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How to stand out in an over-crowded professional services market

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How to stand out in an over-crowded professional services market

By Aneela Hoque, Marketing Manager at Digital Glue.

In this increasing age of instant news and relentless promotion, it’s harder than ever for businesses to stand out and focus on being as relevant as possible in their respective sectors, especially in the professional services sector.

Different companies face different challenges. A business with a seven-figure turnover might be finding it hard to flourish in an alternative sector they’re looking to pursue.A small company of fewer than 20 people might be struggling to promote their services and all of its portfolio work when competing against larger, louder companies with bigger budgets and more outreach.

Getting your fair share of the noise can be difficult in competitive industries like professional services. In this article, you’ll find tips on how you can set your business aside from your competitors and stand out from the crowd.

Traditional PR

PR is an incredibly effective tool for smaller businesses as its primary goals are building reputation and credibility, reaching out to new audiences and creating brand awareness.

A good PR strategy is based on attaining a good mixture of coverage that’s right for your business. This could include news, but it might also be about reviews for your services or news on partnerships with organisations. You could do a face-to-face interview or meeting with the press, work with external bloggers, influencers and bring on brand ambassadors. This is all geared towards getting your name out there and showing that you are an expert in your field.

Digital PR

Like traditional PR, digital PR contributes to brand awareness. However, one of the biggest benefits of digital PR, which traditional PR can’t offer, is its ability to increase your online presence, most notably your search engine visibility and ranking. A digital strategy involves gaining high-quality backlinks to your website, therefore improving your SEO and boosting traffic to your website.

There’s no point in getting published on any old site, however. To really reap the benefits, you need to focus on hyper-relevant sites. What sites is your audience frequenting? For example, if you are a HR consultancy firm, researching publications within HR and trying to build connections and relationships with the contacts at those publications is key. Align your PR efforts to your area expertise and who you are targeting.

Digital PR also builds trust, which is extremely important within the professional service industry. The first thing the majority of people do before they make any sort of service purchase is online research. When people type your brand name or a related search term into Google, you want to appear positively. Engaging content and impartial reviews on trusted sites will boost your credibility and encourage your target audience to buy from you over a competitor.

Blogging

Writing regular blog content is something you can do straight away to help you build your digital PR.We regularly write blogs for our own website and for our clients, positioning them as expert leaders in their field. Blogs will drive more traffic to your website, enabling you to share them on social media and pitch out to press, which can open up a number of features, interviews or media meeting opportunities. Do this on a consistent basis to stay front of mind, consistently fresh with content, and to demonstrate that you are both reactive and proactive within your field of expertise.

 Search Engine Optimisation

SEO will help your website rank for specific search terms on different search engines. SEO when done properly, will help your website become more visible to your target audience, therefore helping potential customers find you. Create a strategy around popular key search terms that you want to be recognised for, mixed with search terms that people are already using to find you. It’s important to remember that SEO is not a one-time thing, it’s a continued effort that gets you exposure and better-quality leads.

Social Media Presence

Social media is increasingly being used to share opinions and experiences,business interactions and recommendations from fellow users. When it comes to picking a social media platform for your business, think about your target audience and where they are likely to be.

If you’re an accountancy firm that helps businesses with tax returns, you’ll be targeting smaller businesses or entrepreneurs, therefore LinkedIn would be the right platform for you. Whichever platform you pick, it’s important to have a presence on the platform, ensuring you post regularly and interact with your social community. Use social media to tell your story and connect with your customers. Build relationships with your audience and offer value with your content to help build trust. Social media is great way for people to get to know your business.

Whatever activities you focus on, integrating your approach and combining PR, digital marketing and social media, can help you stand out in a competitive market, boost your reputation, build-up brand awareness and help you reach new audiences. All of this should be part of a mix, all geared to helping you grow your business.

Business

Boeing planned to replace 777 engine covers before failures: WSJ

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Boeing planned to replace 777 engine covers before failures: WSJ 1

(Reuters) – Boeing Co was planning to replace engine covers on its 777 jets months before a pair of recent serious failures, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing an internal Federal Aviation Administration document.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Tuesday ordered immediate inspections of 777s with Pratt & Whitney <RTX.N> PW4000 engines before further flights, after an engine failed on a United Airlines 777 on Saturday.

The planemaker and the FAA had been discussing potential fixes for about two years, following an earlier incident in 2018, according to the Journal.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Although immediate attention has focused on the engine’s manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney, Reuters has reported that its cowling, or casing, is manufactured by Boeing.

Boeing has declined to comment on its manufacturing role and referred questions on the part to U.S. air accident investigators.

The inspections affect older 777s fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines. Newer models, mainly powered by rival General Electric, are not affected.

(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Jane Merriman)

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GameStop rally builds after puzzling ice-cream cone tweet

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GameStop rally builds after puzzling ice-cream cone tweet 2

By Aaron Saldanha

(Reuters) – GameStop Corp shares surged more than 50% in early deals on Thursday as amateur investors jumped back into the stock weeks after an unprecedented short squeeze triggered a 1,600% rally in the video game retailer.

The latest moves build on Wednesday’s rally in GameStop and other so-called “stonks” – an intentional misspelling of “stocks” – favored by retail traders on social media sites such as Reddit’s WallStreetBets.

