Journalism

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Leeds Paid Work Placement – Magazine Editor

We are delighted to announce that we are offering a new paid placement role, for Leeds students, as our voluntary magazine Student Wire is recruiting a new student editor for the next twelve months.

Want to stand out from your peers? Student Wire is the perfect way to do so. With editor of one of the most successful student magazines around under your belt, you’ll be irresistible to future employers. Fantastic for your portfolio you’ll have experience to spare and won’t struggle to impress during interviews for placement etc. student wire

In its fourth year – written for students, by students, Student Wire is a unique online magazine providing lively, relevant and credible news and features about the ups and downs of student life.

• More than 80,000 page views in the last 12 months
• 78,000 unique visitors in the last 12 months (and growing every month)
• More than 700 articles published

We are looking for a motivated, creative PR or journalism student who is currently in their first year and who will be able to make Student Wire their own. You will be required to spend at least one day a week at Prohibition’s offices in Leeds where the work will take place.

To apply for this role please email your CV and covering letter to studentwire@prohibitionpr.co.uk

Good Luck

A Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing

Content marketing is a fairly new concept, and although many may see it simply as online journalism, the reality is that content marketing is a key tool in drawing in an audience and increasing the visibility of a client. If you have clients whose products aren’t of genuine interest to you then producing engaging, interesting copy can prove to be difficult. Here at Prohibition, we produce web content for a wide range of products and services, and know just how much work goes into perfecting a content marketing system and becoming experts on multiple subject matters. If you’re struggling with where to start on those tricky pieces of content, then check out our guide as to best practice.

Know the audience and know the market
If you’re going to write convincing content as part of your strategy then you need impart authoritativeness on your readers. No matter what subject matter you’re writing an article on, there will already be a market out there you’ll need to compete against. Before you start writing, check the existing market to see what is already readily available. Audience views and engagement are vital aspects of content marketing, so take a look at the style of writing that is already proving successful. Take these styles and tweak them to come up with original content, as you don’t want to produce overly similar articles to what is already on the web.

Google predictions
You could produce the highest quality content is of genuine interest to people, however if you don’t make your article Google friendly then the chances are no one will find it. Even if you thoroughly research your market and audience before then producing an immaculately written piece of content, you’ve only fought half the battle. As a basic start, head to Google and type in the keywords of your article. Take note of the Google search bar, as it tries to predict what you’re writing. Often, when people search for topics they will pick the most relevant predicted search, meaning that the suggestions are topics that are searched frequently. By including popular words in your article titles then you increase the search-ability of your work.

Google AdWords
Whilst the use of the above mentioned Google predictions is a basic tool, the most effective way to target an article to your audience is through the use of Google AdWords. A free tool, AdWords allows you to inter the key themes of your article, which then gives results around the most popular search terms on the subject, along with the most associated phrases. The function also provides information on how expensive advertising is for each search, with higher priced searches driving most traffic. Incorporate this knowledge into your title and article headings to take the Google ranking of your article to the next level.

Quality or quantity?
This is an important question when it comes to content marketing, and one that you need to strike the right balance with. It’s always the case that any content you write should be of a high quality, however sometimes the rigorous research and attention to detail with certain articles limits your overall output. If you’re building a content marketing strategy on behalf of a client completely from scratch, then you need to begin the process with a focus on quantity. It’s tough to strike a balance, especially when you still need to do initial research into the existing market and your potential audience, however it will be important initially to churn out well written articles with relative frequency. Through providing a reasonable flow of content you will begin to generate an audience. As time goes by, we’d advise you rein in the quantity and focus on exclusive high quality pieces, which readers won’t find anywhere else on the web, meaning they’ll keep returning to read your work.

Focus on your subject
If you write exclusively about a narrow topic, they you will be aware that there’s only so much you can write articles on before you begin to run out of ideas and start regurgitating old content. At some point, you’ll probably be forced into expanding into other topics, however you’ll need to make sure they remain relevant to your product and your audience. In order to do this, you’ll need to ‘cast a wider net’, and connect with new people on social media to make sure your diversified content doesn’t go to waste.

