Originally posted to: www.carnsight.com

Let’s be honest, meetings are kind of a necessary evil when it comes to the corporate world, but there’s been a lot of talk in the media recently about just how necessary they are. With spring in the air and spring-cleaning season upon us, now could be a great time to spring clean your diary and tidy up those endless meetings.

Understandably, 2020-2022 saw a huge increase in the average number of meetings held. I think because we were all massively craving human connection during lockdowns. The thing is, that increase in meetings seems to have stuck and we’re all having more meetings than ever before. A recent report from Otter.AI on the cost of unnecessary meetings showed that employees are frustrated by the current volume of meetings. Almost half (46%) agree that they have too many unnecessary meetings in their calendar.

A lot has changed in the past few years, including how we define, expect, and run meetings. More people work hybrid roles and it’s far less common to travel for work and thus virtual meetings are still being used as a way to bring people together in one place. While virtual meetings were used to form connections and boost employee morale during the Covid lockdowns, too many virtual meetings are having the opposite effect today and arguably, we’ve all become a little too reliant on them. The takeaway: Just because you can, and we did, doesn’t mean that we still should. Perhaps it’s time to reassess and clear out the cupboard.

When a meeting is necessary

Meetings aren’t always useless, though. In fact, a well-run meeting can be incredibly valuable, but perhaps during the lockdowns, we all got a little bit too used to having a meeting for the sake of talking to another person in a day of being locked away inside. Now we have to get back into the habit of interrogating the purpose of meetings before we send over that diary invite. Here are some tips for things to consider when sending or agreeing to a meeting invite. Take each meeting (especially reoccurring meetings) in your calendar and ask the following questions:

What’s the purpose of this meeting?

Before putting a meeting in the calendar, it’s vital to ask what the purpose of the meeting is.

What do you want the meeting to achieve? What needs to be done in order for everyone at present to consider it a success by the end? What are the ‘must’, the ‘would be nice to’ and the ‘if there’s time’ goals of the meeting?

Though agendas are a pain to write, and often go unread, ensuring everyone who’s coming to the meeting at the very least knows what that meeting needs to achieve is very important. It’s also important that everyone who’s been invited to the meeting comes prepared with anything necessary to achieve those goals as efficiently as possible.

It’s worth noting that connection and morale are still valid reasons to hold a meeting. It can be nice to check in with your team in the morning, everyone with their coffees and a smile. However, you have to be sure that that purpose has been established in advance, that everyone is on the same page and ask if a meeting is really what people need for morale at that moment, or if another event, activity or treat is better suited.

Who needs to be in attendance?

But really.

Having too many attendees is a surefire way to lose control of a meeting. It’s also incredibly frustrating to be sat in a meeting with nothing to contribute and nothing to take away – those meetings are serious time sucks!

Think carefully about who needs to be present. Ensure everyone is given the space and consideration that add to the conversation. And also respect those who aren’t as vocal in meetings, remembering it’s about the end goal and establishing what’s necessary to achieve that, not waffling for the sake of it.

How long does the meeting need to be?

And when you decide, stick to it! Overrun meetings seem to be an epidemic! When the expectation is that the meeting will overrun, it’s much more common for people to go off track or meander. The workday is busy and there’s also a limit to how long people can concentrate when it comes to meetings, so keep it short and sweet where possible (ideally 30mins max). If a longer meeting with multiple goals is necessary, consider scheduling in breaks.

Additional quick tips

Thank you for inviting me to the meeting. I appreciate the opportunity to participate, but I regret to inform you that I won’t be able to attend due to some urgent matters that require my immediate attention. Kindly share any notes taken during the meeting, and I’ll make sure to review them. I look forward to catching up with you at a later date. If there are any actions required from my side, please do let me know, and I’ll be glad to oblige when I have the capacity.

Meetings can be helpful and productive if done correctly. And the truth is, nailing the formula is difficult. I’m not sure we’ve even got it quite right yet, but it’s something we’re working on internally.

Remember that it’s important to assess the necessity of each meeting and make sure it’s well-planned. With the right approach, meetings can be a valuable tool for communication and collaboration.

