5 Things To Avoid When Writing PR Blog

There are thousands of different PR blogs that talk about anything and everything, but when looking up other PR blogs for inspiration I saw a lot of things that should be avoided. Here we will go over the top 5 things that should be avoided when writing a PR blog.

  1. Selecting Topics That Everyone Else Is Writing About

I know about the Royal Engagement, the Victoria Secret Fashion Show, or the fact that Kinder Eggs are actually coming back to the USA. I basically live under a rock, all my friends joke about how I am always the last one to know something. My point being that if even I know about it then that means everyone else knows about it because the PR world is already jumping all over it. Use this to your advantage by being creative and coming up with something that will be a breath of fresh air to people looking for something ‘different’ to read.

     2. Using Pictures That Every Other Blogger Or Magazine Has/Is Using

Not only should you avoid writing about the same topics, but another thing to avoid is using the same pictures that everyone else is using. After a while the grab affect they have on the audience starts to gradually wear off. A blog has about 8 seconds to grab and keep the attention of the reader or else they’re off to the next thing that catches their eye. Grab their attention and make them stay by using unique pictures to stand out against their roaming eye. People are going to look at pictures over reading headlines to see what catches their attention, so if they keep seeing the same few pictures repeatedly then the reader is just going to continue to skip down till they find something new and fresh. Have that picture that makes you stand out amongst the crowd with a headline that continues to keep their attention.

     3. Overwriting – Be Direct & To The Point

Again people nowadays have short attention spans, so make sure in your writing that you get directly to the point. Nobody wants to read something that they think is wordy or like the author is overcompensating with their vocabulary for a poor topic.

Write like you speak. This way the audience can build a connection to you and what you are writing about.

    4. Being Scared To Go Against The Crowd Or Popular Opinion

Don’t be afraid that if you write something that nobody else is talking about or is the unpopular opinion that your blog won’t have any success. More than likely, the result will be the complete opposite. People want to read something new, they want to be what they think is ‘ahead of the game’ or to see what else is going on in the world outside the few limited things that have been talked about over and over again. Also in this day and age with the politics especially in the USA, people want to read what both sides have to say about issues and to see where people are coming from. They’re not always going to agree with you, but at least you’re getting your blog out there and will cause a stir to get people talking.

5. Discussing Broad Topics

Broad topics are so easy to write because you can literally talk about anything in the world. However, being able to talk about anything in the world can definitely have huge negative affects. It’s so easy to be on a role and start to get distracted within your topic because you can take it in so many different ways. If you don’t brainstorm and really map out your topic, to have your writing go all over this place which will make it hard for the reader to follow to try to understand where you are coming from. Take a broad topic, but when you’re brainstorming, map out exactly where you are going to take your blog so that way you or the reader won’t get lost in it.

 

Emily Williard is an exchange student at Ulster University, as part of her degree in Public Relations at Appalachian State University in the US. She can be contacted on Instagram at emilee_5 or LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/emily-williard-0196a4151.

Questions with Chris

Questions with Chris

Chris Love, a leading Public Relations Practitioner in NI and founder of LOVE PR, offers some insight into his views on what makes a good public relations campaign and some advice for new practitioners entering into the world of PR. 

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About Chris

Chris Love is a Fellow of the CIPR and a Chartered Public Relations practitioner. A former Chair of CIPR Northern Ireland, CIPR UK Council member and Professional Practices Committee member, Chris runs his own consultancy Love PR. He is a current member of the CIPR Fellows’ Forum and winner of CIPR NI PRide Awards Outstanding Independent Practitioner three times.

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What do you think are the fundamentals to a successful PR campaign?

“There’s no one guide that fits all approach, however by applying SMART objectives and using the PESO model, both will definitely help with the structure. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of setting objectives and then working towards expected outcomes. Always ensure the campaign is being measured throughout to ensure the campaign delivers what it set out to do”.

What is a favourite PR campaign of yours?

“A favourite PR campaign of mine is #missingtype for National Blood Week. NHS convinced big brands including Nando’s, Odeon, Waterstone’s and Daily Mirror to remove the A, B & O’s from their name to highlight the lack of people signing up to donate blood. Even the street sign on Downing Street took part. An extra 30,000 blood donators signed up in the first year of the campaign in 2015 and in 2016 the campaign was rolled out across 21 countries. The campaign was started as there were 40% fewer new blood donors in 2014 compared to 2004. The campaign was designed to strengthen the donor base for the future and it has definitely paid off”.

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What information would you give to young PR professionals today to advance in the workplace?

“PR is a management discipline and it’s important for our industry that practitioners are strategic in their thinking about the value PR can bring to a business”.

 

So, there you have it folks. Simple and to the point, these words of wisdom have obviously worked for Chris, and hopefully you can take something from it for yourself in the world of PR!

