A word on the freelancer community

These are the very definition of uncertain times.

Times when many are planning day-to-day or week -to-week, because the landscape for business changes on a near daily basis.

Times where people are having to make hard decisions about their businesses, which impact many people’s lives.

Even PR Week has talked about nine in ten agencies seeing reductions in budgets already.

While the effects are being felt in every business, we’ve heard a lot about just what this is doing to the freelance community.

These aren’t just our colleagues and friends. Freelancers touch every part of the work we do. They’re the wonderful journalists who we speak to daily, setting up interviews with talent in an upcoming TV show, placing articles with, and who we simply try to have great relationships with.

They’re the brilliant graphic designers who create stunning visual materials.

The media trainers who help prepare clients for dealing with the press.

The lifeblood of many TV production companies we’ve represented.

From runners to set managers and beyond, they have a key role in keeping the UK TV industry truly world-leading.

And beyond. Web designers. Podcast makers. Photographers… These are only a few of the roles freelancers play in our business relationships. There are many more, and we recognise this is an incredibly difficult and uncertain time for every one of them.

There’s a lot of talk in the industry about how we all need to pull together to get through this. That now’s the time for agencies to collaborate on big social projects and contribute to the common good. That we need to overcome enlightened self-interest in tough times and be united.

Current levels of support for this vibrant and creative community of people can still leave huge cashflow problems for many who can’t afford to wait until June at the earliest for payments. But we have to remain confident that we can bounce back and maintain a healthy, thriving PR industry, and that we will pull together when times are tough. 

We’ve seen enough pieces in the creative industry and beyond about it being impossible to stop selling, and how vital it is to keep communicating to staff, to customers and to wider audiences in these times. This advice should extend to thinking twice before cutting freelance support.

Freelance journalists right now are leading the way, chairing the discussion and keeping many colleagues in the press balanced when it comes to working from home. And our wider freelance community are coming up with agile solutions daily to keep production ticking over, to keep content vibrant and to help businesses of all sizes to keep going. 

To all our freelance friends. We want to say how much we appreciate what you do and that we will be looking to work with you whenever we get the chance. In the meantime, if there’s anything we can do to be there for you in these turbulent times, even if its just a virtual brew, please get in touch.


TV Programme Publicity: Firecrest Films & Channel 4’s Supershoppers

The Comms Challenge

Drive viewers to the new money-saving series, by drawing the media’s attention to the 3 special episodes – ‘How To Halve Your Supermarket Bill’, ‘How to Save £1000 Online’, and ‘Christmas Sales: Supershoppers Special

What We Did

Targeted a wide range of consumer press including: National newspapers and supplements (print and online), weekly TV magazines, consumer lifestyle magazines, online TV and entertainment press & broadcast media outlets.

Working with the talent, producers and the programme assets – a dedicated Programme Information release (PI), screeners, stills and script excerpts – we led an intense media relations campaign over 3 months pitching content, consumer interest angles and interviews to all relevant press.

What Happened

Our results exceeded the original client KPIs

The coverage we secured for this series of 3 specials over 130 pieces of coverage in total and included:

  • 130+ pieces of coverage in print and online press
  • 6 x talent interviews in national press
  • 5 x TV listings magazine highlights
  • 1 x piece of broadcast press

Issues led PR positioning: Creating a voice for Direct Line Group around Neurodiversity in the workplace


The Comms Challenge

As part of an ongoing brief to profile the team at Direct Line Group, TMF worked with the business’ internal comms, HR and marketing teams to develop an ongoing platform around neurodiversity in the workplace.

What We Did

Developed a perspective in conjunction with internal DLG stakeholders to champion access to employment for people with dyslexia, ADHA, Autism and other neurodivergent conditions – based on the positive side of these conditions, rather than their downsides

Spearheaded by Mark Evans, Managing Director of Marketing & Digital, the campaign encapsulated championing the neurodivergent cause throughout a number of industry associations and platforms, including the Advertising Association, Marketing Society and Creative Equals

Taking the issue beyond the creative industry, national business and broadcast opportunities were identified and developed to extend the call for change beyond a single sector

Direct Line’s own neurodiverse staff and workforce were encouraged to tell their own stories and be involved in the press campaign

What Happened 

Direct Line is regularly recognised not only as a leading and inclusive business supporting a neurodiverse workforce, across a range of platforms including industry and business events and a range of media

Mark Evans is regularly approached to speak by bodies such as the British Dyslexia Association to contribute to external comms

15 dedicated articles in 2019 along as part of the wider Direct Line Group brief, with a clear leading commentator role for Mark Evans as a thought leader.


Data-fuelled news generation: SEMrush

The Comms Challenge 

SEMrush is a global trusted data provider, whose main service is online analytics to help businesses market effectively. Its comms strategy globally is to showcase the data analytics behind its responsive offering through ongoing news generation, which requires a strong national news focus to showcase the flexibility, insight and trusted nature of its data.

What We Did

To effectively position them as a contender alongside other UK data and research providers, TMF work with SEMrush on a global and national level to identify strong news angles and interesting perspectives to investigate through a news led approach.

The agency is also working daily to build strong relationships with data journalists, features editors and news reporters to showcase how SEMrush online data differs from typical research analytics, and underline how responsive the service can be to support development of news stories and features, by showcasing trends in action in the online world.

What Happened 

SEMrush is featured in a monthly basis in top tier national and international media, with a strong focus on the flexibility and accuracy of its data provision to showcase consumer trends in action.

SEMrush has been interviewed on the BBC in association with these news stories, and a continual base of awareness and authority for the business and the trusted nature of its data is communicated to a wide range of industries and markets.

In just one month (January 2020), SEMrush coverage reached nearly 150m people online, with 23 pieces of coverage based on their data analytics alone


Campaign amplification: Chur-Chill brand refresh

The Comms Challenge 

To successfully relaunch the creative campaign for Churchill Insurance, which hinged on an update of its beloved and iconic brand mascot Churchie the bulldog.

What We Did

With a focus on campaign amplification in the B2B trade space and beyond, TMF coordinated conversations between parent Direct Line Group and ad agency Engine

Ensured messaging in line with DLG Q&A document and that the update of longstanding brand mascot was seen in a positive light

Highlighted the innovative nature of new CGI Churchie as opposed to old puppet version

Ensured communication of core brand promise – the frictionless and easy brand experience which allows customers not to worry about insurance cover – they can ‘chill’

Supported creative launch with in-depth media interviews with brand managers to ensure long-tail of brand value from new campaign

What Happened 

Result far exceeded client expectations. Coverage to date stands at 49 articles showcasing the new creative and brand promise, across national,

regional, media and marketing trade titles.

These articles achieved an estimated 875k estimated coverage views, across a reader audience of over 590m 

The campaign relaunch has delivered so far an est. AVE of over £3.5m (and counting…)