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My Take On Kim K’s Met Gala PR Stunt

Written by our PR intern and university student Bridie Buckingham

The 2021 Met Gala was earlier this week, and it has taken the internet by storm. Like most, I know little about designer brands or high fashion looks, however, that doesn’t stop me from giving my two cents on the red-carpet lineup. Sharing opinions on the best dressed of the night is one of the highlights of the night, especially on social media.

The fashion is extravagant and bold but most importantly it gets people talking (peep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Tax the Rich’ dress). Visiting Twitter on the evening of the Met Gala is like walking into an explosion of colour, however, this time, it was the absence of colour that really caught my eye.

The theme of this year’s exhibition: In America: A Lexicon of Fashion served many homages to memorable icons, yet of the most surprising looks of the night was brought by none other than Kim Kardashian West.

Dressed in black from head to toe – complete with black face covering, Kim took to the carpet distinguishable only by her signature silhouette. The outfit, designed by Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia featured a T-shirt dress over a bodysuit, worn with a balaclava and matching gloves, which left nothing on show apart from Kim’s sleek long ponytail.

Being PRs, we know exactly what this was.

This publicity stunt (because yes, it was a publicity stunt) sparked a fountain of hilarious memes to commemorate the eye-catching look (you’ll find some of my favourites at the end of this blog), whilst others speculated the meaning behind her attire.

The stunt could have been to commemorate Kanye’s mother Donda, which is also the name of his recently released album in which Kim participated in the promotions. Kim took to Instagram to ask of her haters “What’s more American than a T-shirt head to toe?!”

This may seem a very flippant answer considering it took me several minutes to even spot the ‘t-shirt’ she was wearing. However, she may be actually very smart to not give the real meaning away, instead of letting people speculate and continue the conversation.

Initially, I couldn’t see past the death eater memes but once I did, I began to realise that this PR stunt was actually a pretty clever message. As I mentioned before, even though she was covered head to toe, her famous silhouette was undeniable. It’s a “fame flex” that bolsters just how strong her brand and influence are in the world. She can change or lose form almost entirely and you would still know it’s her. She steals the spotlight without even trying and in this instance, she doesn’t even need to show skin to get attention. She can wear anything and be recognized by the world.

After a carpet full of overdone outfits, her take was somewhat refreshing. No one has ever done this before, particularly because no one has her fame or the guts to do it. Who else could make this work? She is metaphorically screaming ‘only I can do this, and I own it.’

Love or hate Kim, you can’t deny she gets excellent media coverage!

And, as promised, some more of my favourite memes of the night:

 

Featured image credit: Twitter.

Using LinkedIn To PR Your Business

LinkedIn is a platform that we utilise often for our clients, especially those in B2B industries. With an audience of nearly 31.2 million users in the UK, 57% of which are between 25 and 24 years old, it’s hard to deny that there’s an opportunity here to PR your business. But how do you get the message right, and ensure that you’re using LinkedIn in the right way?

Adjusting Your Message For LinkedIn

LinkedIn is not your typical social media platform, it’s a professional networking site and though many argue that it’s becoming “more and more like Facebook” in recent years, the reality is, it hasn’t. From our perspective, LinkedIn is actually set very far apart from other popular social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook. Due to this, the content you post and the tone in which it is written ought to be considered. We wouldn’t recommend a ‘copy and paste job’ from one platform to another if you want to yield the best results. Instead, your message should be professional, informative and share all your best aspects as a company. Though a friendly and approachable voice is fine, think about how laid back you want to be, and keep in mind that LinkedIn is a professional channel at the end of the day.

What Should You Post On LinkedIn?

Referring back to the point made above, many would argue LinkedIn is becoming more like Facebook due to the content that sometimes goes out on the platform. So, what should you post on LinkedIn? We love seeing stories on business growth, and even personal development. But where to draw the line is perhaps leaving sharing what you had for dinner to other social media platforms. Instead, from experience, the content that tends to perform well includes…

  • Corporate personnel updates such as new hires and internal promotions
  • Positive things happening for your business such as profits and other good news
  • Sharing what you’re up to; if you’ve just attended an industry event – let us know
  • Any charity or CSR work that you or your business is doing
  • Examples of good work from your business, we love a proud and positive post
  • Updates for your stakeholders such as product launches and notable dates

And this is just a starter for ten! In reality, there’s lot’s that can be shared on LinkedIn, so long as the messaging is right. The best way to decide whether content belongs on LinkedIn, is to ask yourself if it will add value? If the answer is yes, then fire away.

