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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.”

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.

How to get free images online

Working for a digital PR agency I regularly write blog posts for clients or for the Prohibition PR blog. I often think of ways to make my blog posts more engaging, and, content aside, having attention-grabbing photos is the easiest way to do just that.

I’m always drawn to blogs that have made good use of imagery. Using my own personal blog as an example, you can see that I’ve used a vast collection of visually-rich imagery from my adventurous cake creations. However unless you take the photos yourself, copyright images can be expensive especially if you are buying an image for every post.

Chocolate cupcake

Chocolate cupcake

Never be tempted to simply use an image you’ve found on Google, or worse still, from a media outlet. You’ll be in breach of the image-owners copyright, and chances are you’ll be tracked down and billed. This happens more often than you’d think, and the cost can easily reach the hundreds of pounds. Media outlets in particular will come down on your hard and will get their money!

Realising this could be a common problem amongst fellow writers, I have a couple of really useful sites that bloggers will appreciate and benefit from;

Firstly, there is Freedigitalphotos.net. This site allows you to download a wide variety of stock images for free (although downloads are usually in one size). However, remember to correctly reference each image or you’ll be in breach of the site’s terms. If you need an image in a larger size, there is the option to purchase it for a reasonable fee.

Secondly, there’s Flickr which is also a useful source of good quality images. When searching, make sure you go to advanced search and choose ‘creative commons licensed content’. These are images that people have made available for public use. However, make sure you check the terms of use for each one, as some do not allow commercial use, some do not allow you to alter them and so on. Also remember to correctly reference each image, by referencing ‘Creative Commons’, and linking to the image owner’s profile on Flickr.

With these sites, you are on your way to creating a neat looking blog post! If that’s all it takes then make sure you do it and save money for the more important things in life, like cake!

Red velvet cupcake

Red velvet cupcake

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.

Violation of Google’s Guidelines Will Result in Damaged PageRank

Google’s latest announcement has made it official that selling page links and including paid-for placements on your blog can and will damage your PageRank. In the announcement Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Web Spam stated that ‘selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines, and Google does take action on such violations.’ Such action has been taken out recently on the florist giant Interflora for breaking Search Engine Optimisation guidelines by manipulating links to improve its PageRank. Penalisation of Interflora is the latest proof that even the largest brands are not immune to Google’s rules and regulations. Currently as punishment Interflora doesn’t show up on Google for the majority of it’s search terms, a huge disaster for the brand with Mother’s Day fast approaching. The highest Interflora appeared was on page 2 of a Google search, but mainly Interflora was non-existent. The damages to the brand could value at millions worth of pounds. Matt Cutts has also posted on his own personal blog about PageRank penalties and selling links. Replying to the frequently asked question of ‘Why has my PageRank gone down?’ Matt answered ‘the drop in Toolbar PageRank is an indicator of the decrease in our trust of the site.’ Google isn’t against paid advertisements, it actually supports the practise but they are asking for such links to be disclosed to search engines.  Sites should be judged on their content and influence for SEO not their bank account. What does this mean for PR? Whilst it will upset many people, Google’s announcement will help to ensure that online public relations prioritises quality content over simple and easy paid-for placements and links. Therefore Google is helping to ensure that public relations online is practised ethically. Blogging is a way of using your online freedom to express your opinion and interests, add value and engage in discussions. Blogging on your personal blog, on behalf of a company, just because they are paying you an attractive sum, I believe, totally defeats the object of blogging in the first place. Don’t get me wrong advertorials (which have been around for decades in PR) and articles that clearly show they are being sponsored to review a product are still effective ways to position a brand. It’s the articles that have been paid for that include brand names and links to a website that don’t make it totally clear that are misleading. What do you think? This is a guest post from Lara Busch you can follow her on Twitter.

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.

Why branding yourself properly is key to getting a job in PR

With the boundaries between private and public becoming ever more unclear these days, it is essential that you represent yourself properly on all the different social media channels. It is quite shocking to see that, even in the present day, with social media having been around for a number of years people are still unaware of the damage that their Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare or Pinterest accounts can do to their aspirations for getting that dream job in PR.