You can find more productivity tips elsewhere on the Carnsight blog, including our review of Atomic Habits by James Clear.

Originally posted at: www.carnsight.com

Artificial intelligence (AI) is arguably the buzziest of all the buzz words making headlines right now; it’s starting to feel as though it is literally everything, everywhere, all at once. From the infamous ChatGPT to Tesla’s self-driving cars to Amazon’s Alexa, AI has arrived and it’s here to stay. But what does AI mean for PR, and how exactly can it enhance PR?

A useful tool

As we’ve discussed before, being open-minded is what will get you results in PR, and that includes being open to new technologies that can help you along the way. AI-enabled task automation has been simplifying PR processes for longer than we may all realise. It’s found a particularly useful niche in media coverage analysis tools, like Hootsuite and SemRush. Data insights based on real-time results boast increased accuracy and reliability when it comes to decision making, reporting, and evaluation.

Better still, AI review functions are a great grammatical tool for proofing a PRs work, giving advice on flow or structure. It can synthesise large chunks of information to educate PRs quickly on niche topics. It can also provide speech-to-text dictation for interviewing clients or jotting down thoughts for a press release. AI can even take a PRs to-do list and use data to create an optimised schedule.

What’s ethics got to do with it anyway?

The role of ethics is at play here too. That’s a more in-depth post for another time, but one key take away is that AI should be used positively as a tool and an aid, but it should not take on the role of the individual. Using AI to come up with work rather than merely fine tune it can be critiqued as not genuine. It takes away the human spirit and individuality that grounds good-faith, mutually beneficial PR.

‘A force for good fraught with danger’

AI in PR is definitely a work in progress. For example, the use of chatbots as an additional communication channel can be complicated by bias. Even when programmed carefully, it can still lack sensitivity and human-centred contexts that are critical to managing relationships in PR. AI bots can also compute inaccurate or incomplete data and negatively influence high stakes, potentially escalating a PR problem rather than diffusing it, or creating one where there wasn’t beforehand.

Here at Carnsight, we think it all comes back to balance. Make conscious decisions about how, when, and where to use AI to enhance your PR more effectively. Keep automation for the activities that aren’t people-facing or high stakes, where you can afford to save time and increase accuracy.

PR will always be people focused

The Chartered Institute for Public Relations confirms that 59% of PR skills are predominantly not candidates for AI. People are the heart and centre of what drives PR. While AI may be a handy tool in the working professional’s tool kit, it’s not about to take the wheel.

Originally posted to: www.carnsight.com

Luckily, the “d” word isn’t something we hear a lot. But if it’s something you’re feeling after a PR push, whether it’s one you’ve done in house or worked on with a PR consultancy, it’s really important to look at why it missed the mark. If you’re disappointed in your PR results, and campaigns are leaving you underwhelmed, here’s why that might be, and how it can be avoided in future.

What were your expectations?

You shouldn’t ever be eagerly anticipating coverage in The Economist if your story was only ever destined for a local news portal. That’s not to be disparaging – both publications have their place and both are important in reaching certain audiences. The point is, you should be given an indication of where coverage is possible (and where it isn’t) before the pitch. This conversation can even start when you first start discussing the PR campaign.

No one has a crystal ball, and you could get very lucky or less so. But a good PR agency should have targets in mind when they’re crafting content, and they should be able to share and agree those with you.

Art not science

Building on the point above, PR is an art, not a science. We’ve had BBC filming lined up only for the news to throw us completely off track and for a crew to abandon a shoot to cover a breaking story. Likewise, we’ve had small stories being picked up nationally because they happened to hit the spot and be just what an editor was looking for at that moment.

This is the world of PR! Ensure any PR team you’re working with keeps you abreast of what’s happening at each stage. They can’t control some of it, but they can and should give you as much information as they know at each stage.

Did you understand the journey?

We work with a range of clients who have never done PR before, or have had limited experience. That’s fine, and we can take most of it off their hands. But we do explain what we’re doing at each stage, what’s needed and how long things are likely to take.

If you were expecting something to land that didn’t – did you get given the full picture? Did you understand what was happening, and when? You don’t need to be a PR expert but some knowledge of the process helps to put things in context, in our experience.

