Why does PR have such a bad rep?

Working in PR means you are responsible for a brands reputation, and yet the reputation of the very profession isn’t a positive example.

How can we justify maintaining a positive reputation for a client when we can’t create a positive image for ourselves.

PR’s need to get brainstorming and figure out how to turn this reputation of spin doctors around for good. Those people I’ve come into contact with either don’t know what PR is, or we get associated with the age old stereotypes. Great start!

I think PR has a bad reputation because not enough people see what’s going on. A lot of the work is being done behind the scenes for bigger names- it’s not our job to be in the media. We want to give the illusion that we aren’t even there. People don’t like not knowing what’s going on.

Let’s be honest, the only time your average Joe really hears about PR or a publicist or an agency is when something goes wrong. Yes we are the ones there to fix problems, but we also bear the brunt of the fallout when crisis management mode goes into overdrive.

PR is so much more than releasing a ‘We’re sorry, it won’t happen again’ statement for a client but unfortunately that’s what the public see.

They don’t see the creative conversations or understand that we can be genuinely passionate about a brand or product all they think is that we’re getting paid.

So until I wrap my head around why the reputation managers of the world have a bad reputation I will be quietly typing away behind the scenes trying to spread the joy of this creative career.

Advertisements

January update

It’s been one year since I started this blog!                                    Happy anniversary to me!

When I started this blog it lacked focus but I still feel it showed off some good writing but feedback I’ve been getting is that newer posts have been getting better and better. This makes my blog worthwhile, it doesn’t get the most views-I can’t see myself being the next famous blogger- but it has allowed me to personally grow as a writer.

This blog has become the stepping stone for my career and since starting it a lot has happened. Christmas has now been and gone and with the stress of deadlines and work over, the beginning of semester two marked my time to relax. But the relaxing didn’t last long and I’ve had a surprisingly productive January.

  • I’ve updated my LinkedIn profile and have been actively using it to grow my network.
  • I’m half way through my next PR book The PR Masterclass which is inspiring me to love media relations. And on the lookout for my next! Any and all suggestions welcome.
  • I’ve secured a three month PR internship with Rich Leigh and Company! (Probably my biggest achievement and I’ll keep you updated on how that goes)
  • Started research for my uni module, I’m doing a case study on Disney’s reputation management which is really interesting!(This is subject to change- the Disney part, not the interesting part)
  • I’ve been given module feedback from semester one. I’m so happy to say I got a First in my Journalism module which took a lot of blood, sweat and tears. I’m still waiting on a few results which I should get in the next few weeks.
  • I’ve secured some summer work experience with Bristol based agency Grayling. But still looking for some more and awaiting some callbacks!

And with all that said this week is a week off where I will be relaxing, decorating my new room and spending time with my family and boyfriend. But I’m sure I can get a few chapters of reading in on the train home!

I might start doing regular monthly updates about work, life and PR. I think it will be the best way to ensure I regularly blog, and hopefully I will have some new knowledge to share with everyone.

But for now you are officially updated on my January.

Did the end of the Printing Press mean an end for the Press Release?

When asked to think back on the past of Public Relations I struggled. But when I think to the past of the media as a whole I was able to apply PR to the evolutionary thread of what has happened to the media. A drastic change has occurred and in everyday life most people are reliant on the Internet. Now a news source, the world of PR has embraced the digital landscape with many more opportunities created for a changing landscape as PR as a whole.

We no longer live in a world dominated by newspapers. The printing press rose and fell as equally as quick. But let’s begin with print-The start of mass communication, what did this mean for someone working in PR? Newspapers were one of the first physical printed entity’s which could reach and influence the masses. As literacy rates rose PR’s tapped into this mode of communication and have been sold ever since. Media Relations have always been a main part of PR as this was found to be the most successful way of reaching a wide audience.

But what happens in a world where newspapers aren’t as permanent as we once thought. 82% of people get their news from laptops or desktops and 54% from mobiles according to research. (Christian, Mitchell and Rosenstiel, 2012) Now, with the Internet as a main medium for news the role of a PR was forced to adapt to this landscape, and is doing so successfully.

PR is proving that it has the ability to adapt based on countless Social Media successes. Many jobs now have ‘Social’ in their title suggesting a top down Media Relations approach is no longer as suitable compared to a community involved, social approach. With these changes we have seen PR’s search for screen space rather than column inches, that’s if they want to keep up with this fresh audience.

