Category: Blog

To be frank, we’re f***ing done!

First things first, I am f***ing done with our region not shouting about its successes. Every national story we see covering our towns and cities, paints a picture of depression, desolation and of course no story would be complete without a photo of someone smoking a dole-up outside the job centre.

I have had ENOUGH.

This blog is part of our #BrutallyHonestPR series and seriously you need to sit up and listen.

We have flourishing businesses, we are employing apprentices and young people, we have amazing charity events that are changing lives and most of all we have a regional spirit that will never be broken, no matter how many football matches we lose.

I cannot tell you how many businesses I go into where during an hour meeting I’ll sit there and take down notes about staff numbers, new work they’ve got on, which are all of course important things, but then all of a sudden during the last five minutes I’ll finally manage to crack the self-enforced business enigma code and hear about the absolute gems.

A new contract for an international brand, training programmes where every member of staff up-skills every six months, you’ve raised thousands for charity, you’ve just patented new technology – WHY AREN’T YOU TELLING PEOPLE THIS?

If you can’t sit back and realise you’re doing something good, then what is the f***ing point?

Realise its good, take control over it, own it, celebrate it and tell people about it.

Don’t give me the modest bullsh*t. Believe me, if there’s one thing we can learn from our American cousins its confidence.

Don’t think this is a plug for our services either, yes we’d love to work with you (to do a bloody good job of course) but please for the good of the region, start telling people about the brilliant things you’re doing and believe me you will start seeing the benefits.

Staff morale, better recruitment prospects, businesses wanting to work with you because they can see all the great things you’re doing, it’s really not a trap.

Try it for a month, post it on your social media channels, tell a journalist, put it in a staff newsletter, send round an email round-up about how things are going, just bloody tell someone and if all of us do this, maybe the region will start being seen for what we really are.

When PR goes ‘wrong’

Within the last week, we’ve seen a number of PR campaigns with good intentions being criticised and panned due to ‘poor execution’. With so much at stake, how damaging can a poorly planned campaign really be on a brand? And is it worth it? Let’s take a #BrutallyHonestPR look.

On 31st May, cosmetics company LUSH launched it’s ‘spy cops’ campaign across social media, on its website and in store displays throughout the UK. The campaign highlights what they claim is an “ongoing undercover policing scandal, where officers have infiltrated the lives, homes and beds of activists”.

The campaign itself has split opinion down the middle with many people on social media, including ex-law enforcement officers, current Chief Police Officers and the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, claiming the campaign attacks hard working members of the police force with many labelling the campaign disgusting.

On the other hand, MPs, Lawyers, victims and even publications such as The Guardian have come out in support of the company with many signing a letter defending the company and its campaign.

One thing is for certain, the ‘spy cops’ campaign has worked in some respects by bringing the spying problem to the attention of the masses, but at what cost?

In the face of backlash, many LUSH stores have felt the need to step back from the campaign and remove ‘spy cops’ from their front windows but the overall stance of the company has been that the campaign was not intended to be an anti-police campaign and serves only to highlight the human rights breaches committed by some undercover police. Which has worked immeasurably.

The effect the campaign has had on the company’s reputation is too early to tell. However, the company has seen a lot of press since the introduction of the campaign both positive and negative, with many people boycotting the beauty product retailer or championing its stance. It’s hard to deny they haven’t achieved the goal of press coverage though.

Also, within the last week we have seen a campaign by worldwide financial company Mastercard that coincides with the upcoming 2018 World Cup.

Mastercard’s campaign entitled “Goals that Change Lives” states that for every goal world renowned footballers Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr score from now until March 2020, the company will donate 10,000 meals to impoverished children in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The campaign has led to journalists, broadcasters and PR professionals asking why, if the company can afford to give away the meals, they don’t just give them away instead of undertaking what has been classed as a horrible publicity stunt by many on social media?

Further criticisms have stated that the pressure on the players to score goals would be immense. With goalkeepers also feeling the weight of saving those goals. Ending in guilt for denying the meals.

This effectively means that players like Messi and Neymar would have an unfair advantage in the competition.

Mastercard has responded to the criticisms levelled at it by stating that the ‘Goals that Change Lives’ campaign is part of its overall commitment to deliver 100 million meals to poverty-stricken communities and have said it is proud to have the opportunity to ‘use our brand and our brand ambassadors to raise awareness of this important cause.’

