Manchester marketers networking event

Manchester marketers networking
Manchester marketers networking – a place to swap ideas and make contacts

I always thought there was a gap for a Manchester marketers networking event.

Marketing professionals can be isolated folks.  It has often been the case, more so since marketing depts downsized since the start of the recession.

Yet the need to swap ideas about changes to the profession such as the impact of digital, employing new techniques, finding out how the profession is changing and how to progress your marketing career is more pressing than ever.

So on Thursday 12th December from 6pm there is a new networking event taking place for Manchester marketers.

Creative, social media, digital professionals and those from allied industries are all welcome.

It should be a night of relaxed and productive networking at the Saint James’s Club.

The club is situated at 45 Springfield Gardens Manchester M2 2BG, very near to Rosso.  It is a business institution dating back to 1825 and makes a great venue.

A buffet is provided so you will not have to rush back for tea and there is a bar serving coffee, teas, wines and beers.

The cost is just £10.

I hope you can make it and support this event.

Please contact me on 07957611834 or [email protected]

I hope to see you there.


Networking at the St James’s Club Manchester

St James's Club Manchester

The St James’s Club has been a place where the city’s professionals have been building business relationships for nearly 200 years.  It has over 250 members and a range of facilities for those looking for a base (or place to relax and network) in Manchester city centre.

There is an open networking event for those looking for informal networking with fellow professionals in pleasant surroundings.  There is a chance to look round the club – Manchester’s best kept secret – but hopefully not for too much longer.

The St James’s Club is at the top of King Street West, Spring Gardens to the right of Russo.

There will be a buffet.  The cost is £15 with £5 of that going to charity.

Please contact Angela at the club if you are interested:

0161 829 3000

[email protected]

Learn Spanish in Manchester from the professionals – sign up now

learn Spanish in Manchester
Is there any better place to learn Spanish in Manchester than the Instituto Cervantes?

A recent post focussed on languages in PR and how much a PR professional can get out of learning Spanish or German or another tongue for his or her PR career.

It is a point that has featured before as one of the key skills for PR professionals looking to gain a competitive advantage in their careers.

With that in mind I wanted to recommend that those that are interested to learn Spanish in Manchester should consider the Instituto Cervantes.

Instituto Cervantes
Instituto Cervantes Manchester

Fantastic teachers, plenty of cultural activities, an impressive building with concert hall that has Spanish dance classes, library (although my picture does it no justice) and opportunities to mix with Spanish speakers wanting to swap skills: intercambio (conversation swaps).

If you did not enjoy languages at school you will find this a completely different experience, fun, friendly and adult in approach. (If you don’t do your homework then that is your issue).

Classes are from beginners to literature, film and current issues programmes for the more advanced.

All teachers are native speakers from Spain and Latin America and classes tend to avoid English so you learn quicker.

Costs are reasonable.

The reason besides follwing up on earlier posts and wanting to help out the Cervantes is that the more support it receives the more likely it will be here for many years to come.

It is popular.  However, we often don’t appreciate resources until they go and although there is no sign of this with the Instituto Cervantes, I would want those interested to learn Spanish in Manchester and surrounds to use this fantastic organisation and appreciate it now.

New Spanish classes start next week May 14th for all levels and there often new courses starting every month or two, so why not get down to the Insituto Cervantes?

Hasta luego,




More PR agencies in Manchester – but are there too many?

PR agencies in ManchesterA new week, a new PR agency – at least we can say there is no shortage of PR agencies in Manchester to fill the local media pages with news.

I suspect the pattern is being repeated in many other cities as PR professionals turn their skills to working for their own organisations.

It is a welcome development for clients perhaps with new experience being offered from some many PR suppliers.

However, I also suspect that the market cannot maintain so many new PR agencies in Manchester or elsewhere.

The economy is still slumbering along and more to the point PR is changing. 

As pointed out in a recent post PR alone is not what many businesses want or need.  It seems they need a broader range of services: social media, copy writing, marketing as well as those activities that come under “pure” PR.

