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As a part of the Leeds Digital Festival, we hosted our yearly Digital Bites Event in Leeds at Avenue HQ. The sold-out event took place on Thursday 21 September, with over 80 attendees and six insightful talks from our speakers.

After the massive success of our digital marketing event Up North in June, it was nice to gather a smaller audience for an evening of inspiring and educational talks.

Digital Bites: A bite-sized digital marketing event

We’ve been running Digital Bites in Manchester and Leeds since 2021, with a big focus on short, informative, and actionable insight.

Our next Digital Bites will take place at the Everyman Cinema in Manchester on Thursday 2 of November – tickets will go live soon, so keep an eye out! We’re big enthusiasts of in-person marketing events. We’re passionate about creating experiences for northern marketers to get together knowledge share and network.

If you’d ever be interested in presenting for a small audience, why not pitch your idea to us for the next Digital Bites event?

Thank you to the speakers and attendees

Though we can plan and organise everything to the smallest of details, this event couldn’t have been possible without our speakers and our audience. We wanted to extend a big thank you to everyone who showed up to the event for the talks and networking (and let’s not forget about the free food & drinks).

Another thank you goes out to our speakers. Presenting at an event can be daunting, but the speakers truly made the event unforgettable with their talks. Every speaker smashed their presentations and received rounds of applause from everyone in the room.

Event recap and the presentations

Journalist Relationships: How to Make the Most of Your PR Outreach

Will Waldron – Senior PR Strategist, connective3

Taking to the stage first was connective3’s Senior PR Strategist, Will Waldron. His talk covered how to build lasting relationships with journalists to make the most of your PR outreach.

He discussed the current journalist pressures, such as receiving double-digit pitches every day outside of your spam and internal emails, and 38% of journalists are under pressure in the UK from downsizing.

Will also touched on the topic of pet peeves in journalism. What do journalists hate about PR pitches? It turns out that tailored outreach is key, as journalists hate irrelevancy and lazy pitching. And above all else, don’t chase them to the end of the world, once or twice will do it.

Key takeaways from his talk were:

  • Journalists are under pressure from inside and outside forces
  • A tailored approach is always the best approach
  • Format your press release well and keep your story trendy
  • Include keyword research and bespoke data
  • Add the human element of a ‘thank you’ when a journalist covers your story

To read more about Will’s presentation, please find his slides here.

8 Common Digital Marketing Mistakes – In 8 Minutes

Laura Holyer – Digital Marketing Consultant, One-Two Digital

Laura’s talk brought on the topic of digital marketing mistakes. It was an informative talk that reminded us of how not being dynamic can bring on challenges.

One of the mistakes Laura mentioned was ignoring the top of the funnel. Laura went on to discuss how putting your budget where the highest ROI driving areas are can cause you to lose potential customers and your brand awareness can take a hit. Another mistake was placing all your trust in one project or channel. The moral of the story here is that social media changes. If you’re not prepared because you’ve only put your eggs in one basket, you’re in trouble.

She also mentioned that another mistake was not utilising video. With social media, such as TikTok and Instagram, our attention span is limited, so you should be looking into testing out video content.

The last mistake Laura mentioned was setting and forgetting. This can lead to wasted media spend and missed opportunities. To fix this, make sure you go through your project and review and optimise what you can.

Key takeaways from her talk were:

  • Don’t put your eggs in one basket
  • Don’t be impatient – things take time
  • Utilise video content
  • Don’t forget about your stakes and goals

To read Laura’s talk, please see her slides here.

How to Proof your Work (From a Writer who Hates Proofing)

Catriona Cherrie – Senior Content Writer, connective3

Who hasn’t sighed in frustration at the thought of proofing a long document? In her talk, Catriona discusses how she, a Content Writer, deals with the idea of proofing when it’s part of her job role.

She quoted her colleague, Matthew Fischbach, “The first 10 minutes of any task will always suck”, which is why she also brought on her four truths.

  1. Proofing doesn’t have to take forever
  2. There are software and tools to help you
  3. You will get word-blind and need to take a break
  4. Proofing is a necessary evil

Accept the four truths and reward yourself with chocolate or whichever sweet you crave, and proofing will be done faster than you might think!

