We’re kicking off our customer success stories with a chat with Jon Woodroof, founder of Amsterdam-based agency Twotone. Here, we talk about working as a remote team while using pr.co, how their newsroom portfolio layout helps journalists find relevant material about Twotone brands, and how participating in industry events is essential for building a high-quality list of press contacts.
When Twotone was established in 2014, it was a sales and PR agency. Throughout the years, they’ve focused on PR and marketing for the cycling industry. Being based in Amsterdam has given Twotone the advantage of having a strong relationship with Dutch clients. Other clients in their roster hail from Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the UK, the Nordics, and Southern Europe.
Jon at Twotone's Amsterdam base, Workspace6, a co-working space that he also runs.
Jon Woodroof is an international sales consultant, specialising in startups, sales, and cycling. He works with a small team: Paul, an ex-pro cyclist, is based in Amsterdam and works part-time. Guy works from Portugal representing various Twotone brands. Renate, Curacao-born, works between Amsterdam and her home island. Besides representing some of Twotone’s clients, Renate manages events and product launches. An intern is usually thrown into the mix jumping into different projects.
Suffice to say: working flexibly and remotely have always been in Twotone’s DNA. With all Twotone’s contacts, news releases and media kits living in one place, the team can work from anywhere in the world. Their well-functioning routine is essential, “communication is key.” says Jon.
How do they keep that communication flowing? Besides weekly meetings to discuss individual tasks, the team has regular team meetings to sync up on projects or clients. By making sure communication is constant, the Twotone crew avoids things like emailing the same journalist.
Behind the Twotone newsroom
Twotone publishes most client news in their own Twotone-branded newsroom, but segments their news per client. This gives visitors a great overview of the brands they work with.
In each proposal to prospective clients, Twotone gives the client an option to have their own branded newsroom. While smaller brands often don’t have resources or time to maintain an entire newsroom, many larger brands - like Komoot and Shimano - have opted for their own newsroom. This allows these brands to integrate the newsroom into their own website.
With their agency newsroom layout, Twotone can showcase the clients they work with and enable journalists to search for a specific client's news.
It all starts with a briefing
Typically, clients will brief Twotone on their new products and the messaging they’ve decided on. Next, they share with their client a list of press contacts they will be pitching the campaign to. Once the client gives their approval, the Twotone team publishes the new campaign through their pr.co newsroom.
Occasionally the client isn’t sure about their messaging. This is where Twotone’s industry expertise comes into play, as they know the cycling industry (in different markets) inside-out. This knowledge helps Twotone pinpoint what’s relevant for each target audience, no matter how niche.
Bundling media assets into media kits
Usually, clients will share their media files via WeTransfer. After, the Twotone team organises them in the newsroom so that different kinds of images havet subfolders related to each product. So, if someone visits the Twotone newsroom with a kind of image in mind--a certain bike against a white background, or a mother and child riding a bike for example--they can easily find what they’re looking for. The media kits section saves hours of back and forth image requests.
Leading press contacts to the right account manager
Since Twotone team members each represent different clients, having a spokespeople functionality (which directs press to the right contact) is a big time-saver. Twotone recently made a feature request, so the pr.co team got to work improving the spokesperson option.
Now, users can select a specific spokesperson for a release instead of having a default contact person for the entire Twotone newsroom. They also can choose whether they want the same spokespeople showing up in different newsrooms and press releases.
Now, by simply ticking on the box next to a spokesperson's name, they become the designated press contact for a particular release.
Using the newsroom to promote events and product launches
Another area of expertise for Twotone is event management. Before the COVID-19 crisis, Twotone organised in-person events, such as product launches. These events and product launches still happen, but are mostly done virtually.
To promote events, the team gathers all their event details in their newsroom. For instance, Ampler Bikes launched a new bike in March 2020 with a live-streamed test ride. In the press release about the event, the Twotone team not only included basic “who, what, where, when” information; but also, a link to the official Facebook event and a range of media assets. This was everything from, product shots, to a teaser video, to an invite banner for social media.
Example of Twotone's usage of the newsroom to promote a client's event.
Once the event release is published on the Twotone newsroom, the team usually shares the link with the press via emails. Sometimes they embed the link in a JPEG for some added flair.
“Ultimately, if it's a launch and there is an event, there's still the release about the product you're launching and high-quality images of that product you're launching. We share the release under embargo, but we also want you to be there. But then, all the details about the product and other information of their interest can all be found in the newsroom release.”
Keeping it journalist-friendly
As Jon highlights: “Ultimately it’s journalists who are expected to do something with all this information but it’s supposed to benefit them too. The end-user should always have the biggest benefit.”
His lesson is clear: when publishing in your newsroom, it’s crucial to make that information as accessible and relevant as possible for journalists - after all, they are the ones that benefit the most from the newsroom.
Journalists can easily find information in the Twotone newsroom by filtering news per client or by checking the newsroom's homepage, organised by chronological order.
Be part of your audience
According to Jon, the best way to find out what is relevant and what resonates in each market is to be part of the target audience. In Twotone’s case, participating in bike rides, going to industry events, and attending startup conferences have been key to building strong relationships in their niche.
‘We participate in industry events, we don’t rely on market research case studies. Instead of saying, "I read that the market is doing this", for us it’s "I was just there, and I saw people doing this."
Twotone is highly engaged in industry-related events - follow their account @twotoneams to see more examples of how they promote events
Being part of their client’s target audience has proven to not only boost their credibility, but has also resulted in more invitations to interesting events and bike rides. This has helped them meet new media contacts, and maintain relationships with journalists they already knew. Having a good relationship with editors has made asking questions like “what are you working on?” much easier. By knowing editorial calendars, Twotone can now share content that’s much more relevant and interesting to journalists.
“The PR side is easy for us because of our industry relationships. We're grateful to work with cool brands. So on the success side, that comes with what our clients are trying to do. If they tell us what they want, we will make it happen. That's the secret sauce.”
Curious to see how the Twotone newsroom looks like?