Utilising Your Employees As Brand Ambassadors

LinkedIn is a really powerful tool, especially for individuals. Industry influencers such as Steven Bartlett (ex-Social Chain), and James Watt of Brewdog, often use LinkedIn as a way to communicate on behalf of their business. Any company can encourage this, no matter its size or industry. Your employees can act as ambassadors of your brand and share some of your messages so that not everything is being filtered through the company channel. This not only helps diversify content, but it also increases the chances of getting it seen by more people, which is always a good thing. To our clients, we often encourage their employees to get involved with LinkedIn where they can, and this starts with having consistent profiles (team headshots work well) and maintaining a certain level of integrity with the content that’s posted. Having some gentle guidelines isn’t a bad idea, and means that all members of a team are always putting their best selves forward on this platform.

How Often Should You Be Using LinkedIn?

Sometimes, companies get it wrong by posting too often or too little on LinkedIn. Using it as an effective tool to PR your business is achieved by getting the balance just right. Content can be either short-form or long-form (though LinkedIn has a very generous word count – make use of it where appropriate!) but should be posted moderately. We find that 1-2 posts a week work best for our clients; but don’t just post for posting’s sake – always make sure you have something important to say.

Making Use Of LinkedIn’s Content Tools

Another thing worth considering when using LinkedIn to PR your business is the tools and capabilities it has as a platform. The site has the functionality to host blogs that sit on your page, and can be shared on to the feed. Though this isn’t (unfortunately) yet a feature available for business pages, it’s something to consider for individual members of a team. Powered through LinkedIn Pulse, blogs are a great way to craft long-form content that can be easily accessed on the app or on desktop. Some might think that blogging is dead, but we have to disagree. Despite obvious SEO benefits when writing content for your own site, even blogging on LinkedIn has its benefits. Not only does this give you a chance to talk at length about your thoughts and opinions, but every month, an average of 409 million people view 20 million blog posts and 77% of people say they read them – numbers don’t lie!

Strike The Right Balance Between Sales & Exposure

It was found by Hubspot, that LinkedIn is around 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter – so don’t discount it as a marketing and sales tool. For B2B businesses in particular, there’s a big audience at your disposal. Thinking back to blogs and the power they can have, it was found that 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading about it online. Reach those audiences with the right messages and you’ll not only grow your brand, but you may even pick up more business in the process. You can’t go wrong with that! We often talk about how PR isn’t about generating sales, and that social media activity should not all be about ROI. However, when it comes to LinkedIn, we are aware of its capabilities as a sales vessel, and do consider this in our strategies. Striking the correct balance is a good way to go. Keep most of your content informational to help build your brand’s exposure, but then also take advantage of the opportunity every now and again to help market a new product, or your services.

We use LinkedIn every day for our clients, and it’s an area we’re well versed in here at Source PR. If you’re looking for social media assistance for your brand, then get in touch with our friendly team.

Top Tips For Smashing Your ‘Virtual’ PR Placements

Written by our PR intern and university student Bridie Buckingham

To say that Covid has impacted our lives in more ways than one would be an understatement. Just one of the (many) groups to be affected by ongoing restrictions is college and university students. Many will have been planning on embarking on placements this summer and last, but due to restrictions, many of these will have been cancelled or moved online. Below, with my experience, I’m going to go over my top tips on smashing your virtual PR placements, which can still give you some top tier industry experience.

Benefits of ‘virtual PR placements’

Placements are important for students because they provide a learning experience that cannot be taught in the classroom. Summer placements or even ‘year in industry’ placements offer students a glance into the real world. What will life be like after graduation? It’s crucial that students get this opportunity to dip their toes into the world of work before their time in education is up, as going into a career without an inkling of what it is like in real life could be a devastating reality check for some.