On software, Catriona mentioned Grammarly, but also a Bionic Reading Extension. This extension was originally designed to help people with neurodivergence by highlighting the first four letters in a sentence. This can help readers concentrate on the task at hand.

Key takeaways from Catriona’s talk were:

  • Proofing isn’t fun, but there are ways to make it easier
  • Software and tools can make the task ten times easier
  • It’s ok to take a break from your work and come back later
  • Your team/external people can help you if you’re stuck

To read Catriona’s slides, please check the presentation out here.

From ‘Skins’ to ‘Fisica o Química’: How to Consider Cultural Nuances in your PR Ideation

Laura Miguez – Senor Digital PR Strategist, Distinctly

Sometimes it can be easy to forget to consider cultural nuances in our digital PR work, especially if you don’t have an international team to help you distinguish the differences in cultures.

Laura Miguez covered the topic of how to consider cultural nuances in your PR ideation. She drew parallels from the hit TV series, ‘Skins’, and a Spanish TV series called ‘Fisica o Química’, both of which target young adults and teenagers in their prospective countries.

She discussed how important it is to understand cultural differences, and that not setting aside time to do this in practice can damage your campaign. For all countries you target, she said you need to consider these key factors:

  • Understand the media landscape
  • Understand your audience
  • Understand the differences in culture

A tip she shared was to take a proper look at the news in your target locations to see what resonates with the audience. What headline are they using? Photos? How do they write their articles?

Key takeaways from Laura’s talk were:

  • Understanding cultural differences is a must for international campaigns
  • Don’t use the ‘one size fits all’ approach
  • Practise transcreation – this means to ensure messages are felt on an emotional level

To read more about Laura’s talk, please find her slides here.

Fact VS. Fake News: Keeping it Real in an AI World

Katie Taylor-Thompson – Managing Director – Katie Lingo

Covering the topic of AI, Katie discussed how we can keep it real in a world becoming more and more intrigued by the idea of Artificial Intelligence. She mentioned that at best, misleading content can erode trust, but at worst it can be destructive to people’s lives.

To fight misleading content, she came up with a few tips and tricks:

  • Ask yourself who said it? Does the author of your article/video/content have clear expertise in the field they’re covering?
  • Could the person creating the content be biased?
  • Do people cite their sources, and do they reference relevant data that are important to the story?
  • How are their online reputations?
  • Some content is created to entice an emotion, but if an article or other content makes you feel angry, sad, etc., it could be worth checking the sources of that article.
  • If ever in doubt, send a freedom of information request to the government. This way, you can get trusted data that will tell you if something is true, or not.

Some helpful tools that Katie mentioned to use when checking the reliability of your article were:

Key takeaways from Katie’s talk were:

  • Misinformation can destroy lives
  • Make sure to build trust – people don’t always believe the content they read
  • AI content can be inaccurate and dangerous
  • Never be scared of asking for the sources or conducting your own research

If you want to see Katie’s deck, please click here.

Storytelling for Performance: Balancing Brand with Emotion

Kenny Metham – Senior Social Media Manager – connective3

Our last speaker of the night was Kenny Metham from connective3. He discussed the importance of balancing brand with emotion. He mentioned that it’s a marketer’s job to build a brand through storytelling and appeal.

Kenny went on to say that it can be easy for brands to have a warped sense of how you see your brand because you work on it day in and day out. But, by thinking objectively, your campaigns can shine.

On what makes a good story, Kenny mentioned a few key factors:

  • A story doesn’t need to be linear
  • Emotion equals connections
  • Personal experiences reign supreme

Cramming too much information (sales) into your content can cause your audience to lose interest. Chasing short-term wins can actually harm your brand’s longevity. Just because ROI can’t be directly tied to the top of the funnel doesn’t mean it should be ignored, Kenny explained in his talk.

The key takeaways from Kenny’s talk were:

  • Not every action can be acquisition-based
  • Cramming too many sales into your story can cause your audience to lose interest
  • Staying objective is key to creating a good campaign

To read more of Kenny’s slides, please see the deck.

Now that you’ve read more about the talks at the Digital Bites in Leeds and are interested in perhaps joining us for the next Digital Bites in Manchester, please visit our events page to find more information.