Zooming in on media relations training

DSM PR MASTERCLASS: Deep South Media has launched PR Masterclasses with sessions on Zoom over a series of dates. The first is called ‘Learn the secrets of media relations success’

A media relations consultancy in southern England has launched online training sessions for businesses and organisations in the UK.

The paid-for interactive masterclasses by Deep South Media focus on the secrets of effective media relations.

Editorial coverage can be a valuable business development tool, helping with brand awareness, generating sales enquiries, improving search engine visibility and attracting talented staff.

On the flip side, using inexperienced employees or freelancers to try and generate sought-after coverage can be costly and a waste of precious time if the delete button is hit by newsdesks.

PR and marketing professionals, whether they are in-house, agency or freelance, would benefit from the training sessions, with practical guidance, surprise tips and dos and don’ts.

Deep South Media’s team has extensive experience of managing strategic and tactical PR for clients in a diverse range of sectors and delivering successful regional and national campaigns.

In its 23rd year, the firm is staffed by former news journalists, business editors, news editors, editors and a senior sub-editor from regional daily newspapers.

Each hour-long Zoom session, booked through website e-payment, benefits from two in-house trainers from the business.

They include senior account director James Tourgout, a former business editor and news editor at the Dorset Echo in Weymouth, and account director Cliff Moore, a former deputy editor and production head at the Dorset Echo.

At their side is senior account director Ed Baker, a former national agency reporter with Bournemouth News and Picture Service, and account director Debbie Granville, who was previously a news feature writer for various Newsquest titles including the Oxford Mail.

Established in 1998 by executive chairman Gareth Weekes, who previously edited the Bournemouth Daily Echo and Salisbury Journal, Deep South Media has worked for more than 150 companies and organisations in the business-to-business arena, from FTSE 250s to start-ups.

In a related development, the agency is investing a five-figure sum in e-learning video masterclasses, where customers can access a range of bite-sized, how-to modules on their smartphones or laptops.

Both revenue streams will be supported by digital marketing through social media, such as business-to-business platform LinkedIn, and mainstream media.

Ron Wain, Deep South Media’s managing director, was previously the business editor and deputy news editor at the Southern Daily Echo, Southampton, a former senior reporter at the Nottingham Post and Bournemouth Daily Echo and a junior reporter at the West London Recorder.

He joined Deep South Media in 2006; the company has recorded consistent profitability since the business diversified in 2005 from publishing into comms, with jobs created.

Deep South Media managing director Ron Wain.

Ron, who cut his teeth with the NCTJ at Highbury College, Portsmouth, in 1985-86, said: “Market research shows clear demand for digital learning, both interactive and through video – Gen Z and Millennials are entirely used to virtual training.

“Led by James, our interactive online training sessions upskill professionals on how to write effective media releases and social media posts, as well as all the dos and don’ts.

“We are drawing upon a deep well of best practice in journalism and PR, with street-savvy media relations at the heart of tuition.

“Returns on investment for companies, from editorial coverage, can be immense. If anything, editorial is more influential than ever as online coverage can be shared with huge audiences through social media channels, driving engagement.”

The company’s third director is Scott Sinclair, former head of corporate communications at national mapping agency Ordnance Survey and previously an education reporter at the Southern Daily Echo.

Along with training, 10-strong Deep South Media provides outsourced press office services, crisis communications, stakeholder engagement, video production, social media and design.

Training sessions will initially be promoted via the firm’s social media platforms, which currently reach nearly 50,000 people, with plans to exceed 100,000 within two years.

Ron also said the firm is looking to increase its associate network in a reflection of the UK’s booming gig economy, which accounts for nearly five million workers, and the trend in remote working.