One argument is that PR is exactly the same but has just transitioned to another medium. For example in the beginning the press release successfully transitioned from newspaper to online because of easier techniques for reaching clients and journalists. Though with this ease came great expectations…

Journalists and influencers become dissatisfied with a quick few lines about a news story. Now the requirement for images, info-graphics and the next big creative idea which can be shared over the internet is the base line. That’s if you want to generate results with a press release.

With a much more dynamic system of networks has the press release been rendered redundant with the progression of the media? Kevin Allen found this not to be the case

‘Old-fashioned press releases are still the most-trusted form of brand communication, beating out blogs, CEO articles and ads.’ (Allen., 2014)

This would suggest the press release has merely shifted from a physical landscape to a digital one but all else is the same. Not according to some… Industry leader Stephen Waddington, recently posed several questions to those in the business.

‘IS 2015 the year when the press release ceased to be the primary output of a Public Relations team? #PRtalk’

Amongst the replies was one which I felt especially reflected the change in the media landscape @rebekahiliff  replied on Dec 15th;

’@wadds reality is different than ideal. I get 20 press release pitches a day. They are still the output, but NOT the outcome. #PRTalk’

twitter

This would suggest that a PR team might be reliant on archaic techniques that aren’t so successful. In many ways PR has successfully adapted to this online world with a higher focus on SEO, Big Data and viral marketing etc. The future of the press release is still a current issue in PR but we now have a multi directional flow of communication with the ‘many to many’ approach being favoured by most in internet communication. Say Goodbye to Media Relations and Hello to Influencer Relations.

Word Count: 645

References:

Allen, K. (2014). Studies: Digital media thriving, but press releases still most trusted. [online] Prdaily.com. Available at: http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/Studies_Digital_media_thriving_but_press_releases_16370.aspx [Accessed 27 Dec. 2015].

Christian, L., Mitchell, A. and Rosenstiel, T. (2012). » Mobile Devices and News Consumption: Some Good Signs for Journalism. [online] Stateofthemedia.org. Available at: http://www.stateofthemedia.org/2012/mobile-devices-and-news-consumption-some-good-signs-for-journalism/ [Accessed 13 Jan. 2016].

Iliff, R. (2015). #PRtalk – Twitter Search. [online] Twitter.com. Available at: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23PRtalk&src=typd&lang=en [Accessed 27 Dec. 2015].

Waddington, S. (2015). Search Twitter – #PRtalk. [online] Twitter.com. Available at: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23PRtalk&src=typd&lang=en [Accessed 27 Dec. 2015].

A social home for conversations and relationships.

Public Relations is all about conversations, generating conversations between communities and also a top down approach with company’s talking to the public. That’s what PR does, what the internet does is give these conversations a new environment. PR has thrived in this digital landscape particularly utilising Social Media as the home for their conversations.

A big problem people have in PR is that results based on persuasive techniques are hard to measure. But with the introduction of Social Media we can track conversations, see who’s talking to whom about what and use statistics as proof of a generated conversation. Something put into play in many PR firms with social media research being a popular job for Junior Account Managers.

E-books such as PR Stack offer an array of tools PR’s can use to improve their jobs. These are all online tools which might suggest a lot of things a PR does can now be done by computer software… However if we ignore the thought of a world taken over by computers we can conclude that technology has made life easier for those working in PR.

Because of the big audiences online PR has transitioned from a focus on Media Relations to Influencer Relations. As discussed earlier audiences are no longer reading newspapers, they’re accessing news on their phones. Social media allows businesses to get a message across using influencers to people who rarely know they’re reading about a brand. It opens up a larger audience to be exposed to earned media. An influencer is said to be someone with ‘more than a few thousand followers’ and these personalities are used to bridge the gap between this new audience, and would have been impossible without a digital platform.

PR mavens can use Twitter as their top down approach of spreading their message, and because everyone is online, if this content or message gets picked up by influencers it will become a topic within a community. Connecters can spread messages through word of mouth which is an extremely effective way of distributing viral marketing.

‘In a recent study, 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing.’ (Whitler., 2014)

LinkedIn is an effective networking site which encourages mutual friends with similar professional skills to connect and expand their networks efficiently. Although these are some great ways of building relationships it can be argued that nothing is better than face to face, hand written Thank You cards, Wining and Dining and Events are all still part of PR and media segmentation suggests that interpersonal techniques are the most effective.

‘Interpersonal communication builds stages to a relationship: investing time and energy, commitment, trust and comfort level.’(Johnson)

However a persons’ network might not grow at the rapid rate it has the potential to if it were not online which is why online is the best PR platform at this moment.