Manchester although a city, a reasonably big city does not have the wealth of opportunity that London takes for granted although Manchester PR agencies can more than compete with their London rivals. Can it provide the substance for more PR agencies in Manchester for higher end accounts?

If you look at Manchester SMEs, then those same agencies often need to be able to offer a marketing package.

While it is admirable and understandable that so many PR agencies in Manchester seem to be forming, it is interesting to guess the effect on the Manchester PR scene.

Moreover, many of the new agencies in Manchester seem to be focused on B2C rather than B2B, which also asks more questions of the above.

It is not an issue completely confined to PR agencies in Manchester (or other cities), the same could possibly be asked of SEO agencies (in the near to mid-future) and they have generally been enjoying a period of tremendous growth.

But then again we have the issues of Penguin, Panda and Google algorithms there.   

Still, I am not going to predict the future on all but one point: PR is in more flux than it has been since the deregulation of professional services that enabled firms to use advertising in the mid-90s and consequently it is a question of adaptation as well as competition.

Seven years of blogging about PR in Manchester and beyond – the best of 2006-2012

The Artisan blog was the first Manchester PR blog as far as I know.

Certainly I cannot think of another that is still going from 2006.

It has around 650 posts to date and covers a myriad of subjects, especially those relating to Manchester PR agencies, technology and of course PR itself.

It is better written now than it was when I started although I have picked out some of the best from 2006-2012.  (The most interesting 2112-2013 entries can be found here.

Let’s begin:

Sometimes I have found myself explaining or defending PR agencies such as with this thread.

Yes PR agencies can give poor service, but this is not indicative of the industry.  There are bad apples in every profession.

Sometimes I am doing the opposite such as this piece on a Manchester PR agency promoting payment by results.

Many posts are on the industry and the issues raised such as this post that highlights the weaknesses of citizenship journalism at a time when it was being lauded.

Tips pieces feature occasionally and these from myself How to pitch to bloggers and these from specialists are still very useful today: Judi Goodwin’s How to unleash your writing power! and Bill Doherty on negotiation tips.

Good PR case studies such as “Who parked their tank on my lawn?”  also feature occasionally. 

Some are sillier than others such as Dog advertising, which was this blog’s most popular page for ages, that was inspired by Puppy Doms (a Jamie Clouting favourite).

Some brilliant PR stories are global in reach such as this: “Keyboards dirtier than toilets.”  My Israeli cousin in Jerusalem picked up on this!

A few Artisan PR pieces were also featured in the blog such as this piece in The Guardian for a Manchester headhunter

Sometimes human interest stories including this one about Belsen featured.

I hope you have got something out the Artisan blog, feel free to leave comments and keep following.

Manchester PR professionals lead the way for fairtrade practices

PR agencies are leading the crusade against the exploitation of Manchester PR professionals with the adoption of fair trade policies towards public relation employees.

This much downtrodden profession had seen PR executives working unimaginable hours in pursuit of media coverage.

The new campaign will guarantee that Manchester PR professionals at least will not be cooped all day without seeing daylight or being able to tweet or waste precious time on Facebook.

The initiative, which will start on the 1st April, will see press releases stamped with a Fairtrade logo to reassure journalists and all Manchester PR websites will also display the badge.

Whether the fair trade scheme extends to Manchester marketing agencies remains to be seen.

April Fool!

Well it could have been better, but still good link bait.

Did anyone try Google Nose?




Best PR blog stories celebrating seven years of entries (2012 – 2013)

In April it will be seven years since I started my Manchester based PR blog.

I have got say writing a PR blog improves your writing style and ability to produce content, but it does take time.  PR, marketing and SEO are all time consuming although I only look at the first two, and more inclined towards the public relations.

It also  helps to give a basis to advise clients on online PR and of course improve rankings.