 

Lauren Toal is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University, Jordanstown. You can follow her on Twitter @laurentoal5 or reach out on LinkedIn at  https://uk.linkedin.com/in/laurentoal.

FOOTBALL VS PUBLIC RELATIONS Volume 1: Part II

FOOTBALL VS PUBLIC RELATIONS

Volume 1: Part II

 

Public Relations within Soccer

Hi everyone, welcome back. If you read my last blog post you would know that I looked at the similarities between football and public relations. If you haven’t saw it yet, feel free to go check it out. Today I’m sticking with the football theme but I want to look and see what PR exists in football today.

 

Now, if we look at footballers we can’t deny that they have been blessed with remarkable talent. Fortunately for them they are able to make a living (a really good living) from displaying this talent. But where would they be without their fans? If they didn’t have the support of millions behind them then the footballing industry as we know it would not be as popular as it is today and it certainly wouldn’t be making as much money as it does. This is why I feel that it is important for the sport to give back to us. The fans. What is football without its supporters?

 

Barclays did exactly that. If you aren’t a big supporter of football then all you need to know is Barclays sponsors the Premier League, and the Premier League is the top division in England and one of the most popular leagues in the world. The new footballing seasons kick off in the middle of August and Barclay’s thought this would be the perfect opportunity to thank the fans which is why they launched this campaign on the 16th of August. Just days before the new season started. They released a 90 second video titled “Thank you” which was aimed at the fans. The video consisted of looking at different fans of different ages who supported a variety of teams in the league. It followed their journey to the match and during the match and finished it off with “To follow is to love. To the millions of fans who make the Barclay’s Premier League what it is, we say thank you.” This is the perfect message. The way the say it is the fans who make the league what it is and not the players shows their appreciation and is pretty much saying without us, they wouldn’t be able to have their dream job. This video was distributed worldwide and it hit 200 different countries reaching hundreds of millions of people. With this video they are also promoting competitions to win tickets and they have paired with the hashtag “#YouAreFootball”.

 

I feel like the reasoning behind this has been based behind some negative issues especially with FIFA. At the time they had been under the spotlight in terms of corruption and although they now have sacked their president who was responsible, I still feel like that reputation has been damaged and not mended completely. This campaign, in my opinion, was Barclay’s way of building trust and showing that they are not the same as FIFA. I feel that maybe FIFA should take a page out of Barclays book and try something to rebuild their relationship with the fans.

 

However, this is where I’m going to leave off today. Stay tuned for future posts and I hope you have a very nice day.

 

Joseph McAuley is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. He can be found on Twitter: @JosephMcAuley96 / Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joseph.mcauley.3 

And the pint of Harp

And the pint of Harp

Recently on my Facebook newsfeed I came across this video –

Now I can’t say it’s the first time I’ve seen the ad as I think it pops up on my Facebook every other week but coming across it again had me thinking.

How come we don’t see more Northern Ireland based companies getting on board with this style of region targeted advertising/campaigning?

Harp are definitely the stand out company when it comes to these types of ads as they’ve been doing them for years, one of my favourite ads tells the story about a NI resident who is missing home. He begins naming the things he misses about home the most in threes and at the end of each sequence he says ‘and the pint of harp’. Maybe its just me but I personally love it because it’s stupidly funny and so simple. If you watch the ad, it’s some what true and relatable when you’re missing home.

Their most recent campaign is currently underway and its called ‘Pure Here & There’. It’s based around the six counties in Northern Ireland and it involves two actors using a Northern Irish comedic approach when describing the most well known facts about each county and their including cities and towns. There are six ads for all of Northern Ireland’s six counties and any Northern Irish resident with a sense of humour will appreciate them.

Pure Here & There, Co. Antrim

Pure Here & There, Co. Armagh

Pure Here & There, Co. Down

Pure Here & There, Co. Fermanagh

Pure Here & There, Co. Legenderry

Pure Here & There, Co. Tyrone

I think this campaign is a brilliant example of knowing your audience. I hope nobody takes offense to this but harps main consumers are men, obviously. The two characters in the adverts for the campaign are of course men (if you watched any of the links above) and they work their way around Northern Ireland describing its most famous features in horrible fashion as they sup on Harp beer however that’s what makes the adverts funny. My point is that this sense of humour is performed by men for men and I think Harp know that.

Along with the television adverts they have been selling their harp cans with individual county names on them and their accompanying iconic landmarks designed onto the can. They have even avoided the on-going controversy surrounding Derry\Londonderry by calling it Legenderry, turning a negative into a positive.

