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Lent: three bad habits to give up when writing copy

Three bad habits to give up this Lent when writing copy

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

Here are three ways to ensure your written content is second to none:

  1. Cut the waffle

It’s important 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 followers alike are keen to get to the heart of a story quickly.

  1. Don’t be lazy

It’s easy to repeatedly churn out the same content, and although consistent messaging and brand recognition is important, it’s also vital to keep things current 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 which provides another opportunity to promote your brand. 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.

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.

Facebook will favour family and friends over business content

– Harriet Bolt, Senior Account Manager at Property House Marketing

It’s been two weeks since Facebook introduced yet another change to its algorithms, and here at PHM we’ve taken the time to understand what the changes could mean for us as marketers. Until now, content from businesses appeared roughly the same number of times as content from friends and family on  the standard Facebook news feed. However, with fake news on the rise and causing scepticism towards business-led posts. Mark Zuckerburg has decided to give the power back to the people, with content from friends and family to appear much more often.

The change is part of Mr Zuckerburg’s new ‘meaningful interaction’ campaign. In his announcement, he said: “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect”.

In essence, if your company posts aren’t engaging, they are not going to appear as often as posts from friends and family which always attract a lot of interaction in the form of likes and comments.

If you think this is a bombshell of an update, fear not. This change is only in relation to organic content (posts which have no advertising spend behind them). It will not affect the algorithms associated with ‘boosted’ content (posts with advertising spend that enable you to target content to a specific audience).

Therefore, we believe the update gives us, and our clients using Facebook for business, three opportunities:

  • Get inspired by the new change, prioritising boosted content but with an emphasis on quality not quantity. If you can really drill down to who your target audience is, you shouldn’t need to spend money boosting your campaign to a wide audience, or setting up multiple campaigns with the same message for the sake of it, which can be costly. Organise one, or a few, well thought-out posts a month which reach your desired audience effectively and prevent you falling into a trap of posting repetitive and expensive content.
  • Limit the number of organic posts you post from a Facebook business page – but don’t stop it completely. Facebook’s changes are a chance to get inspired, and create truly engaging content. Rather than ‘sell sell sell’, why not start a Q&A every week, or post a competition asking for comments as entries?
  • Be more creative in the way you distribute content. If Facebook is prioritising human interaction between users, why not consider new ways to reach a target audience through Facebook and other social media channels, without posting directly through your company page? This is where influencers (individuals that have influence over potential buyers, often with a large fan base/following) come in, who regularly post truly engaging content, mainly in the form of images and videos, reviewing products or showcasing their interaction with a business.

At PHM, we believe using social media as part of a wider PR strategy can only be effective if we’re keeping up to date with the latest changes to utilise its tools effectively, adjusting how content is delivered in order to get the best results.

If you’d like find out more or to know how to get the most of your social media strategy, call us on 01483 561119.

Isabelle Gray

PHM welcomes a new press assistant to the team

We’re delighted to introduce our new press assistant, Isabelle Gray, who joined the Property House Marketing (PHM) team this month.

Izzy arrives at PHM following three years in the hospitality industry working for a boutique hotel in Cornwall, experience which has taught her how to manage high-pressure environments and a busy schedule. After time spent travelling in Australia and South East Asia, Izzy is looking forward to embracing all things Property and PR.

Her dream house would be a modern Scandinavian style house in the woods with large windows to allow plenty of natural light in to highlight the rich wooden interiors. A log burner is essential to give a real sense of ‘hygge’!

While you’re here, why not meet the rest of the PHM team.

External CGI of Trinity Walk, Woolwich by Lovell Homes

Across town with the costs down!

News hit last week that millions of rail users in the UK will see the price of regulated rail fares rise by up to 3.6% this month. With commuters said to be the worst-hit by the increase, which is the highest since January 2013, we’ve taken a look at homes ideally located near alternative modes of transport which provide more beneficial routes in to work both financially and in terms of health.

Trinity Walk by Lovell Homes is situated in Woolwich, South East London meaning you can fly to work via the Emirates Air Line, which provides a cable car link across the River Thames between the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Victoria Docks. This quirky mode of transport is operated by Transport for London and the duration of a single crossing is reduced to just five minutes in rush hour. Prices start at £3.50 per ticket each way, which equates to just £161 per calendar month if there is the maximum of 23 working days in the month. If you’re afraid of heights, why not take the River Bus Express, which operates from 20 piers between Putney and Woolwich. Your journey is made even easier now you can use contactless or Oyster cards to pay.

The homes at Chiswick Gate, which are available through shared ownership with Thames Valley Housing, are conveniently located to give residents access to a wide number of cycle paths in and around Chiswick. These paths provide residents with an alternative and active route in to work, and is also both economical and environmentally friendly, plus you can ride by Chiswick House and Gardens for a more scenic route.

