FRIDAY 26 MAR 2021 3:18 PM


The second WaddsCon conference focused on digital research tools and audience insights with a nod to the future of PR comms and consumer engagement.

Stephen Waddington, managing partner at Wadds Inc, hosted the event which featured four industry guest speakers discussing a topic that was specific to their expertise.

Kicking off the event all the way from New Zealand was David Talbot, founder of tech start-up and research platform Stickybeak. With a background in traditional market research, Talbot talked through the problems of engagement, audience and cost. Speaking to the audience of PR professionals, Talbot says Stickybeak research can be used to inform the industry by targeting audiences with specific backgrounds and interests on social media.

In one case study, a client targeted research to ethical consumers to better understand assumptions surrounding sustainable packaging. “Once people understand the kinds of niches they can get access to, that’s the bit that really excites them,” says Talbot.

Stella Bayes, director at AnswerThePublic and Coverage Book, went on to discuss the power of audience insights using search engine data. AnswerThePublic uses Google search engine data to show what topics are at the forefront of the consumers’ minds. “Traditional audience research methods can be old news or fake news,” says Bayes. Search engine data gives a much more honest and unfiltered audience insight. This can be used to plan but also to measure the impact of PR comms through awareness and questions about brands. It can also be used to measure reputation management and monitor consumer perceptions.

Giving an agency perspective on the value of digital PR was Angharad Planells, head of client success at Radioactive PR. Planells discussed link building to increase organic traffic and revenue. “If you’re asking yourself, traditional or digital PR? You’re asking the wrong question because really they’re tactics that speak to a wider goal as a business,” says Planells.

Planells talked through a successful campaign based on ‘beard stroking’, where the client aim was to increase awareness and links to its website. Radioactive added the digital aspect ‘link force’, which meant journalists, could not clearly cover the story without linking to the company website. For example, the beard campaign used a sign up form where men could sign up to get the beard stroked. This increased marketing reach for the client and consequently, link building.

Looking to the future of the PR industry, Korey Camgoz, director of communications and marketing at the PRCA talked about the impact of the pandemic. He discussed the change in perception of PR as it has become more relevant to business and society than ever before. Government communication became fundamental in preventing the spread of Covid-19. “It took a global pandemic, but people are finally realising the power of PR” says Camgoz and despite challenges ahead there is confidence in the industry. PRCA research showed 50% of PR agencies have recruited since the start of 2021. “It’s clear that the pandemic has certainly accelerated, the respect that businesses and society at large holds for what we do,” says Camgoz.

WaddsCon is a learning development event for marketing, media and PR professionals, held on a monthly basis via zoom. Find out more here.