Lifestyle

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Digital PR Fails – What can you do when your campaign goes sideways?

If you missed our PR fails webinar, then here’s your chance to catch up!

As an industry, we’re very good at sharing the campaigns that generate great results, but we’re not so open about the campaigns that don’t go to plan, and whilst it’s natural to only highlight the good, I think digital PR agencies especially need to be more open publicly that not all campaigns are successful and therefore better manage client expectations.

To get a mixture of perspectives, we invited three industry experts – Bethanie Dennis from AGY47, Nathan Abbott from Kaizan and Rebecca Moss from JBH to share their experiences of campaigns that didn’t go to plan and how they responded.

The webinar covers:

  • Examples of digital PR campaigns that went sideways
  • How to address that conversation with clients / management
  • How to keep team morale high when campaigns go wrong
  • The importance of managing stakeholder expectations
  • The key components to a successful campaign
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Own the Crisis: Top Confidence Tips for Digital PRs

If you missed our webinar with the awesome Kirsty Hulse you can catch up here!

This really is a must-watch for anyone working in digital PR, as Kirsty Hulse and I discussed the challenges we face in the digital PR industry and how it’s easy to let the current situation knock your confidence.

Kirsty shared her tips on:

  • How to handle rejection
  • How to be more resilient by reframing the situation
  • How to build up your self esteem by keeping a victory log (my personal favourite)
  • How to feel and act more confident

It’s important to remember that what we do is difficult at the best of times, so remind yourself that you’re doing a good job and give yourself a pat on the back!

We hope the webinar gives you the boost you deserve 💪

 

About Kirsty:
Kirsty Hulse is a successful business owner and coach, working with global companies to develop effective leadership programs. Having worked with global brands such as IBM, Virgin Atlantic and Avis she has a wealth of real-world corporate experience which she brings to her training. She is an accomplished keynote speaker and travels across the globe speaking to audiences of thousands about women’s leadership, business disruption and collaboration.

She is accredited with the Neuroleadership Institute in brain-based coaching and is an expert in organisational neuroscience, using scientific evidence to support her corporate work and experience. She is also a standup comedian, having run a sold-out one-woman show at the Edinburgh Fringe festival in 2016, and brings this passion for humour into her work. Her previous book, “The Future is Freelance” was a finalist in the Start-Up inspiration category in the Business Book Awards.

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WATCH AGAIN: How to craft & pitch data-led PR campaigns

We were joined by Ashley Kirk, Senior Data Journalist at The Telegraph to discuss how we can develop and pitch data-led stories that have the most chance of securing coverage.

 

Download Ashley’s Deck

With more and more data at our disposal, PRs are taking advantage of this resource to generate credible, reliable & authoritative coverage for brands, but we wanted to find out how PRs can optimise their data-led campaigns for journalists.

The webinar covered:

  • What is data journalism and some best-case examples?
  • How to source data: The data collection methods and sources journalists prefer
  • How to communicate data: The principles of data visualisation
  • How to pitch data: How to find a story and pitch multiple angles from it
  • How to package your data pitch

Guest speaker:
Ashley is a Senior Data Journalist at The Telegraph, interested in using data to uncover stories and tell them in new, visual ways. Before this, he wrote for a number of publications including the Guardian and City AM. He also teaches data journalism classes in his role as a Visiting Lecturer at City University London.

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WATCH AGAIN: PR Webinar Featuring Metro Journalists

If you missed our free PR webinar featuring Sian Elvin, assistant news editor for Metro.co.uk and Almara Abgarian, freelance journalist who works across lifestyle publications including Metro.co.uk – you can watch back now.

 
With PRs across the country unsure what to pitch during the lockdown, we found out first-hand how some of the top lifestyle and news journalists in the UK have been impacted and what PRs should and shouldn’t be pitching them right now.

