Press Release – The Pieces That Make It Perfect

A great press release doesn’t write itself. They are built, piece by piece, until you have something that satisfies a host of requirements.

A press release is one of the key tools that PR practitioners will use to convey a news story on behalf of their organisation or client.

Often you will have only one chance to get the attention of a news editor or journalist so you need to make sure the release is constructed properly and contains essential information. Otherwise it may get overlooked or consigned to the scrap bin.

It doesn’t have to be a time consuming or daunting task provided you follow some rules and stick to a time tested pattern of laying out essential information. A press release that makes it easy for a journalist will ensure your news is duly considered and that they trust your information.

Press Release Key Requirements

Header – The header is the first section of the press release from the top down and usually features some key elements.

The words FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE are included to signify that the news is able to be reported on now and not subject to any form of publication embargo – used where a news release may be given to a journalist in advance of an announcement timing so they are able to prepare their story ahead of an impending deadline.

The date of the announcement must be included and it’s usual for the company logo to be added which can leverage off their branding for attention and to stamp it as an official company release. Often you may see a combination of the words ‘Press Release’ or ‘ASX Announcement’ (for listed company updates provided to the exchange) to signify the intended audience.

Headline – The headline is immediately below the header and acts just like a headline in a newspaper. A good headline should draw attention and convey the key point of what the press release is about. Try to keep it fairly brief; 8-10 words should suffice. A compelling headline can make a big difference to editors bombarded with competing news items to sift through.

Dateline & Lead – A dateline is the name of the city where the news is emanating from – often the head office of where the organisation is based and is entered in CAPS. The lead sentence is extremely important and must include the most critical facts of the news story. If someone only reads the headline and lead they should have a firm idea as to what the story is about. This summary of critical information is known as Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

The Body – The body of the press release follows and allows you to flesh out the story further with more details and provide quotes from key personnel related to the story. Media outlets can use those quotes in their reporting as direct quotes from the people attributed. Rules of thumb – no more than two people quoted in a release and restrict to about two quotes per person. After the important details are included in the body, background information can then be included to provide context.

Correctly formatting quotes:

  • Use quotation marks (” “) around quotes in the press release
  • Separate more than one sentence in a quote with ,“said [Ms Xx].”
  • Use a comma after the first sentence of a quote; do not use a period e.g. “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit,” said Ms Watkins.
  • Media convention is not to close the quotes at the end of each successive quoted block – just at the end of the last quote.

End – To signify that the reader has reached the end of the press release itself you can either include the word ENDS or some hashtags underneath the last sentence ###.  Also it is important to include organisation contact information for media to contact someone for further information or queries. This would usually be the communications officer or MD.

Boiler Plate – An optional inclusion is a boiler plate that is a simple short paragraph that provides a description of the company or organisation and what it does. Don’t expect everyone to be familiar with who you are.

The Inverted Pyramid

Below is a diagram of what is known in journalistic circles as the Inverted Pyramid and describes the flow of ideas in a press release.

It documents the order that releases should be written in, from ‘most newsworthy information’, to ‘Important details’, to ‘other general or background information’.

By following this plan your readers should be able to find the critical information at the start of the release without needing to read the whole thing. For those who wish to read on they will be able to gain additional information.

Final thought: Edit and spell check! There’s nothing worse than a rushed job with mistakes. Have more than one set of eyes read the press release.

press release

The below press release summary has been modified from a template from eRelease.com:

pressm release

 

Main image copyright: alexskopje / 123RF Stock Photo

A Few Things To Consider When Developing NFP Content

The not-for-profit (NFP) sector is a unique beast when it comes to communication.non profit

Their audience is broad, ranging from organisation members, volunteers, board members, media, politicians and policymakers. Not to mention the wider public in many cases.

Their work is centred towards a cause, with no mind towards profit or personal gain.

The content is continuous, versatile and needs to be engaging, and always leads back to the main underlying message that drives the organisation.

Every NFP will have their own communications and engagement strategy, but there are a few universal truths to consider when developing not-for-profit related content.

