As you are probably aware over the last few months I have been interviewing PR practitioners from all over the world as part of my interview series called 20:20 Vision. The concept of these interviews is that I ask each practitioner 20 questions about themselves and they give us a brief glimpse into their working lives and what makes them tick. Most of the people I speak with will have a strong interest in digital, online or modern public relations strategy.
The first interview was with Arik C. Hanson and a while ago I interviewed Crosby Noricks the founder of PR Couture and last time I questioned Michael White from Lansons and his answers really seemed to capture people’s imagination.
This week I have been talking to Heather Baker the editor of the award-winning B2B PR Blog and founder of B2B PR consultancy TopLine Comms. You can follow Heather on Twitter @TopLineFounder.
1. What is your area of specialism/industry?
Content marketing (including PR) that impacts the bottom line (for B2B companies)
2. What are you passionate about?
Too many things, from coffee and animals to ballet and travelling. From a business perspective though, I’m passionate about helping really clever tech companies achieve the growth they deserve – especially disruptive ones!
3. Walk us through your daily routine?
Every day is different, which is why I love what I do. I walk into work through the park with my Labrador (and usually my boyfriend). When I’m in the office I try to find two hours of uninterrupted time to work, get through my emails and plan stuff. Then I could be doing anything from attending client meetings to working on our own business strategy, pitching new clients or helping the team be great at what they do.
4. Tell me one interesting fact about you that you have never revealed on your blog?
My ultimate dream is to become a farmer. A citrus farmer to be specific.
5. Which is your social media platform of choice and why?
I like LinkedIn as an easy research tool for both recruitment and new business. I used to use Facebook and Twitter a lot but I’ve cut down recently – I felt like they were making me stupid.
6. What’s the best campaign you have been involved in and why?
I’d have to say the work we’ve done for Bullhorn over the last five years. We’ve had a measurable impact on their business and we love working with them. It’s really helped us grow as an agency ourselves too by putting us on the map and generating loads of inbound leads.
7. What do you think the biggest issue effecting your clients or business is this year?
Toe dipping. Wet, timid, lily-livered toe dipping. If you believe in what you’re doing / selling then commit to a solid integrated marketing and sales strategy and GO FOR IT. Define your goals, and how they will be measured. Get your agency or team to commit to delivering against them. Develop your strategy. Implement it. Measure. Adapt.
Doing a £200 a month adwords campaign while paying an intern Oyster card money to update your Twitter and posting the odd media release on PR Web is not going to move the needle. If you don’t have the budget for a fully fledged communications and lead gen campaign then don’t start a quarter of one and hope to get a quarter of the results. You won’t. (that goes for us too – not just clients).
8. What is your favourite blog/website/podcast (in relation to the topic) and why?
I learn something every time I visit the Moz blog.
9. What advice would you give to those starting out in the industry (Top tip for newbies)?
The biggest thing to remember is that no agency is successful as they look. It’s hard for everyone – don’t believe your competitors’ spin. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met a CEO who intimidates me only to find they have the same problems as us!
10. Do you believe Marketing, PR, and SEO will merge into one?
I think marketing is more integrated now. I don’t think the disciplines will merge completely but I think agencies should become experts on all forms of marketing so they can actually help their clients. We see a lot of companies paying for expensive PR campaigns when PR clearly isn’t the best use of their budget. They’re only doing it because their PR agency doesn’t know how to do anything else which isn’t fair on the client!
11. Is content really still king and if so which type?
Great, amazing content is king. Average, good or even very good content is irrelevant.
12. Do you think Google will eventually rid the world of SEO?
I think the SEO industry will always be at the mercy of Google. Google is starting to take up more and more of the real estate on the SERPs. That said, the top SEO campaigns will continue to deliver real benefits to those companies.
13. Do you think brands will have less marketing power over customers as digital grows?
Great brands will always be able to create loyal communities of customers / prospects. Poor brands will struggle. Karma.
14. Could you point out a campaign that really impressed you this year and why?
I liked Confused.com’s Accident Avenue campaign – it was clever.
15. How do you think an ever increasing growth in technology will change the marketing sector?
I think smart, tech-savvy marketers are in for boom times. For everyone else it’s sayonara.
16. What do you do in your spare time?
I ride my Vespa with my Vespa gang, make amazing coffee and then drink it (I have barista aspirations), plan adventures around the world, run marathons (two definitely counts as marathons), read books, pretend to be a football fan, take photos and then long to be a better photographer.
17. Email or call discuss?
Call. Always call. Unless you’re trying to get hold of me, in which case email – I don’t want to talk to you on the phone.
Go on the basis that your emails will always be read in the recipient’s angry voice. Assuming your normal voice isn’t an angry one, then call.
18. It’s the end of the world what would you spend your last £10 on?
A delicious steak for my dog.
19. Who would you have your last meal with?
My boyfriend, Jamie.
20. Name one tool you have started using recently which you think is useful?
HUBSPOT – It’s amazing!!!
Finally, if you have one thought to leave us with what would it be?
Please don’t litter.
So thanks to Heather for her thoughts, if you think you would be good for my 20:20 interview session, drop me a line.