But is it too little too late? Now that the damage is done for connecting multibillion pound companies, multimillionaire footballers and the pot luck feeding of starving children.

The question we should take away from such campaigns is that of what is ethical?

Although noble in theory, these campaigns if not properly executed, can have a massive effect on the reputations of businesses and even though the above-mentioned campaigns have succeeded in bringing to light and opening up dialogues about important issues, how does it really effect business?

Is the old saying ‘There’s no such thing as bad publicity’ still relevant and is press coverage worth it in the age of outrage?

Weighing up the pros and cons of both campaigns, if your company was in the position to do the same. Would you?

 

Guide: Why awards are brutally good PR

At the end of last week, the team from Publicity Seekers put on our glad rags for the annual Hartlepool Business Awards. 

 

Put together by the Hartlepool Business Forum, the yearly event is always a fantastic evening, bringing the business community of Hartlepool together and celebrating the abundance of successes from the past 12 months. 

 

A fancy dinner followed by a glittering award ceremony, of which I was invited on stage as the new Hartlepool MP Mike Hill’s glamourous assistant, the evening not only highlighted the best of the best but brought to my attention the number of great businesses that are based in the town. 

 

And this really got me thinking, thanks to these awards I am now aware of businesses which before I had no idea existed. 

 

Apart from potentially getting to take home a trophy and a certificate, there are so many benefits to entering awards, awards really are great PR. 

 

Entering awards is a great way to show that you mean business, and an even greater way to persuade potential customers that you’re as good as you say you are. 

 

Not only is it free marketing that will help improve your brand awareness, a shortlisting, nomination or a win, is a brilliant 3rd party endorsement for your business and a seal of approval for your products or services and a sign of quality for your customers. 

 

It’s also a great way of differentiating you from your competitors, automatically setting you one step higher in the eyes of your target customers. 

 

  • The entering 

 

It’s a mixed bag with awards, some are free to enter, some have fees attached, some require you to write submissions, and others you simply put yourself forward for or are nominated for by someone else. 

 

The Hartlepool Business Awards are free to enter but require entrants to write a submission, touching on a number of factors suggested by the judging panel. 

 

This is the first and often the biggest hurdle for entrants. ‘I don’t have the time to sit and write an submission for an award’ or ‘I’m not a great writer and struggle to fit all the points needed into a concise submission.’ 

 

Well that’s what we’re here for. At Publicity Seekers we will do the leg work for you. After a bit of background research in to your business and the award you are wanting to enter, we’ll sit with you for an hour or so, get all the information we need, and go away to put an award winning submission together. 

 

And I’m not just saying that, our submissions really are award winning. A number of clients return to us year after year asking us to write submissions for a variety of different awards, and our success rate of getting clients shortlisted is through the roof. 

 

Here’s just a couple of examples from this year…. 

 

Hart Biologicals walked away from the Made in North East Awards last October with not one but two wins. They were named Manufacturer of the Year (under £25m) and Exporter of the Year 

 

https://www.hartbio.co.uk/news/hart-biologicals-made-north-east-double-celebratio/ 

 

The team at Total Recycling Awards were crowned the winners of the Best Services Provider award at the Teesside heat of the North East Business Awards in March.  

 

http://www.totalrecyclingservices.co.uk/news/award 

 

J&B Recycling are gearing up for the National Recycling Awards in June, where they are shortlisted for the efficiency award, as well as the Independent Operator of the Year. 

 

http://www.jbrecycling.co.uk/news/view?id=125 

 

  • Getting shortlisted 

 

Getting shortlisted for an award brings with it a heap of benefits.  

It’s a fantastic opportunity to improve brand awareness and build the business or the business leader profile. 

 

Many awards are closely associated with a particular publication which will cover the shortlisting for its readers, and alongside this you have the opportunity to maximise PR exposure through your own platforms. Get a story up on the news section of your website, update social media, email signatures, and any other marketing materials with the finalist logo, and basically shout from the rooftops about your achievement in any way you can. 

 

  • The awards ceremony 

 

Getting shortlisted for an award often comes with a glittering award ceremony. The ceremonies themselves are a fantastic opportunity to recognise just how much the business has achieved with those who have made it possible, the team around you. Celebrating successes is great for team morale which we all know, in turns makes for happier more motivated employees. 

