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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

Four things to consider before you embrace influencer marketing

Louise Jarvis, Account Manager, Property House Marketing

There’s no denying the rise and rise of influencer marketing, most social media feeds have been peppered with third-party advertisements and brand partnerships for a while now.

But are we becoming more cynical? Does an influencer’s credibility plummet once you realise that they’ve been paid to talk about the product or service they seemingly love? And if so, why bother in the first place?

Despite these concerns, if done properly, we think this is an area of digital marketing that can add a lot of value to your strategies, however there are a few things to consider if you want to add influencers to your toolkit:

 

  1. Research, research, research

If you’re serious about incorporating influencers as part of your marketing strategy, you’ll need to invest some time in researching who’s out there. Find out what they have to offer you: what is their content’s reach and what does their audience demographic look like?  Before approaching them, you’ll need to know why you want to work with them; in short, your brands need to be aligned. Does your messaging synchronise with their narrative? If the fit is wrong, it’s likely your campaign will be less effective, so take your time and make sure you’re connecting with the right people.

  1. Micro vs Macro

When people think influencers, they tend to think big – or macro. Look at Kylie Jenner for example, who has a whopping 130 million Instagram followers. But with a following so vast, how can you ensure you’re targeting the right people? Targeting influencers with a large following will also most definitely be expensive and you may not always reap the return you’re after.

Depending on what you’re marketing, it’s very much worth looking into micro influencers; these people tend to have a smaller but niche and trusting following. This makes it easier to assess whether you’re reaching the right people via their channels.

  1. A tailored approach

As with all PR, it’s important to tailor your approach. With however many hundreds of thousands of influencer profiles to choose from and a sea of content to compete with, you’ll need to think of a ‘big idea’. With the digital marketing landscape so regularly changing, you might not get the best results from merely imitating campaigns you’ve seen before. So, brainstorm and take risks. What type of content would your target audience like to see and spend their time consuming? Decide your objectives, pick your angle and run with a creative approach.

  1. Contracts

Once you’ve cemented your relationship as a brand and advertiser with your chosen influencer, it’s important to get it in writing and create some form of influencer contract. It’s key to ensure everyone involved knows what their role is within the partnership or campaign. Here’s just a few things to include:

  • The basics: names and parties involved, the date and a description of what the partnership should achieve
  • Timeframe: How long is your partnership going to last? Is it one campaign or longer term?
  • Output: What exactly do you want from them? Include details, for example, the exact number of social media posts or the length of a blog
  • Veto list: Write down anything you’d like them to refrain from saying and include brand guidelines
  • Payment terms: in what form will payment be made?

 

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.

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 

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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.