Tag Archives: PR

Video is the Future

I recently attended a video creation and distribution workshop looking at how good content is created and then distributed to different news agencies around the world for use on their online sites, their stations or in their papers – and across social media channels. It was interesting as it highlighted what we do already know but sometimes may forget, how important effective and interesting content is and secondly, how important video is to selling a news item in today’s world.

As news outlets are becoming more and more digital, and there is a bigger focus on online content, it is no surprise that videos are becoming a more effective way of pushing news out. However, making sure your content is effective, engaging and draws in the attention of your target audiences is crucial and certainly tricky to get right.

However, brands are creating videos and those who are fast-moving are even creating their own media rooms which store own-produced content for media to access and download. Resulting in marketers  working more closely with content production teams to produce interesting and news worthy materials.

Understanding exactly what will work for the journalist and your target publications, however, is the most important part. Brands need to make sure they focus on the ‘news’ story and not publish a video which is too ‘marketing’ or advertised focused. If you are not targeting the media, then understand what will gain the attention of your social media audiences for example. From this, attention must be given when using banding in the video, as this will ultimately affect the pick up your videos receive.

Below is a great example of creating an engaging and provoking video which worked well to capture the audiences imagination and attract attention towards the product:

https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/culture/video/2015/jan/28/polar-bear-tube-london-fortitude-sky-atlantic-video

polarbear2701hA life-sized polar bear is spotted in London, roaming the streets and riding the tube. The 8-foot-long male, controlled by two puppeteers inside, is part of a promotion for Sky Atlantic’s new Arctic crime drama Fortitude.

Another recent example is the Danny Cipriani ‘Welcome Back to Milk’ campaign video… A simple concept, product and ambassador endorsement, but very well delivered in terms of the video creation. One thing is for sure, the video got a lot of pick up in the media landscape and buzz on social channels.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-3009924/Danny-Cipriani-fronts-Welcome-Milk-campaign-following-strong-Six-Nations-showings-England.html

26F46A2A00000578-3009924-England_rugby_star_Danny_Cipriani_promotes_the_Welcome_Back_to_M-a-18_1427271919045However, once you do get this right, the viewing rate of a video press release or piece of video content can be over 50% higher (source: reelseo) than a release without a video and it helps your brand be at the forefront of the industry and establish a higher rate of share-ability.

Surely this all makes it worth it? I think 2015 will see some swift advancements in video production as equipment becomes more accessible, for example the Go Pro and organisations see the importance of video to make cut through for brands and organisations.

Headline image: University of Warwick

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The changing face of PR

I keep finding myself reading articles on the world of PR and how the PR industry is dead as we know it. When I started reading, I was admittedly slightly concerned, however, the more I delve into the subject and use insight from my own experience I come to realise quite the opposite. PR is not dead but transforming and re-shaping into a new era of PR which is much more complex.

Traditional PR is certainly not how it used to be and this is the PR which is becoming a dying breed. Those still adopting solely traditional methods of PR are falling behind in the race. Not a dead horse by any stretch although agencies and communications professionals have had to adapt their traditional PR methods to keep up with the new and ever evolving environment. This landscape is now made up of fragile ecosystems of shared interests connecting, chaotically, across diverse communities. Everything and anything can become public to any type of audience, across any part of the world and to any type of individual/ group/ or organisation. The term ‘public’ isn’t what it used to be.

What has brought the biggest change in the industry? Simply, digital developments. These inventions are the new communication channels and are most commonly known as social media. Social media has brought about a new area of PR and communication which brands and communication professionals have had to adapt to include within their environment. It was only a few years ago when a whole raft of agencies came forward, showcasing themselves as ‘offline PR specialists’ or ‘digital agencies’. This is just not the case anymore. The industry has realised that there should not be any strict distinction between digital communications and PR alongside other forms. They are intertwined and should work together to compliment and accommodate each other. This has lead to a new type of agency with a ‘take all’ approach. More and more digital agencies are claiming they can ‘do PR’ which in my view should be considered carefully and approached with caution – but this is another matter.

Going back to the development of agencies within the industry, I believe agencies now need to differentiate themselves from their competitors within other specialist areas – whether this be by industry type, or by specialism i.e. creativity / innovation… and demonstrate their skills in doing so.

The rise in digital channels and additional methods outside of the traditional PR space has only highlighted the importance of effective PR and communications for brands, organisations and companies. The competition in 2014 across all industry sectors in stronger, faster and more cut throat. Organisations and brands need to have their voice heard within the crowded marketplace with the knock on effect on agencies and PR professionals who now need to have the tools and knowledge to utilise the opportunities for the essential coverage which will generate the required impact for brands.