 

The awards may even be a great opportunity to woo potential clients. If you have space on your table you can invite them along for an evening of good food, good wine and all you best charm.  

They’ll walk away remembering your kindness and what a good night they had, and next time they’re looking for the services you offer, likelihood is that you’ll be the first business that springs to mind. 

 

But most importantly, attending an award ceremony is the opportunity to work the room. NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK.  

Get your business card as far and as wide as the room will allow. In my eyes there is no better way of building relationships than by attending networking events, and award ceremonies tend to be a lot bigger than your average mid-week networking breakfasts. 

 

  • WINNING! 

 

If you are fortunate enough to be crowned the winner of your category then that’s bloody brilliant!  

 

You’ve been banging on about how good the business is for ages now, but having that brilliance recognised by someone else, so much so that you’ve beaten other businesses to the top, is one of the greatest 3rd party endorsements you could ask for. 

 

Award wins increase credibility, and act as a sign of quality for potential customers. Winning awards can also strengthen the relationships you have with suppliers and differentiates you from your competitors. An all-round success really. 

 

Award winners are also likely to receive further coverage in the publication associated with the awards or in the local/regional news. 

 

Some may even run pull our supplements of all the winners, a fantastic way to raise your profile and get people talking about your business. 

 

 

 

We’re nearing the end of this year’s awards season, but come next year I urge you to consider what being named the winner of an award could do to boost your business. 

And as always, we’re here to help. Feel free to give us a bell, we’ll be happy to discuss options and offer any advice. 

 

I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the winners from this year’s Hartlepool Business Awards, particularly our clients Seymour Civil Engineering who took home the Investment in Training award, as well as being named the Overall Business of the Year. 

Publicity Seekers take Manchester and the PR Moment Awards

On April 26, the Publicity Seekers team attended the Northern PR Moment Awards at the Hilton in Manchester. If you want to find out exactly what happened, continue reading our brutally honest account of the night. I wish I could say it was a quiet and respectable evening, but as you read on you’ll realise nothing’s ever that easy when there’s wine on the table.

After a long drive from Hartlepool to Manchester in the back of our Managing Director’s car and after a number of wrong turns, we finally arrived at our destination with 30 minutes to get ready. A quick shower and a bottle of beer later I met with the rest of the team in the foyer of the Ibis. What? You didn’t think we were staying at the Hilton, did you?

After a team pep talk we booked our UBER and off we went. Pulling up to the Hilton was great. The extravagantly decorated hotel was beautiful, and we had our very own red carpet greeting us. Up we went up the spiral staircase and straight to the bar. It was my first time at the PR Moment awards and I wanted to make the most of that company card.

In attendance on the night were representatives from some of the biggest brands in the UK, including the in-house teams of Co-Op, University of Hull, and Northumbrian Water, between others. Just to be shortlisted amongst these companies was an honour to us all but we didn’t come for honour, we came to win.

After locating our table right next to the dance floor (pay attention because this makes an appearance later on in the night) we sat down and introduced ourselves to the brilliant guys from Cision and Weber Shandwick, who were sitting on our table before tucking in to what can only be described as some really good scran.

With the food out of the way it was time for a quick trip to the bar before the awards ceremony itself. There was only one award we were interested in though, and that was why we were here. Publicity Seekers had been shortlisted in the Best Low Budget Campaign for the #BeTheNext campaign we worked on with Hartlepool College of Further Education.

If you’re interested in the campaign you can find it across Twitter and Facebook under #BeTheNext.

 

Our new mate, Angie. Presenting one of the many awards on the night.

 

After what seemed like an eternity of categories, some of which were hosted by our new friends at Cision, we finally got to ours.

The competition in our category was tough with one of the largest lists of shortlisted companies on the night. It came to the presenter announcing the shortlisted names, some receiving lukewarm applause. However, thanks to our shameless networking and working the room, tables seemed to erupt when Publicity Seekers was announced.

Going up against companies such as Clarion, Digitaloft and Catapult PR, it turned out the night wasn’t ours to win. After shouts of fix from everyone in the room (me) we enjoyed the rest of the night.

After the ceremony was finished and everyone in the room had made good use of the wine on the table. The dance floor was officially opened. This was our chance to show off our moves and impress the big boys of the PR world.

Obviously, we were the first on the dance floor, grooving away to the Tina Turner classic, Proud Mary. Everyone was looking at us and I knew it was down to my incredible skills in mimicking our Tina.