Will people come back?
If you follow these steps, then you’ll begin to generate a real following. Your content will be out there on the web, searchable on Google, in high quantities and of high quality. We’ve found this to be a recipe for success when it comes content marketing, with our own strategy over at First Home News being a case in point. Even the best writer will admit that the longer you work on a piece, the higher the quality will be, so build towards this. Establishing a high amount of content to begin is important so that your audience don’t stumble across your page with a bare, unprofessional look. Building up an archive of articles quickly makes you look more authoritative, so is an important first step. Importantly, you don’t want to be shamelessly plugging your client within your content. The aim of a content marketing strategy is to provide content of genuine interest to potential customers without alienating them.

 

Do you have any top tips for content marketing, or have we missed anything off that you’d advise? If so, drop us a comment in the box below.

 

Photo Credit: Ѕolo via Compfight cc

Prohibition commits to grass-root journalism, through launch of online student magazine

Student-Wire-Cooking-Disaster-Image(08-13)
We like to give something back to the industry here at Prohibition. And rather than the usual vague promises of doing  something meaningful, we decided to do something that really had the potential to really make an impact.

So, we decided to create a voluntary online student magazine, written and edited entirely by students, with the aim of it becoming an outlet for students to secure work experience in digital journalism.

Well, two years on and Student Wire is now seriously successful and has taken off beyond our wildest expectations. There are currently 78 writers and 50,000 readers across the UK and it’s in the enviable position of being the third largest student magazine in the country.

Our editor now works two days a week from the Prohibition offices, and income from advertising and sponsored posts pays our overheads. Throughout this time, we’ve kept it true to its original aim; a magazine for students, by students.

This is all great for Prohibition too, and we are able to take the deep insight gained from 50,000 young people, to advise our clients on all aspects of youth marketing, from holding focus groups, to testing new products, and conducting market research.

Top Tips for a successful Work Experience in Public Relations.

Don’t be afraid the agency is not as scary as the name may seem, except Chris Norton, watch out for him!

I had no idea, clue, understanding, gist or hint about Public Relations, the term I like to use for myself in a situation like this is ‘I am a blank canvas’ meaning I have no knowledge but I’m ready to learn and ready to work, so throw all the paint you can on me.  Working for 3 months at Prohibition PR, I can now officially say I have knowledge and understanding about Public Relations and its relative Social Media. So here is an abundance of tips that I have learnt from working at Prohibition PR;

First and foremost to succeed in PR you need to have excellent written and verbal communication skills, practice of these abilities can lead to someone having journalistic and negotiation skills, all of which are the bases or foundation of an industry, they are not just needed in Public Relations and Social Media but business and employment in general.

Ask questions, we are all taught from a very young age to put our hand up to ask a question but for some reason we get to an age (which I think is around high school), where we feel as though it’s not necessary or it’s not ‘cool’ to ask a question, however when we do reach adulthood that confidence of asking a question isn’t there, but if you want an answer, ask a question. In Public Relations, working as an intern, to really understand the business you need to be able to confidently ask questions.

‘Be on your toes’ some would say. PR is a business where people need to be quick thinking, they need to have the ability to produce ideas and generate these ideas at a fast pace because the industry is fast-moving, the industry isn’t for the swift. Public Relations is competitive, savvy thinking and catchy titles with the aim to have top link on a search engine such as; Google gains more exposure, this results in an increase in recognition and profit for a client and the PR agency.

Thoroughly do your homework, before you even step into a Public Relations firm, buy this book, The Social Media Handbook for PR and this will get you ahead of the game and ahead of second year university students studying PR. Get a real understanding of Public Relations before even applying to work in a PR firm.

Understand the importance of clients in PR. Clients is what drives a Public Relations agency as a business in general, PR is the state of a relationship between the public and a company other organisation or famous person. Clients are the core of PR, the importance of brands or clients is as important as the strings on a guitar for a guitarist; an arms-length relationship with a client is not going to harvest effective long-term results and draw other clients to the agency.

