Hospice lotteries can friend-raise and fundraise with social media

Friday 24th September 2010   by Stuart Bickerton

Hospices face the challenge of raising millions of pounds each year to keep their excellent and highly valued services running. So any new ideas for boosting profile, encouraging participation and increasing support are well worth considering.

Last week, Julia Davies, account manager for Shropshire marketing, design, web and PR agency matm, was asked to speak to 67 hospice lotteries, at their annual conference, about social media – and, in particular, facebook and Twitter. Social media is an area of marketing that matm is increasingly asked to help with.

The audience reflected a wide range of experience, from those who are terrified to tweet to those who are avid facebook fans. Most, though, were clearly keen to embrace all options and reap the benefits.

Charity fundraising is increasingly about building longterm relationships and social media offers great tools for finding new friends and supporters and helping to make relationships last.

Some hospices are already finding social media activity is generating rewards, says Julia. One reported: “It has helped us attract new lottery donors, obtain professional photography, recruit volunteers for marshalling events, find people to lend us equipment and generate lots of enthusiasm for our hospice.”

One clear message, says Julia, is that you need the right social media approach – and to give it time to bed in and work. She adds: “Don’t be scared, get started with your social media ‘friend-raising’. You never know where it may take you!”

matm takes a break from marketing to make a splash

Thursday 23rd September 2010   by Stuart Bickerton

After the blood, sweat and tears of pre race practice runs – about 95 minutes of practice to be precise – the team matm rowing boat set off in blades of glory to romp home victorious in our first race against Ramsbury Flyers.

Team matm – monikered as Angry White Pyjamas to reflect their martial arts attire – was slightly less successful against two other teams, including the eventual winners Mostyn’s Maniacs, but a great time was had by all.

So it’s back to the day job of providing great marketing, design, web and public relations support for our clients in Shropshire and beyond for us – now the blisters on our hands have healed.

Thanks go to our designer, Tom Blockley (who also made the hats in the early hours of the morning before), web developer Rich Howells and Mandy Sznober (Rich’s better half) for pulling enthusiastically in the same direction (mostly) and to the good people of Bridgnorth Rowing Club for their help and patience.

Team matm looks surprisingly in sync!

Team matm takes on the opposition - marketing is much easier!

Team matm lays down the power - and catches a crab

Tips from matm for creating an engaging internal newsletter

Thursday 16th September 2010   by Stuart Bickerton

An important tool in any company’s internal communications plan is the company newsletter, says Jamie Doran, PR Executive, at Shropshire-based matm. We recently completed one for a client, so with the thoughts and ideas fresh in team matm’s mind; we thought we’d share some of the key points that make for an effective newsletter…

• It needs to be fun, morale-boosting and conversational, whilst containing concise and useful corporate information. Indeed, everyone wants to read about who won the fantasy football and got married in a hot air balloon, but a newsletter should also inform the reader about new products, people, policies and services.

• Consistency! A newsletter should have a regular layout, format and style – making it quick and easy to read. It should also have a consistent print/publication schedule so staff know when to expect it.

• Make sure there is something for all workplace audiences. This is a tricky one but gone should be the days of dull monologues delivered by the company chairman.

• Provide your newsletter in both digital and hard copy. It is obviously greener to save paper and send out a newsletter digitally. But given spam filled, overloaded email boxes and the fact that some employees don’t have access to a computer anyway, providing a hard copy is necessary. If at all possible, send a personally addressed copy to each employee (as our client does). It makes that person feel more valued.

• Link to other media. Your newsletter can be integrated with other internal communication tools. Once your newsletter is on the company intranet, you can extend features online – further photos and videos can provide extra background to newsletter stories.

• Always remember the internal newsletter, and other internal communications tools, are an important driver of the company brand.

A picture tells many thousands of customers

Friday 10th September 2010   by Stuart Bickerton

As a journalist expected to write great copy, I often went out on particular stories knowing that if I didn’t come back with a photo in my pocket (this was when pictures were made of paper) I would have failed, and miserably, writes Andy Comber, PR manager at Shropshire PR specialist matm. Good photography can turn an okay story into a great one.

One of our recent projects is a good example. RS Miller Roofing in Dudley brought an 18th Century dovecote at Chillington Hall, near Brewood in Staffordshire, back to life in spectacular fashion. It was an impressive project. And the pictures taken for us by photographer Paul Watkins showed it off to the full. He uses a remote controlled helicopter or a telescopic mast to get excellent aerial shots.

Front page splash for RS Miller Roofing

Roofing Magazine gives RS Miller two page spread

We offered the story and pictures to Roofing Magazine, the industry’s No 1 publication and the first reaction was: “What great pictures!” So great, that the image was used on the July/August front page and more in the two page spread inside (and this was not an advertorial). I like to think the copy was great too, but getting the images right can make all the difference.

