The dos and don’ts of international PR campaigns


Blog by our global PR network, Convoy.

For any brand, expanding into a new region or territory can be a significant challenge. Along with the basic cost of running an international PR campaign, factors such as language, culture and market competition all have to be taken into account.

There are also several general misconceptions that we’ve seen crop up time and time again, especially in brands that don’t have experience of rolling out campaign across different regions.

With so many things to think about, it’s no wonder that businesses tend to make mistakes when expanding into new markets. Planning and executing an international PR or communications campaign is hugely complex, so we’ve put together a few fundamental dos and don’ts to help brands get the ball rolling.


We get a lot of brands coming to us saying they want to “do Europe” or “do Asia”, but this approach is simply too broad to work effectively. The market dynamics within regions tend to be more varied than people think, so it’s key that businesses start by breaking down the markets they want to focus on.

For example, when clients tell us they want to focus on Europe, our first step is always to make them pick their top three countries to focus on. This tends to be the UK, France and Germany – Sweden is also becoming more popular – generally because these economies are the strongest so are most likely to lead to sales growth.


A common mistake many brands make is assuming that the only difference between different European markets is the language. They think applying the same tactics in each region will work – e.g. creating one piece of content and just translating it – where in actual fact the media landscape varies considerably across Europe.

This is where culture plays a big role. Brands tend to only think about language and don’t spend enough time considering the cultural differences that exist within regions. Wider cultural differences can have a huge impact on the day-to-day, regardless of whether you can get away with marketing a campaign in English in a different region, so brands can’t afford to assume that a one-size-fits-all campaign will be successful.


Whether for interviews or content attributions, it’s usually beneficial to have a local spokesperson in place. Of course, the importance of this can vary depending on the country – for example, in some markets you’ll get away with using a regional head or someone in your HQ office – but having a local contact is a great way to build relationships with journalists.

Just be sure to bear in mind that the spokesperson shouldn’t have a sales-related job title. European journalists tend to be cynical and wise to sales or marketing messages, so will generally avoid talking to people in these roles. If you’re a US-based company that doesn’t have access to appropriate spokespeople, it can be better to use an American representative that has a more general, technical, or c-suite job title.


Another common mistake brands tend to make is to run everything from one centralised location, thereby removing all autonomy from the teams on the ground in the respective regions. Cutting local teams out of the process means any campaign will lack the local nuances needed to make an impact.

While there can be benefits to hubbing everything from one location, failing to build engagement from local teams by asking them what they need and what they think will work best is likely to damage any international PR campaign in the long run. For example, adapting US content for the UK market isn’t as simple as just changing the spelling – how you deal with the media is also very different. Ultimately, it comes down to sense checking ideas from people who know their market and can provide the local insight that others can’t.

Of course, these aren’t the only things marketing teams have to think about before expanding into new markets. They also have to consider the customers they have in each region (if they have any at all), the strength of their sales pipeline and how different communication strategies might impact their activities in different regions.

Finally, it’s always worth researching what competitors are doing, as this can be invaluable in helping understand what capabilities will be needed in order to effectively service a particular market.

No matter what the region, making the decision to expand into uncharted territory can be daunting. And getting it wrong can also be extremely costly. That’s why it’s vital that brands make sure they are fully prepared for any market expansion and take the time to develop an international PR and marketing campaign that can be applied to their target markets.

If you need help expanding into a new region or territory, or want to find out more about our PR or marketing services, visit our Convoy Global PR Network page.


5 Tips to turn your LinkedIn company page into a lead-generation machine


LinkedIn can be a true game changer for business-to-business companies. The platform is built for business networking, which means it is uniquely suited to the needs of B2B business marketing. In fact, according to the recent SA social media landscape report by Arthur Goldstuck from World Wide Worx, local growth in the use of this platform is wholly on par with international trends.

South Africa currently has 6.8 million LinkedIn users, which brings it rather close to the type of traffic we see locally on Twitter and YouTube. However, if you want to get leads from LinkedIn, you have to be intentional. Quite fittingly, this business platform expects you to work for those leads.

The best way to turn your company page into a lead-generation machine is to turn it into a window that shows what’s happening at your business. Instead of hosting a static page with a bit of ‘about us’ content (who reads that stuff anyway?), you need to give prospective customers a sense of what it would be like doing business with you. This is also a great way to attract top talent. If you treat the page as a dynamic marketing tool, you can establish thought-leadership collateral, build brand awareness, and move your audience to take action, i.e. click through to your website.

As a specialist B2B PR agency, Red Ribbon Communication has refined the process of using LinkedIn to attract potential customers to an art. Here are a few insider tips that will allow you to do the same:

Choose a striking image

Use a profile image that draws attention or creates interest. The header image you use is the first avenue you can use to attract the interest of prospective clients who use the platform. An ideal header image should make the user eager to find out more and keep reading.

Create a compelling company description

Your company description should serve as a clear and compelling pitch of your products or services. Steer clear of a long, dry explanation of how the business was founded and how many branches you’ve opened – that is not the stuff of lead generation. Go for something inspiring and inspirational and pay particular attention to the first two sentences – that’s all that LinkedIn displays before your profile is clicked on.