‘The power of social media’. In this day and age Social Media and Public Relations go hand in hand. As a young adult living in 2013, I know how important Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are to the young generation however it wasn’t until I started working at Prohibition PR that I understood the engagement between PR and Social Media and how this relationship best serves brands and clients. I learnt that Social Media is a powerful tool, not only for PR but for many industries in general, one being the music industry, working at Prohibition PR I created a blog post about the effects that Social Media has on the Music Industry, which ended up being posted on the official CIPR website (15 minutes of fame), from this I discovered the effects, the pros and the cons of Social Media on the music industry and the mass integration of economic, business, social and political industries on social media.

Grasp the technique of how to write a good blog post. Understand the language and distinguish between the types of languages such as; reporting like a journalist and advertising like an advertiser.  Develop or have a good eye for a story and understand the nature of the PR agency you’re working for and what stories are best suited to them, once this is understand learn to develop the ability to craft content, and write in a way that brands, future clients or the public might be attracted to.

One thing I learnt overall from the work experience that I have done over the years and was reinforced by Prohibition PR was that you should take correction and because it leads to direction, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes as an intern or on work experience, see it as a trial run and a place where making mistakes is allowed because no business or agency would take anyone on if making mistakes wasn’t allowed. I had no idea about Public Relations or this sector of media, so Prohibition PR but a foot in the door and allowed me to hop on the train of PR and develop an understanding. I decided to voluntarily work for Prohibition PR because there’s an abundance of knowledge to gain, and I understood or understand how valuable work experience is not only for me and the agency but for applying to university. Working at Prohibition PR on my gap year possibly gave me a hand up or put me at an advantage when I applied to universities, because universities see work experience as vital attribute to a student. It may have been pot luck that Prohibition PR took me on even though I had no experience in PR; however I took the bull by its horn, and just dived in with the attitude to learn and the interest in the business which employers in general want to see.

Voluntary work experience in PR builds character and confidence due to the office type of language and banter, its preparation for the big adult workplace. I will now see how working in the workplace and working at university will be two very different things. ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’, I did not know anyone in Public Relations, so to what extent or what industry is this quote true? Create a catchy CV and covering letter that thoroughly and sincerely shows off your personality, experiences and skills which also reinforces your ability and interest in PR and social media because this may catch the eye of an employer. I also Google mapped all the PR agencies in Leeds to see how long my journey will be to each agency.

Quick Tips for Working at Prohibition PR

  1. Be prepared to bring a laptop.
  2. Get involved in the office language and friendly banter.
  3. Be prepared to make tea and coffee, however after an embarrassing cup of coffee that I personally made I never had to make one again.
  4. Understand that hard-work is at the centre of this agency and they consider the relationship between them and the client to be very valuable.
  5. Come with the attitude that Prohibition is a great place to work because it
  6. Understand that working for this agency does not just gain an excellent reference but in my experience it gains friendship.Always bring a great lunch, they admire that.

Overall my verdict on work experience is, gain as much as you can. A months work experience is better than 2 weeks’ worth of work experience because you get a real understanding of the business you are working for and the working environment in general.

Is the role of the traditional journalist dead? The new Guardian App asks the public “Do you have a story or a tip-off for us?”

From the past two years I have spent studying PR, I have noticed more than ever the increase of organisations using online platforms to do their jobs and speak with their friends.

The development of new technology has meant that we can practically do anything with an iPhone or Android mobile. Mobile network EE has brought us 4G and, if you are not aware, 4G is now five times faster than 3G, which means you can tweet or watch movies from practically anywhere if you want to.

Now, going hand-in-hand with the development of 4G by EE, I have noticed that The Guardian has started the new era in terms of journalism – ‘crowd sourcing’. By downloading the GuardianWitness app on your smartphone, you can now be given the role of a freelance journalist. With your account, you have the chance to contribute to live news stories and browse through other GuardianWitness users uploads. guardian app

Of course, there is a team working behind it, content is moderated before it is uploaded, which makes the platform more exclusive and perhaps a little more credible. The best stories are then selected and submitted onto the Guardian News website.