Our highlights / tips include:

  • Don’t pitch content that isn’t relevant right now (and if via DM, make sure it’s appreciated!)
  • If you do approach a news desk, do it in a proper manner (Don’t call Almara ‘babe’ or ‘hun’!)
  • Get the journalist name and publication correct, at least.
  • Fluffy story = no one cares, it’s just made for links, pulled from nowhere, trying to make what you’re pitching relevant even though it isn’t.
  • Journalists and editors need images and quotes asap – not in a day or two.
  • Pitches with case studies are more likely to be covered than those without.
  • Qualify travel content relevancy before pitching – there will be a time when purely travel related stories are needed, now isn’t the time.
  • If you don’t get a reply to your pitch, check the journalists twitter profile to see what stories they’re covering before you email them again!
  • Package everything up: Give journalists everything they might need, from images, to quotes, stats and case studies.  If you’re not doing this then you could be wasting a journalist’s time.”
Coffee shop workspace
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Tired of the office? 10 of the best alternative workspaces

In order to instil a greater sense of happiness and productivity, several modern workspaces give precedence to natural light, wide open spaces, and plenty of greenery.

But even the most aesthetically pleasing, impeccably designed office can’t escape 3pm syndrome – a condition that saps motivation levels, encourages clock-watching, and prolongs tomorrow’s workload.

Thankfully, there is a cure…

In a recent blog, Trello’s Kat Boogaard discussed the ‘Coffee Shop Effect’, and why changing your work location can restore self-stimulus because:

  • The human brain has been proven to constantly seek something new, exciting, or novel.
  • The human brain is excellent at connecting an environment with specific situations, i.e. not working after lunch in the office.
  • You’re intentionally going there to work.

But why stop at the coffee shop? Where else could you go for a PM pick-me-up? Here are four alternative workspaces to consider.

 

The coffee shop

The long-established favourite of students, freelancers, and telecommuters everywhere, the humble coffee shop has an endless supply of your favourite energy-boosting beverages and sugary snacks.

Just remember that coffee shops rely on a constant stream of customers to survive, so try not to overstay your welcome, take up an entire table, or buy only one drink during a long stint.

Examples:

TY Seven Dials – London

This coffee shop/workspace hybrid not only features a range of food and drink options from local artisans, but also a relaxed environment where you can stay for as long as you like.

 Coffee workspace - TY Seven Dials

 

Workshop Café – San Francisco

Another space that blurs the lines between placid and productive, the Workshop Café places an emphasis on creativity, innovation, and networking.

Coffee Workspace - Workshop Cafe

 

The Wren – London 

Coffee with a difference. Located inside St Nicholas Cole Abbey, the Wren’s stunning architecture is guaranteed to inspire and influence your work.

Coffee workspace - The Wren

 

A co-working space 

If coffee shops feel a little unprofessional but you still want to escape the office for a few hours, look into local co-working spaces. Although you’ll have to pay for the privilege, co-working spaces afford a number of advantages.

More often than not, you’ll benefit from an environment specifically designed for productivity, fast and reliable internet, meeting rooms, print, scan, and presentation facilities, as well as the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals.

Examples: 

Duke Studios – Leeds

From architects and interior designers to film makers and SEO gurus, Duke Studios is home to all manner of creatives. There’s even a resident dog to make the working day that bit less stressful. 

Co-working space - Duke Studios 

 

Patchwork – Paris

Situated in the heart of Paris’ city centre, Patchwork provides individual entrepreneurs and small enterprises with a colourful, conceptual working environment.

Co-working space - Patchwork 

 

Soho Works – London (also LA)

Various membership options, lots of additional perks, and the sheer beauty of the rooms within Shoreditch’s iconic East London Tea Building makes Soho Works a truly exceptional co-working space.

Co-working space - Soho Works 

 

The library

To tick off your to-do list in double-quick time, head to your nearest public library for the ultimate in quietness and concentration. You may even find yourself reaching for the ample resources on the bookshelves behind you.