Twitter, Circloscope and LinkedIn all work between those working in PR too. As a student it’s the easiest way to attract the attention of industry leaders and engage in conversations with them. It only takes a few minutes to search through the Twitter of PR’s to see the high levels of interaction. Need help on something? You are no more than a # or @ away from other professionals answering you. This is a great benefit only opened up by the tools of online, it’s a lot easier than those little black books.

A big part of this digital change is monitoring and reacting to online conversations. Others can see your interaction, e.g. dealing with a complaint, and your reputation can grow in a positive direction.

Whether its PR to PR, PR to client, PR to influencer, customer to PR or even PR student to the Head of PR at any given company. The internet has opened up the opportunity for improved communication and better maintained relationships. With conversations being at the heart of PR, it’s essential to have all these resources just a click away.

Word Count: 667

References:

Johnson, K. () The importance of interpersonal communication in media relations.Chron [online]. [Accessed 13 January 2016].

Waddington, S. () Pr Stack [online]. : . [Accessed 29 December 2015].

Whitler, K. (2014) Why word of mouth marketing is the most important social media.Forbes [online]. [Accessed 13 January 2016].

Putting the public back in Public Relations.

In a world run by Penguin’s and Panda’s, brands are struggling more than ever to get people to their site. Restrictions, black techniques and paid advertising are making this digital world a hard one to navigate in the realm of PR. In its adaptation to the digital world PR has realised it’s a bottom up process- It’s dictated by what people want, when they want it and where they want it.

PR’s have realised one important thing which has set certain brands aside from the rest, people don’t care about your brand and people certainly don’t care about your brand message. So, give them something they do care about.  In the scary world of online the public (I’ll be generalising for a moment) are selfish, ephemeral and hard to please. With ten Google search pages (nine of which will go forever unexplored) they know what they’re looking for so Content Marketing is all about creating that interesting, relevant thing to grab their attention, be that an article, a competition or a viral video. This works especially well on Social Media, are your influencers more likely to share a link to your company satisfaction figures or will they follow the link to the ten cutest puppies instead?

motivation

(Prbullets.tumblr.com, 2015)

It’s all well and good if your PR team can get its head around this digital world. Okay yeah we’re online we’ve got a mailing list, an active Twitter and are successfully and easily tracking our results. But what brands are now finding is the key to success is a blog for the people based on human motivation. Like this one right here, a blog is a hub where a community can come together, often featured on a company’s main website.

Public Relations has had to survive in this content filled world and the only thing that survives? Good content. Googles algorithms make it impossible for people to cheat their way up the Google search ranks. If you want to drive traffic to your site regular, good content is the only way. To quote my lecturer, ‘Be Interesting.'(Bailey 2013: 215) That will get your business far and ensure success. And this digital world has given content a platform- a whole new hybrid of Journalism and PR and Marketing.

This rise of Content Marketing suggests ‘Content is King’(Dietrich., 2014, p.133)in any successful marketing campaign. Previously there was no media platform for brand content proving that Public Relations has adopted new techniques over the years. A problem of a digital world however is that there is too much out there, too many PR agencies, too much content. With the internet having so much out there each firm has to stand above the rest, which will be the real test of any brand.

This is something Red Bull does extremely well. People go to Red Bulls’ website not to put in a bulk order of the energy drink, but to read about motorsports and surfing. But hey, traffic is traffic. And returning traffic-to keep up to date with exciting Red Bull events- creates a community. Building a strong community is such a successful PR technique because this creates loyalty. And loyal customers spread their positive experience with the brand; free publicity.

But keeping your community happy and avoiding the brand hoppers takes time and a successfully managed communications team. Social Media is the platform for publicly keeping your community on your side. Monitoring online conversation about your brand allows you to steer it in a positive direction, helping to reinforce that positive image.

So we can say all day long that PR and the internet are a good combination, but what we need to admit to ourselves is that Social Media is King. It is the platform everyone is on which enables you to share; complaint settlements, brand stories, content marketing, press coverage and survey results to an extremely large online audience.

If used right Social Media and Content Marketing are two key tools in engaging your audience and keeping your brand on their good side. This is because it’s such an open forum, gone were the days where you would only deal with Journalists. Now, everyone’s watching. It isn’t a case of not wanting or not being able to adapt to online, it’s a requirement. Which Public Relations is doing very, very well.