Leverage the Updates section

Be sure to make your Updates section clickable and conversion-focused. If prospective clients did not click through to your website from the company information section, you want them to do so from the Updates. You want to create an active and engaging feed by regularly posting updates that are aimed at your target audience.

Here a few tips to write compelling updates:

– Optimise headlines by adding your own point of view and always include a clear and concise call to action of about 150 characters or less.
– Ask thoughtful questions to involve your audience.
– Make your content ‘snackable’ and valuable by including short stats and quotes.


Optimise with a Showcase page

LinkedIn Showcase pages are some of the most valuable pieces of online real estate for a B2B company. A purpose-build Showcase page can be designed to promote specific business lines, products, brands or initiatives within your company. Ideally, any given Showcase page should target a single customer segment, and provide information that is relevant to them. Make sure that these pages are conversion primed and keep the names of the pages short and simple to understand at a glance.

Harness the power of the group

LinkedIn groups offer a lot of great networking opportunities – one of the ways to get even more from the power of groups is to create your own. When you become the owner and moderator of your group, you establish a place where your target audience can gather and interact. However, if you truly want to be successful in this type of endeavour, you have to keep up with your page analytics to gain deeper insight into the performance of your group page. In doing so you will be able to evaluate the reach and engagement of individual posts, as well as:

– Evaluating the reach and engagement of your individual posts.
– Identifying trends over custom date ranges.
– Getting to know your followers and visitors with demographic charts.
– Learning more about your page traffic and activity, such as page views, unique visitors, and career page clicks.
– Seeing what type of content and topics your followers and audiences are engaging with across LinkedIn to inform your content strategy.

This is a broad-level approach, but without the right knowledge LinkedIn becomes just another time-sucking social network. Red Ribbon Communications is committed to assist you in getting the most value out of our LinkedIn efforts. Get in touch to learn more about our B2B PR services.

Also read our previous blog posts on lead generation for more tips: PR agencies – become demand generation heroes and The role of PR in lead generation


A concise guide to the dos & don’ts of technology Public Relations


As an established technology public relations company, what we do at Red Ribbon Communications is simultaneously very simple, and fairly complex – we connect brands with audiences. The golden tread that ties together everything we do is trust. Our brands trust us with their reputation, and the journalists we connect with depend on us to provide them with authentic, reliable content.

Our time as media relations specialists in the niche field of technology has taught us quite a bit about navigating the unpredictable territory of the content marketing sphere. Here are a few of the dos and don’ts we’ve established over the years that will stand you in good stead if you are new to the field of tech PR:

DO know your journalists before you pitch

When you just start out as a PR professional it can be tempting to pitch your story ideas to every single journalist you encounter. However, this tactic is seldom effective, mainly because you can harm the reputation of your client and employer if you spam every journo on your contact list regardless of the type of news they normally cover. Rather take the time to research your journalists and form an idea of the type of content that pertains to their platform, so you can pitch targeted story ideas that they are likely to accept. Once you’ve built that relationship, they will be far more likely to open your emails in future.

DO maintain a professional distance

Always be professional and courteous, rather than overly personal, in your communication with the media. Unless you’ve been friends for years, you need to establish yourself as a professional in their eyes before you allow the relationship to progress naturally. Rushing things and becoming too chummy early on will hamper your efforts rather than help it.

DO give your journalists breathing room

It is not acceptable to ask a journalist to see an article before it is published. Your client might expect it from you, but it is your job to explain that it will infuriate a journalist and permanently harm a relationship. You are basically saying that they can’t do their job properly.

DO proofread your pitch (multiple times!)

Make sure your pitch is brief and typo-free, or consider running it by a colleague if you’re unsure. Like it or not, maintaining a good relationship with journalists is one of the most critical parts of your job. Clients often come and go, but your relationship with the media is what keeps the engine running. Trust is hard to gain but easy to lose.

DON’T force journalists to commit to coverage

One of the quickest ways to sour a relationship with a media professional is to paint them into a corner where coverage is concerned. Keep the lines of communication open and offer them whatever they need to get a potential article written and published, but don’t push them to commit to something they can’t necessarily do of their own accord.

DON’T waste a journalist’s time

If you know that an article is due to be published, monitor the media yourself or go out and buy a copy of the magazine rather than requesting the link or sending multiple emails to check up. Journalists receive countless emails every day and it’s hard for them to stick to their deadlines when they are interrupted constantly.

DON’T over-thank

Young PR professionals are often so excited at the prospect of media coverage that they can be a bit effusive when it comes to thanking the journalist in question. Always remember that they aren’t doing you a favour – you have provided them with reliable content and they were able to craft it into a compelling article. The correct replay to a published piece is something along the lines of: ‘I am glad the information resulted in a quality piece and I will be happy to offer you my assistance in future’.

Following these guidelines will lay the groundwork for a rewarding career in technology public relations. Keep an eye on the blog in coming weeks and months as we share more insight into tech PR and tell you more about this fascinating industry.