There’s usually no need to pay for anything thanks to free entry and free WiFi. University libraries are also an option, especially if you need to work outside of office hours, but double-check you’re allowed to enter and whether a student login is required for the internet.

Examples: 

Boston Public Library – Massachusetts, USA

Murals by John Singer Sargent, an Italianate courtyard, and no fewer than 23 million books – Boston Public Library takes some beating.

Library workspace - Boston 

 

Stuttgart City Library – Stuttgart, Germany

While controversial for not fitting in with the city’s greenery and red-roofed houses, Stuttgart City Library is still an awe-inspiring sight.

Library workspace - Stuttgart 

 

At home

Okay, so heading home early for the purposes of work doesn’t sound like a particularly productive idea. But the whole point of the ‘Coffee Shop Effect’ is to mix up your surroundings and change your attitude.

So, if your employer is flexible enough, ask to work at home one morning per week before commuting to the office. Alternatively, thanks to platforms like Vrumi, you could go to somebody else’s home for a welcome change of scenery yet still retain those necessary creature comforts.

Examples:

Loft Conversion – Manchester

This American-style loft conversion in Manchester’s vibrant Northern Quarter has sofas for laid-back brainstorming and tables for non-stop typing.

Home workspace - Loft 

 

Houseboat – London

For something truly unique, consider working from this romantically retro houseboat in the heart of central London.

Home workspace - Houseboat 

 

Next time you find yourself out of the office on a productivity binge, be sure to try some of our top content ideation tools too.

The Dark History of Black Friday
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The Dark History of Black Friday

Black Friday is fairly new to the UK. Our stiff upper lips have long kept us safe from the jostling and aggressive elbows. Not so anymore.

In the US, it falls on the day after Thanksgiving. People battling turkey hangovers descend on shops desperate to get their hands on the biggest seasonal bargains. It sounds innocent enough, but in recent years there has been chaos, violence and plenty of viral videos. In 2011 a Los Angeles shopper doused a crowd with pepper spray so she could make off with a discounted Xbox. In 2013 a Walmart worker lost his life in a stampede. In the UK there have been huge fights and countless arrests. There have been car accidents, robberies, even shootings. I How did we get to all this craziness?

Origins of the term

The first recorded use of the term “Black Friday” was on 24 September 1869. It was used in reference to the crash of US gold market. Ruthless Wall Street types Jim Fisk and Jay Gould pooled their resources to buy up as much of the nation’s gold as they could – resulting in a spectacular stock market crash.

Dark legends

Over the years there have been several myths attached to the tradition, some in particular which need to be dispelled.

The biggest misconception about Black Friday is that it was named on account of being the day of the year merchants finally start to turn a profit. After a year of being ‘in the red’ retail companies supposedly go ‘into the black’ after holiday shoppers blow huge wads on discounted merchandise. In fact, shops report a far bigger surge in sales on the Saturday before Christmas. While the story has mostly been discredited as inaccurate, there is another supposed explanation which is much uglier.

According to this particular myth, 1800s Southern plantation owners were able to buy slaves at a discounted price the day after Thanksgiving. Although this smacks of urban legend, people have believed it so much that many have been moved to boycott Black Friday and even Thanksgiving. Again, this disturbing story has no basis in fact.

The truth

The truth is much more familiar. In the 1950s, Philadelphia police used the term to describe the chaos that hit the city the day after Thanksgiving, when a wave of shoppers swept over the city ahead of the big Army-Navy football game. This meant that Philly cops couldn’t take any holiday over the long weekend they would have to work extra long shifts dealing with the crowds. Opportunist shoplifters would make the most of the insanity, making off with as much merchandise as they could carry.

By 1961, “Black Friday” was officially a thing – at least in Philadelphia. Retailers tried half-heartedly to get it changed to “Big Friday” to remove some of the negative connotations but to no avail.