At PHM we like to keep up with the latest goings-on, so make sure you check out our other blogs to see what we’ve been up to and for some of our top PR tips and opinions!

PHM looks back on 2017

2017: The beginning of the end?

By Lisa Flounders, Account Director, Property House Marketing

2017 could well be the year that the property market started to go into reverse – after years of rising house prices, the lack of affordable housing isn’t just affecting those who are struggling to get onto the property ladder, but also those trying to sell their homes in London and the South East as the pool of possible buyers shrinks.

But what of PR? The past 12 months have seen a real shift in the way businesses communicate. Political leaders have been taking social media matters into their own hands, taking responsibility for their own digital marketing as opposed to hiding behind a slick team of experts. Sometimes it works, as the UK election campaign is anything to go by, and sometimes (no need to mention names), the results are highly controversial. The ethics of communications have also been pushed into the spotlight this year as one of the largest and most well-know PR firms in the world found itself in the center of a scandal, perhaps casting doubt on the reputation of an industry that often exists to protect reputations.

However, the need for consistent, strong and transparent communications remains vital. Efficient and effective PR management and guidance plays a dual role – simultaneously sharing the story and considering the risks. Great PR will see your message distributed to your target audiences cautiously but confidently, ensuring that the perception of your product in the minds of your stakeholders is unshakeably positive.

Times may well be a changin’, but PR remains central to a successful communications strategy and will continue to be so, especially if the waters get choppy.

Its been a busy year, for us and for the property industry; we very much look forward to seeing what 2018 will bring but until then, Merry Christmas!

Vista, Chelsea Bridge

Plush Party Pads, ideal for entertaining this festive season

With the festive season drawing in, a time synonymous with parties and entertaining, we’ve put together a roundup of homes which all benefit from beautifully designed open-plan living spaces and a range of unique features ideal for entertaining guests.

Host with the most….

West House, South Holmwood

On the market for £2.95m with Grantley

West House is a five bedroom, 5000 sq. ft. home in the secluded Surrey Hills location of South Holmwood, near Dorking. Featuring sublime proportions, this light and airy property was made for entertaining. The kitchen, dining room, drawing room, family room and entrance hall all have underfloor heating, floor to ceiling windows and large terraces, making this home the ideal party pad, plus the separate kitchenette can be used for catering dinner parties. The seller is also willing to pay the stamp duty, saving the buyer thousands.

Shere View House, Shere

On the market for £2.25m with Grantley

This five-bedroom, three-bathroom family home in Shere, Surrey (where classic Christmas film, The Holiday, was filmed) is set within a 0.9 acre plot with stunning views over the adjoining farmland and surrounding hills. Internally, the home comprises a vaulted entrance hall, drawing room, dining room, family room and study- so there’s plenty of room for entertaining guests. The drawing room boasts a cosy energy efficient wood burner which releases heat slowly through its cast iron shell, providing the perfect retreat at the end of the night. Externally, Shere View House benefits from a private gravelled driveway with space for eight cars, a detached ancillary accommodation with mezzanine level, kitchenette and bathroom as well as a detached heritage barn style garage, car port and garden/machinery store with a beautifully landscaped front garden.

Vista, Chelsea Bridge 

Prices for a one-bedroom apartment start from £895,000 and two-bedroom apartments from £1,220,000, developed by Berkeley Homes

Stylish and modern, Vista combines remarkable architecture, cosmopolitan homes and an irresistible London location – close to both the river and the greenery of Battersea Park. All of the apartments deliver private outside space in the form of a glass-fronted balcony, wraparound terrace or winter garden; with many offering beautiful views across Battersea Park or the iconic power station, a perfect backdrop to an evening of entertaining. Residents can burn off those extra calories after a night or two of indulgence in the luxury leisure suite which features a vitality pool, state-of-the-art gym and sauna.

 

If you’re a property developer or an estate agent looking to maximize 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, on 01483 561119 or email info@housegroup.co.uk.

 

social media

PHM’s 3 golden tips for managing social media this Christmas

-By Harriet Bolt, Account Manager

The upcoming holidays is a time of relaxation for many, however an extended period of time out of the workplace can cause a sense of unease for those managing their own or their clients’ social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc). However, this needn’t be the case as we at PHM believe it’s a great opportunity to schedule brand awareness campaigns, double check your customer care protocol and trust the technology available to you to manage social media on the go.

After all, ’tis the season to be jolly, said a famous Christmas carol, and so can be social media over the festive period if you follow these three golden rules for a well-planned digital strategy over the coming weeks.

1.Make a plan

It sounds simple, but without a well-organised content plan, your carefully created messaging will not know when or how it will be delivered to your audience. Help it along by creating a timetable of activity and remember to schedule the posts in using a social media scheduling tool such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social.