Not to mention, job hunting without experience is a nightmare!

With that being said, most placements have gone virtual to allow students to get that valuable experience safely during this period. For me, my internship at The Source also moved online for a period. When the Covid-19 restrictions came into play, I was no longer commuting to the office and sitting at my desk surrounded by our team, instead I was working from my bed, the sofa, the floor… Basically any quiet place I could find that day!

I was communicating with the team via email, WhatsApp, and voice notes.

It was an adjustment, to say the least, but after a few weeks of trial and error, I finally got into a rhythm that worked for me. With summer placements on the horizon, I thought now would be a good time to pass on some tips for smashing your virtual PR placements.

Tips For Virtual PR Placements

Designate a workspace

Whilst many of you will have probably been sat at a desk during your virtual PR placements, that can be difficult to do from home unless you have a home office. Even then, that space may be occupied by others living in your house. In this case, set up an area of your house to use as a workspace. Sitting down in this space sends a clear signal to your brain that it’s time to focus. This is really helpful for productivity but it’s also good for creating a good work-life balance, so you’re not working in the same place that you’re spending your free time.

Take the time to go about your normal morning routine

Eat breakfast, take a shower, and get dressed for the day. Designate some work clothes, even if it’s just a loungewear set. Try to avoid remaining in your pyjamas all day, trust me, it only makes you sleepy. If you prefer to do your hair and makeup, then go for it, looking good makes you feel good right?

Make a to-do list

Perhaps one of the most important tips for managing your virtual PR placements! If your emails are piling up with assignments, write them down. Either generate a digital schedule (Asana is a great online organisation tool) or jot it down with pen and paper and stick it in a visible place. If you’re particularly organised, you could even come up with a detailed to-do list that’s broken down into categories based on importance. Regardless, this list will be your best friend as well as your arch-nemesis. After a long day, looking at all the tasks I have completed gives me a little boost whilst also allowing me to schedule the things I didn’t manage to get through today for tomorrow, so they don’t get lost in the next morning’s influx of emails.

asana

This is the Asana project management tool (credit: Asana)

Collaborate with your team

Sharing ideas with each other will improve your projects and you can make new friends in the process. Most companies will set you up with a way of contacting the team, whether it’s via teams, zoom or even WhatsApp so there’s no excuse! At Source, we use Google Hangouts as well as email and of course, picking up the phone, to communicate – but different channels will work for different teams and people.

Communication is key

Remember that. Do not be afraid to ask questions. You are there to learn (and work) and they are there to help. By asking questions you not only gain extra knowledge, but you also gain the skills and information needed to complete the task. Just because you can’t ask questions face to face, doesn’t mean you should put them off. The experience gained from PR work experience is often invaluable when it comes to finding work as a postgraduate, so don’t be afraid to ask anything and everything.

Behave as you would in the office

Last but not least, don’t treat your virtual PR placements any differently than an in-person placement. You should always be timely and productive. Maintain that professional mentality.

Hopefully these tips help someone, and whilst working from home during this time may not be what you planned, you can still make the most of it. Get that experience and put it towards your future. You won’t regret it.

Managing And Leveraging Online Review Platforms For Your Business

Review platforms can divide opinions – some see them as positive, a tool that allows a business to receive feedback from customers to improve performance or to be recognised for their good work, while others view them as potentially damaging and often unfairly given by disgruntled customers or competitors.

 

Whatever your opinion, it’s important to know how to handle them to protect your reputation or to maximise the positive benefits.  Here we outline some top tips and best practice for handling reviews.

 

Keeping on top of reviews

 

To keep on top of review submissions, it’s a good idea to check the various sites that your business is listed on every few days.  Replying to 5-star reviews is just as important as replying to 1-star reviews – let your customers know that you appreciate their feedback and use the channel to build relationships.

 

Updating your business information

 

On review platforms such as Google and Tripadvisor, you can also add extra information about your business and keep information accurate and up to date, such as opening times, news and imagery.  As restrictions slowly lift, it may be worthwhile sharing your policies and procedures in helping to make potential customers feel secure when visiting your businesses.  You can also display Covid measures on your Google/Trip Advisor listing.