It took another two decades for the tradition to hit the rest of the country. At the end of the 1980s the powers that be once again decided that the day needed a rebrand. Changing the name hadn’t worked before so instead marketers worked to reinvent the concept of Black Friday as something more positive – particularly from the retailer’s perspective.  It turns out that this is how the ‘in the red’ to ‘in the black’ story came about – cleverly putting a slightly more positive spin on what had turned into a PR nightmare. This Black Friday – be safe. You know you can do it all online, right?

Having a PR nightmare all your own? Chat to our Digital PR specialists.

 

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Build Your Own Brand Community

Help your people find their people.

Send a James Bay fan into a mosh pit and you’ll probably kill him (or at least give him a fat dose of PTSD). Send in a metalhead and he’ll be overcome with a warm, fuzzy sense of belonging.

We all belong in different places, with different people.

Consumers want to have meaningful relationships with the brands they buy from. Establishing a genuine connection with your target market means giving them a space where they can come together around shared values.

The past couple of years have seen plenty of brands experimenting with communities with varying degrees of success. Brands who do manage to build communities where their customers can enjoy exclusivity and engagement are reaping the rewards.

 

1

Brand communities embrace a certain ethos or ideology shared by each and every member. Think carefully about what unites your audience. Here are some key points to consider.

– Who are they? Think age, gender and geography.

– What industries do they work in?

– What do they care about? For obvious reasons this is the most important one. What is their political stance? Their ethical position?

– How do they speak? What language do they use?

Don’t be afraid to generalise – you want to tap into the beating heart of your audience.

2

A brand community is built on the collective desire for a great product and/or a sincere service. This means you will need to put your finger on the best way for the experience of your product to be supported in a brand community environment.

Do you want your customers to share photos of the product in action? Do you want to give them a forum to discuss possible improvements? Whatever you go for, be creative, but put the wants and needs of your customers first.

3

Even the best brands receive complaints and condemnation from all sides on social media. While it can be difficult to keep ahead of criticism, a brand community should encourage criticism and deal with it with patience and good grace; consumers will be more likely to get involved if their opinion has an actual impact or influence. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and let the people in your community shape your strategy.

4

Even though brand communities can generate impressive exposure and contribute to a glowing online reputation, you should let your efforts grow organically. Don’t be tempted to build your community according to a fixed plan or idea; chances are it won’t succeed. Your customers know best. Allow for new ways of thinking and allow your community to take shape in its own way.

5

 It might sound obvious, but putting your community before your brand will lead to the most rewarding results. Consumers are smarter than you think and don’t need to see content dripping with your branding to realise it’s the work of your brand. This approach will go a long way towards convincing people of your credibility.


6

LEGO Ideas –

LEGO is offering its devoted following another opportunity to get creative. LEGO Ideas is a community where members can design and submit their own concepts for new sets. Projects that receive over 10,000 votes from members will be reviewed and possibly picked by LEGO to be created and sold worldwide. The creator gets final product approval, a percentage of sales revenue and is recognised on all packaging and marketing material.

 

Spotify –

By its own admission, Spotify has a lot of amazing, undiscovered artists that “need a push into the spotlight.” To increase exposure and give unknown talent that all-important break, the music streaming service constantly seeks the opinions of its customers to promote exciting new acts. Most recently, subscribers were asked to recommend their favourite artists with less than 500 followers. This simple move demonstrates that Spotify is interested in making a worthwhile contribution to the music industry, going some way to combat the negative way music streaming services are portrayed in the press.

 

Manchester City FC –

Nothing says community like standing alongside thousands of other fans in support of your favourite team. Manchester City recognised this when it made the move to overhaul its desktop and mobile websites with co-creation in mind. With the help of focus groups, user tests, prototype designs, and surveys, it knew that supporters would appreciate a mobile first, video rich experience featuring trending and relevant content. The message for fans and followers of Manchester City is that the club has its best interest at heart, both on and off the pitch.