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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.

National Storytelling Week: How to craft the best PR stories

If you’re a PR pro, perhaps you’re wondering what relevancy National Storytelling Week bears to the PR industry? How exactly does your daily routine of press releases, pitches and feature brainstorming relate to celebrating the art of a good story? Well, you may have just answered your own question!

Public Relations is all about good storytelling. Whether it’s gaining coverage for a press release, drafting a knock-out pitch, or building a stellar reputation for your brand, success in PR comes from creating narrative that is engaging; it’s about showing why your story simply has to be told.

So, to celebrate National Storytelling Week, here are three top storytelling tips sure to make your PR content a real page-turner:

 

Use your imagination

A key skill in PR is thinking outside the box. By this, we mean using varied and, sometimes, unconventional resources to give your narrative the edge. For example, if we’re pitching properties close to natural green spaces, simply stating how close the local park is won’t engage our reader. Instead, we get creative: Have you heard? Amazing new research has shown that people who live close to green spaces are five times more likely to show signs of strong mental wellbeing, and if you want to be nearer to nature, we’ve got the very home for you. Just like that, we’re able to frame our property within a narrative that is relevant and engaging, latching it onto a newsworthy angle.

 

Know your reader

To be a good storyteller, it’s crucial to know your audience. Great authors know who reads their stories and, crucially, why they read them; what is it about their tales that readers can’t get enough of? Likewise, in PR, staying clued up on your press contacts is essential. No two journalists are the same; some prefer a pitch filled with insightful stats and figures, whilst others prefer an emotive case study to resonate with people. Some will only consider well-established angles whilst others look for an alternative perspective on conventional wisdom. Investing time into your press liaison gives you precious insight into the journalists reading your stories. This means that you’ll know exactly how to tailor a pitch to suit their interests, giving them the story they want to read, every time.

 

Write with flair

A good writer is a good reader. So, whether it’s a corporate press release or an informal blog, if you want to create great PR stories, read as much, and as widely, as you can. Read the classics, read history books, read poetry, read cutting-edge journalism. Pay attention to different writing styles and focus on how each one manages to draw you in. Never underestimate the ways that your favourite book can help you in your professional writing. Your press release may not describe adventures in a mythical kingdom, or an epic battle of five armies, but writing with the same flair and excitement as if they did will ensure that your pitches stand out from the crowd.

Property House Marketing Awards

The best year on record: 1 in 4 of PHM’s entries scoop a Gold award in 2018

PHM is delighted to congratulate its clients for an extremely successful day at the What House? Awards 2018, where the entries we prepared on their behalf scooped 12 of the 66 awards, including 7 of the 20 Golds.

The prestigious ceremony, known as the Oscars of the housebuilding industry, took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Friday 16th November and saw the best new homes and developments across the UK awarded in 20 categories.

Among PHM’s clients, the winners were:

Anthology: Hoxton Press

Best Exterior Design

Gold

Berkeley East Thames: Kidbrooke Village (Urban House)

Best Sustainable Development

 Silver

Berkeley East Thames: Kidbrooke Village

 Best Regeneration Scheme

 Silver

Broadway Living: Copley Hanwell W7

 Best Starter Home Scheme

 Gold

London Square: Star and Garter (East Wing)

 Best Luxury House

 Gold

London Square: Star and Garter

 Best Luxury Development

 Gold

London Square: Star and Garter (East Wing)

 Best Interior Design

 Gold

London Square: Streatham Hill

 Best Apartment Scheme

 Gold

London Square: Streatham Hill

Best Mixed Use Development

 Gold

London Square: Streatham Hill

 Best Development

 Bronze

McCarthy & Stone: Parkland Place

Best Retirement Development

 Bronze

Vanderbilt Homes

 Best Small Housebuilder

 Bronze

2018 has officially been the best year on record for PHM’s award entries, with our clients scooping top accolades in every major housebuilding competition in the industry.

72% of all PHM entries in 2018 were shortlisted. Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) of the entries we’ve prepared this year on behalf of our clients have been awarded the Gold or top prize and more than 1 in 3 (36%) have won an accolade in their category.

If you’d like to discuss how a strategic awards programme in 2019 can support your marketing objectives, get in touch with the team on info@housegroup.co.uk or 01483 561119.