PR as an industry has developed and now understanding the multiple channels available, PRs can have the upper hand. Delivering and outreaching content which can drive cut-through coverage is the direction agencies are and should be moving towards. In an industry which is extremely quick paced, dynamic, innovative and creative, there is only one way PR can survive and that’s to adapt and develop – something PR is very used too – ensuring PR and communications is not dead, but still very much alive.

Let’s Focus on 2013

Check out my recent blog on Hatch Communications Blog, or read below! Let me know what you think.

…Well, what a year 2012 was! It was bursting full of big events with the Jubilee and the Olympics certainly dominating the media platform and keeping us PR professionals very busy.

Is 2013 missing that crucial event? Or is being ‘Olympics-free’ more liberating for PR’s? We think it will open the doors to new communications strategies and campaigns and with this freedom, it lets PR’s forge their own narrative. It will however be a difficult task, especially with the economic climate still on tenter hooks and the lack of a major events for brands to link into. It will also be a tasking job to generate the nation’s sentiment but, with the right tactics, brands and PR’s can hit those headlines.

With big events lacking during 2013, us PR and Comm’s professionals can focus our time on growing themes and technologies which are continuing to quickly develop, such as the increased use of mobile marketing. For brands, this has not only created another platform for communication, it has also increased the importance for them to have updated websites and creatively-targeted campaigns – the multi-channel opportunity is more important than ever! It also means that consumers are available for experimental activity from brands at any time of the day and any location – leaving open another avenue for PR’s to explore.

As the traditional press continue to be the subject of increasingly major changes structurally and reductions in resources, journalists are becoming more targeted with what they print in order to help their publication survive the unstable environment. A landscape very unfamiliar to the years where brands messages could be seen in the forefront of major PR stories.

On the other hand, consumers are becoming more and more savvy with brands and diluting messages they don’t want to see or hear. They are also becoming increasingly interested in what goes on behind the scenes of major brands and with the access to self-publishing through social media channels this is much easier. Consumers are also pushing brands to become even more transparent than first expected. This generates challenges and new opportunities for PR professionals, as brands can now interact even more closely with their fans and audiences. If done correctly using mirco-targeted campaigns then this can open doors for great PR campaigns.

PR’s mustn’t also forget that stakeholders need to be taken into account even more in 2013, as more and more realise how their financial concerns are affected by people’s perceptions. It is not something which can be easily tamed, and if a corporate reputation is not managed well it can be a dangerous environment to deal with.

So whatever 2013 brings to us in terms of the media environment to major national events, the PR industry certainly has many opportunities to cut through and make an impact for their brands. Keeping on top of new trends is just one job for the year ahead!

Becoming a Hatchling…

Well, I have now been a Hatchling at Hatch Communications for nearly eight months, and how time has flown by! I really feel like I have molded and become one of the team. I therefore thought now was a good time to write a little update on how I have got on so far!

Thinking about it, I am not too sure where to start…I think it would only be right to start with Keith Chegwin. Yes, you did read this right…

One of our clients, PCHPrizes.co.uk, who are a very well known prize giving company in the US have launched their UK version, and we were there to help the launch and their first prize give-away of £100,000!!! I started Hatch at the right time to become involved in this process, and after a magnificent launch party in London, I then jetted (well drove) to Reading (well Newbury) to become a part of the ‘Prize Patrol team’ and surprised our first winner with £100,000 cheque with Keith Cheggers.

Firstly, we had to research her on the internet and find out where the lucky prize winner worked, so we could go in undercover and surprise her at her desk! It was a mission, but a really funny morning. Watch the video here www.pchprizes.co.uk/winners and make sure you enter the next free prize draw!I have also recently spent the day with Keith doing a Radio Day in London, which allowed us to get our campaign messages out to a range of national and regional radio stations.

Together with all that excitement we have been busy working with Thomas Cook Sport promoting their match breaks packages and running competitions with national media and online alongside helping out with their social media development and reporting.

With the Olympics now only a few months away, we have been busy working with Thomas Cook London 2012 who are the Official Short Breaks Provider for the Games. I have been busy profiling the MD through securing interviews with national magazines and papers, preparing speaking opportunities, alongside hitting the phones speaking to journalists about our clients plans and involvement with the Games.