Coverage is never guaranteed

We’ve talked about why we never guaranteed coverage in a dedicated piece, but in essence, no one can truly guarantee coverage in a publication, unless that’s a paid-for spot, such as an advertorial.

If you’ve been guaranteed coverage that doesn’t appear, it’s definitely worth asking more about it, and how (and why) it was guaranteed in the first place.

This mindset shift is a helpful step away from feeling disappointed in your PR results, and big a step towards getting it right next time.

Are you targeting the right audience?

If coverage appeared but didn’t hit the right audience – are you sure it was designed to target them in the first place? Some publications are great to appear in from a profile point of view. But some are more likely to hit your objectives than others. Ensure you’re always clear who’s being targeted and why that’s the right target audience for your objectives. Start with the end – what do you want those people reading the coverage to do? And then work back from that.

For us, it’s paramount that everyone understands what’s achievable, what could make the news (and where) and that no one is underwhelmed. We do put a lot of groundwork into explaining what we’re doing, we are responsive, honest and transparent and we partner with clients. That’s what gets the best results for everyone.

B2B and corporate PR and communications specialists, AMBITIOUS PR is celebrating the second year of achieving 50% year-on-year revenue growth.

Now, the agency is setting its sights on £1.65million revenue in 2023, securing its position as one of the largest independent PR agencies in the South West.

The agency’s expansion over the last year came from new retained clients including Acorn Property Group, Albert Goodman, BGF, Lifetime, Neighbourly and Truespeed. Growth also came from the agency’s existing client base expanding their remit.

To drive forward further development, AMBITIOUS is investing in marketing technology to deepen the insight they can provide to clients through data and analysis.

The agency will also be launching a dedicated digital PR offering and an end-to-end content strategy, creation, and marketing service.

Based on client demand for international PR support, AMBITIOUS has joined the IPRN (International Public Relations Network) – the international network for independent agencies. This will provide clients with access to a global network of PR agencies as well as driving new business and international knowledge transfer.

In the last year, AMBITIOUS owners Lis Anderson and Sarah Woodhouse have promoted four team members and have now created four new positions which will represent a 22 per cent growth in headcount, taking the agency to a 22-strong team.

Sandra Hodgson has been promoted to Finance Director, Joe Wright to Strategy Lead, Katy Barney to ESGLead and Joanne Wilson to Office Manager.

AMBITIOUS is now hiring for an associate director, senior PR consultant, PR executive, and bookkeeper. Working with UWE Bristol and The Strive Internship Programme, the agency is also committed to a comprehensive internship programme to support entry level talent.

The agency, which has experienced no staff attrition in the past three years, has invested in a competitive benefits package designed in consultation with employees and created to be industry leading.

Lis Anderson, Founder & Director, AMBITIOUS said: “Our growth has been fuelled by investing back in the business – investing in our employees through personal coaching and development, through our competitive salary and benefits package, through new hires, new software and new technology to constantly develop and move our business forward.”

Sarah Woodhouse, Director, AMBITIOUS said “Many of our recent new business wins have come from large companies based in the South West or companies with a regional office here, procuring the national, regional and sector PR and communications support they need on their doorstep.”

AMBITIOUS focuses on b2b and corporate PR in core sectors including technology, ESG, property and placemaking, professional services, financial services, education and skills, healthcare, and the public sector.

Core services include strategic planning and communications, media relations, digital PR, press office management, thought leadership campaigns, issues and crisis management, stakeholder mapping and engagement, employer brand communications and media training. Content services include content strategy, creation, and marketing.

Female-founded, owned, and run, AMBITIOUS celebrated its first decade in business in 2022.

Interested in working for or with AMBITIOUS? Please email Sarah or Lis at [email protected]

Originally posted on: www.carnsight.com

B2B PR is often overlooked by those considering a career in PR. B2C always seems so much more creative and alluring. But the truth is, B2B PR is more than just B2C PRs boring sister. In fact, B2B PR can be just as exciting, fast-paced and creative!