 

So Resi Sutton

Homes in desirable South West London are made affordable with shared ownership

If you think that buying a high-quality new home in Sutton, South West London, is unaffordable, So Resi Sutton may change your mind. This collection of one, two and three-bedroom apartments is part of the landmark development Sutton Point, and you could buy a 25% share in a one-bedroom home for as little as £73,750 (full market value £295,000) with a ten per cent deposit of just £7,375.

Through shared ownership, homebuyers pay straightforward monthly payments, which combine the mortgage on the share they have purchased and a payment to So Resi on the rest. They also pay a service charge.

The homes at So Resi Sutton are in the West Tower of Sutton Point, an exciting £90m mixed-use development by CNM Estates. Due for completion later this year, Sutton Point will include shops, restaurants, a health and fitness centre and children’s play area.

Inside the homes, the contemporary open-plan living/dining space is light and airy with full height windows; the area opens out onto a balcony. The excellent specification includes an elegant white Symphony Manhattan kitchen fitted with the latest appliances, including ceramic floor tiles in the kitchen and bathroom, fitted wardrobes in the master bedroom as well as underfloor heating throughout.

On selected homes, allocated parking spaces are located in the underground car park and a cycle store is also provided.

Commuting could not be easier from Sutton Station, which is just a couple of minutes’ walk away. Trains to London Victoria take as little as 25 minutes and direct trains reach Gatwick in around 45 minutes.

The High Street, full of restaurants and shops, is just a few minutes’ walk from So Resi Sutton. Also nearby is a number of green open spaces and outstanding schools, including grammars, which rank among the highest performing schools in the UK.

For more information call 0208 607 0550 or visit www.soresi.co.uk.

Starting a career in PR

Starting out in PR? Top tips to get you started…

Senior Account Executive Louise Jarvis remembers when she joined PHM after university and shares her advice on starting out in PR.

For many, this time of year signals new beginnings; students are set to start a new academic year, while those saying goodbye to education (whether it be college, sixth form or university), are looking to step into the world of work.

For those wanting to kick start their PR career, here are some essential top tips which will help you on your way, because it’s a jungle out there…

  1. Ready…set…adapt

You may have mastered the art of essay-writing at school, but be prepared for your work to receive a lot of amends. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer, it’s because every brand has a style to which you’ll have to adapt. Similarly, every strategy and campaign will require a different style of approach and execution depending on your objectives – be ready to switch it up, there’s no room for one-trick ponies in PR.

  1. Keep your eyes and ears peeled

Stay on top of the news. A great way to do this is to set up Google news alerts for your company and/or clients. Not only will this keep you sharp on what’s current, it will allow you to be quick off the mark when it comes to distributing a responsive comment or positioning your company and clients as part of the relevant and topical conversations being had in the media.

  1. Put your creative hat on

It may sound cliché, but think outside the box. It’s really easy to get into the same routine and way of thinking. In an age where journalists and consumers are time-poor, it’s never been more important to embrace creativity and think of ways to make your company and clients stand out in the everyday sea of content.

  1. It’s ALL in the details

Human error is inevitable, but there really isn’t room for sloppy mistakes in PR. Your role is to maintain and promote your company’s and clients’ brand or products, and nothing can sabotage credibility quite like an easily avoidable grammar or spelling mistake. Proof and proof again. Take five minutes out and come back to it. Ask a colleague to review with a fresh pair of eyes.

  1. Embrace the list

Working a PR job, especially in an agency, is a juggling act – there are always multiple things going on at once; events to organise, strategies to write and releases to distribute. One simple way to keep on top of your workload is by writing everything down, this will help you prioritise your tasks, because there are only so many hours in a day.

Need a fresh and creative take on your PR strategy? Give us a call on 01483 561119 or email info@housegroup.co.uk.

 

How to keep your PR campaign entertained during the summer holidays

– By Harriet Bolt, senior account manager

Much like children, your PR campaign needs constant attention. Although it won’t be asking you to play outside or demanding a lolly every time it hears the chime of the ice cream van, a PR campaign still requires nurturing and special attention during the summer holidays.

The six weeks from when children break-up from school and before they start the new academic year can traditionally be a tricky period of time for PR campaigns – especially for the property industry. Like the rest of the working world, many journalists will also be taking time off having filed their stories in advance, making the chances of securing new editorial coverage that bit slimmer. Your target audience may also be enjoying some R&R, meaning the opportunity to encourage them to sell/buy a new home becomes harder.

