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How to be legally compliant on social media

Yesterday morning. the Prohibition team jointly organised a successful breakfast seminar exploring the important issue of legal compliance in social media.

Held in conjunction with leading Intellectual Property law firm, HGF, the central-Leeds seminar was attended by 50 marketing and legal professionals from across the region.

HGF 1Social media undoubtedly provides brands with fantastic opportunities to promote themselves and powerfully engage directly with their customers and stakeholders, as many well-publicised cases show. However, social media can also be a huge trap for those unaware of the potential legal consequences.

The increasingly blurred boundaries between professional and private social media use can pose challenges for organisations, as employees unwittingly go “off message” in their personal social media networks.

These issues were explored in two short, but lively sessions, from Anthony Gold, Partner at HGF, and Chris Norton, Managing Director of Prohibition, as both talked through the challenges, opportunities and risks for brands seeking to expand their use of social media, whilst also discussing some of the key tools for success in this area.

The event was the latest in a series of seminars from Prohibition, exploring all aspects of social media best-practice. Our next events cover online crisis management, and take place at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Ramside Hall in Durham.

More success for Prohibition!

Will Ockenden (L) and Chris Norton (R)Blog Will Ockenden (L) and Chris Norton (R)Blog Rebecca Wharmby (L), Will Ockenden, Vicki Murphy, Blog Adam Worrall, Chris Norton, Emily Moult (R)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After celebrating a record year that has seen us double in size and move to larger office we’re now happy to announce the appointment of our new board director.

Following a number of new high profile business wins, including the UK’s largest wholesaler of floristry supplies and artificial flowers, Country Baskets, and national market leader in sustainable housing, Keepmoat Homes, our team has doubled in size to eight.

This includes the appointment of Will Ockenden as board director. Will previously ran the Sydney office of Leeds-based PR and social media agency, Lucre, and prior to that worked at a senior agency level in Leeds. He will be responsible for developing our professional services and B2B offering.

Will is also set to work on commercialising our self-published online student magazine, Student Wire, which is currently the third-largest magazine of its kind in the UK, with more than 60,000 readers. The magazine forms the core of our growing student and youth marketing division.

Other key hires to our team include Rebecca Wharmby, former PR executive at Disney who joins as account executive and Adam Worrall, a professional journalist, as content manager. This month has also seen us relocate to our new, larger office, based in Chapel Allerton.

Our managing director Chris Norton, said of the growth: “The last 12-months have been extremely eventful; we have achieved real success when it comes to delivering non-traditional PR services such as content marketing, online influencer engagement and social media eCommerce services. As such we have experienced strong growth, and have invested heavily in people and technology to ensure we continue to deliver outstanding work. We won the Best Use of Digital Award in November and we plan to enter several of our campaigns this year too. Working jointly with Will, I’m confident we will continue to grow, and offer something genuinely different in a busy market.”

Prohibition PR CIPR Yorkshire & Lincolnshire PRide Awards 2013!

We are thrilled to announce that Prohibition PR has been shortlisted for both ‘Best Use of Social Media’ and ‘Best Use of Digital’ for the CIPR awards for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

We have been shortlisted for both of these awards because of one of our current campaigns ‘The Student Knows Best’. This is a campaign for a client of ours, Phoenix Software ‘Student Store’ who wished to engage with students more effectively. Central to this campaign was the creation of the new online community Studentwire. It focuses on all aspects of student living from how to make cheap meal to the cheapest holidays. In order to ensure we engaged with students, we created the online community to be written by students for students.

We are so proud to be shortlisted. The team here at Prohibition PR have been working really hard on achieving the highest quality PR and online communication…and it looks like all the hard work has paid off!

We are now looking forward to the dinner at The Queens Hotel in Leeds.

For any more information about CIPR and the full shortlist, please click here.

Instagram Videos – Are they enough to rival Vine?

Facebook-owned mobile app, Instagram last week delivered an exciting new feature to its users with the option to record videos which can last up to fifteen seconds. And true to Instagram, 13 video-specific filters have been designed to choose from, along with the option of choosing a still from the recording to be used as the video’s cover.

Upon hearing about this latest feature, I instantly thought: copycats. The development seems to be a reaction to Vine – the video app from Twitter at the beginning of the year.  Vine allows its 13 million (not a huge amount) users to record a looping clip which lasts six seconds. Unusual and entertaining it can be used to showcase anything, from advertising a new product to making a marriage proposal.

So, will the ability to post video on Instagram be a threat to Vine? While Instagram has scale (100 million monthly users) I highly doubt it. After having a play with the new option to video, I do have to admit that it is useful and fun, but unlike Vine, it doesn’t amaze or delight me. The ability to add effects to your video recording does create a better finish – but this is nothing new, with vintage video apps being a around for a while.

