PR- Learn it, Live it, Love it!!

Friday, February 16, 2007

I've been published!

Check it out! I've been published! NanoMaterials07 puts the NorthEast in the Spotlight. Click here!

I have a job!!!!

That's right people, I am wonderful and have beat out a whole one other applicant to get a position in the fantastically named design company Fat Frog in Jesmond, Newcastle!

Given that our timetable for this semester is pathetic (a meer 8 hrs a week, only Wednesday and Thursday) and spurred on by how much i enjoyed my work placement, I decided it was probably time i got off my lazy student backside and got a job!

When I arrived, I was equally suprised, astonished and delighted to be given the title of Public Relations Officer, BRILLIANT! Basically, I am officially working one day per week but at the minute it is more like two to three days as we have a big project that we are working on.

I am loving the job! It's great experience and I am working with some lovely people. One girl in particular is really helpful and just a total sweetie.

Anyway, as my first task I am working on a project for a science orientated company! Which presents a massive challenge of, first of all understand what the hell a nano is and then explaining that to other people. I am also learning to adapt a scientific style of writing in my press releases. Very tricky but great experience!

Anyway, I only started last week so not much to report as yet but I will keep you posted. Don't forget to leave your comments!...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

What have I learnt about PR?

First of all, I am very sorry for leaving it so long to finish of my placement diary. The last time I updated it was on the third day of the placement which was the 20th December! But it was Christmas so I think I can get away with it.

The fourth and fifth days of my placement were much the same as the rest. Except on The fourth day, I was allowed to accompany the agency's MD and the DOT Account Manager to two meetings. One was a meeting to discuss upcoming campaigns for 2007 and the other was a brainstorming session for one campaign in particular.

It was definitely very useful to attend these meetings as I learnt lot about the process of developing campaigns, how to generate ideas and how to control meetings and direct them to work in your favor.

There were a few surprises to me throughout my placement. PR is generally what I expected however, there are some things that are very different to what we are told in our lectures.

Whether this is something that happens in a lot of agencies I'm not sure,but in IOM Advertising & PR Limited, a lot of their clients are continuing and therefore pitching is a rarity. Obviously, the agency has to lease with their clients on a regular basis and work with them very closely but I found that they rely on their clients as much as their clients rely on them.

Communication with a client is much more two way then I thought. Clients tend to have someone who deals with PR in some way as a contact for the agency, they therefore have more knowledge of the industry than I thought they would.

Although I knew there was a great deal of research reuqired to develop a campaign, I was suprised by the main source the agency used. Instead of internet, books, periodicals, newspapers etc. The agency used their client as their primary source of information. For example, talking to clients about their past campaigns, what has worked, what hasn't etc. This is something I would usually find from the internet but why? Surely it is better to talk to someone with first hand knowledge specific to that organisation. This is something we wouldn't get the chance to do when creating a hyperthetical campaign for a University project but is an extremely useful tool when you can use it!

As well as this, I was surprised just how much PR and Advertising overlap and how well they work together. Aspects of advertising and PR are great when used separately but when combined they work so much better. Things that you say about your organisation being backed up by what others say about you. When an agency deals with both of these elements, they can ensure that what is said in both of these areas are the same, this is great for credibility as there are no contradictions.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time at the agency and would like to thank everyone fore being so accommodating. I have come away from the experience with a much greater understanding of what the job is really like. I now plan to do more placements in other areas such as inhouse, in the public sector and charities. I look forward to all these experiences as I think working in all these areas will give me direction in what area I would like to work in as well as giving me invaluable experience that you cannot gain in a class room. No offense to any of my lecturers! :-)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Placement, Placement, Placement!

Well, day three, I sound like that Big Brother guy! Ha!

Anyway, back to serious. My third day has been pretty good. Although I have had some fairly tedious tasks to do they were quite therapeutic. I was asked to phone round all the publications on our database for forward feature lists for 2007. What on earth are forward feature lists I hear you say?!

Well, most publications make plans of what subjects their features will cover month by month for the whole year ahead! Obviously this can come in quite handy for an PR & advertising agency. For example, if a publication is doing a feature about life insurance, an agency may have a client involved in that field. They can contact the publication on behalf of their client and ask if they would like them to contribute, thus providing an opportunity for exposure. Good isn't it?!