If you read our blog on the differences between B2B and B2C PR then you’ll know that while B2B public relations typically focuses on technical information and analytical data, emotion is still a key driving force when it comes to B2B campaigns.

In today’s blog, we’re explaining why that’s the case, and why B2B PR can be just as creative and boundary-pushing as B2C.

Cutting through the noise requires creativity

B2B audiences are bombarded with information every day, and so creative, emotionally resonant messaging is necessary to help a company stand out. By using unique and innovative PR strategies, businesses can capture the attention of decision-makers who may very well be jaded by the same-old marketing tactics. Fresh thinking is often what gets the best results.

People buy from people

People buy from people, not businesses, and so while yes, B2B PR does often target decision-makers within a company, it’s important to remember that those decision-makers are still people. By using emotion in B2B PR, companies humanize their brand and create better connections with their target audience. The result – greater brand loyalty and more meaningful business relationships.

Connect with a broader audience

Similarly, remember that businesses, now matter how big, are made up of lots of individual people. By creating messaging that resonates with individuals on an emotional level, B2B PR campaigns can broaden their reach and connect with a wider audience.

Drive engagement

Emotionally resonant messaging better drives engagement and increase the likelihood of your audience taking action. By creating content that inspires a response, businesses can encourage decision-makers to take the next step and move forward with a purchase or partnership.

Even though B2B PR is typically more technical and data-driven, creativity and emotion can play a critical role in creating effective campaigns that stand out, connect with decision-makers, and drive meaningful business outcomes.

To end, here are a couple of examples of B2B PR campaigns that really pushed creatively!

Hectare’s Tudder – Tinder for Cows

Octopus Group, in partnership with Hectare, launched Tudder, a dating app designed for cattle, as part of a Valentine’s Day-centered PR and social media campaign. The app, which functions similarly to Tinder, allows users to swipe left or right on profiles of cows and bulls. When there is a match, a mooing sound is played, and the interested party is directed to the SellMyLivestock platform for more information. Hectare aimed to raise awareness about “livestock love” through this campaign. Alongside the app, personalized Valentine’s Day cards were sent to targeted journalists, and exclusive briefings were held with media contacts. A comprehensive social media campaign was also implemented.


Slack – “So yeah, we tried Slack…”

Slack leveraged the popularity of hit sitcoms such as The Office and Parks and Recreation by producing a humorous, mockumentary-style video advertisement to showcase the superiority of its platform over other professional communication tools.

The video linked below features Sandwich Video, an actual Slack customer, as they introduce the platform to their office. The video serves both as a testimonial-packed case study and a funny piece of media that entertains viewers.

Originally posted to: www.carnsight.com


We’ve written many blogs on press releases and useful tips on when is best to pitch, what to avoid when pitching and crafting a perfect press release. But today we wanted to dive a little deeper into the timeline of a press release. In fact, we’re going to share this blog post using the template of a press release to help you visualise the key layout and style, whilst also helping you understand the process involved.

MARSHFIELD, (DATE): Carnsight Communications is pleased to announce the release of its latest blog post detailing the timeline and process of creating and distributing a press release.

A press release is a crucial part of any company’s public relations strategy, providing a formal announcement of news, events, or updates to the media and the public. The following is a timeline of the process involved in creating and distributing a press release:

Identify your news:

The first step in creating a press release is to identify the news or event that is newsworthy and relevant to the target audience.


Once the idea has been identified, the next step is to draft the press release. This includes writing a headline, subheading, body, and boilerplate.

Review and approval:

The press release is then reviewed and approved by the relevant team members, including Carnsight Communications, and executives.


Once approved, the press release is distributed to media outlets, journalists, and other relevant parties through email, or other means.


After the press release is distributed, Carnsight Communications will follow up with journalists and media outlets to gauge interest and secure coverage.


Finally, we will measure the success of the press release through various metrics, such as media coverage, website traffic, and social media engagement.


“Creating and distributing a press release is a critical part of any successful PR strategy,” comments, account manager at Carnsight Communications, Georgia Christley. “We hope this timeline provides valuable insights into the process and helps companies effectively communicate their news and updates to their target audience.”