2. Be prepared

We promise we haven’t lifted this from a survival guide, but be aware that the holidays provides customers with more access to their social media accounts and potentially the chance to express any negative feedback. Ensure you have a communications protocol in place which can ensure messages are responded to quickly, and escalated to a customer care department swiftly if necessary. Nevertheless, it is also a chance to positively engage with your customers and potentially create an audience of which to target future content to on your return. Embrace the opportunity by introducing some easy but relevant competitions to encourage more interaction and brand loyalty.

3. Embrace change

If you always manage your social media channels using a desktop computer, then using the free tools available to you on the App Store of your smartphone for the first time might seem a little complicated. However, they are a valuable tool and there to help you quickly amend or edit your clients’ advert campaigns or engage/comment directly with customers over various channels. Get these set up before the Christmas break, and should you need to check any live campaigns or channels, you’ll be able to far more easily than opening up a laptop and signing in remotely to any emails or social media management accounts.

If you’d like a hand ensuring your social media strategies run smoothly over Christmas and indeed anytime of the year (the above rules apply to evenings and weekends too) then speak to a member of PHM on 01483 561119.

 

PR reporting

PR reporting: back to basics?

-By Lisa Flounders, Account Director 

PR reporting is an interesting topic, one which often divides PR professionals and wider communications teams. At PHM, we don’t think that any one way is the best way, but believe that our clients have different needs, different objectives, and therefore require different measurables.

Marketers, quite rightly, want to see quantifiable results for the work they do. They are able to measure content with numbers, very neatly, both digitally and on paper. This is a lot harder to achieve with PR, when the real value is often found in a quick phone conversation to find out what’s appearing in the property supplement at a national paper that weekend, or in knowing where a journalist likes to have coffee.

The industry has used many methods to measure its output and evaluate its results over the years. More traditional methods include AVE, which measures the size and prominence of a piece of coverage in a particular publication or online channel, and seeks to show the value of editorial versus paid-for content. To many, a positive piece of coverage in a weekend broadsheet, accompanied by a high-quality picture, is proof enough. To other clients, a more tailored approach is required, and we’ve been known to build our own evaluative models, based on point systems and key criteria, allowing us to work out where any gaps might be over time.

However we do it, we know that we need to do it in a way that fits the wider marketing objectives of our clients, and allows for a full, comprehensive picture of communications activity across the board. That’s why, as with all of our work, we take a bespoke approach; for PR reporting, one size certainly doesn’t fit all.

If you want to discuss real results, contact the team on info@housegroup.co.uk or 01483 561119.

Berkeley win Building Awards

Berkeley Group wins Housebuilder of the Year at the Building Awards 2017

It was a successful evening at the Building Awards on Thursday 7 November, as it saw our client Berkeley Group win the prestigious Housebuilder of the Year award, which we prepared earlier this year.

A highly anticipated date in the property calendar, The Building Awards are the industry’s longest running recognition of excellence, and allow companies across all aspects of building to have their achievements held up as an example to the sector. As always, it was a great night hosted by Building magazine.

We’re also looking forward to attending the WhatHouse? Awards later this month, where we’ll be excitedly awaiting the results for the 21 entries we prepared on behalf of our clients this year.

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 unsure about the effectiveness of a tailor-made award entry, take a look at our blog, ‘Three reasons why awards are a valuable addition to your marketing strategy’, to see just how valuable they can be for your business’ marketing strategy.

If you’ve worked on a project or development of which you are particularly proud, and would like to find out more about our awards writing and design service, call the PHM team now on 01483 561119.

Award

Award

A home on the Downs

New on Property House Marketing’s books this month is this bespoke six-bedroom, four-storey house in Guildford, comprising over 6500 sq. ft., and benefitting from an enviable elevated position just a few yards from the North Downs in Surrey.

Alongside its picturesque views across the Downs and convenient location – just a 21-minute walk to Guildford train station – the sense of space at Northdowns Heights is what sets it apart from the rest. The home’s expansive living areas are designed not just for family living but for entertaining on a large scale too, with floor-to-ceiling glazing opening onto the rear terrace and extending this space in warmer weather.

The hub of the house is undoubtedly the sitting, dining and kitchen space, where each area is clearly defined and the dining and sitting rooms afford extensive views to the front and over the rear garden respectively. From the dining area, doors also open onto a large terrace from which the fabulous view over the Surrey Hills can be enjoyed over a morning coffee. There is also a formal dining room and study.

The leisure and entertaining space doesn’t stop there; on the lower ground floor there is a large gym and shower room as well as a media room that includes a fun bar area.

Externally, the expertise of award-winning landscape architect Kevin Murphy is clearly evident; his imaginative yet intuitive design of the rear garden uses a multi-layer approach, making the most of the space by creating distinctive, separate areas and providing a stunning backdrop for the home.

Northdowns Heights is on the market for £3.5m. For more information, or to arrange an appointment to view the property, please contact Hill Clements (01483 300300) or email info@hillclements.com.

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