During January we also turned our attention to flying furry pets, as we headed up the UK’s only Rabbit Grand National! After jetting a team of Swedish Rabbit Jumping specialists over, we arranged a weekend showcase which saw the crowds flock to the little Yorkshire town of Harrogate. There is never a dull moment!

I shouldn’t really mention our Hatch night out in this post, but otherwise it wouldn’t be a Hatch blog post… as Hatch know how to party and have fun after all the hard work is done. After my first few weeks we planned a night out to welcome Charlie and myself to the team. It was a very warm welcome indeed, lots of singing (screeching on my part) in the Karaoke booth in Arc, many Jagers, then drinks and dancing down Call Lane into the early hours. For our Christmas party, we stayed the night in Edinburgh and went out for a cocktail master-class and an evening meal.

Hatch have recently won three new CIPR Awards which were awarded at the Yorkshire & Lincs CIPR Awards in Leeds back in November – another good evening. It doesn’t stop there, as Hatch are now up for more awards at FRESH later this year. You know when you have joined a good team!

There is so much more to mention about, but I must keep this short and sweet until my next post.

2012 Predictions: The World of PR

The world of PR has changed drastically from when some of my team started out in their careers… some remember when press releases were printed and posted out, when the telephone was the only way to communicate with journalists and when the main stream media was the only medium to target. Well, I’m sure you have noticed that things are vastly different now and year on year, elements of PR change – so I have pulled together a quick over view of what could be the main changes in 2012.

Pitching will get stronger

At Hatch (my work), we are constantly reviewing how we speak to journalists about our client’s stories, we must keep things new, fresh, news worthy and relevant to the current market. This is becoming more important than ever, as main stream media has seen many cuts to their publications from staffing to distribution, as exemplified by the Liverpool Post changing from a daily to a weekly publication. It’s very important for PR’s to keep up to date with all the changes in the media world.

Social media will increase in strength

It is already apparent how social media has changed the role of ‘influencers’, and how consumers now practice on a new platform to air their views, concerns and delights. This medium is fantastic for PR’s to utilise in their work for brands, however it is also a concern in terms of crisis management – as bad news travels even faster, therefore enhancing the need for brands to have PR support!

Who owns social media?

The debate surrounding who social media belongs to will continue to shine. It is predicted by the Hatchlings that social media and the world of online communications will become so vast that only professional communicators will know how to manage, intervene and create online communication. Technological skills are being picked up quickly by communication professionals, meaning specialist digital agencies may be left behind.

The role and understanding of PR will grow

The increasing understanding of the importance of online communications and the impact of vastly spreading messages will mean there will be a greater need for Public Relations professionals. We will bring our views on the changing media world, reputation management, crisis communication, internal communication, and community relations.

New news mediums and apps will grow

We can already see how news mediums are having to adapt their online viewing, how they interact with their readers and how they are used by their audiences. We have seen how the Guardian is working with Facebook to allow readers to view what other people are reading and share their stories, and the BBC has adapted their website for mobile/tablet viewing, and over in the States, the Washington Post is adapting the way it is viewed and shared. This is only the start. More and more news publications will need to be advancing and moving into more social ways of spreading their news and we believe 2012 will be the year for this.

How will we purchase in 2012?

It has already been tried and tested to buy things using your mobile phone, and websites can now hold your details, making purchasing easier.  2011 saw a dramatic increase in online shopping, as more savvy online shoppers are already using mobile coupons which are delivered directly to mobile phones, and group buying techniques are on the rise, for example, successful discount website, Groupon. Companies such as Innocent Smoothies have being testing the water by using Twitter as a way of offering group discounts depending on how many people click on a certain link – the more people that do, the more discount they offer. We can certainly say that 2012 will see a dramatic increase in social buying and online shopping – it will be exciting to see what new developments are occurring, and if Facebook develops more into this.

Overview

These are only a few pointers about how the role of communications and the day-to-day role of PR will be affected in 2012. This may sound daunting to some, but as long as you as agencies and PR professionals keep up-to-date with how the world is changing, they can advise their clients correctly. It will be interesting to see how 2012 will change the world we work in today.

Check out my company website Hatch: here

The future of social media… What’s new?

Social media and online marketing are a crucial part of any clients communications strategy, and it’s a vital area that PR agencies need to be on top of. Brands need to understand that they are being talked about online whether they like it or not, and being a part of the conversation is (in most cases) the best strategy to have.

