Work experience at PHM

By Hermione Hampton

After finishing my GCSEs, I was lucky enough to do a week of work experience at PHM to get an insight into working life and have the opportunity to dip my toe into the world of PR. I decided to do work experience in PR as I knew it would be useful ahead of starting to study English A-Level and I have since found out it has been incredibly advantageous for an interest in a writing career. Overall, I have come to know the importance of PR.

What I’ve been doing:

During my time at the office, I was tasked with several jobs which included reading and cross-referencing press coverage to familiarise myself with the property industry. I was also given the responsibility of planning social media coverage for PHM, which allowed me to see the level of work that goes into PR and how the business generally operates. Amongst my other tasks, I also got to research local areas for new and upcoming developments across a range of clients, as well write a press release.

What I’ve enjoyed:

I found that researching was my most interesting job, as I got to learn many fascinating facts about places which I was not familiar with as well get to know the factors that come into play when developing a property. I also enjoyed reading press coverage, as I could see the variety of properties and developments with which PHM is involved. I also really liked the few writing jobs I got to do, especially writing a press release, as I found them engaging and good practice for the future, especially as I am looking to enter a career in writing.

What I’ve learnt:

My week at PHM has been greatly beneficial in many ways. Not only have I now got a better understanding of the property and PR world but my research tasks have helped me develop vital research skills, which will prove themselves useful for further education. The few writing tasks have also been good experience to help prepare me for studying A-Level English in September. In addition, my experience has given me a sense of what working life will be like after leaving school.

PHM’s last call for entries for the What House? Awards 2019!

By Louise Jarvis, Account Manager

We might be busy, but we love this time of year at PHM; awards season is in full swing and the deadline for the What House? Awards – the ‘Oscars’ of the property industry – is exactly one month away, marking our last call for entries!

If you’re thinking about incorporating awards into your marketing strategy, the What House? Awards 2019 is a great place to start and we’re looking to repeat last year’s success; in 2018 seven of the entries we prepared for clients scooped Gold prizes, two won Silver and three won Bronze! But before you embark on entering awards for your project(s), it’s important to identify your objectives and why getting a pat on the back will be useful for your sales, brand and or future land acquisitions. We can prepare one-off entries or create a long-term strategy for multiple site-specific and corporate entries, targeting the right categories and competitions at the right time for your project and your company.

Get in touch today on 01483 561119 if you’d like to discuss how we can help with your award entries this year, or, if you’re still unsure whether to use awards as a marketing tool, here’s just three reasons why you should:

  1. Third party endorsement

A winning award entry, or even a commendation or shortlist position, can provide the same gravitas as a great piece of editorial – a recognised and respected endorsement of the home or homes you build by a third party with no vested interest. The power of such an endorsement cannot be underestimated, it is the reason why media relations is such a key part of marketing strategies, showing your customers that people besides yourselves consider your product to be better than the competition.

  1. Industry recognition and awareness

Most of us are communicating with more than just our end buyer, raising our profile with peers and potential partners and staff too. Winning an award, especially on a large-scale platform, demonstrates why you are a step above the rest. What’s more, the networking at national competitions provides further opportunities to meet people informally.

  1. Brand reinforcement

Of course, the most important component of an award entry is indisputably the development or home in question. However, as with all marketing channels, consistency of message and brand reinforcement is paramount. Your award is not just an award, but another tool in your kit with which to promote and market your product.

The What House? Awards deadline is 12th July, but there are other fast-approaching awards you should consider too; the deadline is 28th June for the Building Awards and 18th July for the Inside Housing Development Awards.

Three social media tools we’re coupling up with this summer

By Louise Jarvis, Account Manager

It is official; Love Island has returned. Cue eight weeks of recoupling and viral memes.

Here at PHM, we like to pay attention to every trend, so we’ve been embracing this summer’s hot topic and thinking about how important it is to inject a little love into your digital PR campaigns.

