STEM PR: Content PR in practice
STOP PRESS: On November 16, this campaign won a CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) Midlands PRide award for the Best STEM campaign.
In July 2014, longstanding Stone Junction client European Automation decided to integrate its fourteen international websites into a single online presence to improve its domain authority and create a more unified brand.
They called on Stone Junction to provide international PR and content support. The strategy was to increase domain authority using written and visual content that could be shared across the website and in technical media. European Automation's marketing director now attributes ten percent of annual sales to the campaign.
Alongside the new website, Stone Junction suggested a content platform called Automated, which would include only authoritative and unbiased writing addressing automation industry trends. This would be both an evolved and enhanced version of the traditional blog and the foundation of a quarterly print customer publication.
- Create authoritative downloadables
- Produce content for use on website and in media
- Deliver sales
Research and planning
Stone Junction began by researching popular industry trends in
the automation sector and created a core list of twenty subjects,
ranging from big data and Industry 4.0 to collapsing automation
architecture and the UK Government's forthcoming ESOS energy audit
This research was founded on Stone Junction’s industry knowledge and the results of a customer survey the agency wrote for European Automation.
Stone Junction then created a planned set of content including core media relations tactics such as opinion pieces, letters, case studies and press releases, as well as white papers, guides, infographics and other types of content for Automated.
We also planned a set of ‘content zones’ for the website based on the client’s five core markets: oil and gas, life sciences, food and beverage, plastics and packaging and aerospace and automotive.
Strategy and tactics
The final stage of research was to ensure that
understood the needs of the automation, design and electrical media
across the globe.
Stone Junction began by writing the core text for the content zones, which included testimonials, gathered in three languages from multiple countries, compelling online-only content about the five core sectors and the subsectors within each and a thought leadership focussed article addressing a popular automation topic in each of the sectors.
The next stage was to place this content in technical media across five target countries before moving on to produce content for Automated, which would also act as evergreen and highly linkable material for the site.
Alongside this, a media outreach project was conducted using a vibrant mix of letters, press releases, feature articles and features contributions. Some of these were core hard news content, while other pieces were projects created to generate news or news jacking style rapid response activities, such as The Guardian’s campylobacter news investigation and the recent Regin industrial malware outbreak.
- To lead opinion and develop the EUA brand, using unbiased, authoritative online and media content
- Stone Junction developed and wrote Automated, a print and downloadable magazine
- We created multilingual content-zones dedicated to each industry and supplier brand
- Deployed core PR tactics - opinion pieces, letters, case studies, news jacking, photo shoots and press releases
- Delivered content PR tactics such as white papers, guides, slideshares and infographics
The project resulted in media coverage on all but one of the
seven continents of the Earth – and we are currently working on
Antarctica. Countries covered included Germany, Spain, Argentina,
Australia, Italy, the United States, South Africa, England, Scotland,
India and Northern Ireland.
There was coverage in UK newspapers The Sunday Times, The Times and The Guardian and 311 clippings in trade, national and regional media between June 2014 and May 2015.
“Stone Junction also wrote every word of the Automated magazine as well as 4000 words of product pages for European Automation's website and all of the site's content zones.”
To support the core media relations activity, Stone Junction also conducted several photo shoots on site at two of European Automation’s offices, as well as providing ad hoc photography when needed.
Measurement and evaluation
European Automation’s single brand website, serving 19
different countries went live on November 5, 2014. The new site is
delivering a significant increase in conversion rates, partly as the
result of better, more compelling content, creating increased customer
“The print clippings reached a combined audience of 4,815,717 and achieved a score of 86,777 using Stone Junction’s bespoke audience measurement metric – which takes into account circulation, readership, key message content, picture content, position and publication.”
Online clippings contained 209 links to the new website and a further 57 links to European Automation’s social media platforms.
- 311 clippings on five continents across Germany, Spain, Argentina, Australia, the United States, Italy, Canada, South Africa, England, Scotland, India and Northern Ireland
- ...with a combined reach of 4,815,717
- Coverage in The Sunday Times, Times and Guardian
- 209 links to the EUA website and 57 to EUA’s social media
- EUA marketing director Jonathan Wilkins attributes 10% of sales to this campaign, with a further 20% un-attributable and 70% returning business.
- 60% increase in UK traffic in 2014
- Significant increase in conversion rates due to better content, according to EUA sales manager Leroy Spence
"Frankly, I want to complain," explained Mark Proctor, MD of EUA. "Someone tried to place a £4M order recently. Stone Junction is just making us look too good!"
Budget and cost effectivness
The campaign was delivered on budget
with no additional
charges levied to European Automation that hadn’t been signed off in
advance. No advertising or advertorial was required to support the
campaign, other than pre-planned Google AdWords, which, in any case,
focuses on European Automation’s product pages.
"The role of PR within B2B marketing has evolved significantly in recent years. Connecting with buyers on both an intellectual and emotional level is now more important than ever,” explained Jonathan Wilkins, European Automation’s marketing manager.
"Stone Junction absolutely understands this evolution and constantly works with us to deliver campaigns that both inform and entertain our audience to inspire action. This approach continually conveys the authenticity and credibility, vital in today’s challenging marketplace."
Meet the team
Stone Junction is managed by Richard Stone, whose previous experience includes PR campaigns for Arup, AIT Plc, CIENA, Parker Hannifin, Schneider Electric, SIG, SKF, Roche and WorldCom. Well over a decade in technical and technology PR has taught him that he is only just starting out. He is a very slightly geeky father of two who lives in Stafford with his long suffering wife, aforementioned children, dog and cat.
“GAMBICA has had a long and very successful relationship with Stone Junction. They helped us lead a campaign to raise government awareness of the National Physical laboratory and arrange a successful House of Commons breakfast briefing,” Dr Graeme Philp, Chairman of GAMBICA.More testimonials