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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.

PHM’s three top tips this Social Media Day

With the ninth annual Social Media Day taking place on June 30th, celebrating social media’s influence on digital communication, we thought there was no better way to join in the fun than by sharing our three top tips for impactful and memorable campaigns over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.

  1. Consider your objective

It sounds simple, but what are you trying to achieve by implementing a social media campaign? Whether it’s to generate sales leads or foster engagement with other users, you can only accurately create content and report on the success of any activity if you truly understand your goal. For example, there’s no point in creating posts that encourage users to visit a website, if you wanted that post to be shared with as many people as possible, as the content created to encourage leads to a website, might not be as interesting enough for users to want to share with others.

2. Remember that you are invisible

This one is especially relevant for when you are creating social media content for the first time. Don’t expect that people will come looking for you and you’ll naturally build your likes/followers over time. You need to get out there and make yourself known. Consider implementing a competition as a kick-starter for your campaign – one that is easy for users to enter and share with their friends and family. It makes for a low-cost brand awareness exercise that gets results.

3.  Know when to join in

This mostly applies to Twitter and Instagram, where hashtags are the main form of linking like-minded posts together. As there are so many, it can be tempting to use the most popular hashtags when starting a campaign but it’s worth thinking about the audience this is reaching. For instance, there may be a popular hashtag many industry professionals are using, but if you are trying to reach potential customers, it’s worth reconsidering your approach and choose hashtags that they regularly use or will be interested in to connect with them.

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

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.

 

 

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.

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.