For more information about Carnsight Communications and our PR services, please visit www.carnsight.com

Boiler Plate

About Carnsight Communications 

Carnsight Communications is a PR and communications consultancy based outside of Bath. We specialise in practical, powerful PR for the media and marketing industry, small businesses and entrepreneurs. Carnsight Communications cover everything from social media to SEO optimised web copy, blogs, influencer liaison and award entries. We are straightforward, proven and focussed on results.

Website: https://www.carnsight.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarnsightComms

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carnsightcomms/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carnsightcomms

Georgia Christley
Account Manager 


We hope this helps you to understand the timeline involved with a press release and also how to structure your release. If you need further advice, why not get in touch on [email protected] and one of the team will be in touch?

As a copywriter with over 20 years in the business, I got to thinking whether my writing has got better with age (of course it has!) and if so, how. Should companies looking to utilise a good copywriter for their business blogs or feature articles look at how many years’ experience their potential freelance support can bring to the table, or is it null and void?

I think it matters. That’s not to say that people just starting out also aren’t good at the job, but as with many industries (and wine and cheese) writing gets better with age. And here are a few reasons why.

Vocabulary tends to improve the older we get because we have met more people and read more books. Both of which are proven ways to extend your vocabulary.

Self-confidence also gets better with age, which helps in the work environment because you are secure enough to make suggestions, but also have the confidence to listen and take a brief, without feeling the need to prove how much you know.

Experience may be an obvious one to add to the list, but it’s important. The more customers you have worked with, the more situations you have been exposed to, and the more types of writing you have done, the more capable you will be handling incoming work. You may not have experience in a specific field, but perhaps you are well rehearsed in researching topics and knowing where to find the information you need, and how to transform these newfound facts into compelling copy.

Decision making is another trait that improves the older you get. In a study published by Psychological Science, it was found that the insight and life experience of adults led to the ability to make quick decisions. You may think this isn’t relevant for copywriting, but as any long serving copywriter will tell you, writing a piece of copy requires multiple decisions. What is the tone of the piece? Where can I find the best information for this article? How much detail should I include to make best use of this business blog?

Empathy might sound like another odd trait to include in a list about how copywriting improves with age, but employing a copywriter that can truly put themselves in your shoes to understand what you need from them, and more so, in the shoes of the prospects and clients you’re looking to reach with your copy, is invaluable.

Speed is something else a more experienced copywriter can bring to the table. Being able to write quickly, while still delivering on target content with very few if any mistakes, is a difficult skill to foster. It’s something that can only be developed over time as experience helps you produce copy quickly and effectively.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but from personal experience they offer a good overview as to why copywriting gets better with age. I remember when I started writing very basic press releases back in 2001, it would take me quite a long time to put pen to paper, and then I would be so nervous about getting it wrong, I would read and re-read the piece until I couldn’t see the letters on the page! Over time, I have learnt what works and what doesn’t when producing copy, I understand the importance of listening to what clients want and not assuming I know more about their business than they do. I have also learned how to hone the process of writing to ensure I deliver my best work, and I am more confident because of the experience I have obtained over the years.

So, if you’re looking for a copywriter for your business blogs or feature articles, and you want to be guided by someone with a bit more experience, let’s chat!

Visit www.blogwrite.co.uk for more information


Originally posted on: www.carnsight.com

Press releases are a valuable tool for communicating important information about your business to the public. However, all too often, press releases are filled with generic, cliched quotes that fail to capture the attention of readers (are you really “delighted” about this piece of news?) If you want your press release to stand out, it’s important to avoid these common cliches and instead aim to provide quotes that are interesting, informative, and add value to the story you’re telling.

Here are three top tips for avoiding cliche quotes in your business press releases:

Use verbatim

One of the most common mistakes people make when crafting quotes for press releases is trying to put words in someone’s mouth. Instead of trying to shape a quote to fit the existing narrative, listen to what your spokesperson or subject actually says and use their exact words in your release. This will make your quote feel more authentic and less forced.