Word count: 715

References:

Bailey, R (2013) Building a Personal Brand Online in Share This Too, Wiley

Dietrich, G. (2014) Spin Sucks. United States of America: Pearson Education, Inc.

Prbullets.tumblr.com, (2015). [online] Available at: http://prbullets.tumblr.com/ [Accessed 13 Jan. 2016].

Taking ‘SPIN SUCKS’ for a spin

Spin Sucks, by Gini Dietrich is a book about ‘Communication and Reputation Management in the Digital age’. Published in 2014, this book offers an up to date business strategy for those trying to improve their online presence while avoiding spin. But also serves the purpose of educating those wishing to start a career in Communications. It’s a ‘how to’ on creating and maintaining a successful business image.

The book is an adaptation from an already successful Blog of the same name, with a community of over 41,000, this book has reworked over 100 articles to form an archive of tips, stories and case studies on all things digital for a new audience.

Dietrich’s blog market’s itself as a ‘Professional Development for PR and Marketing Pros’ and there are countless articles covering everything from Content Marketing Strategy to building an online course. The blog lends itself to an audience of pros already in the business, however the book is written for anyone who wants to improve their knowledge of Online Reputation Management. There are rarely assumptions of knowledge and Dietrich successfully makes everything understandable without patronising her audience.

‘We’ve already talked a bit about internal linking. This is where you add links to another piece of content you’re creating.’(p,90)

A main argument Dietrich reaffirms throughout the text is the requirement for great content.  From creating content to reach the top Google search pages, to eliminating negative reviews, Content is King… ‘or at least Prince’ as Dietrich says(p,133). This argument successfully leads readers down the path of ‘white hat tactics’ the whole book has a theme of being transparent and honest in your work as there are no shortcuts. I’ve counted at least four times when Dietrich included the phrase ‘it’s a marathon not a sprint’ in regard to becoming a successful brand online.

To its core the book is about doing Communications and PR work in an ethical way and if you want to hear some techniques on how to avoid spin and the negative side of PR I suggest you pick up a copy.

‘But you can make sure the tactics your team are using are white hat. If you are creating good, valuable, high quality content. You can rest assured you’re doing things the right way.’(p,28)

There is a lot of repetition in this book. Although some issues are just reiterated many are partially dealt with in the first half of the book and sort of carried on in the second, always with a ‘(see chapter X for more)’. I found myself never quite knowing if I had the full explanation of a subject, such as the importance of Google+. In Chapter nine it refers readers back to ‘The Google Drama’ but there is no subsection for Google+, this left me unsure in parts. Do bear in mind that if you aren’t in the industry already, additional Google searches might be necessary.

The short chapters and image examples make this one an easy read. It offers advice and tips from this industry leader who obviously knows what she’s talking about- based on the countless examples of client successes she’s included in the book.

Having never read Dietrich’s blog prior to reading the book is no shortfall. Coming in completely new will give anyone a great base line of knowledge and provide all the tools for successfully communicating in this digital age- without the spin!

Word count: 563

Finding my feet: My reflection on my second year of study

I can honestly say that 2015 has been my first proper year as an adult. Even though I moved out in 2014 I spent most of my first year at University battling home sickness and questioning whether I was at the right University or studying the right degree.

Now at the tender age of 19- younger than a lot of my classmates- I have been forced into a world of bills and responsibilities now that I am a fully-fledged adult.

I have battled with hardships amongst friends, long term minor health struggles and of course financial issues in this past term alone. But I’ve got an overdraft, I’ve got medication and I’ve finally got an idea of where I’m heading…

The one thing which actually came into place this year was happening inside the classroom. With more of a focus on the things I wanted to study my degree become much more interesting to me. I finally feel like I know what talking about- and I finally understand what PR is!

My preferred working style is definitely a hands on one, this was helped by our practical experiments in Digital Communication Management and also through my work experience.

I was given the opportunity to work for a London based PR agency. Because of the fast paced nature and heavy work load a lecturer actually questioned whether I still wanted to work in PR after my first taste being in the Capital. I can’t lie, it scared me. I was questioning myself. Was I confident enough to work in PR? Do I have the skills yet? Am I wasting my time in a degree that wasn’t right for me? All of these questions running through my head after the fifth Journalist put the phone down as they told me ‘No, we don’t publish press releases.’

Something I have happily realised this year is that Public Relations isn’t all media relations. I got to work closely with the Social Media team and because of this understand how important research is in proving to your client that your methods are successful.