I have put together a little list tools and trends which I believe PR’s and those pulling communications strategies together need to be watching out for…

  • Geolocation – Tools such as FourSqaure and Facebook Places have adapted to an increased usage of mobile internet which is now becoming more and more advanced every day. New tools keep appearing every day such as Bizzy, a check-out switch on the traditional FourSqaure idea. There are also many recent developments with Groupon, who have launched Groupon New, which is based on their ever so successful deals and special offers. You highlight your preference ‘hungry’ or ‘bored’ and based on your location Groupon will give you a range of activities or places to visit. (Image from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com)
  • Keep you eyes open for new developments and news on this ‘Geo-location’ based topic which could change ways brands can interact. This is especially interesting for the tourism industry’s point of view, as many are using this to rate places people visit e.g. restaurants, bars, museums etc. On the other hand, read the recent news regarding iPhone’s Tracking device… this privacy issue could cause problems to these types of apps in the future.
  • Crowd Sourcing – Not a new idea, but one which is constantly been developed through the use of social media and online communications. Large brands such as Starbucks are engaging with customers through allowing customers to share their ideas and views, and therefore feeling apart of the brand. As people become more experienced online, this concept will be reachable to a larger audience and not just the social media experts.
  • Likeonomics‘ – Is a term used to describe the way the public interact with brands and push their options out into the open, this is done through ‘likes’ on Facebook and personal comments through Twitter. Consumers are constantly looking for personal recommendations and what our peers are commenting about, sharing and ‘liking’. Therefore if done well, brands can inspire ‘word of mouth’ through social media platforms and encourage further brand awareness and loyalty.
  • Near Field Communication Technology – This advancement is said to lead to half a billion people worldwide using their mobile devices as travel tickets by 2015. This technology is already in use, but is a working development. Retail outlets such as McDonald’s are already in progress in using this technology to purchase products. Certainly one to watch out for!
  • Quora – This site is a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. An important tool to consider key ‘influencers’.
  • Scribblelive – I have added this little tool in as it’s a great tool for keeping up to date with the ‘culture’ of now. This tool enables real-time journalism and audience engagement without any delays. Brands can also publish live real-time content and reach internet consumers demands.
  • Zipcast is a relatively new online meeting programme. This works through SlideShare, so you can not only just upload your presentation, but can now hold an online conference and speak through your presentation with your audience. This tool is a competitor to the previous Webex online meeting device.
  • Bar code scanning is a development which could change the way we shop. You have probably already seen recent adverts on TV which highlight how iPhones can add products to an online shopping list. Apps can now compare in-store prices whist you are shopping. E.g. Tesco iPhone app: Again, these developments are taking on ‘recommendations’, so when you scan a product you are subject to a world of peer / consumer feedback. It’s these changes that brands need to be aware of, as consumer comments can be extremely powerful – you can see this through sites such as Tripadvisor.

This is just a little list of developments which I thought would be useful to highlight. Do comment or let me know about any more advancements which you feel should be included within this list. There will be those that I have missed as the internet and social media is changing vastly and quickly and keeping up with all changes is a challenge, but an extremely interesting one.

Keep up to speed on the Battlefield, SONY…

The recent news outbreak about Sony’s security crisis has taken them over a week to respond. Why do we keep seeing scenes of top-end brands fall down the wrong path of not being able to manage and respond to their customers fast enough through social media! We saw a very similar dilemma during the Toyota crisis over a year ago.

These issues and public backlash are showing the importance of ‘getting social media right’. The tools may not be new, but the strategies behind managing certain brand are not equip enough. Large brands need to make sure they have the monitoring tools in place to ‘see, decide and act’ as fast as the public are commenting.

It all came a little too late. And making comments such as this: “We are also going to continue to post updates to this blog with any additional information and insight that we can over the next few days.” may or may not be enough to put the public and Sony fans and users at ease. We will have to wait and see how it goes.

Making the ‘Pitch’ – How do you do?

I read a brilliant article on PR Week today explaining how important it is for PR’s to make sure they get that crucial ‘PR pitch’ right.

It is important not to pass the pitching role over to your interns because you think you don’t have time, as in a PR role this is one of the most crucial parts. Journalists are looking for good stories, so make sure you take the time to look into their needs, the publication purpose and audience, read the journalists past features and fit a story together for them.  It is important that your clients stories and news fits the publications you are pitching to – be selective, there is nothing worse than trying to sell a story in at mass. Also, make sure that your story is timely, fits with current news or developments and is of relevance to the publications readers. A great tool is to help assist with this is Gorkana or the free website called Journalisted.com.