Good NFP content is more than just words on the page. Those who subscribe to a not-for-profit cause are often looking for information, resources and benefits that will help their interests and the interests of the industry they support. It’s important to provide that through content which, unlike a media release, can house such opportunities. Online NFP mediums like blogs, newsletters, web pages and even online in-house news pieces should be abundant with images and videos that illustrate a point, as well as links to other websites and attachments (i.e published PDFs) that can provide further reading and scope to the information. By providing this, an NFP exhibits a level of commitment to stakeholders, and shows the content they provide is a one-stop shop for all the information anyone could want on their subject.

Some content ‘receivers’ have other things to worry about. Often an NFP is made up of volunteers and members who have their own lives and businesses outside of the organisation. It can get quite frustrating when a lot of time is spent on developing great content and no one seems to respond. You have to ask yourself, ‘how will this content affect the reader’? NFP content is not usually recognised as randomly generated news pieces and web posts for people to stumble on and say, ‘hmm, that’s interesting’, before going about their day. NFP content has to strike a chord; it has to entice; it has to make people feel personally invested. Using links to useful resources as previously mentioned is great way to start, as well as adopting catchy and insightful headlines and headings, but the next step is to develop content that really hits home.

For example…

Writing a fact sheet to convince businesses to contribute to an NFP cause may include content around the following:

  • What is in it for the business?
  • How will the business be affected?
  • Why is the NFP the right group for the cause? What are their goals and how do those goals translate to the business?

Understanding the audience goes a long way. More important to content distribution, understanding who the audience is helps to determine how to provide them with content the way they like it. This might sound a little pandering, but, for example, you would not develop an NFP event invitation that looks like spam and then email it to a group of busy executives twice a day for a month. It’s important to know the receiver, understand their communication channels, and interact with them in a way that keeps them on side and receptive to the message. Knowing the audience also helps with the tone of content. Continuing with the ‘busy executives’ as my example group, these individuals may prefer a professional manner from an NFP, rather than a youthful and off-the-cuff conversation tone. Just like travelling to another country and speaking to a local, NFP content is most effective when it is in the right lingo.

NFP content should have something to say. Consider the following paragraphs for a hypothetical media release, written by a hypothetical NFP organisation:

[INSERT NFP ORGANISATION HERE] is in full support of [INSERT INITIATIVE/PLAN/NEW LAW] established by [INSERT SEPERATE ENTITY HERE].

“This is a great step forward and [INSERT NFP ORGANISATION HERE] is excited about what it will mean for the future,” said [INSERT NAME OF NFP HEAD HERE].

This approach is often taken to tell the world that an NFP is aware of a situation, and usually comes off as self-promotion. When creating content, an NFP should consider the benefit of others first, and their interests last. An insightful report of the information and what it means for others should be the first priority. Once readers are made clear of the news and what it means for them and their interest, then an NFP can round out the message with the pledge of support and whatever future actions they may take on the public’s behalf.

Ultimately, it comes down to understanding the definition of a not-for-profit – an organisation that does not operate for their own personal profit and gain. NFP content should reflect that, and be written and distributed with the interests of others in mind.

How Corporate Communications Is Evolving

The role of Communications Director in both global and local organisations has historically focused on a number of key traditional strategies to drive the brand forward. These roles include managing public image and reputation, distributing media releases, statements and alerts, responding to crises, writing speeches, engaging with stakeholders and managing the corporate website, among other tasks.

But now, today’s tech-savvy consumers and the way they seek products calls for a lot more than what the traditional corporate communications executive has previously delivered.

Today’s comms landscape brings social media, and with that, social media management, where companies must distribute their narratives proactively, respond almost instantaneously to negative public feedback, all throughout several different social media channels.

An alarming statistic that featured in this year’s World PR Report, or ‘The Holmes Report’, revealed that by 2020, only 17 per cent of a communications budget will go towards paid media; that is, advertising.

But, the same respondents in the report also said that they expected the biggest budget increase in the future will go toward shared media.

