jessica ward interview

Content & the changing face of digital PR with Jessica Ward

Jessica Ward founder of Foolproof Marketing took to our digital stage to talk to Women in Agencies members about her experience in marketing and the evolution of digital PR services. Sher spoke about the changing world of PR and the overlap with social media, SEO and all other aspects of our digital strategies. 

Listen to the Sister Sessions Podcast here or watch the video

Tell us a bit about yourself:

My career has predominantly been in marketing. I have my own PR agency called Crown Media, which is in its fourth year. I’ve also recently launched the Foolproof Marketing Company. The whole point in creating Foolproof was to try and put my expertise into something online. So I could spend a little bit more time with my baby girl and, because I personally feel like when it comes to social media and the basics of marketing, everybody should have access to great quality support. The business does what it says on the tin: it is foolproof. People who have never used social media before or have very limited knowledge, especially from a business perspective, can go on and learn in their own time at their own pace and then hopefully turn those small fish into big fish. 

digital pr agency

Digital PR agencies are seeing a massive growth at the moment and it’s a bit of a buzzword in the industry. What do digital PR services mean to you? 

That’s a very good question. I think there’s quite a few arms to digital. When I think of digital PR, I think of three key areas.

  •  The first area is your places like your Lad Bibles, Unilad. It’s sort of your media outlets that are very fast paced, that are very relevant, and that sit mainly on social media. 
  • I think within digital PR, you’ve also got influencers and celebrities – I think that influencers really are key in digital PR as well. 
  • And then, you have social media as the big web. Social media platforms are very fast paced and relevant. It’s so so important, to keep track of that of what is going on digitally. 

With digital PR, you start creeping over into things like SEO, and the measure of success is very different to what we might call more ‘traditional PR”. Do you end up getting asked to deliver a lot more in terms of data and results now?

Yes, the problem that PR has always had is it’s very hard to quantify, it’s very hard to say: “okay, because you’ve gotten this magazine, you’re going to get X, Y and Z”. And this is the sort of the murky waters that we tend to get into. Personally, as a PR agency, I am very upfront with the clients, I set realistic goals with them. In my experience a lot of past clients have thought that PR’s primary goal is to get them sales. The point of PR is to position your brand as an authority, and to get you above the competitors. 

What experience do you have with clients not wanting to be the face of their own brand?

I’ve come across this with previous clients. Every business is so different, but I did a campaign a few years ago with a hair loss clinic. The two founders didn’t want their faces to be seen. However their surgeon was happy to. So we didn’t mention the clients specifically but we put the surgeon as the spokesperson and because they also had a few celebrity clients, what we did is we managed to get Kevin Simm, winner of The Voice UK 2016. With the celebrity and the spokesperson together, we had the expert that could tell you about  the ins and outs and we had that celebrity face, which the showbiz picked up. We were able to get lots of coverage as a result of the two together. 

How do you deal with aligning strategies when working with another agency for a client campaign?

It’s very easy to do if your client will give you access to the other people. The best advice I can give is just to encourage that to happen. If you are in a situation where you’re managing the social media but there’s an outside PR companyl, really push your client to try and arrange a call where you can all introduce each other. If you have a brainstorming session, and know what your key messages are, it’s just about having a conversation with an outcome of what final messages should be. The more people the better because the more ideas are generated but I appreciate it can be difficult. 

Listen to the Sister Sessions Podcast here or watch the video


Beth Hellowell
Founder of Women in Agencies and co-founder of Signify Digital. Mother, social media scroller and frequent pasta eater.