Vine’s stop-motion feature means a video you record becomes looped and therefore a lot more interesting.  Your recording almost becomes a piece of art and a product of your individuality, while the six-second restriction demands a creative approach. Instagram on the other hand seems rushed and unfocused – is it about making videos appear prettier, or about telling a story, or both?

Of course, there is nothing wrong with Instagram’s video feature, but I expected a much more innovative development.  As a regular user of Instagram to edit photos, I would have liked to see features to make videos faster, slower or more distorted. Maybe that’s work in progress, but for now, I’m sticking with Vine.

Here’s a little Vine of the Prohibition PR‘s office by Chris.

 

 

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.

What online PR campaigns can teach us about measurement and ROI

It’s no secret that the traditional PR measurement model is woefully ill-equipped to deal with today’s integrated online PR campaigns, and new, data-driven methodologies have emerged to effectively tackle social media PR.

However, while traditional agencies may still judge the success of a campaign on ‘equivalent advertising value’ or a nebulous ‘PR value’, an understanding of digital PR gives us the opportunity to measure almost every facet of a campaign, and crucially, start making that all important link to ROI.

Not only that, but social media measurement techniques give us the opportunity to apply a new analysis framework to traditional PR campaigns, in doing helping drive forward the industry as a whole. Online PR

This debate is not unique to PR; in every marketing discipline, there exists a lively hotbed of opinions and views into how to best measure a campaign, and more importantly, how to effectively demonstrate ROI. And rightly so. We also like a good debate here at Prohibition PR, so it’s really music to our ears.


Analytics

A starting point should be a good working understanding of Google analytics. If your team doesn’t know what this is then they’re in the wrong job. Set up goals so that you can track conversations, whether that’s a sale, a sign-up or some other strategic imperative. Each piece of media coverage you generate should contain a link, if it doesn’t then ask yourself is it really benefiting the client? A half page in a national might do wonders for brand awareness (and probably will result in some sales you can never prove to your client) but chances are a blog post with a useful link will drive far more conversions for you and you can then track these.

Conversions to sales

Also get a good understanding of your client’s conversion rates. Based on average conversions and basket size, how much of the traffic you’re directing to the site could be resulting in a sale? What’s the value of this and how does it compare with the investment your client’s made in PR?

Similarly, find out how much your client is investing in online media spend and PPC. Calculate an average CPC and cross reference with the traffic you’re driving their way.  Suddenly you’re in a position when you can attribute a monetary value to your activity. Cost per Click is great but cost per acquisition is even better.

This is only scratching the surface, and we’re not going to reveal all of our techniques here (you have you be a client or a friend to benefit from that). But as an industry we need to be more honest with ourselves, especially when it comes to working with brands that are prominent online – are we getting media coverage for the sake of getting media coverage because it has always been our currency, or are we helping them achieve real business results?

While of course, PR and social media is not usually a direct response mechanism in the way that e-commerce or direct mail is, that’s not to say we can’t still be accountable for the services we deliver. In fact as an industry we should strive for this, for the benefit of our whole industry otherwise we could be left behind the digital and SEO Agencies.

Image credited to Stuart Miles, thanks very much via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Football Flick – Video Seeding Campaign

Over the last couple of years we have been working closely with a number of the best marketing agencies in the country to help them seed their viral campaigns on the web whether that is news, video, apps or even music. It’s the best part of the job and we get to play with some amazing content and stunning videos from all kinds of different sectors and as long as the content is good we are happy to help.

The video we are working on this week comes from our good friends at The Lift Agency and is for a new product called Football Flick Urban. The Football Flick Urban is a three Dimensional multi user football skills trainer, which consists of a front curved ramp, a back ramp and a net in the middle. Each of the three elements of the Football Flick can be used to help train and develop skills used in football.

The video has been created by Lift to generate some real excitement around this useful new soccer training aid. It showcases just what can be done with the unit by players of any ability and what’s more that it can be used anywhere, reinforcing the brand’s strapline… Play Anywhere. It also features the talents of John Farnworth. John is 26 and from Longridge in Lancaster and he holds four Guinness World Records including the most around the worlds in under a minute. In the video, John shows off his skills as a football freestyler and all that the Football Flick Urban has to offer.

Having only been in circulation around 24 hours, the video is already proving to be a big hit. You can see it yourself below:

Prohibition PR Helps Set Up Online Student Magazine – Student Wire

Over the last few months the Prohibition PR team have been working hard to help launch a new online student magazine – Student Wire. The idea was to create a website specifically for students, written by students about being a student!

Our client The Student Store wanted specialist help to create a thriving online community. So we scoped the project out and looked at how we could create something which would help other students out, give advice and provide some great content that was relevant to the audience.

Prior to the launch of the project the team put together a number of focus groups from local universities to bring together thoughts and ideas of what they would like to read.

Emilie Sillett, a second year public relations undergraduate and current intern here at Prohibition HQ was made editor of the magazine due to her rather bubbly personality and passion for creative writing. She was then also asked to help recruit a team of budding journalists and creative writers to help her create a magazine with a difference.