By creating “Assignments” listed on the app, it lets the user choose the subject they may be interested in and upload a picture or video, and a suitable caption. All of the assignments are focused on varied subjects; the most controversial and hard hitting at the moment has got to be “The cuts get personal” which features one or the users change jar, with the caption “Once offered to charity, now to make ends meet, the change jar is emptied to pay for groceries.”

Finally, we are on to the “Send us a story section”, which asks “Do you have a story or a tip-off for us?” The publication’s intention for this app has now become questionable. Is this just an easy option to getting to the story first? Or is it just an online community for budding journalists to share their experiences and hopefully see their name on its website? In my opinion, it is a bit of both and personally I can’t wait to upload a picture which suits to a subject I find interesting.

Since the launch in mid-April, GuardianWitness accounts are growing rapidly. Overall, it is a great new way to interact with news and growing media sources to find out what’s happening fast in a visual way.

This was a guest post from Holly Guest.

The Daily Mail is officially the newspaper with the most shares on Pinterest

You may remember not so long ago I wrote a blog post on how to make the most of Pinterest, listing some top tips and highlighting how Pinterest can be a great tool – not only for social sharing, but for business too.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that most major publications have jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon, with over half of the UK’s national newspapers found to have at least one official Pinterest page.

Interestingly , a new study which has been sent to us by Searchmetrics has revealed that the Daily Mail and The Telegraph get the most online shares on Pinterest – yet the Guardian has the most Pinterest followers.

The study showed that pages from the dailymail.co.uk are the most popular to be shared on Pinterest, with a massive 1,963,999 re-pins. This doesn’t really surprise me too much – the Mail online has a huge readership having recently taken over the New York Times to become the worlds most visited newspaper website. The Daily Mail Pinterest page also generates the most pins per week (163,574) amongst the national newspapers, so there is obviously going to be more content and opportunities there to get its pins shared. The Telegraph follows behind with (42,476) pins per week.

What did surprise me is that, despite the fact the Guardian has less shares and generates fewer pins each week, it still has more followers on Pinterest than both The Daily Mail and The Telegraph. In fact, the Guardian somehow seems to dominate the social world, having almost four times the amount of Twitter followers than the Daily Mail and The Telegraph, despite the fact that it distributes the least amount of content.

What also came as a surprise was the content of the re-pins. I would have expected the most pinned page to be perhaps something to do with Government or the Olympics. In fact, it was a feature by the Guardian on how to make a baby’s swaddle blanket! The feature got a massive 53,638 re-pins, which was closely followed by articles on The Daily Mail on the teal dress the Duchess of Cambridge wore at the London Olympic Gala concert and a feature on how to get thin thighs in 30 days!

The results from the study can be found in the table below:

 

Newspaper site Pinterest page      Followers Total pins Average Pins per week
1) Dailymail.co.uk https://pinterest.com/dailymail/ 322 1,963,999 163,574
2) Telegraph.co.uk https://pinterest.com/telegraphsport/ 1,502 429,137 42,476
3) Guardian.co.uk https://pinterest.com/theguardian/ 2258 329,720 32,174
4) TheSun.co.uk Not found n/a 62,908 5,659
5) Mirror.co.uk https://pinterest.com/mirror3am/ 114 28,027 2,198
6) Independent.co.uk https://pinterest.com/theindynews/ 829 16,588 1,668
7) TheTimes.co.uk https://pinterest.com/tolsport/ 18 2,204 286
8) FT.com https://pinterest.com/financialtimes/ 309 1,288 115
9) DailyRecord.co.uk Not found n/a 632 46
10) Scotsman.com Not found n/a 313 38
11) Express.co.uk https://pinterest.com/dailyexpress/ 36 214 25
12) HeraldScotland.com Not found n/a 55 4
13) DailyStar.co.uk Not found n/a 4 1

 

Which figure would you prefer to be higher? Followers or re-pins? Let me know…

Euros Cost Sees Fans Stay Away

Every two years another major tournament rolls around and England fans are normally dusting their shorts and St. George’s flags off before travelling on mass and taking over several cities (except for 2008 thanks to the Wally with the brolly). This year it’s different. It’s is believed that England have brought numbers in the low thousands to the tournament, which seems odd considering how many followed them to South Africa in 2010, with around 25,000 fans travelling, and to Japan and Korea on 2002.