There is also the main ‘Pure Here’ advert that tries to figure out the perfect drink that has the pure essence of Northern Ireland. It’s a mix of a column from the giant’s causeway, shavings from the H&W cranes and the buzz of a night out in Belfast however the ad ends by saying these things are undrinkable and that harp had it right all along and closes with the slogan, pure here. An unexpected anti-climax but good advertising all the same!

As a fan of Harp and all things Northern Ireland I think this campaign is excellent, and its because they incorporate everything that people love about Northern Ireland into their campaign in a brilliantly clever manner and more local companies should follow!

They embrace the fact that they are a Northern Irish company and have made a campaign around that using the humour of the area. This style of campaigning and advertising does nothing but good things for their name and I’m sure their brand awareness has soared in Northern Ireland as a result of this. Their beer is probably doing pretty well too.

Aaron O’Reilly is a final year Public Relations Student at Ulster University. He can be contacted on Twitter: @aaronoreilly and on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaron-o-reilly-ab0708121/ 

The best PR campaigns of summer 2017

During the summer months there was some really memorable PR campaigns. Here’s a few of my favourite campaigns:
1. Hidden job ad found on Apple’s site source code.
I’m sure many people have had the dream of working for apple. Well that dream could have become a reality in August when it was posted on social media that Apple had hidden a job offer on their site’s source code. The text said ‘hey there! You found us.’ It said the firm is looking for ‘a talented engineer to develop a critical infrastructure component’. I seen a post about the hidden job while scrolling through my Facebook. It was a perfect PR tactic by apple to get some publicity about their ‘inventive and creative’ job ad. Many people shared posts about it all over social media so apple definitely had people talking.

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2. Walker’s ‘Choose me or lose me’ Campaign.
This PR campaign was a huge topic on twitter with people shocked and annoyed at walkers getting rid of three British favourites. They left the fate of this on the public. This ‘choose me or lose me’ referendum campaign took some inspiration from Brexit, ‘vote in or vote out’. Each ‘British’ flavour is being challenged by some international flavours. American Bacon and Cheddar challenges the popular Smoky Bacon, Spanish-inspired Paprika going against Prawn Cocktail and the classic Salt and Vinegar versus lime and black pepper from Australia. The #chooseorlose ‘crisp referendum’ started August 14th and closed on October 22nd.

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3. Björn Borg plays a tennis match on the border between the U.S and Mexico

This has to be one of the best PR campaigns I’ve seen this summer. It was created by the Swedish sportswear brand Bjorn Borg. The campaign was to highlight that sports has the ability to ‘unite people’. The campaign was orchestrated in response to President Donald Trump’s ‘Build a wall’ policy. Mexican player Mariano Argote and American player Peter Clemente played a tennis match on the US and Mexican border. It was called the ‘Borg open’ one player played in Mexica and the other played in America. The campaign was an emotive and thought provoking idea of finding commonality across borders.

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4. Tourism Ireland’s Game of Thrones 250ft tapestry
Tourism has increased in Ireland over recent years and this is partly due to Game of Thrones being filmed here. Ireland has benefited hugely from this and now a 250ft tapestry has been unveiled. During every episode of season 7 a new part of it was unveiled. This is an ambitious and great PR campaign by tourism Ireland as even when the show ends there will still be a part of vestros to visit for years to come. The tapestry is on display in the Ulster museum in Belfast. I know where I will be going this weekend.

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Lena Coyle is a final year BSc in Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @Lena_coyle Continue reading “The best PR campaigns of summer 2017”

A Content Creators Perspective

During my time on placement I had the opportunity to work with PR managers across Europe and one thing I learnt was that YouTubers and social media influencers are increasingly becoming one of the most important ways to communicate with your target audience.

I was so intrigued that I have even decided to base my dissertation on their influence on consumer decision making – I will let you know come May if this was a wise decision!!

But why this growing interest?

The exchange of information between influencers and their followers is very powerful as those people who create their own content are becoming the third party endorsement that many brands need.

I will admit that on many occasions I have purchased products based on the fact that someone on Instagram, Snapchat or YouTube has recommended them or use the products regularly.

Content Creators

With interest in people who create their own content and who have built up their own loyal following coming to the forefront I thought it would be exciting to interview an up and coming beauty and lifestyle content creator. On my time in placement I became friendly with one of the outgoing interns Uche.

Uche has her own YouTube and Instagram sites and the content is beauty and lifestyle based, with 25,200 Instagram followers

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and 101,973 YouTube subscribers

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Uche is also an official ASOS Face + Body Insider.

Six quick questions with a lifestyle and beauty content creator

1How did you first begin creating make up and lifestyle content?

 I started watching university videos during sixth form which really sparked my interest in YouTube, I later went on to create content as I was bored during my first year at university.