So what can you do to ensure your PR campaign is kept happy and busy? Consider these three steps and we promise it won’t be repetitively saying ‘I’m bored!’ in your ear…

  1. Choose a different game (alter your objective)

It’s unlikely that your campaign will be able to assist in drawing large numbers of leads as it can in peak home buying season (before the summer break), but it can still play a crucial role. Brand awareness is key – focus on reaching those who may not be sat in the office receiving emails, but perhaps poolside with a cocktail in one hand and a smartphone in the other.

For example, consider increasing your advertising spend on any social media posts, and optimise them for brand awareness or mobile devices to reach a wider audience than before. If you’re relying on organic (unpaid) content, make it engaging and interesting with less emphasis on the hard sell. A competition can get everyone’s attention.

2. Take it to a summer event (consider sponsorship opportunities)

If you feel like it might be difficult encouraging potential homebuyers away from their holidays to your house/development – find them at a local event instead, such as a summer fair. Opting for sponsorship opportunities can be a great way of increasing brand awareness, and provides the chance to meet the community in a relaxed environment.

The chances of a direct sale might be lower than if you had a visitor to the marketing suite, but any friendly conversations had at the event help to sow the seed for a potential sale. Especially if anyone you meet then decides that they actually do want to put their house on the market come September.

3. Take it shopping for new stationery (get it ready for a new term)

Use the quiet time wisely. Reconsider the objectives of the PR campaign for the next term – who are you trying to target, how, why, when etc. Making full use of the time to put together reports of the success to date or strategies for the approach going forward, having learnt from what has or has not been working for the past few months, can be incredibly useful.

A fresh perspective will leave you better prepared for the new term in September, one of the busiest months in the property calendar.

Still struggling with how to keep your PR campaign happy this summer or don’t have the time? Let PHM help – call us on 01483 561119 or email info@housegroup.co.uk.

CGI of So Resi Twickenham. Call 0208 607 0550.

Shared ownership makes it possible to buy your new home at So Resi Twickenham

So Resi has launched a contemporary collection of one and two-bedroom, shared ownership apartments in Twickenham – with local residents and those working in the area being given the first opportunity to reserve a property. The shared ownership scheme means that homebuyers at So Resi Twickenham can buy a 25 per cent share (£101,250) of the full price of the home (£405,000), requiring just a 10 per cent deposit of £10,125 and paying a monthly So Resi payment on the share they don’t buy.

Originally built in the 1960s, So Resi has fully renovated the original building to create a collection of high-quality, modern homes.

Each home features floor-to-ceiling windows that allow an abundance of natural light to fill the main living areas, while integrated kitchen appliances and stylish fittings create a contemporary finish. Many residents on the higher floors will benefit from views towards Richmond Hill and Richmond Park as well as Twickenham Stadium, the River Thames and beyond. The development will also include a contemporary rooftop terrace, landscaped with plenty of seating for residents to relax outdoors.

The leafy town of Twickenham, the home of English rugby, has a range of shops, bars and restaurants. The high street is less than half a mile from So Resi Twickenham, while Twickenham Station is just five minutes’ walk away. From here, trains reach Richmond in five minutes, London Waterloo in 23 minutes and the City in 37 minutes.

To register your interest in So Resi Twickenham and to find out how So Resi can make it possible to buy your new home, call 0208 607 0550 or visit www.soresi.co.uk 

es1

PHM’s clients scoop 11 prizes at the Evening Standard New Homes Awards

The Evening Standard New Homes Awards is always a highly-anticipated date in the property calendar and Friday’s celebrations did not disappoint, with it being one of our most successful competitions to date.

11 of the 23 entries we prepared on behalf of our clients scooped a prize at this year’s ceremony, which took place at the Dorchester Hotel, London. A whopping seven of our clients’ developments took home the winning prize, while four were highly commended in their category.

Our clients won the following prizes at the ceremony:

Winners

Highly commended

  • Kidbrooke Village by Berkeley East Thames was highly commended in the Best Regeneration Project category
  • Victory Pier by Berkeley West London was highly commended in the Best First Time Buyer Home category
  • Streatham Hill by London Square was highly commended in the Best Large Development category
  • Star and Garter by London Square was highly commended in the Best Conversion category

Awards are a brilliant tool for marketing and promotion, offering a respected third-party endorsement as well as the prestige of industry recognition. 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.