That’s why we’re bringing you details of three social media tools you should be coupling up with this summer…

  1. Management platform

For agencies like us, juggling multiple clients’ many social media channels (not to mention fostering media relationships, strategising, copywriting, event organisation and more) a social media management platform is essential.

This type of tool is really useful for optimising posts for engagement, reporting and scheduling, and doing so consistently and efficiently. But don’t fall for the first platform you meet. Do your research and see whether you’re able to trial a few before committing (speed dating at its finest).

  1. Canva

If you’re not already using Canva, it’s a great free graphic tool with which you should definitely be getting acquainted. The website is home to thousands of social media templates and layouts suited to every kind of platform, which you can personalise and edit to suit your brand.

It’s user-friendly, it’s a great way to mix up message presentation and it has become one of our most-used tools for creating quick and engaging content for social media where visually led-content is the top property.

  1. Unsplash

Where visuals are king and feeds are saturated, it’s important to switch up your imagery on socials – after all, first impressions count.

As photography and stock imagery can be expensive, sites such as Unsplash are an easy way to browse and download high-quality photos for free, implementing fresh and exciting content to avoid too much repetition in your use of imagery.

If you’d like to talk to PHM about how we can bring your social media channels alive – and take on the time commitments you can’t fit into your calendar –  call us on 01483 561119 or email info@housegroup.co.uk.

Bow Garden Square crowned Development of the Year at the RESI Awards 2019

By Katherine Gallacher, Senior Account Executive

We were absolutely delighted to see our clients Poplar HARCA and Telford Homes win one of the most coveted awards at last week’s RESI Awards.

Bow Garden Square – their outstanding joint venture scheme in Bow, East London – was crowned joint winner in the Development of the Year category alongside Television Centre by Stanhope.

At Bow Garden Square, the partners have regenerated the former Burdett Estate and delivered 109 tenure-blind new homes, a state-of-the-art primary and nursery school with superb amenities, a new community/sports hall, a new public park and a stunning new mosque which is now welcoming visitors from around the world.

Importantly they sit side-by-side, all sharing the same space in a stunningly efficient use of land. Sustainability features are also excellent.

The annual RESI awards are organised by Property Week and took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel on May 14.

If you’re considering entering awards for a development or project of which you’re particularly proud but not sure where to start, speak to the PHM team today on 01483 561119.

 

A golden afternoon at this year’s Evening Standard New Homes Awards 2019 for PHM clients

By Katherine Gallacher, Senior Account Executive

Congratulations to London Square who won the coveted Grand Prix Award at this year’s Evening Standard New Homes Awards for their show apartment at The Glasshouse, London Square Caledonian Road.

The Grand Prix award is given ‘to the home or development considered by the most outstanding by our panel of industry and reader judges’. As such, it is the most sought-after accolade of the day. The winners are also presented with a glorious EROS trophy to keep for the year.

In addition, the two-bedroom show apartment picked up the award for Best London Home (£750k – £1.5m).

PHM’s winning streak continued in the following categories:

  • Best Large Development | Fulham Reach by St George | winner
  • Best Family Home | The Farmington at Polo Field by Millwood Homes | winner
  • Best Regeneration Project | Bow Garden Square by Poplar HARCA and Telford Homes | winner
  • Best London Home | The Montpellier penthouse at Sovereign Court by St George | highly commended.

Nikki Ackerley, Managing Director at PHM comments:

“Last year was the best year on record for PHM-produced award entries; our clients scooped top accolades in every major housebuilding awards programme. We are delighted to see that success continuing into 2019.

“I’m so pleased to see many of our clients achieve a top result at the Evening Standard New Homes Awards, one of the most prestigious in the property calendar.”

If you’re considering entering awards for a development or project of which you’re particularly proud but not sure where to start, speak to the PHM team today on 01483 561119.

Life at PHM as a Senior Account Executive…

By Katherine Gallacher, Senior Account Executive

Moving into my fourth month at PHM I now feel I can begin to reflect on life so far as a senior account executive (SAE).