After another trip to the bar to cool down after our dance off, we were introduced to the one and only ‘Voice of the Balls’, Alan Dedicoat, of National Lottery fame. Who we kindly asked to do a short video introduction for Publicity Seekers which you can find over on our Facebook and Twitter.

After rubbing shoulders with A list celebs, we met with Christian and Becky from W, a fellow North East Public Relations company who were attending the night. It was then we had our pictures taken looking ‘respectable’ by the great guys at Prospect PR.

 

What a beautiful bunch.

 

The rest of the night is sort of a blur of drinks and dancing in the centre of Manchester. Dressed in our tuxedos and ballgowns, we received a lot of looks from the students in the Northern Quarter, completed our work for the Hartlepool Tourism Board by inviting various Mancunians to the town and of course we ended the night at 4am with the obligatory pizza and bed. The true signs of a bloody good night.

Needless to say, we enjoyed our time in Manchester and although we didn’t win the award, we achieved what we set out to do. Have a great time as a team.

D Day looms as businesses prepare for GDPR

GDPR, the four dreaded letters that are ruining lives up and down the country.

And why is it such a life ruiner? Cause it’s a massive ball ache that’s why!

 

The development of the internet over the past 20 years has totally flipped the way we communicate on its head, and as the current Data Protection Act hasn’t been updated since 1998, pre-smart phones and social media, these new regulations have been a long time coming.

 

With D Day, or rather G-Day, a matter of weeks away (May 25), this week the Publicity Seekers team and I have dedicated our lives to getting our heads around this absolute minefield and continued finalising new processes and policies, both for ourselves and our clients.

 

I’m pleased to say that we’ve got all our affairs in order and are ready to welcome GDPR with open arms, but it’s still pretty worrying to hear SME’s say ‘we’ve still got ages to sort stuff out’ or ‘I don’t think it’s going to impact us much’.

 

SME’s are just as much in the firing line when it comes to GDPR as UK brand giants. If anything, the repercussions of a data breach will be even more disastrous.

 

So what’s the impact of GDPR from a PR perspective?

 

Well, apart from the truly horrific fines that businesses are at risk of receiving, SME’s out there, good luck coming up trumps with a cool £17m, on top of this, if you’re company is being inspected or suffers a data breach, it’s not going to do anything for your reputation.

 

After the 25th May we’ll be entering a new data era, where people will have much greater expectations on how their personal information is managed and much greater rights to ask for that information to be edited or deleted all together.

 

And it’s not just customers or clients we’re talking about here. Its employees, suppliers, partners, any company stakeholders basically. That’s a lot of people’s information to consider.

 

So what have I taken away from our week of GDPR?

 

Well the main thing I’ve taken away is that there’s a hell of a lot to take in. It’s safe to say that by 5pm on Tuesday afternoon, my brain probably resembled a pile of scrambled egg.

What is important to remember is that GDPR isn’t and should never be seen as a tick box exercise.

In order to be compliant with the new regulations there needs to be a major shift in process and most importantly attitude of everyone within a business.

 

If this means running training courses to get everyone up to speed, DO IT!

If this means running regular fresher courses in the next few months, DO IT!

If it means getting a professional in to audit your systems and set you an action plan, DO IT!

 

Yes, preparation is time consuming and an expense to your business, but I’m sure you’d much rather this smaller expense now, than face an unpayable fine later down the line.

Why video makes a great PR campaign

If you’re like me, you’ve dreamt of one day rubbing shoulders with the greats such as Hitchcock, Spielberg and Kubrick, and, if like me, you now find yourself in a career where you can stretch your creative legs, albeit in a less ‘Hollywood’ fashion, video production is the perfect option to both reach your company targets and get your creative juices flowing.

In my day-to-day job, I work with and combine many multimedia pieces in order to achieve our goals of spreading a client’s chosen message. More and more so I have realised the importance of using video to reach target audiences and I have seen first-hand the benefits that a well-produced piece of video content can have on a PR campaign.

The benefits seen, come down to the use of the correct type of content for the right audience. A short snappy video will work infinitely better for sites such as Facebook compared to websites such as YouTube, which is more accustomed to a longer video. YouTube places greater importance in what it calls ‘Watch Time’ and because of that longer videos tend to perform better as people nowadays are choosing to watch a particular content they have chosen or subscribe to.