England Supporters Flag

Thanks to Ell Brown for allowing us to use her picture

 

One of the main concerns for fans is the cost. Given the current financial climate it’s difficult to justify such luxury spending, especially when many will have a family who will want to go on holiday as well. As soon as the hosts are chosen, the cost of hotel rooms and flights nearly quadruple as they know they will sell. Unfortunately for most men they will have the voice of reason telling them to go to Marbella instead.

After being awarded the Championships, the Ukraine government believed that over one million football fans would enter the country in June. However, the State Boarder Guard Service has said that only 37,000 fans have entered the country since the start of the tournament. England’s opener against France was attended by 47,400 fans, but it is reported that only 2,800 England fans attended and only 550 from France.

Cost isn’t the only issue. Racism is a problem in Poland and Ukraine and it has already been witnessed by a number of teams. Maverick Mario Balotelli has even threatened to walk off the pitch if he is racially abused and UEFA have said very little to help deal with the problem.

Violence is also a concern. Although the England fans are often accused of being hooligans, it is worried that with elements of the former Soviet Union coming together with Russia, there will be trouble. There have already been fights between Russian and Polish fans in Poland which started when around five thousand Russian fans marched to Poniatowski Bridge in the capital to mark Russia Day. After suffering under the rule of Russia during the Cold War many fans took this as a form of provocation and over 183 arrests were made.

Ukraine has suffered from a lack of pro-active PR activity. Since they were awarded the Championships in 2007 there has been very little coming out of Ukraine to draw more than just football fans in. Once the tournament is over, Ukraine will be left with a number of four and five star hotels that they are going to struggle to fill. Like the UK with the Olympics, now is the time that they need to start promoting all that is good about their country if they are to leave any sort of legacy.

Is it already time for The Voice to go quietly?

New music contest show, The Voice, debuted a few weeks ago with the expectations of fighting BBC’s corner against ITV rival Britain’s Got Talent. However, last Saturday the star-studded show lost viewers of about 4 million and received online ratings as being disinterested and bored.

When I first watched The Voice, it was refreshing to watch a competition show not based around sob stories and talent determined from personality. It had its own USP – the blind auditions, big red buttons and spinning chairs saying “I want you” along with the boxing ring sing off and no nasty Simon! Its positivity was enjoyable to watch just for the fact of real talent being rewarded. But now the reluctancy to provide us with some juicy villains and reasons to scream at the TV is now taking its toll …on a lot of the public. It has just failed to provide any interesting news-worthy shake-ups to maintain its momentum.

That brings me to another point – news. It’s not surprising that Simon Cowell brought out his new book the week before The Voice and Britain’s Got Talent went head to head. Spilling the goss on his love affairs with Danni Minogue and whoever else wears a skirt and has a heart that beats – this was definitely a timely attempt to gain the BGT boss a huge publicity bonus point to get the show back on the media map. This is more than what can be said for The Voice – what newsworthy contingency plan did they have? Not much really. This weekend saw a feud between The Voice’s boss, Danny Cohen, and Will.I.Am because Will couldn’t stop tweeting during the show! This is just bad PR; even a star on the show is bored.

After having a little look around, I’ve come to the conclusion that sob stories, villains, controversy, TV personality and TV spin does generate news and therefore viewings. People say that any press is good press (apart from if it’s non-controversial and boring press) – and this is what the music mogul, Simon Cowell is perfect for. In fact, SyCo in general is good for that. Having control over a large group of music artists in the UK and USA, the company has access to the likes of One Direction, Leona Lewis, JLS and Susan Boyle with the click of a finger to boost its audience ratings.

While writing this I’m actually watching Britain’s Got Talent, and something very interesting has happened. When questioning contestant singer songwriter, Ryan O’Shaughnessy which TV show he was previously on, he answered “The Voice in Ireland”. To this, Simon replied:

“Well their loss is our gain [chuckling]… you could be the dark horse” – this came as quite a shock to me – another comment that will probably make some online coverage for BGT!