Rather than pick out the best entries from well over 600 posts in one attempt, I thought I would pick out the best from the last 12 months and then possibly do a couple of blog posts to cover the first six years.  I probably don’t want to revisit the first few years, but let’s see.

There have been a lot of posts about PR and its relationship with marketing:

Is marketing merging with PR being one current issue?  Are PR professionals moving into marketing?

PR professionals should understand marketing even if they are not strictly marketers being a recent example of why PR professionals need to be able to using marketing planning structures.   The case for marketing planing to direct PR was also made in September.

One bugbear is marketing professionals thinking they can do PR because it is “easy” – some have found out it is a different skills set by hard experience.

Some pieces have been about PR professionals and their client relationships.  Often both parties (many creative professionals can have this applied to them as well) don’t always appreciate the other’s position.  One example is PR retainers, which can be beneficial to all although there is often resistance against them.  Another is the benefit of a PR freelancer.

While the issues tackled are often applicable to the PR industry, some are Manchester centric, including how Media City has benefitted Manchester PR agencies although it seems to be somewhat aloof of the city, which might change.

The North / South PR divide was addressed in July 2012.  Even though Manchester PR agencies can give London agencies more than a match in quality and certainly budget and ROI, many companies don’t look North, which is their loss.

PR techniques often come up and PR and the English language showed how George Orwell still can teach us a thing or three about writing copy.  Some have been from guest bloggers such as George Dearsley’s talking about crisis PR.

Social media also features for B2B clients such as this one about Pinterest.

A special thanks (although dread to think how much time I have spent on this) to Simon Wharton from search marketing agency PushON for insisting I start writing and helping me get set-up.


Using PR for Search (some ideas from SEO moz video)

SEOmoz has some excellent Whiteboard Friday video classes on SEO and search topics.

This one in particular about using other people’s sites to boost your own business’ search ranking shows how using PR for search can prove to be very effective in combination with SEO.

While Rand Fishkin, the very engaging presenter and CEO of SEOmoz, does not really focus on PR it does show how it can be used effectively with search.  (Some SEO professionals don’t get PR or how it works although I am sure Rand does).

One thing Rand points out is when you get a piece in a magazine or newspaper’s website, or indeed on a blog, link to it.

The PR piece might not rank highly but by linking to it could be pushed up the search rankings.  This in turn gives greater visibility to your coverage.  This is excellent in brand improvement terms.

Content from PR, be it an article, presentation or release can be shared on a host of social media such as Slide Share, Quora or Google+.  All can give additional value to the PR content, something that you probably knew.

Without the PR professional the ability to harnesss other sites would be much harder.  The media outlet site’s would not be cultivated without the PR professional’s input.

There is a battle for control of social media (some say) between PR and search professionals, perhaps it is more about collaboration.

To go to Rand Fishkin’s video on using other people’s sites to boost your own site’s SEO click here

Investment in good PR and marketing brings financial benefits – Robinson’s Brewey should handsomely reap the benefits of its new exhibit


I was at a Blues in Business (for the discerning Manchester City fan) last night when I with the other attendees was given a tour of the new Robinson’s exhibition centre.

You see the whole brewing process.  When fully complete it will take up an hour and half of visitors’ time to explore all the information presented.

It is an impressive effort, and shows off the history and expertise of Robinsons.  It also has a good restaurant and a bar, of course, to sample Robinson’s wares.

It reminds me a little bit of Melbourne, a data centre that was sold recently for a reported £7m.  It invested a considerable amount into making their offices stand out: yes, it had pool tables, but also a football pitch and a Alice In Wonderland type rooms / arrangements.  It was a real vehicle for PR and marketing.  £100,000 was reportedly invested but it must have paid off, what would be seen as a large investment for a firm of its size, in a very short time.

Yes, Robinsons is not the first brewery to have a tour of its facilities, but it has nevertheless recognised that investment will pay dividends with its various audiences.

It is a message PR professionals and marketers try to convey to those who have ambitions for their businesses.  It is a  lesson that needs to be repeated.

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