 

Maintaining quality in replies

 

Replies should always be kept consistent, in line with your brand and use the same tone across all review sites.  Where relevant, you may also want to sign off a response with the business owner’s name to make it more personal.

 

 

Dealing With Negative Reviews

 

There are many different approaches that can be taken when responding to negative reviews, largely depending on your brand and how you would like to be perceived.  Rather than publicly call out a reviewer you don’t believe it’s fair, we’d advise to take it away from the site and offer to discuss further via email or on the phone.  Washing your dirty linen in public is rarely good for a business and can even cause greater reputational damage with an online argument.  Take it offline and if possible, engage in a one-on-one conversation with the reviewer before deciding on how best to respond.

 

Overall, we’d always advise that businesses address negative reviews, so you can be seen to be proactive – even if you don’t agree with the reviewer’s side of the story.  In this digital age we live in, all eyes are on your business, so it’s important to make a good impression as review sites are often visited by potential new customers.

 

When dealing with a fabricated review, depending on the platform, you can usually contest it and have it taken down.  In more serious cases, for example if a customer has been asked to leave your establishment and left a bad review to punish the business, we’ve successfully worked with the platforms in removing defamatory and unfair reviews.

 

 

Using Reviews As Part Of Your Social Media Strategy

 

Sharing positive reviews on your social media channels is a great way to showcase what your business has to offer, whether it’s to current followers or new customers who have just discovered you.

 

If you’re a restaurant/pub/bar, sharing positive Instagram story content from customers is a perfect way to illustrate what other customers think of their experiences and also provides fresh new imagery for your social channels.  This type of content is just as important as a review on Tripadvisor or Google, so it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on your social media activity and opportunities.

 

To find out more about Source PR and how we can support your brand or business with its online presence, drop us a line!

Which Degree Is Best For A Career In PR?

Written by our PR intern and university student Bridie Buckingham

Most of us understand the pressure of choosing the right degree. It can be stressful figuring out what career path you want to take, and when you add all the possible degree options there are available nowadays – it can become very overwhelming. We all want to pick the right degree for us; one that will give us a head start in our chosen field for sure, but one we know that we will enjoy. However, with multiple routes into the world of PR it can be confusing to know which degree to choose.

PR is a complex industry and there are many aspects to it. So, as you can probably imagine, there are a broad range of degrees for you to choose from that will give you a helping hand when it comes to getting the job you want. I hope that from my experience I can shed some light onto the best options for you if you are thinking about a career in PR and take away some of that stress.

More Arts, Less STEM

You don’t have to have studied PR or marketing, to enter the PR industry. In fact, many people working in PR don’t even have degrees. Having said that, the transition out of education and into the workplace is likely to be easier and less bumpy for those who took subjects focused on communicating. Traditionally, subjects like Politics, History, English, Philosophy and even Foreign Languages tend to produce graduates better suited for PR than those with STEM degrees, for example. Although, given our growing reliance on technology, these degrees still absolutely play an important role in the evolving nature of communications too. If you have a passion for storytelling and communicating, then there’s likely a role in PR for you – no matter your educational background.

Which Degree Is Best For PR?

PR (Public Relations)

With PR degrees, the risk is that – in this fast-evolving industry – the course content can become out-of-date quite quickly. Another risk is that students may enter the workplace only to find that the working reality is VERY different from the theory. This is why I believe that PR work experience or a year in industry is essential for any PR degree. If you’re looking to go down this route, do make sure you look at courses with a placement year. Equally, try and line up lots of work experience either in-agency or in-house whilst studying; most universities will encourage and even assist you with getting relevant experience. If you’d like to learn more about how to gain PR work experience, you can read my blog on this by clicking here.

Arts & Business

Courses like Creative Writing or Art can help students develop their creative and compelling storytelling skills; something that is highly valued in PR. A creative brain produces innovative ideas and can become a highly valuable asset to a team when brainstorming strategies and avoiding repetition. Additionally, anyone who studies a business degree will understand the importance of marketing as a whole. As well as this, they will be masters at forward-thinking and possess great strategic knowledge that provides creatives with the commercial vision they need to improve performance.