Shared media intertwines with ‘owned’ media* – but is still a relatively new concept, and forms only as a result of a brand and customers or fans interacting and mutually creating content.

This response doesn’t add up, given that social media postings must be sponsored (paid) and targeted perfectly to achieve any real reach or value on shared media platforms.

So what does this tell us?

Frankly, it says that many communications professionals don’t fully understand social media.

Content creation, video production, engaging and creative ideas will propel the most effective media engagement going forward, with 81 per cent of industry leaders flagging a future driven by content creation. Brand reputation, measurement and evaluation, and traditional media relations also ranked highly.

But while the tech side of communications is moving fast, it doesn’t mean the core skills of journalism go anywhere. In fact, they’re more valuable than ever in getting short and sharp content through (in 130 Twitter characters or less!)

‘Writing’ was in fact ranked as more critical than strategic planning (84 per cent), social media expertise (76 per cent), and multimedia content development (76 per cent) according to The Holmes Report.

This means that by far, writing is what the public uses to first judge a company: this includes professionalism, value to market and intellect.

*Owned media: Includes company-owned websites, blogs, social media accounts etc.

Inspiring Travel By Australia’s Top Influencers

 

travel-influencers

There’s no better way to fuel your travel plans than to jump online and see what some of the best digital travel influencers are up to.

Whether you’re after specific destination information, general travel advice or simply looking for some dreamy inspiration here are some of our favourite writers and bloggers providing the stuff that memorable travels are made of.

Mark Fitzpatrick

travel influencers

Mark is embarking on a second career, now as a social media influencer and photographer, living in the heart of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef at Mackay.

The ocean is where his heart is and the tropics are his destination of choice. Mark’s photography covers the beaches, islands, marine life and the reef, where he spends his days exploring. He’s perfected the above water/below water shot, which provides for a stunning effect.

His favourite region is the Whitsundays and loves its islands and fringing reefs. The clear water is the perfect place for Mark and his partner @theejpalmer to explore. It helps too that Mark is an ambassador for GoPro – all the better for us to admire his amazing photography.

You can visit Mark’s website at www.markfitz.com.au

We didn’t just find Nemo, we found his whole family! 🐟🐠🐟☀️🌴 #GoProANZ #GoPro #sandmarc

A photo posted by Mark Fitz (@_markfitz) on

The Global Goddess

christine-restchlagProud Queenslander and avid traveller Christine Retschlag is the Global Goddess, chronicling a single woman’s journey through life mixed in with plenty of destination features combined with colourful imagery.

Whether she’s contemplating hugging a polar bear, taking a shine to a Crocodile Dundee lookalike tour guide in India, or uncovering the hidden gems of Darwin, Christine will both entertain and inform.

The Goddess has a natural knack for describing local characters and letting serendipity make for happy memories and quirky stories.

Christine’s blog is found here: theglobalgoddess.com

Y Travel Blog

ytravel-blog-travel-more-create-better-memories

 

Caz and Craig Makepeace have made a life for themselves travelling throughout Australia and the world. Their philosophy in life is to accumulate memories, not just possessions. It’s a lesson they’re passing on to their two daughters who may well be two of the most well-travelled young ladies in the world.

Y Travel Blog is full of inspiring travel stories and advice to help you get the most out of your travel. It’s first hand advice designed to break down any barriers to getting the best travel and life experiences possible. Their year-long road trip around Australia was widely followed and provided never ending experiences to share.

Lauded as being amongst the world’s top travel bloggers, their blog is a must visit resource for anyone wanting sensible travel advice and reviews. Bookmark them now.

Read the Y Travel Blog here: www.ytravelblog.com

Little Grey Box

Phoebe Lee and her husband Matt are the forces behind Little Grey Box, one of Australia’s top travel blogs. Phoebe is the chief writer and Matt is the videographer.

Their stories and imagery aim to inspire other to live a life they love and get out and have their own big adventures. Phoebe’s list of her 10 favourite travel photographs and the story behind them gives you a sense of what travel means to them.