SPRING

Spring clean your social media

Warmer temperatures and longer days mean it’s time to blow away the cobwebs. Here are our tips for getting your social media channels spick and span for a summer of success.

Digital marketing plays a vital role in supporting many of our clients’ communications objectives, making social media an integrated part of PR and our everyday lives at PHM.

To truly get the best out of social media, it’s incredibly important to understand that time, commitment and consistency is key – this will build your following and increase audience engagement. However, there’s a whole range of tools which can help with the time-costly day to day tasks and keep channels alive and thriving.

Here come our four top tips on how to do just that:

  1. Scheduling platform

If like us you manage more than one social media channel, it’s probably worth investing in a scheduling platform where you can manage multiple accounts from one, secure place. These platforms can help with optimising posts for engagement, reporting and publishing, and doing so consistently and efficiently.

  1. Canva

Canva is very user-friendly – we can safely say it’s become one of our most-used tools for creating visual, interesting content for social media. The website is home to thousands of social media graphics and layouts suited to every kind of platform, which you can design and personalise to integrate into your strategy. As social media is a place where visually led-content thrives, this is a great way to mix up how you present your message.

  1. Link shorteners

We use link-shortening services, such as Bitly, in almost everything we publish online. This not only makes the most of your content on platforms like Twitter, where you’re limited to 280 characters, but creates a slick and professional aesthetic for your posts – when links stretch over two or three lines it can look untidy and dare we say, un-clickworthy.

  1. Unsplash

We cannot stress enough how important visuals are when it comes to online content. We always make the most of sites such as Unsplash, which enable you to browse and download images for free. This really helps in implementing fresh and exciting content without becoming too repetitive in your use of imagery.

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

 

 

The living area of the new show home at So Resi Wokingham.

So Resi launches spacious four-bedroom show home in Wokingham

Growing families looking for a spacious new house in Wokingham, available to buy with shared ownership, should make a beeline for So Resi Wokingham where So Resi – Thames Valley Housing’s shared ownership brand – has recently opened a superb four-bedroom show home.

The show home highlights the impressive quality of these three and four-bedroom semi-detached houses, which offer exceptional value; prices for a four-bedroom house start from just £148,125 for a 25% per cent share (full market value £592,500).

Esaiyas Mollallegn, head of marketing at Thames Valley Housing, comments: “These homes set new standards for shared ownership housing in terms of design, superior specification and a great location. We’re proud to raise the bar while offering these high-quality homes at very accessible prices.”

So Resi Wokingham is part of the wider Matthews Green Farm development which enjoys an attractive semi-rural location on the outskirts of Wokingham. When complete, this new community will include onsite shops, a brand new primary school and plenty of landscaped open spaces.

The four-bedroom houses offer a generous 1389 sq ft of space and are arranged over three levels. Opening through full-height glass doors on to a private rear garden, the large open-plan living/dining/kitchen space artfully maximises space and light. The bedrooms are on the upper two floors and the master bedroom benefits from an en suite shower room, in addition to the main bathroom. Full-height windows create bright and airy spaces throughout the home.

With a more traditional layout, the three-bedroom homes have two storeys and feature a separate kitchen.

The excellent specification of the homes includes a stylish white Symphony kitchen fitted the latest appliances; high-quality ceramic floor tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms; fitted wardrobes in the master bedroom and carpets in the living areas – all included as standard. Every home has allocated parking with car ports and garages to selected properties.

So Resi Wokingham is ideally located for families; less than a mile away are The Emmbrook School, a well-regarded specialist maths and computer college for students aged 11 to 18, and the green expanses of Cantley Park with a wide choice of sports facilities, including tennis courts.

For commuters, the mainline station is 1.8 miles away; trains reach Reading in nine minutes, Guildford in 28 minutes and London Waterloo in 68 minutes. When the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) opens at Reading station in 2019, passengers will be able to travel through central London without needing to change trains.

Currently available at So Resi Wokingham are three-bedroom houses priced at £200,000 for a 40% share (full market value £500,000) and four-bedroom houses costing £148,125 for a 25% share (full market value £592,500). A selection of two-bedroom apartments will shortly be launched.

To find out how So Resi makes it easy to buy your new shared ownership home, call 0208 607 0550 or visit www.soresi.co.uk.