As an SAE working in property PR, you get pulled in lots of different directions – no day is the same and it’s what I love about my job. One day I can be writing press releases and case studies; the next I might be conducting phone interviews or visiting new developments with existing or potential clients.

Three words to describe your time so far: Fun, fast-paced, fabulous!

Most interesting part of your job: Aside from writing press releases and pitching stories to national publications, it’s exciting to meet and often collaborate with the wider advertising, creative and media teams I work alongside.

Most enjoyable aspect of your job: I have to say site visits and seeing the variety of show homes our clients deliver. Whether a one-bedroom apartment in a city centre or a five-bedroom family house in the home counties, the different styles, designs and specifications I come across make me very excited to buy my own home.

What gives you the most satisfaction? Securing coverage for our clients in top-tier titles… Seeing that all those hours spent researching publications, getting to know journalists and preparing press releases have paid off – it’s an amazing feeling!

Reflecting on my thoughts that I had prior to starting, I can happily say that my position here at PHM goes above and beyond what I had hoped for to kick-start my agency career.

In the next few months, I look forward to developing my skills not only in traditional PR but bringing creative ideas to our growing digital media services and facing new challenges and experiences every day.

How has PR evolved over the last five decades?

By Katherine Gallacher, Senior Account Executive

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), so we’ve taken a look at how PR – our favourite topic, matched only by property – has evolved over the last five decades.

In its earliest form, PR was all about the press release. But, with today’s digital transformation, agencies must find new ways to establish communication with organic and direct reach. Gone are the days where newspaper boys yell, “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” – Now, PR practitioners focus a large majority of their time on content creation.

Having said that, the key components of information, persuasion, and trust-building remain intact, and we believe they will continue to do so.

So, what has had the biggest impact on PR since the launch of PRCA in 1969?

  1. Going Digital: The rise of social media

Sharing news and fostering engagement has never been easier. The rise of digital platforms has shortened the life span of news stories, pushing journalists to turn around stories more quickly and in turn forcing us PRs to keep up.

  1. PR measurement tools

Getting mentioned in the national media a decade ago was great (and being honest it’s still pretty fabulous), but there’s not really a way to track what impact it has on consumers. Fast forward 50 years and coverage on online platforms have made tracking engagement a lot more accessible.

Traditional “ad value equivalency” measurements are being replaced by outcome measurements such as website traffic, leads, reputation, search rankings and social engagement. And while measuring traditional press coverage remains an art rather than a science, these digital platforms enable us to see who has been exposed to your content, how they have engaged with that content and the actions taken as a result.

  1. Complex and changing roles of PR professionals

PR has changed dramatically through the ages and will continue to do so. As the industry continues to evolve, the role of PR professionals will change with it. Those working in PR need to specialise and show expertise in areas that may have previously fallen outside of the traditional remit of PR.

This means that PR is no longer just about working around journalist’s deadlines, but takes into account blogs and influencers’ content that have a huge social reach across various network platforms.

If you’re thinking of revamping your current PR strategy, get in touch with the PHM team on 01483 561119 or email katherine@housegroup.co.uk

PHM welcomes two new team members

Spring is a busy time of year for us here at PHM, as awards season continues and we look ahead to a new financial year (and all the new development launches that come with it). We’re therefore especially pleased to welcome new recruits Angela Williams and Katherine Gallacher to the team.

Katherine Gallacher, Senior Account Executive

Katherine joins the PHM team with a variety of communications disciplines under her belt. In her previous role, she coordinated the communications output for an international and European trade network; this varied and busy role has prepared her well for life at a fast-paced agency and means she keeps a cool, calm head under pressure. She has a master’s degree in Public Relations and a bachelor’s degree in Marketing with Advertising Management, and in her spare time runs her own blog. Kat says, “Coming from a corporate background, I’m excited to have joined a fast-paced, dynamic company and I’m loving learning so much about the property sector and seeing some fabulous homes.”