From destination reviews to travel tips including what to pack and where to stay, Phoebe also has lots of great advice to other potential bloggers and runs blog coaching sessions. There’s even a fabulous list of Christmas gift ideas for travel lovers.

You can visit Little Grey Box here: littlegreybox.net

Not Quite Nigella

__xl-lorraine-elliott-not-quiSydney’s Lorraine Elliott has been blogging since 2007 after leaving her advertising career. Food, fashion, beauty and travel are her passions.

Sign up to receive daily restaurant reviews, recipes and travel stories. From interesting twists to Australia Day recipes, basics made from scratch to the perfect picnic food, Not Quite Nigella features gorgeous photographs (many courtesy of Lorraine’s husband), hotel and airline reviews, and of course, most stories are related to food.

If you’re looking for etiquette tips from a royal butler, then not Quite Nigella’s interview with Royal Butler Grant Harrold is most revealing: tea drinking should be a quiet slurp-free zone, and never pass the salt and pepper separately, the two are “married”.

Read Not Quite Nigella’s blog here: www.notquitenigella.com

Marketing and Publicity: What’s The Difference?

After the success of Ben’s post on the difference between PR and publicity which subsequently broke our internet, we thought we’d dive headfirst once more into the world of marcomms, this time highlighting the difference between marketing and publicity.

There’s an old saying; “Marketing is what you pay for, PR is what you pray for” which serves as a great introduction to marketing and publicity for the general public.

Both marketing and publicity are key tools of any organisation, and while they both support an organisation’s underlying sales, contribute to the business’ bottom line and fall into similar creative categories, their individual processes and results differ tremendously.

Evaluating your share of media depends on many factors including how your organisation measures consumer decision-making and how businesses value, measure and monitor their media content; in terms of ROI, a public relations-earned article can be upwards of ten times more valuable than a paid advertisement, according to some specialists.

Below are some lists outlining the key differences between the publicity and marketing functions of a business.

Marketing is paid media

  • Marketing is cost-based, transactional
  • Advertising is allocated by sales/advertising representatives from the media outlet, not journalists
  • Guaranteed media placement
  • Audience knows the space is purchased
  • Client retains 100 per cent creative control of content
  • Message “You should buy this”

Publicity is earned media

  • Unpaid, ‘earned’ third party endorsement
  • Cannot be paid for
  • Requires strategy
  • Builds trust, builds credibility
  • Relationship-based between PR consultants and journalists
  • Requires in-depth media knowledge, exceptional communications skills for successful pitching
  • No guarantee of publication
  • Media controls final product
  • Message: “This is important”

The purpose of marketing is to create and bring to market a product or service that people will buy.

Different Media Explained

Paid Media

  • A large portion of a marketing budget. Plays a major role in marketer’s campaign strategy. For example, TV advertisements.

Owned Media

  • Blogs, company website, Facebook and Twitter etc.
  • Usually involves both PR and marketing (PR for key messaging and marketing for allocating sponsored posts, advertising etc).

Earned Media

  • ‘Earned’ editorial coverage, generated through publicity

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4 Simple Rules For Combining Text With Video

In-text videoAs a writer, of sorts, I hate it when people look me dead in the eye and proclaim, ‘the written word is dead’. When I hear it, it feels like all of my career choices up to this point have been nullified by those who prefer to absorb information in other ways, and believe communicating is a ‘one or the other’ exercise.

But there’s no reason to feel like this! Even in this day and age, written content still plays an integral part of business, news and information.

The difference is that written content need no longer stand alone.

Incorporating videos into online content is a great way to add another layer to your message. It’s a tried and true approach for many organisations, bloggers and news providers.

But do not be fooled into thinking that it’s a simple matter of pasting a YouTube link into your text. As writers/content creators, it’s up to us to understand the ‘sweet science’ behind intermingling the magic of video with our craft.

Create a symbiotic relationship

It all begins with a symbiotic relationship. Before you can add videos to your work, an environment has to be created where your words and your videos earn their worth by relying on each other.