However, after he’d realised what he had said (and probably after getting a telling-off from his bosses through his earpiece), he butted through Ant and Dec and corrected the matter with: “Even though I was teasing the show, the Universal Records were very kind to release him from his contract and let us have him, so thank you very much”.

You can never really know what is planned by the TV show’s company [SyCo] or what isn’t. One thing that surprised and somewhat entertained the nation was the release of an old sex tape made by Tulisa. This was allegedly released by her ex-boyfriend, MC Ultra to ruin her reputation and bring down her career. To spring a bigger surprise to everyone was her public reply “Tulisa Talks” via YouTube. But I think the icing on the cake was her song which was released just few days called, “Forgive me” which has the lyrics of “Forgive me for what I have done, cos I’m young, yeah I’m young”. She can’t even respond by saying she made the song and video in those few days because they were recorded months before – hmmmm.

The Daily Mail has written an excellent story about how this timing is almost so coincidental that it’s a PR stunt – and not a subtle one at that. Could this be one of SyCo’s many underground activities to gain publicity that didn’t go down so well?

The Muppets have a go at Fox News in UK Media Conference

I love this short clip, in it Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy hit back at Fox News during a press conference here in the UK following the London Premiere of their new film. You can’t tell me you haven’t seen the publicity for it as these two have been doing the rounds on every TV and radio show going.

Fox News had publically criticized the film for supposedly pushing a ‘dangerous liberal agenda’ at kids. Which in my view is ridiculous. I love the fact that the Muppets hold press conferences – we should get these guys back on TV every week because they are brilliant.

Blaming the (Blackberry) messenger

For a few weeks in August, the UK was racked by some of the worst urban unrest in decades. Windows were smashed, fires started and shops and restaurants across the country looted. TV news reports were filled with images of the police in massed ranks fighting off hooded gangs armed with bricks and bottles.

Of course, there is nothing particularly new about such scenes, even within relatively recent history. In 1981 the nation was convulsed by serious riots in major cities and just four years later, an infamous riot in Tottenham turned truly ugly.

In the aftermath of last months’ disturbances politicians queued up with worthy but predictable condemnations of the violence and destruction. But this time, they had something new to blame for the disorder, something undreamt of by their 1980s predecessors: social media.

In response to old media reports of rioters using social media to organize and plan their activities, Prime Minister David Cameron told a hushed House of Commons:

“Everyone watching these horrific actions will be stuck by how they were organised via social media. Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. We are working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.”

Much old media attention focused on the alleged use by some rioters of Blackberry Messenger, which some confused journalists appeared to think was a social network. It is actually, of course, an instant-messaging application which allows users of the eponymous smartphone to talk directly to each other. At the height of the riots, Tottenham MP David Lammy responded to reports that some rioters were using Blackberry Messenger to plan disorder by calling for the service to be suspended.

And at the end of last month, representatives of Blackberry manufacturer Research In Motion duly joined others from Twitter and Facebook at a meeting with government officials. This was held, according to reports, to discuss “voluntary” ways of restricting access to social media. Home Office Minister Theresa May insisted the aim was not to restrict “internet services” but to “crack down on the networks being used for criminal behavior”, but to do so without seeking “any additional powers”. (At least, not yet!)

Unsurprisingly, this ‘blame the messenger’ approach has provoked consternation and criticism. We are used to hearing about repressive regimes attempting to control radio and television broadcasts, or filtering the whole Internet like China and the British Government is never slow to criticise such oppression. Why should we regard restricting access to social media in some yet-to-be-specified way as any different?

Whatever their initial spark, the August riots quickly turned into orgies of opportunistic criminality and vandalism. But if we set a precedent and allow the government to restrict access to social media to try and prevent future outbreaks, how do we know they won’t take that easy step further forward and restrict access to the Web to try and hinder legitimate protest at some point in the future?

If nothing else, such a move would send out all the wrong signals.

Social media services such as Twitter played a real role in recent democratic uprisings across the Middle East. As Jo Glanville, editor of Index on Censorship magazine, recently noted in the New York Times:

“You do not want to be on a list with the countries that have cracked down on social media during the Arab Spring.”