Putting your marketing and PR through a regular MOT

October 19 2018

Picture showing a mechanic working underneath a car

Likening an MOT for your car to a check-up on your public relations and marketing is probably a really bad analogy. Most people dread MOT day – you expect the worst, all sorts of problems seem to come out of the woodwork, and it can make a massive dent in your pocket.

Checking your PR and marketing status – thinking about how it’s going, what could be better, what your competitors are up to, etc – should neither be a painful nor as infrequent as an annual event. And if you do it right, it should make rather than cost you money.

But the analogy works to the extent that we all know it’s basically a good idea to take the time to periodically check under the bonnet, so to speak, of your business or charity. When you’re busy with day-to-day activities, even when you’re happily working away on your PR and marketing, it’s easy to forget to look at the bigger picture sometimes.

What sort of things should you be looking at?

One of the most important things is to regularly ask yourself why you’re doing, or not doing, something, to make sure the reason is still valid.

We always recommend that clients carefully plan all of the content and tools they are going to use over coming months. However, once set up, it’s easy to leave the plan alone, never questioning if it needs changing.

Every few months, try and think about why you plan what you do. For example, you decided in the early days you wanted to post a new blog every Friday at 9am, or do a Facebook Live every third Tuesday of the month because of X, Y and Z. Are the reasons still valid? Are the social media platforms that you chose based on your initial interactions with supporters still the most appropriate?

Carrying out a PR and marketing MOT, or audit, more often than once a year makes sense for a few reasons. One, it doesn’t take as long and isn’t as monstrous a task if you break down it into manageable, more regular, chunks, which means you’re more likely to be bothered to do it at all.

Two, questioning yourself and your choices becomes habit the more you do it, which means you become better at it. The more scrutinising you are of your own working practices, the less likely you are to waste time and resources.

Three, by analysing what you’re doing more regularly, you’re able to correct and improve things more quickly, which means more sales or support for your work straightaway.

Ideas to get you started

Here’s a list of things you might like to include in your MOT, where applicable.

  • Website – Is it up-to-date and accurate, easy to find and navigate? Does it reflect who you are now, rather than who you were when it was created? Have you evolved to the point you need a more professional design? Are your privacy and cookie policies up to date and GDPR-compliant?
  • Social media – Are you posting the right things on the right platforms to reach your target audience? Is your content fit for purpose, are you using images and video? Have you tried paid advertising?
  • Competitors – Who is doing what differently since you last looked around? Do you have new competitors you weren’t aware of? Do you need to change what you’re doing to deal with this? Are there examples of good practice you can use, and, equally, can you learn from their mistakes?
  • Media relations – Are there opportunities you could follow up on for future publicity? Are there new reporters / bloggers / influencers* you could contact? Do you need to become a more confident spokesperson to take advantage of future opportunities?
  • Measurements – Are you still tracking the most relevant / important things for your business or charity aims or would it be better to look at different measurements? Are you measuring anything at all?
  • Content – Is the content you are labouring over still what your customers / supporters want to see? When did you last brainstorm new ideas?

It’s really important to not just check your own work. You will get much more insight if you are able to open up the process to include other voices and opinions.

You might think your website is a breeze to navigate, but is it actually or do you just think that because you have been using it for years and could whizz your way around it with your eyes closed? Where possible, ask your customers or supporters what they think. As they are the people you are trying to reach, their input will be invaluable.

By Hannah Upton

* Influencers is one of those annoying words everyone now seems to use. It basically means someone who has a big following, possibly a celebrity or high-profile blogger. One marketing tool is using influencers to promote your brand, usually by paying them to post an endorsement.

Next steps

If you’re not sure where to start, or really don’t have the time to worry about it, please do ask for our help. One of Pay as you PR’s specialities is carrying out audits on businesses and charities to check what is good and less good about their PR and marketing. We can come up with a detailed action plan for you to carry out yourself, tailored to meet your specific goals, or we can action it for you.

Take a look at some of the specific ways Pay as you PR can help your business or charity.