  • A good video can help illustrate and visually stimulate the point you are trying to make, in ways that even the most coherent text cannot do on its own.
  • Well-written content provides appropriate context to a video which would otherwise be pointless imagery.
Video in text

The video shows us what the reactions in the article are based on, and the content therefore makes more sense. http://www.dorkly.com/post/81128/20-perfect-internet-reactions-to-the-nintendo-switch

Keep videos short, sharp and to the point

Including a 10-plus-minute video in the middle of a 400 to 600-word blog is rarely effective. However relevant, a long video with rich and captivating content will command readers’ full attention, and it pulls concentration away from the content you worked so hard to develop.

A video should be used as a quick illustration. If it’s too long, people could start losing interest or they may start to believe your written content is irrelevant. But we’ll get to that…

Keep videos relevant

While people are viewing your content, the accompanying video needs to support what they just read. It should provide imagery that helps a reader on their path to better understanding your content, and therefore should be relevant. Adding a video to your content just for the sake of it can hurt your message, especially if it has nothing to do with what you’ve written.

It may be tempting to add a video to your content because it looks cool, or fun, or it shows that you’re ‘with the times’, but pointless videos distract, undermine and generally get in the way.

Never let videos outrank your content

Typically a video should complement the content, not overpower it, and should only take centre stage in an online piece in certain and rare scenarios.

Video in text

The video offers no more than a visual illustration to the text below, assisting in the delivery of the message. http://www.crossriverrail.qld.gov.au/

A well-edited video may lead people to think they can get all the information they need from its entertaining imagery, which will make what you’ve worked hard to create seem redundant and irrelevant.

But there’s a problem with thinking that an in-text video has all the answers: By forsaking the text, the key points are sometimes missed entirely.

Videos should always be regarded as merely a tool to assist your content – aiding where necessary so your content can achieve its objective in the best way possible.

Why Celebrity Endorsement Is Here To Stay

celebrity endorsement

Why do brands embrace the faces of celebrity?

It’s not a new phenomenon and has been part of our daily consumption for many decades; in fact, it’s difficult not to name a product or company that hasn’t engaged in some form of celebrity endorsement.

Celebrities can be a vehicle for brands to reach out to new audience niches as well as the mainstream.

Some well-known and successful brand associations include George Clooney (Nespresso), Jennifer Aniston (Emirates), Nicole Kidman (Etihad), Michael Jordan (Nike) and Jamie Oliver (Woolworths).

Success can add millions in brand value through positive association and the power of aspiration.

Consumers are well aware that these arrangements are paid for but will see past that if the association is credible and real.

Guy Sebastian has recently been announced as AirAsia’s brand ambassador in Australia in a deal that promises to work well for both parties. AirAsia receive the benefit of a very likeable personality with a clean image in the vast entertainment industry.

AirAsia sees the synergy of entertainment and travel working together in a lifestyle brand sense to appeal to their audience, produce engaging content and attract attention across borders.

Sebastian in turn is looking to promote himself further across Asia and AirAsia’s massive reach will assist. The airline has worked before with musicians in other markets and several top executives are former music industry executives including the co-founder, Tony Fernandes.

AirAsia X Group CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranun said the airline was thrilled to have Guy on board calling him a “natural fit for AirAsia”.

“Guy embodies AirAsia’s values and ideals with his support of the community through charity work and will promote AirAsia’s brand,” he said.

guy sebastian

In an interesting twist, about the time Sebastian was announcing the arrangement with AirAsia, controversial Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios parted ways as an ambassador for Malaysia Airlines after just one year. Sometimes the relationship just doesn’t work out, or maybe, wasn’t a good fit to start with.

In another format, Australian radio and TV personality Jules Lund has established a marketing start-up called Tribe which targets brands that want to get active in social media through associating themselves with brand personalities or ‘influencers’.

The marketplace model allows users (influencers) to bid online to provide services or endorsements for a product or brand which can then be purchased by that brand. Tribe promises ‘authentic advocacy’, with influencers choosing brands, not the other way around.

