Friday, 27 August 2010

Students and Grads: Finding Your Way In Social Networking

Social networking is a daily activity for most of us, but we sometimes forget that our actions online can very easily be traced back to us. Any websites that you have a profile with, any Tweets that you post, photographs that you upload and blogs that you comment on will usually be the first to appear in online searches...and you'd be naive to think that an employer isn't going to Google you when you apply to work for them.

If you are a student or graduate it is important to market yourself as you would a business online and create your own brand. You have core values, perhaps even a mission statement (what you want in your career) and it’s also worthwhile to continue the same avatar across several social media platforms. It’s not just enough to link up your social media channels, you must provide your online audience with continuity as well as an understanding of who you are and what you stand for.

Don't contradict yourself!

This is quite a challenge. As a student it is difficult to know what you want to achieve from the offset online and to add insult to injury it can be almost impossible to change your social media footprint once it’s there. One year you might be commenting on several blogs about how much you want to go into social media only to decide a year later that you are more interested in public affairs. Therefore it is imperative to be honest and inform your followers about changes you make to your direction and explain why.

I recommend creating an account with because if you comment on blogs, this website will already have your history. Using Disqus you can review all the comments that you have made and even delete some if you need to (It may not be able to delete your comment on a blog but it will at least change your comment to anonymous).

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

PR Industry Steps Up Crisis Communications Training

Crisis communications is an established PR discipline, but its invaluable importance is finally being recognised by businesses following numerous corporate blunders that have recently saturated the news and damaged the related companies indefinitely.

Businesses want their crisis communication insurance policies in place, now. Having watched the carefully built up reputations of Toyota and BP fall to pieces over the last year, thoughts have turned from building reputations to maintaining them, and the PR industry is responding to the business opportunity.

From October, the CIPR will be running a masters-level diploma in crisis communications at their London headquarters. According to PRWeek, the new course ‘will give PR practitioners the skills to respond to threats and challenges to corporate reputation’.

Ann Mealor, interim CEO, CIPR said:
"This is an exciting and timely new addition to our qualifications. It will build skills, knowledge and understanding, enabling people in PR to step up to the mark at times of crisis when a clear and authoritative response is required" (PRWeek)
A CIPR conference on ‘Reinventing crisis management in a wired world’ is also scheduled to take place on 23rd September. The clever PR agencies are taking note and stepping up training. Businesses don’t just want crisis communication teams; they want the best crisis communication teams available. It’s not as if BP didn’t have them, and look what happened there...

In my opinion, the most important aspect of crisis communications is to keep the brand and corporate values in mind at all times. So BP, if your values state that you care about the environment, don’t hold back the extent of a catastrophic oil spill until the last possible moment. Instead disclose it immediately and get all the help you can to clean it up.

And PR agencies, use the disaster stories to set yourselves apart and make sure you know where others went wrong.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Moving On From Community Publishing

I have been a community publisher for for over a year now. I have been writing several local news articles/features per week, promoting the website, attending town meetings and putting on events. I have built good relationships with local business owners, event organisers, community groups, sports clubs, and many local individuals both online and offline.

As of 31st August 2010 I will no longer be working for The Local People, and will be taken over by a new publisher. Her name is Margery and she is brilliant. I am confident that I'm leaving the local community in more than capable hands.

I have had such brilliant fun getting involved with my local area and discovered so many exciting things about Dorchester and the people who live here. When I applied for the job I had lived in Dorchester for 21 years, and thought I knew it inside out. I was so wrong! There is so much more going on than I realised and it is constantly changing and evolving.

Me at the Dorchesterpeople Live Band Night

I have thoroughly enjoyed the many discussions and debates that regularly take place on amongst residents, and it's clear that there are a lot of people who care about the town. I have particularly enjoyed many fierce debates about the West Dorset District Council development plans. Wow, I think everyone in town has a strong opinion on the subject!

I now have an advantage in embarking on my career in public relations because I understand the importance of local communities and realise that hyperlocal websites can provide the perfect platform for engaging with them...and encouraging them to engage with each other!

I have worked with some fantastic people over the last year and I feel I have been totally supported in my efforts so far, by The Local People and by other publishers too. I only hope I can find the same thing in my next place of work.

But employee or not, I will still be getting involved with and writing articles, uploading photos etc. I am hooked on community debates and local gossip so mark my words. You have not seen the last of my avatar Dorchester people.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Superdrug Proves Age Old Selling Tactics Still Work

I was in Superdrug the other day, as I tend to be every now and then, picking up some essentials. Nail file. Check. Shampoo. Check. Cotton wool pads. Check. But then something out of place caught my attention…

I noticed that a prominent sales stand was stacked high with bottles Optimum SWISS APPLE Overnight skin renewal serum on sale at £9.99. But that wasn’t what caught my eye (I am still quite young and not interested in looking younger when I still get asked for i.d). What I saw in the centre of these bottles was a recent newspaper cutting from the Daily Mail with the headline ‘£9.99 Elixir Of Youth’.

It wasn’t a neat cutting or even a photocopy and it was slightly wrinkled, but it was obvious that this article was placed there to sell the Optimum serum. After bombarding the nearest shop assistant with my questions, I found that the shop manager had taken it upon him/herself to try this tactic and that the serum has been flying off the shelves ever since. I had thought it was a bit tacky but I suppose the sales speak for themselves. It worked.

Aside from the bargain price of the serum and its’ prominent placement in the shop, this tactic proves the high value of public relations in helping consumers to make their choices. However I would suggest that in this case, the short amount of time between reading the article and making the buying decision is the main attributor to the high sales.

Friday, 20 August 2010

My Online Makeover

As I recently became a graduate and can no longer call myself a student, as you can see I decided it was time to swap my baby blue scribbly online visual identity for something more adult...ok a little bit more adult. I have changed both my blog and Twitter page to this pretty peach rose theme. I am rather girly and tend to wear peachy pink colours so I think it suits me. What do you think?