The new frenzy puzzled analysts, who had ruled out another short squeeze of the stock which had battered some hedge funds, and fueled more hype after some Twitter users pointed out a cryptic tweet of an ice-cream cone photo from activist investor Ryan Cohen – a major shareholder in GameStop and a board member.

A short squeeze takes place when the price of a heavily-shorted stock rises sharply, forcing short-sellers who had bet against the stock to buy it at those prices to avoid further losses.

GameStop shares were up 54.5% in trading before the bell at $141.70 at 0630 ET. Headphone maker Koss Corp surged 57%, while cannabis company Sundial Growers rose 10%.

Shares of cinema operator AMC Entertainment, another stock caught up in last month’s rally, jumped 17% in pre-market trading on Thursday following an 18.1% rise on Wednesday.

Reddit discussion threads were buzzing again about GameStop on Thursday, with members exhorting others to pile into the stock as the rally gathers steam.

“Bought lots more #GME today, let’s keep fighting !!,” wrote one Reddit user Fundssqueezzer, while another user Responsible_Fun6255 said, “Rise of the planet of the ape: GME edition”.

Earlier on Thursday, GameStop’s Frankfurt-listed shares trebled at one point, overshooting its 100% surge on Wall Street overnight, as European retail traders joined in the fresh buying push.

The sharp moves surprised the market, which thought the excitement behind the recent Reddit-fueled rally had died down.

RISKY BETS

GameStop shares skyrocketed in January as retail investors, urged on by popular Reddit forum WallStreetBets, bought the stock as a way to punish hedge funds that had taken an outsized short bet against it.

The squeeze “personally humbled” Melvin Capital’s Gabriel Plotkin, whose firm was left needing a $2.75 billion dollar lifeline supplied by hedge fund Citadel LLC’s Kenneth Griffin and Point72 Asset Management’s Steven Cohen.

The risky trading strategies employed by some traders on Reddit have drawn the ire of investing legends such as Charlie Munger, long time business partner of Warren Buffett.

“It’s really stupid to have a culture which encourages as much gambling in stocks by people who have the mindset of racetrack bettors,” said Munger, Berkshire Hathaway’s vice chairman.

GameStop’s U.S.-listed shares soared nearly 104% on Wednesday. The volatility in GME, AMC Entertainment and other stocks led to outages on Reddit and periodic trading halts by the New York Stock Exchange.

Online brokerage Robinhood said in a tweet that the NYSE action would impact all brokerages, but that it had not paused trading on the shares.

“It’s a pretty risky play to try and buy now … what we might (see) at the open of the cash market is some people trying to get in,” said Oriano Lizza, premium sales trader at CMC Markets in Singapore, which does not offer pre- or post-market trade.

The latest surge comes after a couple of weeks that saw the shares move in relatively tighter ranges.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Whatever happens resist the urge to sell. The longer we hold the higher it goes,” said @catchme1fyoucan, an Italy-based user of retail trading platform eToro, in a discussion on GameStop

(Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru, Tom Westbrook in Singapore and Danilo Masoni in Milan; Additional reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani; Writing by Anirban Sen; Editing by Jason Neely and Bernard Orr)

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GSK narrows focus on elderly in trial to treat pneumonia from COVID-19

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GSK narrows focus on elderly in trial to treat pneumonia from COVID-19 3

By Ludwig Burger

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline will extend a trial testing an experimental rheumatoid arthritis drug on patients suffering from pneumonia related to COVID-19 to focus on the elderly as it seeks to firm up encouraging findings so far.

A trial started in May last year has shown that the drug known as otilimab helps patients over 70 with severe COVID-19 get off mechanical ventilation or high-flow oxygen support faster, the British drugmaker said on Thursday.

The benefit for younger trial participants was not clear enough to merit further investigation, prompting the re-focus on the elderly in a follow-up trial with a targeted 350 participants.

After 28 days of treatment, 65.1% of elderly patients on otilimab plus standard of care were alive and free of intensive respiratory support, compared to 45.9% of patients who received the standard of care alone, according to the trial results.

Effective COVID-19 treatments are still in high demand as vaccination campaigns are only ramping up gradually and as new variants of the coronavirus spread rapidly.

“Given the profound impact this pandemic is having on the elderly and the encouraging data we are sharing today, we are hopeful this finding will be replicated in the additional cohort,” said Christopher Corsico, GSK Senior Vice President Development.

GSK, which acquired rights to otilimab from German biotech firm Morphosys in 2013, said it expects first results of the extended trial in the third quarter of this year, to be followed by talks with regulators if the initial findings are confirmed.

Many patients with severe COVID-19 suffer from an over-reaction of the immune system known as cytokine storm and GSK aims to reaffirm that the drug, originally designed to fight an autoimmune disease, can help.

Attempts to repurpose existing drugs to rein in an overactive immune system in COVID-19 patients have had mixed results.

AstraZeneca’s blood cancer drug Calquence failed to help severely ill COVID-19 patients. Roche’s arthritis drug Actemra, in turn, was shown to cut the risk of death among patients hospitalised with severe COVID-19.

GSK, and other drugmakers, are also working on antibody-based drugs that block the virus directly.

GSK has also brought to bear its knowledge on adjuvants, which are efficacy boosters used in many vaccines, working with partners including France’s Sanofi.

In addition, it is collaborating with CureVac on a next generation of vaccines that protect against new coronavirus variants.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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