Tribe has just completed a round of funding to fuel expansion in technology and markets. It has claimed to have worked with more than 500 brands and have about 4500 influencers on its books.

If you’re considering a brand ambassador here’s a checklist of some key considerations:

  • Choose the right brand ambassador! What are they going to do for you and who do they appeal to? Is their association with your brand or product believable? Do your research thoroughly.
  • It needs to be a two-way relationship with real benefits for both parties. It’s not just about dollars.
  • All obligations and terms need to be set out in writing for executing. And, also allow for the arrangement not working out.
  • Meet regularly to manage obligations under the contract and explore new opportunities.
  • How will you measure the success or otherwise of your investment? Is it in sales, audience recall, specific brand attribute measurements, or digital media traction? Be clear with your own goals and expectations.

How To Nail A Media Interview And Build Your Brand And Personal Profile

prior-preparation-preents-piss-poor-press-performance

I have been doing a bit of media training for clients lately and it has reminded what an incredibly daunting experience it can be for people who do not deal with the media on a daily basis. For the vast majority of executives – regardless of age, experience or gender – interacting with the media for the first few times can be cause to break out in a rash and immediately commence a search for any number of reasons why it is a bad idea (delegation to someone else to ‘help’ them develop their skills is a favorite!).

Why engage with the media?

Doing a media interview for the first time comes from the same place the fear of public speaking comes from, amplified to the size of the prospective audience. The fear of something going horribly wrong and the consequences for your career, business and social status can be terrifying. So why the hell would you put yourself through that?

Because it is great for your business. Getting your name out through earned media channels allows you to reach a bigger audience with greater credibility than you could image with your paid or owned channels. Earned media drives four times the brand lift of paid media and 51% of millennials are more likely to be influenced by earned media (BazaarVoice, 2012) than advertising.

There are plenty of other reasons why you should engage with the media.

Are you a goodie or baddie?

To be simplistic, most interactions with the media can be characterised as either a threat or an opportunity. How you deal with the media depends heavily on this context and if you are a goodie or a baddie.

Threats are where there is a risk your name or brand could be damaged as a result of a media report. The strategies you adopt in these circumstances are vastly different to how you deal with an opportunistic engagement. It will be fairly easy to tell the difference when the time comes.

If you just jagged a $2 million bonus while profits and shareholder returns declined, you are the bad guy and should expect some tough questions. Your business just went into administration leaving customers high and dry. Expect some tough questions. Like it or lump it, asking these tough questions is a journalist’s job. In these situations, harm minimisation is the main priority.

However, if you haven’t ripped anybody off lately talking to the media is something you should actively be pursuing and can deliver massive return, for minimal risk. The vast majority of interactions with the media are simple exchanges of information. You have knowledge, insight and expertise that the journalist wants to tell their reader, or viewer in an interesting and engaging way. It is a simple transaction. You get your name in the paper, they get a great story to tell their audience.

Nailing the interview

So your PR has done their job and pitched a story and the journalist wants to have a chat. Once you accept that all they want to write is an interesting story about you and your business, it is easy to let down the defences and focus on maximising the opportunity.

The Seven Ps (Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Press Performance)

Like anything, being prepared for a media interview will drastically improve the outcome.

Your first step is to understand your audience, or more accurately, the audience of the news outlet you are talking to. Visit the publication’s website to get a feel of who they are trying to talk to. Understanding the publication will better prepare you for the kind of questions you may be asked. Take the time to red the journalists recent pieces to get an insight into what they are looking for.

kmpsIt is also important to develop some key message points. If you already have some key messages make sure you review them and have some proof points handy. Your proof points support your messages and are important to justify your arguments.

Key messages are not advertising ‘slogans’ but are based on the things you want to communicate about your organisation. Responding to media questions will be a smoother and easier process for you, and more beneficial for your organisation, if you have established these key messages and proof points. The simpler the messages the more easily understood they will be to reporters and the public.

