Tag Archives: PR student

Blogging: do’s and don’ts

For the most part, the concept of blogging is fairly simple. It’s primarily non-academic writing which means that you’re free to express your thoughts online in a style that can mimic spoken language more so than with essay writing.

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Here’s my list of do’s and don’ts for blogging:

Do set yourself a word limit. I think 400-600 words is acceptable for a blog post. It’s so easy to go off on a tangent when you’re blogging. Tangents are OK – but if you’re writing a post about how much you love dolphins, don’t talk about the sustainability of trains in paragraph 3.

Do keep it visual. We have all heard that “a picture speaks a thousand words”. Images add a level of depth that can’t always be achieved with the written word. Always try to have one visual included.

Do write about things that interest you. You can always tell if someone’s writing because they’ve been badgered by a lecturer to publish something or if they’re doing it because they enjoy the topic. As a reader it’s so much more enjoyable to look at a piece that a blogger has invested time into.

Do post regularly. Even if nobody is reading your blog, it’s a space that future employers could potentially be looking at. If you can take time out of your academic and/or working life to blog about things that interest you, it gives you the opportunity be experimental with your writing and build an online portfolio. One post a week is a good aim but don’t give up completely if you forget to upload content for a few weeks.

Don’t only give one side of an argument. It’s ok to be critical of something, but your readers will need to make up their own minds on a subject and you should keep your writing neutral and  balance it out by providing an opposing point of view.

Don’t use words that you don’t know the meaning of. Just keep in mind that if you don’t know what something means, it’s likely that people reading your work will also be unsure of the word meaning. The greater danger is of course that the vocabulary you’ve mistakenly used isn’t relevant at all – then you’ll just look like a tit.

Reputation management = emotional intelligence

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If there’s one trait PR practitioners should have it’s emotional intelligence. This should always be in the back of our minds as it allows us to anticipate public reaction. We become the gatekeepers able to shape a message in order to minimise the probability of crises or public upset taking place.

Whilst some crises can be completely out of the blue, the majority of the time, if you know your public well enough, you can use emotional intelligence to predict what their reaction will be to the message you’re trying to relay. If you can identify potential threats to your company/organisation or campaign before they have the chance to materialise, then you can turn a storm into a drizzle by making sure you are ready to act if something negative occurs and set ’emergency’ strategies into place. 

This is exactly why internal communications is so important. It also highlights the importance of a unified voice within your company should crisis strike. The internet has given the consumer a voice – if this voice is a negative one then it’s all the more crucial for your staff to act as the voice of the company. 

Before social media, the impact the consumer had on any given company was relatively insignificant. The reputation of the company was dependent upon their practices and relationships. Now, with social media, the consumer is the critic. Due to this, transparency is more important than ever and it’s increasingly essential to be upfront with your consumers. If you make a mistake, don’t attempt to cover it up with endless excuses – just say sorry.

Emotional intelligence covers a vast spectrum. The ability to anticipate public reaction goes hand in hand with common sense. Being truthful with your audiences will build a trusting relationship and strengthen reputation; so if you do make a mistake, at least you still have the potential to retain consumer respect.

Cupidon campaigns, Valentine’s Day 2016

Although in Victorian times it was deemed unlucky to receive a Valentine’s card, in the 21st century it’s become the second most celebrated date in the year. According to the Greeting Card Association (GCA) “The total value of single cards sold in the UK in 2014 stood at £1.39 billion with 878.8 million single cards being sold in this period. When compared with 2013, value is up 7.77%.”

It’s also a hugely significant event in the calendar for brands, but how do they campaign for it? Here are my three favourite Valentine’s campaigns for 2016…

Marmite 

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Although I do love it, PR shan’t be my valentine this year (maybe next year).

All jokes aside, Marmite have released a limited edition range of personalised jars just in time for Valentine’s Day whereby people can attach loving messages to give to their valentine. However, it’s not all love and smiles at Marmite as they’ve banned words like “bae” and “baby cakes” from being printed on the product.

The jars are selling for RRP £4.99 and you can buy one here.

House of Fraser

House of Fraser customers have been offered a 10% discount when they shop online this Valentine’s Day. The social media campaign ‘#emojinal’ encourages customers to create a rom-com story just by using emojis. I’m giving them brownie points for creativity, but overall it’s not looking good for HoF as backlash was received after a series of strange over emojinal tweets were released from their Twitter account.

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Tesco

Okay, I love this one. Tesco have released a two minute ad in which psychotherapist Rachel Morris takes on the role of cupid, matchmaking couples by analysing the contents of their shopping baskets! The video exceeded 10 million views on Facebook in the first week with over 35,000 likes and 8,000 shares. Watch the video to see if you love it as much as I do!

 

I hope you all have a lovely Valentine’s Day – for those of you who are Valentineless, fear not… You can celebrate Single’s Awareness Day (SAD) instead!