2. How was this received by your family and friends? Did they understand what you were trying to achieve? 

 I didn’t tell anyone for years, honestly unless people are interested in it it’s not something people tend to understand or is easy to explain to people that ‘don’t get it’. 

3. Can you explain the process of creating your own content from the creative idea to finally sharing it on YouTube and Instagram.

 It’s a rather lengthy process, having a large following helps now as people are always suggesting the type of content they want to see which obviously makes everything much easier. Before then I would go with trends or what I loved myself. Once you have an idea it’s then about filming and bringing the idea to life, editing and finally posting it for everyone to see. 

4. What social media influencers do you follow?

 I tend to gear towards people with great personalities so Jackie Aina, Imogen (Imogenation) etc or really talented individuals who teach me something every time so Claire Marshall, Samantha Ravndahl or people with both like Jamie Geniveve!

5. What brands would you like to work with in the future? 

 A brand I haven’t worked with yet that I would love to is Nars for sure!

6. Have you any advice for anyone who is considering creating their own content on YouTube and/or Instagram? 

 It’s not as easy as it looks to post great content that’s high quality and also engaging so be prepared to put in time and money, if you stay committed, patient and consistent you will flourish. 

From chatting with Uche it is clear that it is much more than just posting a video on YouTube or picture on Instagram you have to ensure that your content is authentic, you have a passion for what you are doing and that you are committed to put the time and work in.

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Uche can be found here on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uchjn/  and YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/uccch1

 

Caoimhe Fitzpatrick is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @caoimhef_95 / LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/caoimhe-fitzpatrick-0b8682110/

 

Uni Today, Gone to Morrow | My PR Placement Experience

Uni  Today, Gone to Morrow | My PR Placement Experience

They say a placement year boosts your CV, gets you ready for work and gives you a break from university. What they don’t mention is it builds character and throw’s you in right at the deep end.

With Summer approaching, most students in the year were already set with their placements, I was starting to become resigned to the fact I wasn’t going to find one and going straight into final year was the option for me. After being pushed by those around me, I applied for one last placement, with little hope of being their chosen student. Having been given an interview, and immediately thinking I had absolutely failed it, I was shocked to receive a phone call that day and was offered the job.

This kick-started the most incredible, strange and brilliant 12 months as I joined the PR team at Morrow Communications.

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As an inexperienced junior, what surprised me the most about my time at Morrows was the trust that they gave me to work on some of their biggest accounts. As a placement student I expected to be kept as far away from these clients as possible but instead I was immediately handed more responsibility than I had expected. I was thrown in at the deep end and I swam, surprisingly.

I gained so much experience in such a short space of time and saw my confidence in my own ability grow day on day. But if I learned anything from working for a PR agency, its that you will never know everything, you will always be learning something new, like always.

I was also incredibly lucky to work with some really wonderful people who never made me feel like a placement student, but simply another member of the team from day 1.

On day 4, the agency had organised their annual away day. You will never get to know your colleagues until you get together and do some clay pigeon shooting and some Archery Golf (yes a real thing). I can only thank the guys for embracing me that day as I didn’t even know any of their names.

As I settled into the company, I really started to find my feet and discover my strengths. I’m not going to lie, I’ve never considered myself a great writer. I come from an Astrophysics background and I loved maths in school, its not the most natural transition into PR. But that’s the thing about PR, you don’t have to be brilliant at everything. At least not when you first start out. I spent a hell of a lot of time working on my writing skills through press release writing, email style and general documents. You learn, you get better.

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I could spend hours talking about the things I got to do with Morrows; styling George at Asda for Belfast FASHIONWEEK, working in Enniskillen for the Northern Ireland Tourism Awards or spending 5 days as a runner on the set of a BBC Bitesize shoot, but it was the hours I spent in the office learning the trade and the skills that made my placement completely and utterly worth it.

As someone who gained so much from their placement, I have some advice for students and employers.

For any businesses looking to take on a placement student next year, take a leaf out of Morrow’s book and let them have some responsibility. It makes the world of difference for both your business and the student to know their opinion matters and their purpose isn’t just to take admin off your hands, its to grow and develop into professionals.

For students, don’t panic if you are turned down from other placements. Remember that everyone studies the same thing, you all know the same thing. Employers are looking for students who will fit it and who have the right attitude. Employers turned me down and I finished as the highest scoring placement student across the PR and CAM courses, so don’t get down if someone doesn’t want you. Put your energy into the people who do and prove them wrong.

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And finally, to Morrows, thank you for the experiences, your patience, the laughs and endless teaching. I will always appreciate the time and effort you made to make my placement year the best it could be. You guys rock.

Kirsty Wallace is a final year BSc Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be contacted at www.linkedin.com/in/kirsty-wallace-851504115 and on Twitter @KayyWallace