PR Executives, I recommend reading this feature on PR Week which includes good advice from both PR’s and Journalists.

University experience and job hunting in a hard time…

My experience of studying at Leeds Met and how it helped me in the scary place of ‘full-time work’!

One of the biggest advantages of the PR course at Leeds Met was the practical elements. We were encourage to gain placements and work on live projects with real clients in order to build up our portfolio and experience. To me this was the best part of the course, as it allowed you to put all the work you learnt at university into practice – alongside giving you vital skills to equip you for interviews and employment.

I think it is important to use these elements of the course to expand CV experience! I have put forward a few tips below:

Tips for enhancing your CV whilst at University:

  • Make sure you have a selection of work placement positions on your CV – paid or unpaid, these will show you are willing to reach out and do extra work. You will find that placements will also help you with your university work, alongside giving you vital work-related skills.
  • Network! Attend events at university and any other CIPR related events. These are great places to meet people you wouldn’t normally be able to talk to – PR professionals, directors of companies etc. These events were great for me, as they helped with university work and dissertation contacts, but also with gaining contacts for future employment options.
  • Extra activities – Do something extra, something above and beyond which gives your CV that little extra. It can be sports related, a personal hobby in which you compete with, or a volunteer programme. I tried to pack as much as I coud into my second year summer and whilst working temporarily to gain a bit of money, I travelled to Thailand on two different volunteer projects. The first was volunteering on IIFA (Indian International Film Awards) which were held in Bangkok. I was selected to work backstage on the live event, helping out on the communications controls – the event was televised to millions of people. The second trip was a month-long volunteering project to Kaho Lak in Thailand. This was one of the worst hit areas of Thailand from the Tsunami, so I volunteered to teach at deprived schools in the local area.  Experiences such as these help to shape your personality and to give you something inspiring to talk about to future employers.
  • Building on your confidence – In doing the above, your confidence should grow dramatically enabling you to act more professional in interviews and in the work place.

The work place is a seriously competitive environment at the moment so the more you can do to enhance your CV alongside your university grades the better you will find your job prospects and the transition into work.

If anyone has any more tips or advice, please do let me know or post below! Thanks.

Advice to PR Students for a Dream Dissertation

It is coming to that time of year when PR students start thinking about what else they have to finish on their dissertations… or hat they have to start in some cases. With only a few months left and much research to be finished and analysed, notes to be typed out and checked, bibliography to be finalised, appendices to be organised – the end only seems a million years away. But I promise you not, the day you hand in the 3-inch thick bible will soon come!

I have pulled together a few top tips which I think helped me get through the endless amounts of paper and sleepless nights.

Don’t panic

It is important not to panic about how much time you don’t have, but think about what you have left to do and plan your time around this. Take a deep breathe and think happy thoughts about how good you will feel once you hand your final piece in.

Be organised

I believe that the most important element of getting through your dissertation is to keep organised. You can waste so much time if your papers are not organised or your documents aren’t saved correctly – so as it’s a new year, take a few hours to organise all the work and reflect on what you have done so far. Put it all into files which state what your research is; interviews, questionnaires, discussions, findings, journals etc… Before doing anything else, I assure you that this will help clear your head and put you in the right frame of mind to continue.

Timetable your work

You may find it useful to keep a calendar on your wall where you work, as this lets you see how much time you have left, and helps you section off different periods of work. Draw one up and try to stick to it!

Keep writing

Most of you will still be researching, whether it be primary or secondary, I found that the best way to keep your thoughts was to write it all down. As you read, discuss and interview make sure you are keeping a track of everything. This can be done in the style of a log book or just in your research file – which will help you when you come to writing out your findings.

Talk to professionals

Alongside conducting your dissertation methodology, it may also help if you chat with professionals on your topic. It is classed as part of your research and can still be counted. If you have a placement position, it would be recommended to talk to the team – gage their views, opinions and advice. They may let you in on something you never thought of.

When conducting my research, I used Linkedin to speak with professions around the country about my topic – I even gained a great contact in Spain who helped me find the information I needed. Therefore, use your professional social media tools and engage with people. The other advantage of this is it lets people know what you are doing and allows them to see you working… you never know where this may lead.

Time to check

The worst thing you can do is to not leave enough time to check your work efficiently at the end of writing your 15,000 words. Make sure you leave enough time for this, and ask friends or relatives to read your dissertation through for you – as they will see mistakes you won’t.

It is a difficult process but you will get to the end – Good luck!