A small flame creates a burning global issue, viewpoint from a Shropshire PR agency

Wednesday 8th September 2010   by Stuart Bickerton

Many people will view the debate generated about the threat by an American pastor to burn copies of the Quran with decidedly mixed emotions, and that’s putting it mildly, writes matm‘s PR manager Andy Comber. But you’ve got to give The Rev Terry Jones one thing, he has succeeded in creating an extremely intoxicating and ‘sticky’ story, whether he did it by design (is that intelligent?) or not.  The fact that I am bothered to write this blog entry is one more sliver of evidence of that.

It’s worth, then, wondering how an otherwise unknown leader of a tiny, tiny church in a the backwaters of Florida can trigger such global alarm, prompting the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton herself, to condemn him and implore him not to go ahead with his threat and US generals to raise serious concerns that soldiers will now die in revenge attacks.

The mechanism is, I am sure, complex. But in simple terms it is because Terry Jones has created a simple, sticky message. This is a term popularised by Chip and Dan Heath in their book, Made to Stick. I am not going to slavishly follow their model here but make some quick observations about why Terry Jones’s views represent a burning issue (sorry, last one) right now.

  • Firstly, the timing is perfect. The US has just announced the war has ended in Iraq and attention is turning wholly on Afghanstan – a war which began after the 9/11 attack in New York. And The Rev Jones has homed in on that anniversary too. So this is a hot issue in the States at a time when mid-term elections are looming.
  • Secondly it generates a strong, simple, visual image, as all the best stunts do. It’s  no accident that Hitler used the same technique.
  • Thirdly, it is controversial and polarising while remaining relevant to a wide number of individuals and groups. A debate is guaranteed, whether it goes global or not is another matter. The idea of a special Burn the Quran Day also creates a focus, allows people to belong and join in.
  • It is also a cliff hanger – will he or won’t he? The latest news reports say The Rev is still praying to God to ask if he should go ahead with the burning. As newspaper editors might say “this story’s got legs.”
  • It is also a debate fueled by social media. The last time I looked, Twitter analytics showed ‘quran’ and ‘koran’ are spiking in popularity. By my reckoning, together, they account for around 0.08% of all Tweets over the last 24 hours. That’s around 4 million messages. ‘Burn the quran’ was the 31st most popular Google search entry – generating 1.33 million searches.

Word of mouth mechanisms are complex so there will be many other triggers that played a part. There’s no need to advocate distasteful stunts to gain publicity, but there are PR lessons to learn – choose the right time, keep it simple, use strong visuals and create a message that relevant to your audience and generates a debate that people will want to share, whether it be in fun or horror.  Oh, and think twice about giving the story legs by writing about it. Well, I’ve broken that PR rule now haven’t I?

Typefaces are the clothes letters wear – viewpoint from Shropshire based designer

Tuesday 7th September 2010   by Stuart Bickerton

Love them or hate them we come across typefaces everyday, writes matm‘s Senior Creative, Lindsay Crayton. In most cases we follow corporate fonts which our clients have specified but what happens when you’re left to make the decision?

Here are some simple guidelines to get you started:

  • First impressions are important, choose something appropriate! Let’s face it Comic Sans is not as flexible or attractive as you may think.
  • Look for a typeface which has a large “family”. Roman, light, bold, italic, condensed, black, medium to name but a few. The larger the family the more flexibility you will have across a range of materials.
  • Serif or sans serif? Sans serif can be easier to read at smaller sizes and have a more contemporary feel. Serif can be seen as being more traditional, what is the look and feel you are trying to achieve?
  • Are you setting French, Spanish or Russian copy? Does your chosen typeface have all the accents that you need?

If you want to find out more, there are a number of font libraries to browse through such as www.linotype.com and www.fontshop.com.

Finally, back to my clothes reference…dress to impress, select a typeface which is fit for the occasion.

In Support of Severn Hospice

Friday 3rd September 2010   by Stuart Bickerton
matm in Support of Severn Hospice

matm in support of Severn Hospice

Matm‘s Rich Howells, Web Designer, and Tom Blockley, Senior Graphic Designer, will be donning the lycra this weekend in support of Severn Hospice for the yearly 50k bike ride in and around Telford/ Bridgnorth.

Tom has openly admitted to being “very afraid” at the prospect of seeing Rich in cycle shorts, however he feels this will be something he is willing to endure for the ‘greater good’.

We’re proud to support the work of Severn Hospice. If you’d like to join us in supporting this excellent cause please visit their website: Severn Hospice

Unveiling the Toulouse

Thursday 2nd September 2010   by Stuart Bickerton

Another fantastic masterpiece from bath specialist Victoria + Albert.

matm have been working on the new luxury brochure including this fabulous new bath

… more details soon but we thought we show you their new creation just after it’s official launch day.

Visit www.vandabaths.com/uk for further details