I realise it is quite obvious that uploading drunken pictures, writing rude posts and posting provocative material on your page is a sure fire way to ensure you will be going nowhere in the industry because, after all, if you cannot show yourself in a good light, then why would PR companies trust you to represent them?

clip_image002Valerie Forrestal from slideshare has discussed in a slideshow how the wrong material can jeopardise your chances of scooping a job. Using examples, such as the woman who was denied acceptance onto a degree course due to drunken images on her Facebook page, she has highlighted the pitfalls of not branding yourself properly.

Companies in all industries want respectable employees that they can trust. In the US, businesses have even taken the drastic step of asking applicants for their Facebook login details, so they can run the rule over them to ensure that potential employees are suitable.

Whilst this may be seen as over the top to some, really it is a logical step. If companies cannot access your private account, then is there something for you to hide?

The LA Times previously talked about how important it is to represent yourself properly in today’s social media-driven society, highlighting the need to “be sure your profile is cleaned up so it won’t put off any potential employers.”

Obviously, the more personal sites such as Facebook do not have to be covered in boring material. But to talk about how stoned or drunk you got last Saturday is certainly not going to endear yourself to your future employer.

Everyone is aware how powerful social media is in today’s society but, unbelievably, many are still not taking the necessary steps to represent themselves properly, which is harming their chances of progressing into professional employment.

It is only simple steps that have to be taken to ensure your social media channels are not your downfall.

Have you seen any interesting examples of people not representing themselves properly on their social media? If you have share them with us in the comments.

TWEET FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE WITH LivesOn TWITTER APP:

Communicating with your loved ones from beyond the grave has always been a task left to the mediums and Derek Accoras of our day, but now the creepy séances, flickering candles and moving objects are a thing of the past. As long as the dead had Twitter, they can stay alive via a new Twitter app, LivesOn by favouriting tweets and posting links to topics they once liked. Your loved and lost can truly stay alive through the power of social media, but is this revolutionary or just down right creepy?

clip_image002

It’s evident that this app will most definitely divide peoples’ opinion on whether it is morally acceptable to keep the dead alive via twitter. However, for some it might be a new and incredible way to keep their lost ones a little closer to them after they have gone. LivesOn acts in a different way to how Dead Social, another post death tweeting service works, by not having you schedule your tweets before you pass away. During your time using Twitter when you are still amongst the living, LivesOn analyses your online Twitter behaviour to then select tweets once you’ve passed and share links with your followers online.

Developed by London based ad agency, Lean Mean Fighting Machine, one of the creative partners, Dave Bedwood spoke out to the Guardian saying, It offends some, and delights others. Imagine if people started to see it as a legitimate but small way to live on. Cryogenics costs a fortune; this is free and I’d bet it will work better than a frozen head.”

As a big Twitter user myself it almost seems palpable that I live on in a world I seem to spend so much time in. Although if I’m truly honest, I’m not really too sure if anyone would even notice my ghost tweets haunting the online social world, with all the social traffic, I’m pretty sure I would go un-noticed. But is this really a way for us to enhance our memories and extend our relationships even when we’re gone, and do we need to keep the relationships going when we’re not around? I personally don’t believe apps like these are adding value to our lives, the memories of who we were, left with the people we love, outside a networking bubble is what truly keeps us alive after we’ve gone.

To me, it does seem quite creepy and a little insensitive to the ones we leave behind, however is this just the evolution of social media? If so, what is to come next, can it get much more invasive, unique or crazy? I am intrigued to find out what lies ahead in the future of social media, it will inevitably get even more extreme in some way shape or form.

With life becoming more digital than ever before, apps such as LivesOn and DeadSocial seem to be the same as leaving letters behind for your loved ones, but just more interactive. As long as you believe your family and friends can deal with the impact of ghost tweeting then I would say go right ahead and truly discover the power of social media.

One question I do have is when does it actually know you have died and could it then re-tweet messages from my funeral as that is very strange and just plain wrong? I think I will leave it for now because it all just feels a bit too insensitive to me and I don’t want to go jinxing myself.