What is media relations?

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Media Relations focuses on the importance of retaining certain levels of control when it comes to a company’s contact with the media. This includes all the ways in which an organisation interact with the news media such as relationships formed with journalists, responsibilities for social media accounts and monitoring as well as maintaining contacts.

It’s crucial to make sure that those within a company or organisation speak with one unified voice when it comes to key matters – and even more so when it comes to crisis management. It wasn’t until after reading Chapter 3 of John Doorely and Helio Fred Garcia’s ‘Reputation Management’ that I truly understood the importance of centralised media relations. “Different people speak from different perspectives, using different vocabulary, and based on different levels of knowledge about an issue. The result can be confusion, inaccurate communication and repetitional harm.” Consequently, we have to limit the passage of communication with the media to professionals only. If nobody knows what to say in a time of crisis, it can be damaging to the most squeaky clean of reputations because it tends to look suspicious or misleading if a singular organisation has several differing voices instead of one integrated one.

Organisations today need their press offices to function at a rapid pace, noticing and modifying criticisms of their organisation within the media almost instantly after negative coverage has occurred. As a result of this, the key to effective media relations is ultimately to show your story in a light in which you’re providing something unusual and interesting rather than something dry and informative.

As well as all of this, you also have your client to think about. You must make sure that the work you’re doing is measurable. Traditionally this would’ve been physically measuring column inches achieved; today it’s measured in clicks, impressions and views. With most of this measurable work being outsourced to cutting agencies, it’s much more complex in today’s media landscape than it used to be. This only strengthens the fact that everything in media relations must be integrated now.

PR and media relations are both ultimately about timing, I have spoken about this before on my blog in relation to catching the right channels of influence at the right time (you can read that post here). But this is a fundamental ideology that delves deeper than influence. If you can time your story to fit in with other cultural or social events in the world, it can enable your organisation to blossom. This is achievable by designing compelling stories that journalists or bloggers are interested in picking up. As a side note – you need to be prepared for the fact that unfortunately, negative news travels faster than positive news when it comes to news outlets. This is precisely why it’s so fundamental to work an alternative or slightly unusually interesting angle to your clients story.

Whilst there’s a thin line between public relations and media relations, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that everything is becoming integrated. It’s a widespread trend seen across all communications sectors today, one that will surely only continue to grow in both the near and distant future.

What is owned, earned, shared and paid media?

So often we hear people talking about fuzzy terminology such as “earned,” “owned,” “shared” or “paid” media… But what do they really mean, and how important are they?

Image taken from Gini Dietrichs' Spinsucks.com

Image taken from Gini Dietrichs’ Spinsucks.com

Owned:

Owned media is the most essential outlet because you control the content published here. Owned media is particularly important for new businesses. If they have an active Facebook or Instagram page, but no website to certify credibility, then arguably their sales will not reach full potential as a direct result of this.

Owned media stays online forever and provides you with an original online presence which can be shared on whichever fad social media platform is the most popular today. You should visualise owned media as a mini asset, Gini Dietrich states “the content you own creates a brand personality, helps extend your network, and brings prospective clients and/or customers to your website, where you can manage the marketing funnel.”

Earned:

Earned media is the publicity your company receives. If everyone using the product or service that you’re providing enjoy it, then earned media is like golden nectar. However, if they receive a different experience to the one you promoted and promised them, then it can be critically damaging to both sales and reputation. This is where PR comes in to the mix. Earned media can be a make-or-break tool and it’s worth discussing what can happen when it goes wrong…

Let’s imagine you are providing your consumers with a type of skincare. Some consumers report a rash breaking out on their skin as result of using your produce. They tell their friends, write bad reviews and some even upload pictures to Twitter and Facebook, explaining their itchy experience. Eventually, local media outlets hear about it and a few decide to cover the story. The TV or Radio packages they produce are plastered with pictures and descriptions of this prickling mess your product has made… I think it’s safe to say that as a result of earned media, you are left with a potentially tarnished reputation.

Shared:

This is where your social media channels become integrated to give you a more dominant online presence. Whilst shared media is a fantastic opportunity to interact with your consumers, it’s important that we don’t become too reliant on these channels because they can easily become yesterday’s news as new organisations and social media outlets are created. This is why Owned media is so important, because it always remains the original source, no matter where it’s being shared.

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Paid:

Paid media is the most established outlet out of all four. Here we see things like traditional TV/radio ads and more recently sponsored tweets and Instagram posts. Paid media can be cost prohibitive for many companies, especially if they’re relatively new. Paid media is still a great way of reaching potential consumers. Nonetheless, with people becoming more media savvy and reliant on WOM (word of mouth), paid media has to be innovative and creative for it to remain relative, credible and interesting to the consumer.