Journalism

Journalism courses tend to teach students how to write all styles of articles, edit using multiple programs and curate content for multiple media outlets. They provide a kind of flexibility that other courses struggle to when it comes to specialising. Courses like this also aid in building communicative skills. Experience is also key here, and even PR experience is considered valid for a journalism degree. Many of those who have studied or worked in journalism move over to the PR industry, and their skills are invaluable to our practice.

English Language & Literature

As PR is all about understanding audiences’ behaviour and harnessing creativity, courses like English, Psychology and Journalism may give graduates a head start. English can also be paired with a variety of subjects with many relevant links, so do look into joint-honours degrees. With a BA in English, you will develop excellent written and oral communication skills, making you perfect for PR. Crucially, you’ll also learn to write well. This not only includes proper grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation, it means learning to write in a manner that is engaging and effective. Many courses may focus on writing but none to the extent of an English degree that allows you to hone your skills as a writer and communicator. You’ll also learn to read analytically. Being able to take in information and understand it before reframing this information so it can be understood by others, is a skill that is necessary for a successful career in PR.

At Source PR, our staff hold a mixed bag of degrees, including English Literature, Business & PR and Geography. PR is as about personality, imagination, creation, people skills and application. As long as you have these skills you are sure to succeed, regardless of your choice of university degree. Don’t stress and make sure to explore all your options. Happy hunting!

Is It Ever Okay To Create Your Own Communications Channel?

With the news that Donald Trump has created his own platform to communicate his messages directly to those who want to read them, we’re asking: is it ever OK to create your own communications channel?

 

One of the reasons Trump has set up his own ‘social media’ channel is because he has been banned from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube – although despite claims from his office of it being a social media channel, I would say it’s actually more of a website/blog.

 

In PR, we use various tools to get the message out there. One of the main ways is by getting positive coverage for our clients in the media. ‘The media’ ranges from national TV, radio and newspapers through to regional papers and websites to trade magazines and online equivalents. Whichever media is most read by the audience that the client is trying to reach, is the one that works best.

 

Credibility through media coverage

 

The thing about getting the media to write about a company is that it’s not the company itself saying how good it is, but a third party. Third party endorsement is much more powerful than taking out an ad in the media, which is like saying yourself how good you are. Who says?! Consumers of that media know that the company has paid for that ad and it comes direct from them.

 

Readers/viewers/listeners of a news story are receiving it from an independent trusted source not associated with the company the news is about. Much more powerful and credible.

 

Compelling content writing

 

But of course, that’s not the only way we get messages out there about our clients. We do get them to communicate directly as well. Whether that be through creative and interesting content on their website, in the shape of blogs for example, or through engaging content on their social media platforms or through newsletters to their subscribers.

 

By communicating directly, a company has more control over what is written, and of course that’s what Donald Trump wants, especially as he has been so famously vocal in the past about ‘fake news.’

 

Newsworthy or not?

 

So is there anything ‘controversial’ in what Trump has done? No not at all, it’s a standard way of a person or an organisation communicating its messages directly to an interested audience. In fact, I would say despite the media attention it got, it’s not even that newsworthy.

 

But of course, it’s the person behind it, along with his infamy, reputation and social media bans that has got the media’s attention. That and whatever content he might publish on there when he will not be under the constraints of presidency and regulated social media rules. Hardly any new blogs or websites would get this sort of attention, and as a PR agency we would welcome this amount of media attention for our clients!

 

Our verdict

 

So yes, we would say it’s definitely OK (and, in fact, a good thing) to communicate directly with your audience as long as the content is relevant and compelling. But do it alongside other activities and get third parties to tell your story as that’s much more powerful. I can tell you how great I am, but if someone else tells you, you’re much more likely to believe it!

 

To find out how we can help you communicate directly and through the media to your audience, please have a look through our case studies, follow us on social media and get in touch on the phone or through email – 01829 720 789 / janet@sourcepr.co.uk.

