Tag Archives: PR

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.

Influence adapting public relations in the digital media landscape

Public relations has changed vastly in the last 20 years.  PR today has several channels of communication, too many to list. With these new channels of communication also comes new opportunities of influence.

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I came across this infographic from Inkhouse.com via reading an article on Metlwater.com

Thanks to these new channels, we are able to target both ‘niche’ and ‘mass’ markets. Conventional media is not dominant anymore, as Willcox states “‘A fast lane PR professional will understand the fundamental concepts behind search, be good at using lots of different online tools to identify audiences and influencers, identify relevant social media channels and focus on doing them well and be able to adjust their tone when speaking to social media authors rather than just treating in the same way as journalists.” (Willcox, 2011) Organisations are now desperate to find alternative potential influencers and these influencers will become a dominant player in the digital media landscape due to media fragmentation.

Our clients audiences are becoming increasingly media and tech savvy; Google is constantly producing new algorithms, which act as a governing body on the World Wide Web in order to enforce authority. This is precisely why it is now more important than ever to acquire channels of influence that already have established relations with the intended audiences. If the primary form of building trust (business themselves via product promotion) is unachievable or tough then we can use this secondary influential way to build trust between audience and product by using new channels to build relationships. In turn, that establishes a trusting relationship between audience and client, even though they’ve never had a ‘direct’ point of contact, it has come from the influencer. This might not be enough to generate customer loyalty, but it’s certainly an achievable starting point.

As PR practitioners, we decide upon the most relevant channels of influence, without fully realising that the consumers themselves, as a body, are perhaps the biggest stimulus of them all. As stated in PRstack useful tool to tackle both these issues is Influential Blogs‘ – it’s an online database of influential bloggers in the UK. You type in a category relating to your company e.g. ‘health’ and you’ll receive a list of the most relevant blogs with the biggest reach. 

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People today are primarily concerned with listening to their influencers when it comes to engaging with new brands or organisations. “The more influential the journalist, blogger or social influencer you work with the more Google realises your client is an authority on the topic in your coverage.” (Stella Bayles 2015) So, targeting the influencers with the relevant influence channels itself is not a new concept, but looking at the metrics of influence is. PR practitioners are essentially the middle-man who connect organisations to the relevant influencers.

There are several ways we can measure influence, a few you should check out are Brandwatch,  Social Authority and Klout. The one I want to cover today is Traackr. It not only allows you to use their own search engine to view your potential influencers’ online footprint, but also provides you with the ability to connect with them at the right time.

Image taken from traackr.com/features

Image taken from traackr.com/features

Ever heard of the expression “right person, wrong time”? Well, engaging with potential influencers is a little bit like that. As any PR practitioner will tell you, topical timing is vastly important in this industry. In order to do this, you need to listen to online conversations so that you can pitch your ideas to the relevant influencers at the right time. Traackr allows you to do this, however the downfall of Tracker is that although it’s certainly useful, it’s cost prohibitive for a lot of businesses.

We can create a more relatable experience for the consumer if we choose the correct channels of influence in the current digital media landscape. Creating sharable content allows us to create earned influence instead of targeting influence channels that aren’t useful or relative to our audience.

Word Count: 586

Sources:

Inkhouse (2013) The Re-imagining of PR Available from: Inkhouse.com/the-re-imagining-of-pr/ [Accessed on 07 January 2016].

Bayles, S., (2015) Public Relations’ Digital Resolution: A PR pro’s guide to a brighter future and bigger budgets. [Online]. [Accessed 03 November 2015].

Example: Royal College of Nursing (2009) Learning and Education. Available from: http://www.rcn.org.uk/development/learning [Accessed 22 December 2010].

Willcox, D., Behind the Spin (2011) PR – a two speed industry Available from: www.behindthespin.com/features/two-speed-industry [Accessed 06 December 2015]. 

PRstack (2015) influencer relations Accessed from: https//prstack.co/#/tools/influencer-relations/analytics [Accessed on 01 January 2016].

Traackr (2015) Features Available from: traackr.com/features [Accessed on 29 December 2015].

5 ways to diminish deadline stress

It’s December 8th and with my deadlines fast approaching I’m beginning to feel ever so sliiiiightly restless in regard to my assignments.