Equally they could choose that issue to advertise in as it is complimentary to the feature.

Well, get me. I never thought I would being explaining forward features on my blog!

I have also been compiling a list of possible retailers to get on board with an upcoming campaign. That has also got my little brain ticking. It is so easy to miss out an essential contact and as I was very eager to impress, I was determined to think of everything. They seemed to be quite pleased and very grateful so I think I can say 'job done!'

The thing that has become most apparent to me today is that the little tedious jobs are often the most important. So perserverance is key!

Will somebody please leave some comments, nobody has yet, it's almost as if everyone's life doesn't centre around me! :(

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Am I still loving my placement?

Well. Today is my second day and given the week started off so well, I was kind of assuming that it could only get worse. Guess what, it hasn't!

Although today has been a little slower, I have still really enjoyed the tasks I have been given. I have been more involved in the advertising side of things. I was asked to come up with some slogans for an upcoming campaign.

Given that slogans and general creativity is not my strong suit, I was obviously a bit daunted by the task set. However, when I got started and was asking the staff that work here for their advice, I was quite suprised with what I found. Shock horror, people in the industry don't have all the answers either!

Although my ideas weren't exactly earth shattering, I did come up with one particularly good slogan that I am quite proud of. Obviously I cannot share this strictly confidential information on my blog!

I have learnt quite a lot today. Even if my slogans aren't going to rock anybodies world and probably won't get used in the final campaign, I have found out that I do have creativity and I do have lots of ideas. I just needed to do some research to inspire me. Something that I had never thought of before (as a second year student, I think I am quite brave to admit that!)

I have really enjoyed discovering my creative process. Researching previous campaigns and slogans as well as doing some word association really helped me to develop catchier oneliners than I have ever come up with before.

I also got a chance to look at some previous poster designs for campaigns for the same client. This was quite interesting as it helped me visualise how this new campaign would fit with the rest to create a continuous theme. I also had a discussion with one of the designers about possile visuals for the poster. This was a great experience as well, I have never done anything like that before! I really got a feel for the whole process and how things come together.

As you can tell, I am still chuffed with my placement and I am really enjoying finally putting all the theory I have had thrown at me over the last 18 months into practice. Anyway, please leave me some comments, I am keen to hear what you have to say.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Scary Placement!!

Yes ladies and gents, you've guessed it. I've ventured out into the big, bad world and I doing my first work placement at Isle of Man Advertsing in PR Limited. Can anyone guess where that is??

Now, I started my placement today and I can honestly say I love it! I have already written two press releases and the lovely lady at the agency says she really likes my writing style. Apparently I have a flair! Watch out now, my head is inflating!

I am very pleased with my choice of agency. The people are lovely and are doing all they can to make sure I get the most out of the placement, even if it is the week before Christmas!

It seems like I have a very exciting week ahead of me. Lucky me, is getting to sit in on a brainstorming session for one of the Islands biggest ever road safety campaigns with the IOM's elite in PR and advertising!

This agency is also a great choice as they are a PR and advertising agency which is giving me the opportunity to see how the two work together. As I was under the impression the two fields were completely separate, I was quite shocked to see how much they cross over.

I have already learnt a lot and it is only my first day! By the way, any PR students who hate writing press releases, fear not! They are much more interesting when you are writing them for real. Although the basic theory is the same, everything else is totally different. It is also a lot easier to write when you don't have a lecturer looking over your shoulder (no offense Phil and Chris, I think you're both great!).

Right, anyone who has already done a placement and would like to give me advice on how to get the best out of it, please leave me some comments. I am very interested in anything you have to say. Also, if you haven't done one and have any questions please leave them and I will try my best to find the answer during this placement.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Just what is a journalist anyway??

Those of you who take MAC250 will understand just how hard this question is to answer and how frustrating it is for Phil to chuck your ideas out the window just when you think you've cracked it!!

When we were talking about this in class on Friday, it really got my little brain ticking. with increasingly sophisticated technology and the rise of social media, how exactly do u distinguish between a journalist, a blogger and indeed a normal citizen?

