After an enthralling World Cup final and Christmas just days away – is there time to catch our collective breath?

As I come to the end of my third month here at IBA (where has the time gone?), I can confidently say that I’ve learnt a wide range of new PR and Marketing skills – from writing articles on the latest industry trends to understanding the secret three-pronged strategy to drafting the perfect tweet – and donning my production Santa’s hat for our annual IBA Christmas card.

I now embark on writing my second and IBA’s final web blurb of the year to sum up a whirlwind of a December and to round off the final week before the festive holidays.

From journalists requesting opinions from client industry experts to crystal ball gazing into 2023 trends and top tier placements – not to forget those two little elves (from Italy it seems) that turned up on the office doorstep …it’s been a busy month at IBA.

The hard-earned gift of organic feature coverage

Santa’s grotto was not built in a day, and neither are journalist relations. In the case of PR, you have to earn top tier placements by building the reputation of the client to establish long-term trust with journalists. It’s called media relations for a reason – filled with ups and downs along the way but at the end of the day its credible content that top tier journalists are after. I have learned in my three months here that you truly know a campaign is running full force when journalists proactively reach out to your clients’ spokespeople as the go-to industry experts.

So nice to see this month a couple of standout cases in point.

Christmas came early for our automotive client – with a feature in the WSJ

This campaign I am told by my colleagues here at IBA is textbook PR. We take on a client at the beginning of the year with a top brand name but only in the UK. Our job is to gain brand awareness in the world’s largest economy – North America.

The campaign was plotted. Thought leadership articles were placed in key top tier media and partnership agreements sent out. And then boom – a top enterprise tech reporter from the WSJ got hooked on our retail pitch – it was right up her ‘future of retailing’ street. Her article quotes from an interview the CIO did, discussing his opinions on what the future holds in store for retail payments as they move from cardless transactions to even paying over soundwaves. This was not just a small mention for our client, its CIO was the first expert quoted, in good company alongside CIOs from two of the leading retail and department stores above two in North America (win-win)!

The industry media are looking to the future

Just the other week, our business management software client was asked to give their expertise on what they think will be the most prominent trends within the food industry in 2023 in light of consumer shifts towards more plant-based lifecycles. Perfect opportunity for thought leadership which the team grasped with alacrity.  

It doesn’t stop there, a manufacturing journalist representing a leading plant management publication (the other plant – heavy machinery not with roots in the ground) also reached out for our enterprise software client’s opinions on improving sustainability practices within manufacturing plants. We’re on it and all over it!!!

With the end of the year creeping up on us (scary I know!), this is just one example of a plethora of placements that we have been able to secure over the year. Don’t think this break is going to stop us from doing the same again and again next year!

It might be time to unwind but news still has value

The importance of strategic news pitching can’t be forgotten – and it has been the case at IBA during December with two of our clients having great success thanks to the power of the press release. Firstly, our artwork and label management (LAM) client had a big new announcement of the industry’s first mobile-based LAM app with brand-new UI and UX updates for new and existing customers. The team got to work on pitching this exciting news out to our target media publications to great coverage across UK and U.S. labelling, manufacturing, and supply chain media. 

Our automotive software client had some big news, with a key customer win of a German car part repair and service organization. This news announcement comes just over a year since our client first launched its solution – and a customer release provides a perfect reminder to target journalists and prospects that its software is gaining traction.

Two little eves descended on the IBA office to lend a helping hand (or so they said!)

Last week we had two elves show up to sprinkle some extra Christmas cheer upon the office. They were very much in the festive spirit and helped the team get our annual Christmas card across the line, sorted, and sent. Thank you Elfredo (definitely Italian) and Elfonso (maybe has some Spanish origins). It would not have been possible without you – their results truly speak for themselves!

The IBA “Elves”

Their final act of the year came in the shape of a placement for one of our own IBA-written thought leadership pieces in PR Week, a top U.S. PR publication!

What a way to end the year, from us all the team at IBA, we wish you a very happy and successful New Year!

Sam Walker is a PR Executive at IBA International.

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