 

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WHY COMMUNITY MATTERS IN YOUR PR STRATEGY

Community relations – sometimes known as CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) – can be overlooked in the face of immediate, tangible benefits. However, a good PR strategy will consider community and the value of it for your brand. Whether that’s using your platform to champion smaller businesses, or actively supporting charities and organisations.

This was proven very recently on April 12th, as pub beer gardens opened across England as part of the Government Roadmap. With the hospitality industry arguably one of the hardest hit amid the Coronavirus pandemic, Tesco decided they would dedicate their advertising space on this monumental day to a better cause. On Monday, they launched the following ad in multiple English newspapers.

Tesco April 12th Print Ad

This kind of media coverage would have been costly, so the idea that Tesco used it to champion smaller, local outlets as opposed to their own business, was very well received. It’s the perfect example as to why community relations matter in any PR strategy. Whether your business is large or small, you cannot go wrong with CSR.

Let’s explore why…

Why You Should Consider The Role Of Community Relations In PR

Community relations are so important to any brand for a multitude of reasons. Some of which include:

  • Building a better brand reputation
  • Making your brand more recognisable in the local area
  • Giving your brand a personality
  • Showing consumers that they’re buying from a brand that cares

For these reasons and many more, is why a whole host of brands work hard on their CSR strategies. Community relations isn’t a black and white area of PR, there are different things that businesses can be doing to improve their image, and it doesn’t matter how big or small your brand is. Some of the things a business can do include:

  • Adopting a sustainability policy
  • Fundraising for charity
  • Donating a portion of sales to charity, such as a % of a sale from a certain product
  • Using a bigger platform to champion smaller businesses
  • Working with local schools and organisations
  • Supporting employees and their own community initiatives
  • Backing smaller sports teams
  • Lobbying for change using your own platforms
  • And so much more (why not ask us what would work best for your brand?)

Why The Tesco Ad Worked

Going back to Tesco and their print advertisement, though it didn’t directly promote their products, it still helped to give the brand a push and generate positive coverage. Tesco’s selfless community relations act ended up returning far more than we can assume a traditional advert would have. Results included more conversation on social media and more positive feelings towards the brand.

Tesco Exaxample Of Community Relations

This links into the age-old debate that PR is not always about ROI and sales. It’s about building a better and more engaging brand. One people recognise as caring and community-driven. This reputation is worth way more than a single newspaper advert. Furthermore, Tesco still got great coverage in the online media as well as from their print ads. Not to mention the fantastic reaction on social media. A traditional advert would never have piqued attention quite like this.

Whilst linking up and supporting your community – whether on a local or national level – might not return immediate sales, it’s a crucial brand-building exercise that any good PR strategy should consider.  At Source PR, we often work with our clients to bring them together with the local area. We often support with this kind of community relations PR work with Miller Homes, one of our clients in the property industry. If you’re interested in finding out more about how this works in a PR strategy, read our case study. Want to know more? Why not reach out to our team?

FINDING WORK EXPERIENCE THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU

Written by our PR intern and university student Bridie Buckingham

Work experience is something we’ve all heard of. Whether at high school or university level, every teacher I’ve ever had has stressed the importance of ascertaining some sort of experience before I graduate.

Being able to detail relevant work experience on your CV will help you stand out when applying for graduate jobs. It’s a real selling point to employers if you can show that you have experience in your field or have been able to hold down a steady job whilst studying.

Any sort of experience is better than none and luckily, there’s an abundance of ways to step on the ladder.

What Kinds Of Work Experience Is There?

Internships

For those wanting to take their first steps into the working world, an internship is a great way to start.

Internships are usually the first port of call when it comes to giving your CV an emphatic boost and can be very helpful in helping you navigate your chosen field. As well as this, internships can also be invaluable in deciding whether your chosen profession really is the career path for you.

Internships are also often very flexible in terms of duration with some lasting only a few days and others a whole year. What is perhaps worth considering is that in all cases, is that it’s best to start early, as the competition can be tough.

Summer/Part-Time Jobs

Perhaps one of the best things about university is the way in which you can introduce yourself to the working world at a leisurely pace.