Facebook and Twitter however, tend to prefer short videos (30secs- minute) with up to 85% of all Facebook videos being watched without the sound. These videos benefit from people scrolling through their feeds at work, or on the train. The length of video can have a massive impact on the way it performs.

So, what exactly are the benefits of video to a PR campaign? Videos are a form of passive entertainment, meaning unlike the written word, or in PR terms news releases, it takes zero to little effort for the user to consume the content. Meaning, it’s easier as a business to get your message across.

The use of video on a company website can also be highly beneficial. According to research by Visually, by displaying a well-crafted video on a company website, you can increase conversion rates by up to 85% with the website itself being 53% more likely to show up on search engine results pages.

Video is quickly becoming one of the largest forms of content on the internet with 72 hours being uploaded every minute to YouTube and over a billion users on the website. That’s around a third of all users on the internet consuming video content every day. It’s a really simple choice when you look at the stats.

By using video content to push out a company’s message, you’re ensuring that the message stays with your audience for longer. The Social Science Research Network states that 65% of people are classed as visual leaners meaning viewers remember 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text according to digital agency Insivia.

If you want to see a drastic change in the performance of your PR campaign, ad campaign or marketing campaign then video is the key tool to use. Here at Publicity Seekers we always recommend video content output in order to increase interaction over social media. A simple live video has worked wonders for us. By filming the day to day activities of your business you can increase shareability and engagement over social media and really target your chosen audience and drive them to your company.

So now that I’ve convinced you, here are my top five tips when producing video content:

  1. Short and Sweet
    Keep your videos under 60 seconds in length when posting to social media. This ensures you keep the audience’s attention and can be succinct with your messages.
  2. People Pleaser
    People listen to people. In order for a viewer to connect properly with your message, ensure people are the subject of every video you create.
  3. Mobilise
    Over half of video content is viewed on mobile with 90% of Twitter video views happening on a mobile device. Know where your audience will view your content and create it with that in mind.
  4. Music Maestro
    The use of music in your videos is incredibly important. A simple background track can completely change the tone of your video. Pick the right music for the message you’re trying to convey.
  5. Have Fun
    If you have fun filming then viewers will have fun viewing. Have a laugh and enjoy yourself but remember to keep an air of professionalism.

Happy New Year from Publicity Seekers

The new year is upon us, the festive period is over and for many returning to normality on these dark, cold January days can be just a bit miserable.

 

Returning to work on Wednesday for me was a smidge of a struggle, as despite the fact it had only been a 10 day break, the cobwebs had really started to set in and my brain seemed to be in the first stages of hibernation.

 

To get the creative juices flowing again and to get geared up to smash 2018, myself and my colleague Jonny were set a creative challenge.

 

With £100 in our pockets, we were challenged to spend our budget in the most creative way possible. The world was our oyster, and no idea was too silly. It just needed to be achievable in the 8 hours we had to work with.

 

With all that money burning a hole, I must admit I was a little stumped on what I could do at first. So, I stopped to think about what spending creatively really was. To me, creative spending was seeing just how far I could make the money go, and how many people it could have a positive impact on.

 

Imagine what an array of wonderful things that money could buy if I gave it away to others, and let them spend it on things that would make a positive difference to them? So, I decided to do just that, give the money away as a gift to wish a few lucky strangers a Happy New Year, and maybe even brighten up their afternoon a little.

 

I set out to work spreading my new year cheer, leaving envelopes containing a new year message and a £5 note at a number of different locations within Hartlepool.

 

Starting at the Fens, I worked my way across the town, making stops at Seaton Carew, The Town Centre, The Marina, The Headland, and ending up at Hartlepool Hospital.

 

There’s something lovely about the thought that that £5 may have made someone smile today, helping them to pay for their bus or their car parking, or paying for a coffee in town with a friend or for an ice cream by the beach with their kids.

 

I was intrigued to find out who those lucky strangers would be, so alongside the New Year message I asked readers to let Publicity Seekers know through social media, who they were and how they had decided to spend the £5.

 

On returning to the office it was really great to see a few posts had already appeared on Facebook from those who had spotted the envelopes. My fingers are crossed that more of the lucky finders will come forward through social media over the weekend and that we will be able to identify all 20 envelopes by Monday.

 

Let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and healthy 2018, from all the team here at Publicity Seekers.