I finally wrapped my head around the definition of PR only to find out that was just the beginning. Being taught about Content Marketing and Advertising I suddenly realised what I want out of a career. I want creative freedom and the opportunity to be an organisational leader. This year I have tried various organisational roles and I’ve got to say leading and managing a team feels like where I belong- some people may say ‘bossy’ but I feel it’s what I do best.

My blog enables me to write freely about PR topics I am interested in and receiving recognition form #BestPRBlogs gives me the confidence to keep going. And when I reached 1,000 views I knew I must be doing something right, my blog is something I intend to keep running as long as possible.

I don’t think my job role post University will label me a PR Girl like my 15 year old self once hoped. Now my focus for possible work placements and internships is on Personal PR, within Advertising Agencies and within Communications teams. This broader spectrum should make me finally realise what I want to be now I’ve grown up, and this time in 12 months my personal reflection might be very different…

Word count: 551

Turning a negative into a positive.

Kylie Jenner has grown up in the spotlight. Her famous family and action filled reality show meant this 18 year old has had a slightly different upbringing to most.

Once in the shadow of her sisters, Kylie was recently forced to the forefront of the media herself after a controversy. The controversy of her lips.

Correct. This is modern day journalism.

kylie 1

Getty Image.

Naturally reports of the sixteen year old undergoing lip fillers/surgery reports filled the internet and the tabloids.

Kylie denied reports publicly, possibly in fear of the judgment she might receive. But eventually on the reality show Keeping up with the Kardashian’s she revealed she was getting lip fillers after struggling with self-esteem issues her whole life.

That’s ok right?

But you have to wonder why she continued to deny it so adamantly when the photo evidence was so strong…

The teen reality star was still met with negativity.

ky 2

Perez Hilton.

People were worried about her figure as a role model for young girls, what implications would her actions have on a young, impressionable fan base? But mainly what people didn’t like was Kylie’s publicly continued lie. (PR rule 1. Don’t lie. Ever. The truth will come out, won’t it Ky?)

So after the fad of the KylieJennerLipChallange, which left girls across the western word with bruised lips. The negativity of the subject of Kylie’s lips seemed like it would forever tarnish her image.

So how do you turn a negative association into a money making scheme (aren’t those Kardashians good at that, sex tape anyone?) let’s see how Kylie’s doing it.

IMG_2009

Lip kit by Kylie is Kylie’s way of turning negativity on it’s head and embracing the body part she is now famous for. The kit contains a lip liner and matte liquid lipstick to achieve those luscious lips at home.

So in six months when people Google ‘Kylie Jenner’s lips’ which we probably all will, we may find very different results. Kylie should have successfully replaced negative content with positive content. Shall we call this rule 2 of PR?

Another benefit for the youngest Kardashian/Jenner other than a rebranded reputation is of course a new business venture. At $29.00 per kit Kylie certainly has a lot more to smile about.

IMG_2010

 

 

@Becca_Bateson 2.0

How Twitter has turned from nonsense to networking.

When I joined Twitter in 2012 at first I wasn’t a fan but as my social group and myself made the transition from Facebook to Twitter I was soon overcome with excitement of possibilities it held.

And by possibilities I mean the opportunity to stalk celebs, stalk my friends but most importantly for me; post hilarious tweets to an audience of 80 followers. 5 retweets would have been an extreme accomplishment(it still is if I’m honest).

Looking back through ‘time hop’ I realize now that Twitter was maybe not the place for me posting pictures of cute cats or bombarding One Direction with requests for replying to my tweets. Oh how we live and learn.

This year has been a year of growth for myself and Twitter, I have uncovered the vast amount of business opportunities right from my smart phone.

Now I use Twitter to interact with those in the industry. I can use tools to create specific lists, I can use hash tags like #prstudent to connect with similar people and can self promote my blog to my now increased network of 300 followers. (Ok I’m still climbing the PR/Twitter ladder here)

So now my Twitter has to be more of a professional reflection rather than a collection of funny cat vines. *sigh* growing up isn’t quite how I pictured it…

who throz cheese

And here concludes my post with my first ever picture I uploaded… you guessed it.

Clue 4

Amongst us PR students we all tend to have one thing in common. We love to blog and attempt to do so regularly. As demonstrated by a previous blog you might have read by Abi Bunce. Ok so we might actually have many more things in common because if we don’t fall into similar criteria we might find our self in a bit of a pinch. Blogging isn’t as hard as you might think, there’s no code to crack it is simply an exploration of ones thoughts. Lets see what Chris has to blog about today.