Internships are not for everyone, however, there is something incredibly rewarding about getting a job to help with finances and experience.

If you don’t wish to commit to an internship, then what about a part time job for work experience?

Hospitality work is obviously the go-to industry in many instances, but anything goes. It all counts as experience and it looks far better on your CV than blank space. You can even squeeze these jobs into the summer holiday if working during semester time is too stressful for you.

Societies

Often overlooked, being part of a society can work wonders for your career prospects and give you some great work experience. It can offer you the opportunity to test your skills of organisation, delegation, events creation, finance management and more importantly, interpersonal relationship building.

You don’t even need to be high up in the ranks.

Simply taking up a role within a society shows a willingness to work together with others. It will hone your ability to work towards a common goal and help you network with others you might not otherwise have the chance to interact with on campus.

Volunteering

A combination of both the easiest and hardest thing to do, volunteering can provide many benefits to a future career (with the added feel-good bonus that comes from helping others).

It can be tricky getting a foot in the door initially – however it is worth the time and effort.

At the same time, volunteering can often be a far more exciting option than a paid placement – sometimes even leading to travel across the globe.

Put simply, volunteering your time can be an incredibly rewarding work experience in terms of personal and professional growth.

However, I know this isn’t for everyone as it wasn’t for me either. With financial situations as they are it can sometimes be hard to justify an unpaid placement over a steady income.

At the end of the day, experience is experience so don’t feel pressured to do the one that ‘looks better’ because any path you take you’ll be one step closer to that dream graduate job.

Whatever you decide, the bottom line is this: all forms of work experience are beneficial. I really valued my work experience, I met some great people and got to experience first-hand just what it was like to work in the PR industry.

In fact, I loved it so much that I decided to stay on and here I am 18 months later.

HOW POETRY CAN BE USED IN COMMUNICATIONS

This article first appeared in Creative Moment and was written by Janet Hare.

Poetry has been around for thousands of years and has given the UK alone heaps of famous and infamous poets such as Chaucer, Keats, Wordsworth, Dylan Thomas, Robbie Burns, Sylvia Plath and many, many more.

Typically though it is known as a niche market, with long-form novels selling far more copies than even the most popular poet. Although Nielsen BookScan did report a 12% increase in poetry book sales in its 2018 report.

Most people see poetry as something they had to learn at school and were pleased to leave behind as they reached adulthood.

And it’s definitely not known as the dominant written form in our lives today. That accolade probably belongs to text speak, alas.

So, if that is the case, then why is poetry being used so much these days in marketing and communications?

Many big UK brands and their ad agencies have taken to using poetry in their broadcast advertising over the last 12 months or so. Nationwide and Co-op are two such companies., as well as EE and OVO.

Starting in 2016, Nationwide ran a series of ads along the theme of ‘voices’ which were designed to highlight the life and diversity of British society. The campaign was brought to life by 31 spoken word poets who lived and worked across the UK. They were given broad themes to work from and wrote original poetry under the subjects such as home, family, friendship.

The campaign apparently helped the building society grow its share of switched accounts to 20%.

It was during that year that I first saw and heard Matt Abbott’s ‘This place is ours’, his poem for Nationwide on what home meant to him. It totally held me captive whilst he talked about his Mum’s roast dinner and dressing gowns being worn all day in his Yorkshire tones. This was real life. This spoke to me.

The Voices campaign has been so successful for Nationwide that it’s still running now. In 2020 it even featured poems about the Covid pandemic from the likes of Matt Abbott and his partner Maria Ferguson, titled ‘A message to ourselves/myself in 6 months’ time.’ The Covid-time ads focussed on the theme of how things would be different in the future.

Nationwide The Voices Campaign

Image credit: The Drum

Since then, and particularly in the last 12 months, I have seen numerous other companies take to poems to express themselves in TV ads, such as the Co-op with its ‘Power of hope’ campaign which used a poem based on spoken word artist Sarah Adedeji, ‘All the people giving double’, about people’s struggles and double efforts during Covid. Even Coca-Cola has got in on the act using spoken word artist George the Poet in its TV ad marking the cultural significance of the pandemic.