Angela Williams, Office Manager

Angela has joined PHM as Office Manager, after a varied twenty-year career in financial services where she held roles in retail banking, mortgage consultancy and compliance. Angela’s experience puts her in strong stead to manage and oversee the logistical, administrative and operational requirements of PHM, supporting the client services team and taking the business from strength to strength.

While you’re here, why not meet the rest of the PHM team and find out how we can help with your PR needs.

Four bad habits to give up this Lent when writing copy

Today marks the beginning of Lent and rather than giving up the office biscuits, here at PHM we’ve decided to revisit the bad habits worth banishing when writing copy, from press releases to social media posts.

Here are four key, timeless ingredients which will ensure your written content is second to none:

  1. Cut the waffle

The goal is to keep your content concise without compromising on quality. It’s tempting to provide as much information as possible, but in a time-poor day and age, journalists and consumers alike are keen to get to the heart of a story quickly.

  1. Don’t be lazy

It’s easy and time-efficient to repeatedly churn out the same content, and while consistent messaging and brand recognition is vital, it’s also important to keep things relevant and fresh. Your level of engagement is more likely to increase if you tailor copy to your audience and have something new to say.

  1. An eye for errors

Checking for spelling and grammatical mistakes may seem an obvious part of writing formal copy, but this is just as important when it comes to social media. Colloquial language is common across platforms such as Twitter, however there is no excuse for poorly structured content; attention to detail and errorless posts make for a more credible company. Make sure your posts are scroll-stopping for the right reasons.

  1. Don’t play it safe

There’s a vast sea of content out there and if you want to stay afloat, or better still, create the waves, you can’t just play it safe; safe doesn’t stand out. Experiment and, for want of a better phrase, think outside the box. Ask yourself ‘What’s going to make people sit up and pay attention to what we have to say?’

If you’d like to talk to PHM about a bespoke approach to your PR requirements, call us on 01483 561119 or email info@housegroup.co.uk.

Moving home is a genius idea

Best known for his role in breaking the Enigma code during World War II, Alan Turing was a computing pioneer who helped shape the digital age we know today in laying the foundations of computer science. Most recently, he was crowned the most influential figure of the 20th Century.

He lived in Ennismore Avenue, Guildford as a boy, where his family would go for long walks in Stoke Park and on the North Downs. During his childhood, Alan Turing developed an interest in astronomy and from his Guildford home, spent hours looking up at the night sky and stargazing.

In honour of the former Surrey resident’s love of astronomy, we’ve pulled together a few of the stunning properties which have the perfect outdoor space for camping out and studying the night sky yourself.

Bankside

On the market for £1,375,000

How many homes do you know that have a zip line from the terrace that accesses a tree house in your garden? And, what better hideaway for watching the night sky!  This charming detached family home, featuring four bedrooms and stunning landscaped private gardens, is set within Peaslake village on the outskirts of Guildford. The gardens are truly impressive and cleverly landscaped over several levels and a visual treat due to the array of colour.

Barnfield

On the market for £5,000,000

Located on Alfold Road, Dunsfold, Barnfield is one of Surrey’s most attractive private estates comprising 50 acres with a country house, two secondary cottages and outbuildings. A magnificent kitchen/breakfast room with family sitting area is the heart of the house, opening out onto the beautiful gardens and woodland which surround the property making it the perfect setting to relax under the night sky.

Lansdowne

On the market for £1,950,000

This six bedroom family home set within charming town of Haslemere. It has been superbly extended and renovated to offer substantial and luxurious accommodation. The gardens have been beautifully landscaped to offer a large full-width rear terrace for alfresco entertaining. The summerhouse at the rear of the garden could be used as an office or games room.

For more information about any of these homes contact The Grantley Group on 01483 407620.

If you’re a property developer or an estate agent looking to maximise coverage for your homes in the press and on social media, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team to discuss how we can help