: You’ll need to be organised with an acute attention to detail.
  • Results: We are results focussed, not clock watchers. Our eyes are always on focussed on delivering meaningful results.
  • Personable: We work with good communicators, after all that’s how we add value to our clients.
  • Independent: We hire self-motivated people who can work remotely and independently.
  • Authoritative: We are not “yes people” we are the experts and give expert advice.
  • Ambassador: Our teamrepresents Sway and the Sway values at all times.

Key responsibilities

  • PR campaign delivery: Deliver all aspects of the PR campaign including:
    • Input into PR plans and strategies
    • Writing press releases, features and PR content
    • Selling in news, feature and interview opportunities to the media
    • Monitor and cut coverage to present to clients
    • Develop and negotiate strategic partnerships
  • PR campaign management:
    • Personal time planning and management
    • Client liaison, reviews, and updates on progress
    • Input into strategic communications advice and planning
  • Admin:
    • Reporting for clients
    • Time sheets
  • New Business:
    • Network, introduce, pitch, and engage new business prospects.
  • Other additional tasks:
    • Other activities associate with marketing Sway and its clients as deemed necessary.

Our Expectations

  • Clients – to strategise, manage, deliver, and monitor quality PR campaigns for clients on time and within budget.
  • Commercial expectations – to deliver 16 billable days of client activity per month.
  • New business – to maintain new business activities to deliver a minimum expected level of client work.
  • Value for clients – to create measurable value for clients.
  • Teamwork and mentorship – to support the business’ growth with onboarding and mentoring new team members.
  • IT knowledge – a good understanding of a range of Microsoft programmes. Image manipulation tools, video editing, media database management experience preferred.

What you will bring

  • Firstly, and most importantly, the candidate must be experienced in planning and delivering award worthy PR campaigns – with a hunger to generate meaningful results for clients.
  • The person joining our team will be a great creator of content, planner, and writer – with an eye for detail. It would be an advantage to have good media contacts in travel and/or sport and the skills to build strong media relationships in new markets.
  • They will be confident and experienced in managing clients along with experience in delivering new business.
  • We value people who are creative, yet methodical and organised; self-motivated and able to work on their own initiative with support and collaboration from management and the wider team.
  • Although our clients are king, we believe in flexibility. We all understand the job that needs doing – it is up to each of us to manage our time and deliver amazing results.
  • We enjoy what we do, and work with fun, respectful, likeminded people. The right fit for us is essential!

Experience – ready to get stuck in straight away!

We are looking for someone with:

  • Extensive experience working in PR. Agency experience is preferred.
  • Experience of directing and implementing business to consumer (B2C) PR accounts, preferably in a sport and lifestyle market.
  • Evidence of copywriting, marketing and report writing, social media, event management and client liaison skills.
  • Experience networking, forming partnerships and developing new business opportunities.
  • Experience in building a network of influencers and press commentators.
  • Industry knowledge and contacts.

What we can offer you…

  • Salary + bonus dependent on experience
    • Salary: £25,000 per annum (for the first 6 months) rising to £27,500 per annum thereafter subject to hitting milestones.
    • Bonus: new business and team performance bonuses
  • Remote working.
  • Flexible working hours – start early and finish early, it’s up to you!
  • 5 days sick pay per year
  • Benefits including 28 days holiday (inclusive of bank holidays).
  • And your birthday off on us!

To apply contact

Mark Hayward, Sway PR founder

+44 (0) 07731 752096

[email protected]