Practice never hurt anybody. Ask one of your colleagues to ask you a couple of questions to make sure you are in the right frame of mind. Sometimes the most basic questions can be the hardest. What is your strategy? Tell me about the history of your business? What is your pricing structure?

Interview basics

Once you are actually on the phone or sitting in front of the journalist there are a few things you can do make the experience positive for both you, the journalist and your organisation.

The best stories come from interviews where the journalist and the subject build a rapport. Treat an interview as a conversation with an old friend you are catching up with and telling them about your great new business. Get started by asking them about their day, other stories they are working on or what they are doing on the weekend. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions as well.

Always be looking for opportunities to integrate your key messages while still staying focused on the question. Nothing will annoy a journalist more than simply parroting a bunch of canned lines that has nothing to do with the question. Remember your messages are just that and an interview is not a challenge of your ability to recite stuff verbatim from a cheat card.

If there is one thing you should take away from this blog about interviews it is to try andbe interesting. That is particularly important for people who are not natural salespeople but find themselves as the CEO and media spokesperson.

Remember you are competing for space with other organisations. Journalists even compete for page space or airtime within their own organisation. The simpler, more interesting and exciting your answers the more likely you are to secure your share, or more. Don’t use corporatese, legalese or any other style designed to put an audience to sleep.

This is boring.

“If the external environment remains stable and we can execute our strategy effectively we expect to be able to achieve future growth in line with past performance.”

The silence you can hear is the journalist asleep on the other end of the phone. This is a quote.

“We’re killing it. We’ve got the best solution in the marketplace and our competitors can’t keep up. We expect to shoot the lights out over the next couple of years.”

By adopting these few simple techniques you can earn your business thousands of dollars, sometimes millions, of free publicity.

If you’re interested in undertaking our media training workshops feel free to contact me on 0415 743 838 or ben@rgcommunications.com.au

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simPRO Secures $40 Million In Funding To Drive Growth

Australian cloud technology group simPRO Software has secured AUD$40 million in growth capital as part of an aggressive product innovation and expansion strategy that has seen the company enter the United States and the United Kingdom over the last two years.

The funding was secured from New York-based growth equity firm Level Equity. simPRO has been self-funded since it was established in Brisbane in 2002 and is currently owned by private shareholders, including current staff.

simPRO Software provides leading-edge job management software for the trade service industry. The cloud-based system helps businesses work smarter, provide exceptional service, and maximise their profitability. The software is designed for operators in the electrical, plumbing, HVAC and security industries.

At the end of June 2016 simPRO had more than 2,500 clients and 80,000 users around the world, with clients ranging from small contracting operations through to corporate enterprises with thousands of staff.

brad-couper-smallsimPRO Software CEO Brad Couper (pictured) said the investment by Level Equity would provide the capital to support a range of initiatives including product enhancements, growing customer support, and marketing.

“We have set ambitious goals for our business over the next few years and believed a sophisticated investment partner with deep expertise in vertical market software could meaningfully enhance the velocity with which we achieve those goals,” Mr Couper said.

“We have been flattered with a significant amount of interest in our business from investors around the globe and spent time with a range of partners both in Australia and the US before deciding on Level Equity.

“Level has a nuanced understanding of our business model and the end markets in which we operate. Their knowledge and capital will be an important asset for simPRO moving forward.”

Level Equity Founder Ben Levin said, “We speak with thousands of vertically specific SaaS businesses each year and have been impressed with what Brad and the team at simPRO have built with no external capital.

“We engaged with the business over a long period of time and have a shared vision for continuing to build world class business software that serves contractors and other tradesmen, allowing them to be more successful as they grow their businesses.”

Mr Couper recently relocated, along with a number of other corporate staff, from Australia to simPRO’s new offices in Boulder, Colorado, as part of a major push into the US market.

simPRO has been slowly introducing its software platform to the US market since mid-2015, but plans to embark on a rapid growth strategy, launching in up to four states throughout the US over the next 12 months starting with Colorado.

The business already attracts integrations with a range of global leading third-party software providers, such as Intuit, Xero, MYOB and many industry wholesalers.