Tony Harcup defines a journalist as someone who "informs society about itself and makes public that which otherwise would be kept private."(2005:2).

Under this defintion, surely bloggers would be considered journalists? Fair enough, not every blogger has the sole purpose to inform society about itself and make certain private information public, however, a lot of people do this in their blogs. For example, Jackie Danicki's recent post about her being attacked on the London underground would surely be considered as informing society about itself? And if it weren't for Jackie, nobody would have ever heard about this incident. Does this make her a journalist?

Citizen journalism is another complication to this definition. "Citizen's have been capturing videos of tornado's and other natural disasters for years and cable television caters to voyeurs with a variety of shows featuring citizen-captured police chases, embarrassing moments, and the like." (Gillmor 2004:35)

As well as these events, terroris attacks are usually filmed by the public and this footage is often what appears on the news. Situations like this are rapidly on the rise due to increasingly sophisticated technology. "As cameras become just one more thing we all carry everyday, everyone's becoming a photographer." (Gillmor 2004:34)

Mobile phones are also contributing to this. Phones without cameras virtually don't exist anymore meaning that if anything news worthy did happen, there isn't many people who wouldn't be in a position to capture it on film. For example, the man who recorded the London tude after the bomb on 7/7. This footage would never had been seen if it wasn't for his actions. Does this make him a journalist?

However, Harcup further complicates things by stating that a journalist is someone who get's paid to do these things. Although this takes bloggers out of the equation what about the citizen's who capture event on film and then sell the footage or pictures to TV stations and newspapers. Can someone really be considered a journalist just because they were in the right place at the right time? Or is it the intitive to film the event that makes them worthy of this title? or indeed is it just ridiculous to call someone in this situation a journalist?

See, it's really not very easy to define a journalist at all! Is a journalist just simply somebody who see things through the eyes of the public, writes their stories based on this and gets paid for it?

One final thought, when you think of 9/11, what images do you see in your head? Whatever they are, it is likely that this footage was captured by an average joe, a tourist maybe, if the footage was professional, would it have been different? If so, would it have been better? Maybe the answer to the 'what is a journalist?' brain teaser lies in this very question?

Anyway, I think i have given you plenty to comment on and I might even have the makings of an essay in this post (What do you think Phil?!).

Please leave as many comments as possible, it will help me with my essay for MAC250!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Welcome to my gleaming new blog!

Wow, it's been quite a journey getting here!

For those of you who don't know, creating a fabulous blog is a project for one of my second year modules. Thinking I would have lots to say about it, I started a blog about the University of Sunderland's dance society. Although it's fun to go to and and has lots of lovely members it was impossible to find interesting things to say!

Realising I wasn't going anywhere with the dance thing and becoming increasingly confused about what I could actually write about,

I turned to my tutor Philip Young in desperation. We (or should I say he!) thought it would be a good idea to write about PR work placements, because I will doing one in the first week of the christmas holidays.

I thought it was a great idea for a couple of posts (well done Phil!) but i have so much to say about all aspects of my course this year, that i have decided to be a bit more general.

Anyway, after we (Phil) decided that I should write about work placements, Phil then proceeded to drag me into his seminar with a group of big, scary third years and make me ask them about their experiences with work placements, and I have to say, I'm really glad he did!

As well as hearing some slightly amusing stories about people picking up novelty cheques at the bank and having to carry them through The Bridges and spending half an hour boiling the kettle to make lots of cups of tea, without realising there was a water boiler for that kind of thing, I feel altogether more prepared for more work placement.

All the students found their placements useful in some way, even if just to prove to them they didn't want to work in PR! Some even got jobs out of them! I have been told to make sure i ask for work and let them know I want to be involved right from the off. Not sure about this one, but apparantly if i "kiss lots of ass" i'll go far?!

I was also excited to learn that PR is actually exciting in practice!! Finally a chance to get stuck in! Apparantly it is best to work in a small team too?

Anyway, that's it for my first post, think I've said enough! Anyone who has any advice about how to get the best out of work placements, please let me know! I'd love to hear some comments about that kissing ass statement too.

Away you go...