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.

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.

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

Four things to consider before you embrace influencer marketing

By Louise Jarvis, Account Manager

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.

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.

Open the door to more coverage with Property House Marketing

At PHM, we work hard to ensure the majority of our time is spent doing the practical things – advising and guiding our clients, creating high-impact stories and most importantly, securing high-quality coverage in places where our target audiences will see it and act upon it.

Whether landing the sought-after front cover of The Times’ weekly property supplement (a striking image of the grand front door at The Villas by Berkeley was featured at the beginning of February) or placing a first-time buyer case study in the Metro (a full page piece regarding one of So Resi’s happy shared ownership customers), we understand where our clients need their product to be seen and spend our time making this happen in the most efficient, impactful way possible.

A varied approach to media relations is, and will continue to be, the most effective way to share your message. So beyond a press release, how can you ensure your content reaches its target? We’ve revisited some top PHM tips

  1. The feature pitch

The press release should exist to share news, not story angles, and will land in a journalist’s inbox with plenty of other press releases vying for attention. If you have a good idea for a story that provides context to your content, send a simple email instead. A couple of paragraphs and a clear, direct explanation makes for easy and quick reading for a busy journalist.

  1. Twitter

If Facebook talks to community and LinkedIn talks to business, then Twitter talks to everyone. Twitter provides an instant link between journalists and those of us looking to feed in content, against a backdrop of breaking news – ideal for finding those all-important hooks – and urgent media requests issued 20 minutes before a deadline.

  1. Phone

Email is a great tool for ensuring accuracy and creating a paper trail, and evidence suggests that any communication that avoids spoken dialogue seems to be the method of choice for millennials. Breaking with this trend, we’re big fans of the humble telephone – a verbal, instantaneous conversation means that you’re not only able to convey information effectively, but have a better insight into what journalists are looking for. No square pegs/round holes.

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.

PHM sets a new record for its Christmas Box Collection

Christmas is on its way! Mulled wine, mince pies and twinkling winter lights; the welcoming signs of the festive season are all around us.

And, for PHM, the beginning of the Christmas period is also the time for one of our favourite office traditions – the Rotary Gift Box Collection. Every year, colleagues, family and friends busy themselves filling shoeboxes with toys, games and books, as well as clothes, household items and toiletries. These boxes are then delivered to children, families and old folk in Eastern Europe, along with thousands of others packed by generous schools and organisations across the UK, where they provide a package of Christmas cheer to those who need it most.

This year has been our best yet; we managed to fill 58 boxes, a whopping 18 more than last year!

Since the scheme launched in 1994, the Rotary has distributed over one million boxes to people internationally. It also runs all year round, so if you’d like to order your own boxes, head to the Rotary website: www.rotaryshoebox.org/order-boxes/.