Mr Couper said product development and enhancement remained a core focus for the company and would unpderpin its future success.

“Our goal is to be the dominant contractor software platform around the world. To do that we need to continue to lead the way in innovation for our clients, and be adaptable to their changing needs,” he said.

“We want to be more than a software solution. We want to help our clients pursue what they are passionate about, whether it’s business growth, personal wealth, or the freedom to pursue life outside of work: we call it the simPRO journey.”

The simPRO Story

Company co-founder Stephen Bradshaw, an electrical contractor by trade, said the company had come a long way since he and co-founder Vaughan McKillop began working on a solution for managing his growing trade services business in 2002.

“We only had three or four staff – any bigger than that and you started to lose control,” he said.

“I realised that what electrical and other trade businesses really needed was systemisation and automation. We needed software to help us keep visibility and manageability, and many, many other trade businesses were in the same position.”

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Around that time, Mr Bradshaw’s cousin introduced him to Mr McKillop, who was studying software engineering at Griffith University. Mr McKillop left his job delivering pizza to work part-time for Mr Bradshaw, doing data entry for the electrical business in his converted garage.

One day, Mr Bradshaw asked Mr McKillop to create a website for the business.

Mr McKillop explained that his strengths actually lay in writing software. The conversation quickly led to the creation of simPRO.

“I didn’t want other people to have to go through the heartache of becoming a slave to their business. I saw an opportunity for Vaughan and I to try to create a solution together,” Mr Bradshaw said.

Using the web-based PHP and MySQL languages Mr McKillop was familiar with, they began creating the first, cloud-based iteration of simPRO – starting with job lists, then working on a scheduling tool for allocating time and technicians.

As the software grew, they realised they’d created a tool that could indeed help other businesses, and began sharing it with other electrical contractors to test its usefulness, and, eventually, selling it to them.

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V2H Australia Appoints Glenn Davis As Chairman Following Capital Raising Completion

Queensland radial drilling technology group V2H Australia (V2HA) has appointed highly-regarded and experienced company director Glenn Davis as Chairman following the completion of a multi-million dollar capital raising.

He is a director of a number of public and private companies including as Chairman of ASX-listed Beach Energy Limited (ASX: BPT).  He is a principal with DMAW Lawyers a firm he founded, and has for 30 years advised companies in the energy industry.

Glenn has extensive experience in the energy sector and governance.

The appointment follows the completion of a Series A capital raising by V2HA. Approximately 40% of the company’s shares were placed to a range of high net worth individuals and institutions. The raising was managed by Adelaide’s SRG Partners and was undertaken as a co-investment with the company’s deployment partner, the Nitschke Group.

The funds will be used to fund working capital.

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Mr Davis welcomed the opportunity to work with current V2HA board and executive team as it embarked on a new phase of growth.

“V2HA’s technology is very exciting and has the potential to be a significant step change in the oil and gas industry,” he said. “I look forward to working with Darren Rice and the team as they move from being a technology company to a commercial operation focused on growth.”

V2HA CEO Darren Rice said Mr Davis would be a valuable asset to the company.

“Glenn has extensive experience and contacts in the oil and gas industry as well as the respect of everyone in the industry,” he said.

V2HA is a subsidiary of V2H International, which was created as a result of a merger between technology group Coal Bed Methane Innovations (a spin-off company of CRCMining) and Texas-based Zero Radius Laterals (ZRL).

V2HA will be the world’s leading radial drilling water jet technology company, and plans to expand internationally through partnerships and licensing agreements.

The patented technology owned by V2H International has been under development for a number of years and has applications in both conventional and unconventional oil & gas wells, specifically the Coal Seam Gas (CSG) industry in Australia. 

More than $40 million to date has been spent developing the technology and in Australia, successful field trials have been completed by BHP and Peabody Energy.

The technology, which is environmentally friendly, can increase production and recovery from existing (or new) oil & gas wells. The system deploys a high-pressure water system that rapidly installs extensive patterns of lateral radial boreholes into multiple coal seams from vertical production wells.