To help increase awareness and garner interest, the magazine was seeded online throughStudent Wire social media and student forums, getting as many people as possible to check it out and create a buzz around the launch of the site. After just four weeks Student Wire is already a huge success and a hit with under graduates from universities all over the UK.

So far it has writers from Leeds Metropolitan University, Liverpool John Moore’s, University of Salford and London Metropolitan providing advice, news and ideas on anything from how to choose your student accommodation through to how to cure a hangover.

Emilie is always looking for interesting features and creative writers so drop her an email if you think you are cut out for the job contact@studentwire.co.uk.

For an idea of some of the topics the team write about at Student Wire, check out some of the favourite posts so far:

1. The Student Halls Lottery by Sarah Raynard

2. Clubbing.. Why bother? by editor, Emilie Sillett

3. Celebrities And Their Surprising, Unrelated Degrees by Amanda Champion

4. And have a look at my own article, Technology That Will Make Life Easier.

And finally, the sponsors of Student Wire – the Student Store – has recently launched a photo competition of ‘the work space from hell’.  Be it your messy student house, your dirty desk or your rotten bedroom we want to see. The winner will be determined by public vote via the Student Wire Facebook page – so be creative as possible and you could be in with a chance £100 shopping voucher and the Adobe Creative Cloud software up for grabs! Apply here.

This was a guest article from Laura Crossley.

Prohibition PR client launches search for the UK’s best amateur football writer

Our client Bets of Mates, the world’s first Social Betwork has launched the ‘BoM Armchair Analyst’ – a competition to find the best amateur football writer in the UK asking football fans:

Do you ever find yourself sitting down to watch the match, and then spending the next hour getting annoyed at the pointless remarks made throughout by some obscure ex-player? Reckon you could do better? Well then we want to hear from you.

To enter, simply email your own match report to the team info@betsofmates.com, or click here to submit your 400-600 word article online, making sure you tell them which club you support. The competition runs from today until the 10th May and will be perfect for any budding Match of the Day critics.

For full more details and all the more boring bits we’ve missed out, click here.

With thanks for the image from mgjosefsen.

The top five Valentines’ PR and social stunts

It’s almost that time of the year again which most of us dread. Red roses and pink love hearts smeared over every shop, no chance of table reservations and a depressing 24-hours for all singletons – its Valentine’s Day. But love it or hate it, it’s a great time for PR stunts and campaigns and here are five of my favourites from recent times:

1. #TweetHeart

These days it seems that social networking is the most popular way to channel our love and emotions and companies have been using this to their full advantage this Valentine’s day. A popular online blog – Not on the High Street – came up with the idea of offering a very unique and personal gift this February 14th. They have created a competition in which contestants must tweet a special message stating why they love their valentine and including the link, #TweetHeart. The top 10 tweets will be turned into a love song, performed and recorded by a band called ‘The Coopers’ and posted online for their partner to see. You can read more about it here.

2. ‘The Twosie’

Asda's twosie as seen on their websiteSupermarket chain Asda did a brilliant job of getting plenty of pre-valentine’s day media coverage, by introducing The Twosie. After a survey on Facebook told them that most couples would be staying in this Valentine’s day (and after the onesie trend still doing so well) George at Asda decided to do the obvious, stick two onesies together, and produce the twosie, before posting it on their website.

A soft fleecy double poncho with bunny design hoods and ears, embroidered faces and ‘Love Bunnies’ print on the back and for just £25, it sold out in record time.

3. Love Advice from Britain’s Oldest Couple

Last year, Britain’s oldest couple took to twitter and dished out love and relationship advice to the public. Lionel and Ellen Buxton, who will be celebrating 77 years of marriage this summer, tweeted on behalf of a wedding video company, called Shoot it Yourself. Although they haven’t tweeted since, their messages can still be seen on their twitter page @lionelandellen.

This resulted in some very interesting tweets, and gained some great coverage from newspapers such as the Daily Mail and the Sun.

4. Flaming Grill Facebook Date

This Valentine’s day, Flaming Grill Pubs are playing match maker. It has launched a campaign in order to increase activity of its Facebook page. Basically, you must join the page and choose a date from your Facebook friends. You are then in with a chance to win a meal for two with a bottle of wine thrown in!

A simple idea which will be no doubt rather popular with the men!

5. A Sex Guarantee

A Scottish clothes retailer named Foul Fashion is offering shoppers a ‘sex guarantee’. It will give its customers a full refund this month if its unusually colourful shirts don’t attract the opposite sex.

It may be slightly sleazy, but is certain to turn heads. The stunt has already been covered by multiple newspapers and PR websites, appeared on This Morning and created a hell of a lot of activity on Twitter.

Have I missed anything? Do you have any favourite PR stunts for Valentine’s Day to share?

This is a guest post from Laura Crossley who will be joining the Prohibition team in a couple of weeks.