So why? Why is poetry suddenly being used to communicate messages?

The answer seems simple. Empathy.

Advertisers and communicators recognise that people have turned introspective during the pandemic, spending more time contemplating. Contemplating what is important in life. And spending more time at home has given people more time to be aware of their feelings. They’ve had time to stop and think. Advertisers have recognised this. They have read the room and realised that empathy is where it’s at with good communication right now.

And it’s not only advertisers that have become aware of this. President Biden’s inauguration in the US didn’t just feature pomp and ceremony and politicians giving speeches and elbow bumps. It featured a young, black, female poet, Amanda Gorman delivering ‘The hill we climb’ poem she wrote for the occasion.

In the hours following the ceremony, social media erupted with astonishment at how powerful the poem was and how amazing Amanda, the US youth poet laureate, was in her delivery. The positive media coverage continued the next day and beyond. The impact it made was incredible.

Why did the Biden administration decide to use poetry for this world-stage event? Because they read the room and knew with all the turbulent times the country had seen, what they needed to do now to appeal to the population was show what hadn’t been shown before. Empathy.

I fully expect that Amanda Gorman’s performance will only further propel the use of poetry in communication and as an English Literature grad, that’s something that I look forward to very much.

HOW HAS THE WAY WE CONSUME NEWS CHANGED?

There are no two ways about it: the way that we get our news has changed over recent years. Accelerated even more so by the pandemic. More than once last year, simply popping out for a paper was not allowed, forcing more of us to consume content online than ever before. At The Source, we are advocates of the #BuyAPaper campaign and are not ignorant of the value of regional print coverage. It’s still an incredibly crucial source of local news. However, it is also important to recognise that the way we get our information is not the same as it was 20, 10 or even 5 years ago. But what does this mean for PR?

Breaking News: We Don’t Always Get Our News From The News

Social media has become really important in the last decade, now, not only is it a resource for connecting with friends, but it’s also a place for learning, venting, creating and most importantly to us – consuming news.

Around 45% of people say they get their news from social media, which is probably much higher than many would have thought when you consider various the demographics of the UK and the number of ways that you can actually get news such as radio, TV, newspapers and online websites.

Image credit: Ofcom

Apparently, gone are the days where you’d pick up a paper or switch on the 10pm news to find out what’s happening in the world. Thanks to smartphones and social media, we now have everything we could ever need to know at our fingertips. This has been highlighted even more so throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.

Recently, weekly reports from Ofcom have been analysing how the UK population has been getting its news through the Coronavirus crisis, unsurprisingly around 83% use traditional media to find out new information, but only 65% say it’s their most important news source.

We thought we’d put all this information to the test and find out in real-time how people are getting their news in 2021. The results show that whilst traditional media outlets are still valuable, social media is fundamental to most as a way of keeping up to date with current affairs and local news.

Of over 100 respondents, a staggering 76.7% said that without question, social media was their primary source of news and updates.

News Consumption Survey 2021

What Does This Media Shift Mean For PR?

When you run a PR agency, you need to be tuned in to the media landscape and how it changes. Ultimately as PRs our job is to improve the reputation of our clients, and to generate exposure for them on the platforms where this is most worthwhile.

This means that we need to be leveraging the most appropriate platforms for our clients at all times and understand that the way in which news is consumed can – and does – change.

Social media is incredibly important, yet sometimes it can be overlooked in the face of generating tangible PR coverage. It’s great to say you got a client’s community story in the local paper, or a backlink in the national of course, and we’re not saying that this coverage isn’t important. But we also know it’s important to look beyond the traditional methods of PR. Content should be shared in all the relevant spaces, and that includes social media now more than ever. After all, the numbers don’t lie. When your brand has a story to tell, you should be broadcasting it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, maybe even TikTok, as well as with local and national newspapers.

Will the way we consume news change again in the future? We’re pretty much counting on it. And will we be prepared for it? You can definitely count on us for that.

To find out more about how we build and protect reputations through various PR and marketing methods (that leverage the most up-to-date news sources) then why not get in touch with our team? We’re always up for a chat about what we can do for your business. Reach out via our website now or connect with us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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