Store and collect soundbites

Another way to avoid cliched quotes is to keep your ears open for interesting things people say in other contexts and be sure to note them down. This could be a quote from a book, a movie, or even a conversation you overheard in a coffee shop. By incorporating elements of these unique quotes into your press release, you can add a fresh perspective and make your release more memorable. Remember, it’s not about copying, it’s about taking inspiration and learning from others. When you see or hear a quote you like, ask yourself what you like about and how you can implement that in your own quotes.

Think about adding value

Finally, it’s important to think about how your quote can add value to the story you’re telling. Instead of just repeating information that’s already in the release, try to provide insight or a unique perspective that will make the quote more interesting to readers. Your quote is where you can be a bit more salesy and show your enthusiasm (within reason). You can (and should) reinforce your key messages in your quote. Your quote is where you can shine. This could be an anecdote or a new piece of data for example.

By following these tips, you can create quotes that are interesting, informative, and help your press release stand out from the crowd. Remember, the goal of a press release is to communicate important information to your audience, and cliched quotes will only detract from that goal. So take the time to craft quotes that are authentic, original, and add value to your story.

Guest posting as a tactic within SEO has gotten a bit of a bad rap over the past few years with many using it as an exercise to get links and that’s about it. There are a lot of sites out there that offer paid for guest posts and this has contributed to the bad image of this particular tactic of digital PR.

Despite the image issues, we are still a massive fan of guest posts for clients and provided you are doing it in the right way it can help you get some coverage on some amazing websites and drive some great value links for your client.

In this week’s blog we chat about all things guest posting, and how to do it right to leverage good results for your digital PR campaigns.

What is guest posting? 

Guest posting is the act of writing content for another website, it can come in the form of a writer looking to promote their work or a company looking to add to their field through publications. Sites often indicate that they accept guest posts and these are often good places to reach out to if you are looking to get coverage for your website.

When it comes to SEO, guest posting gives you the chance to link back to your site in relevant content form an authoritative and relevant site, this is a good tactic to use early on when your content may not be getting as many links as you would like.

How do you do guest posting right? 

As discussed, this area of digital PR can be tricky to get right, but following the below dos and don’ts will keep you and your rankings on the right track.

Do focus on content first 

Content is the backbone of any website, and it’s what will ultimately attract and engage your audience. By focusing on creating quality content, you can establish yourself as an authority in your niche and those you are reaching out to will appreciate it, increasing the chances of you earning placements through guest posts.

Don’t pay for the links 

While it may seem like a quick and easy way to build links and improve your search engine rankings, paying for links is a violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and can result in penalties, including being removed from search engine results altogether.

When reaching out to guest bloggers, be clear that you are after content only placement.

Do include links back to target pages where relevant 

Linking to your target pages can help improve your site’s rankings and drive traffic and SEO value to the pages that matter most. It’s important to ensure that the links you include are relevant to the content and provide value to the reader; this is the key part when it comes to guest posting. Don’t include links if they are not relevant for the reader of the blog.

Don’t focus exclusively on exact match anchor text 

Exact match anchor text refers to the use of the exact keyword phrase you want to rank for in the anchor text of a link. While it can be helpful in improving your rankings for that particular keyword phrase, overusing exact match anchor text can lead to a penalty from Google for over-optimisation, so make sure you are using logical anchor text that incorporates keywords, but not in a spammy way.

Do build long term relationships with bloggers 

Building long-term relationships with other bloggers in your niche can be incredibly valuable for growing your website. By establishing a relationship with other bloggers, you can collaborate on projects, exchange ideas and guest posts, if you are working in an agency you can also write content for different sites depending on the relevance, and having that pre-existing relationship in place will help massively.

Don’t just look at domain authority when assessing sites 

When it comes to assessing the value of a website for your backlink profile, it’s important not to rely solely on domain authority as a metric. While domain authority can provide a general idea of a website’s authority and influence, it’s not always an accurate measure of the website’s quality or relevance to your niche, look at other metrics like Trust and Citation Flow from Majestic and your judgement of the relevance of the website to your niche.

Where do you start? 

If you are unsure on where to start when it comes to guest blogging then get in touch with a member of the Varn team, Our SEO team have been combining digital PR tactics for years and driving great results for clients, just make sure you focus on content and you can’t go far wrong.