 

 

Time for a creative challenge

Every year the Publicity Seekers team takes a day out to complete a certain creative challenge.

The challenge includes each individual on our team being given £100 to spend in any way they want. The only parameters we had were that it had to be creative, we had to be able to write a blog about it, and most importantly, we had to have fun.

As I was given the task I wracked my brain for the ideas for what I could do. Anything that was outside the box or zany. The usual things entered my head, like a bungee jump or sky dive. I even checked the days flight listings to see how far I could get on the money I was given.

While great ideas, I didn’t see the potential of why anyone would care that I managed to fly to Amsterdam and back. I wanted to find something that was important to the people of Hartlepool and the history of the town.

Then it hit me: ‘Why not the history of the town?’

I’d decided on putting together a time capsule of everything that makes Hartlepool great. Instantly, I thought of Cameron’s Brewery and its world renowned ruby red ale, Strongarm. I thought of the town’s seafaring history and the National Museum of the Royal Navy and I thought of the mighty Hartlepool United and of course, monkeys.

I started by visiting the brewery, and acquiring a bottle of the famous ruby red. I stopped to speak to some of the gentleman in the bar and asked them what they thought was the defining aspect of their town. One answer I received from a little elderly gentleman, missing some of his teeth, was ‘the women’.

After we all laughed, I told him I don’t think it would be possible (or legal) to put a woman in a time capsule and I went off to the maritime museum.

At the museum, I wanted to find a replica of the prominent 1800’s frigate the HMS Trincomalee which towers so proudly above the marina. Whilst there I was informed of the Heugh Battery in the Headland of the town and its significance in the First World War.

Unfortunately, the Battery was closed so I went to make my final stop on the journey, Victoria Park.

I purchased a home shirt from the brilliant little club shop on site at the stadium and a teddybear with the old Hartlepool United logo on it. Although, no matter how much I pleaded with the assistant in the store he wouldn’t take me to see Hangus.

So, there you have it! So far, our time capsule contains things from three of the most prominent historical places throughout the town. However, that’s not the end. We want to hear from people about the sentimental things they think should be included.

If you would like to take part in our time capsule challenge then please contact me either by email at jsaunders@publicityseekers.co.uk or by phone at 01429 874555.

The thoughts of a new graduate – “Businesses need to give students that all important first push”

It’s been an eventful year full of stress, panic, and more than a few mini breakdowns, but last week I donned my gown and mortar board and strutted across the stage at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light to graduate with a distinction from my MA in Public Relations.

Sitting here now in the Publicity Seekers office, living the career that I’ve worked so hard to achieve, reminds me just how far I’ve come in a relatively short amount of time, and just how crucial it was that somebody, somewhere, gave me a shot.

I first contacted Publicity Seekers in January 2017, kicking off my new year’s resolution to make this Master’s degree happen by gaining some relevant work experience.

The course at Sunderland University was brilliant, and the modules and lecturers were great, but it didn’t give me the industry experience that I needed to stand out from other graduates.

On paper I didn’t have a great deal to offer. I had no relevant experience in a communications role, where as many of my co-students had journalism or PR backgrounds. Yet the team at Publicity Seekers gave me a chance and invited me to come in to the office one day a week.

I cannot lie, I was nervous. I felt like a lot was resting on it and I was terrified that I was going to mess it up. Yet the team were more than understanding and patient, and in time I was given the opportunity to show what I could do, something that I would never have been able to do in a half an hour interview situation.

I think that’s the thing, many graduates don’t have the experience to secure their first role in their chosen field and it soon turns in to a nasty cycle. You can’t get a job because you don’t have any experience in the field and you can’t get any experience because you don’t have a job in the field.

Especially in a result based industry like PR, how could I ever expect an employer to hire me when I couldn’t show that I could achieve the results they needed?

It’s tough, and that’s where companies need to step in and offer their support. Lots of businesses do have the time and the resources to give a graduate that first step on to the ladder, it’s just a case of giving them a chance and letting them prove what they’re capable of.

During my time on work experience I was put out of my comfort zone, but thanks to that I developed skills that my fellow students might not have had, and my confidence went through the roof.

My advice to a business owner or managing director would be to make connections with local colleges and universities and to be proactive in working with students before they graduate.

By investing in a student, inviting them to come work with you on a part time basis, you’re moulding them to be a great fit for a role in your industry. You’re creating a candidate who will fit perfectly in to your business.