Here’s a list I’ve made for those of you struggling with your own deadline doomsdays;

  1.  Balance  

It really does help if you balance out your work throughout the semester/term. As soon as you get an assignment your first thought should be to plan, plan, plan!

Even if you’re just occasionally jotting down a few sentences or ideas/concepts that are relevant to your topic – it’ll help you heaps in the long run.

I have the memory of a goldfish, so if you’re anything like me, unless it’s written down in your notes, by the time it comes to actually writing said essay you’ll have forgotten 98.6% of the relevant concepts. (See pic below of Natalia’s sound example of perfect PR preparation).

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2.  Think Blue

When you’re in a class or lecture, always write down the important stuff in BLUE ink. Studies suggest that the human brain is more capable of remembering a higher capacity of information when it’s written in blue.

3. “A tidy room is a tidy mind” 

–This is so true. I promise you that if you take 30 minutes out of your day to tidy your room or the area you’re working in, you’ll find it easier to write.

Getting rid of clutter is a good place to start. This doesn’t mean throwing away your summer clothes just because it’s winter, but try to be a bit brutal when it comes to chucking things that you clearly don’t need or will never use again.

4. Herbal remedies 

Please try not to stress! Even if you’ve left your work until the 11th hour, stress isn’t going to help you. Perhaps the adrenaline of stressing will enable you to pull an all-nighter, however the work you produce in this linguistic pool party is unlikely to be your best.

There are many herbal remedies out there, ones that work for me are St. John’s Wort, camomile tea or even 10 minutes of meditation as they can bring stress levels down and improve productivity.

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If you do find yourself stressing, taking a few deep breaths. Allow yourself 30 minutes to go back through any notes you’ve made and create an essay structure before you start writing.

5. If all else fails, try something different… Bake a cake!

If you’re really not in the right frame of mind to be writing academic essays, take yourself to the closest kitchen and bake to your hearts content. Personally, I would recommend indulging in some form of chocolate cake because it’s always comforting and stimulates the release of endorphins!

P.S. If the guilt of excessive self indulgence kicks in after No. 5., perhaps pulling out some trainers and taking yourself to the gym will mask the shame.

 

What is happening to the police?

Last week my grandmother’s car was broken into and my handbag was stolen (see pic below of the little hole that was made).

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I was listening to the radio a few days ago to find Bedfordshire’s Police Crime Commissioner, Olly Martins, making an appeal to open up police uniforms and cars as advertising space.

Police forces in England and Wales have been dealing with cuts since 2011 and as police numbers are declining, a new ideology of ‘self policing’ within society has had a steady incline. There has been a generational introduction of ‘self policing’ in the Avon and Somerset Constabulary whereby they have created a number of campaigns such as their ‘free road safety sessions’ which have been set up around various locations around the Avon and Somerset area to encourage the public to not rely on the police so much in areas where they are able to self-police themselves.

As it currently stands, the police are supposed to be politically neutral, holding no bias or hidden agendas. You have to beg the question that if police forces become reliant on funding from external sources in exchange for sponsorship, the idea of police neutrality will become abolished as it will become tainted by advertising and the agenda’s of whoever is paying their wages. Theoretically, an affluent area could pay for their own police force leaving the poorest areas with nothing.

From a PR perspective I can’t see this working. Communications expert James Hutchinson has highlighted a study, which found that when police officers look more militant, it changes the relationship between them and the public. If Attitudes are changed by police appearance then surely if we strip them of this stance and stick Care Bear adverts on their backs it’ll also be a threat on their authoritative role within society. 

In terms of reputation where businesses are concerned; If a police officer arrests somebody and their picture is taken by the press which is used on the front of a national newspaper, this could be harmful to the reputation of the company/business as there could be negative connotations to that subject specific incident.

It’s doubtful that commercial sponsorship could be the way for police forces to gain funding, but if there’s going to be such vast amounts of cuts within the police then there NEEDS to be a public awareness campaign signifying the dangers of theft and ‘petty crime,’ (much like the one my grandmother and I experienced), including the warning signs and what we can do within our smaller communities to act as a deterrent to criminals.