I’m talking a lot here about businesses investing in students at a higher level, but in reality I think it needs to start much earlier on. I went to university straight from finishing my A Levels, to study Sociology for no other reason than it was a subject that I was quite good at.

If somebody had exposed me to a career in the creative industry while I was at College, or even when I was at secondary school, I’m sure my decisions for university would have been very different and I would most likely be a lot further on in this industry than I am.

If businesses in the North East want to thrive and grow, I strongly believe that they need to be setting aside more time to engage with the next generation, their future workforce. Demonstrate to them what a career in that sector looks like, show them what life could look like for them once they’ve finished studying, inspire them to work hard, and make them want to work for you.

On a final note, I want to say a huge thank you to Publicity Seekers and all their clients, for giving me a chance, being patient, and giving me a job that I love getting up for in the morning. What more could anyone ask for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is the media doing enough to tell the stories of the #unreported and unheard?

Trust in the mainstream media is at an all-time low. According to recent research, the number of people who said they trusted news outlets has fallen, from 33% in 2015 to just 24% this year.

I’m sure there are multiple reasons why this is the case but a stand out point made by those surveyed was that they just don’t feel that their outlooks and experiences are reflected in what they read in the newspaper, hear in the radio bulletins, see on the television broadcasts, or click on the news websites.

And why is this? Quite simply because many of them still think of journalists in a very traditional way. White, middle aged, middle class men. Sadly, this stereotype is actually quite accurate, and I think it’s more than fair to say from the survey findings, that all news outlets would benefit from a more diversity editorial team, authentically telling the stories of those who aren’t white, middle aged, middle class or male.

Wednesday’s Civic Journalism Lab event, hosted at BBC Newcastle, was an opportunity to explore what the media industry needs to do to change the ways things are in regard to diversity in order to try and win back the trust of the general public

Ran in partnership with Newcastle University, the audience around me was predominantly made up of university students. As much as it felt like I was back in a university lecture room, it was brilliant to see so many young people in attendance. After all, the millennial generation, of which I would include myself, has one of the highest distrust percentages when it comes to the media, often feeling disengaged from what’s going on in the world around us.

The discussion was held by four guest speakers, all of whom are actively working to encourage diversity within their outlets, in order to support the voices of those who are often unreported on by the media and write from a perspective that audiences can relate to and trust.

These were, Michael Segalov, the News Editor for Huck Magazine, Helen Amess, Outreach Manager for BBC North, Joshi Hermann, Editor-In-Chief for The Tab, and Jamie Clifton, UK Editor for The Vice.

Michael spoke about how Huck Magazine looks for ways in which they can bring alternative perspectives and fresh voices to the conversations had around major news stories.

These opinion pieces will come from young writers from a diverse range of backgrounds, who the magazine call on to ask ‘how do you see this story?’ By creating content that mixes the factual information in with the opinions and experiences of the writer, you are creating something that the audience can engage with and maybe even relate to.

Helen highlighted that the BBC feels it has a real responsibility to engage with the audiences who pay their license fee but perhaps never see themselves reflected on the television, never hear themselves on the radio, ad would never see themselves on the BBC’s social media platforms or website.

She pointed out the opportunity that news outlets have to engage with diverse audiences online but admitted that there’s is almost a skills gap when it comes to older journalists working effectively on social media. In order to reach audiences who don’t engage with traditional forms of media, journalists need to place equal importance on social channels, producing content that is designed specifically for online, not a rehash of what appeared on the TV or radio bulletins.

Joshi Hermann, Editor-in-Chief of The Tab, suggested that because the magazine has a good understanding of its reader’s interests, cultural references and educational backgrounds than most publications, they can tailor editorial for them. Page views online don’t necessarily indicate what people care about, the best way to find that out is to get out there and ask. To attract the attention, and most importantly the trust of readers, variety is essential, and content should be diverse in order to appeal to a diverse audience.

So what does all this mean for when the team at Publicity Seekers are storytelling for our clients? At Publicity Seekers we always say that people buy from people and in some cases it may be the stories, opinions and experiences of the staff members that customers will relate to and engage with.

There’s so much of the same news out there but a different opinion piece from a team member may provide an alternative perspective, which will shine the story in a completely different light and make it unique and attractive to the publications that we target.

Make sure to look out for our client stories in our media centre.