How Do You Read A Story?

My time on the Taylor Bennett Foundation programme continues to be an exciting and knowledgeable experience. I have a clear understanding of how PR works and as week nine draws to a close, I begin to analyse media as a PR specialist. I started to focus on how stories in national papers could be used for great PR opportunities and thought why not share my ideas with others growing/starting out in this field.

Through my fantastic journey into the industry there are two important strategies I have discovered: reactive and proactive PR. Reactive PR is when a public relation strategy is executed in response to a news story that has not been deliberately placed in media by the PR company itself. Proactive on the other hand is a more controlled strategy that is purposely placed to set a particular agenda for the campaign. It was during my review of The Sun newspaper that I noticed stories that could be used for possible PR opportunities – in other words REACTIVE PR!

In the news this week, a tragic story was featured involving a young teen who died after taking an ecstasy pill called “MasterCard”. This tragic story could be used to push a campaign by the National Crime Agency. The NCA are opponents of illegal drugs and could use this unfortunate story to push out a national campaign against illegal substances that are being supplied to vulnerable teenagers. The NHS and Talk to Frank could also use this story to foster awareness of the dangers of using drugs and remind users that there is help available.

Another key story that could be used covers the story of 12,000 unaccompanied kids under the age of thirteen flooding into Europe from war-ridden countries like Afghanistan and Syria. This particular news story could be used by UNICEF, a organisation that specialises in supporting disadvantaged, vulnerable and excluded children. The heart-breaking story could push out a powerful campaign raising awareness of the young children being affected by current events taking place in the world.

Moving onto more light-hearted subjects, I continued to read The Sun and came across another two stories that could be used as great PR opportunities. The first was of Geordie Shore’s Chantelle Connelly and the rumours of her being romantically involved with boxing champion Anthony Joshua. This could be great for the show as Chantelle Connelly is fairly new to the programme and therefore pushing this further could create a buzz around the whole story Chantelle of dating a hot athlete – Anthony Joshua!!

Finally, Leicester winning the premier league has to be one of the most unexpected victories that has taken place in 2016 and the second story that could be beneficially used by companies like Kleenex and Homebase. I know right now you’re probably thinking “how, why and what am I on about?!?”, but I’m telling you this could work. Kleenex could push out a “tears of joy” campaign cementing its brand in the market as number one for tissue quality. Homebase could also promote its Homebase range through the theme of being better than expected by using Leicester’s victory as a template for the campaign.

PR is many things but for me it is exciting and stimulates my creativity. Having completed nine weeks, I now feel confident enough to analyse how the news could be used in either a reactive or proactive form, looking at different sectors whether its corporate, consumer or entertainment.

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My View: PR & Diversity

 

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Final year of university was an important time for me as I started to consider what my next steps would be. I was nervous about entering into the ‘real’ world and was completely unaware that PR and communications would be the career for me. Two years since graduating, I have got the opportunity to train with some of the most respected agencies in the industry and to develop in PR as a professional.

“The black and ethnic minority communities have many talented people who have not yet been discovered or given the opportunity.”

It has been during this period that I’ve seen the lack of ethnic diversity in the PR industry and it led me to review how I came to learn about PR. During my years of school, college and university I was never really aware of PR as a career. Often I associated PR with celebrities and never really knew that it was an industry that I could be part of. Through a brilliant opportunity to join the Citi bank public affairs team, I was exposed, for the first time, to the industry first hand. After sitting down with the Head of Public Affairs it was then I started to understand what PR was and how I could go about gaining access to this once closed industry.

My career choice even now, confuses many of my family members (especially my friends) and soon, I realised that the lack of knowledge of Public Relations is still apparent especially within black and ethnic minority communities. The PR industry that is seen as a broadly white and middle class industry often has been that way because many ethnic groups are unaware of this field as a possible career.

There is a significant lack of black and ethnic minorities in PR agencies across all sectors with only 8% of public relations practitioners identifying themselves as being from part of a non-white minority ethnic group, according to research from the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA). Many believe that PR practitioners from white backgrounds often know someone in the field or have a family friend who has a career in the industry and so are aware of PR as a career option.

“The industry still has a long way to go with raising awareness in ethnic communities, while pushing for further ethnic diversity in PR.”

So why is this issue important to address? There are a number of factors as to why it is important that there is ethnic diversity in the PR industry starting with talent. The black and ethnic minority communities have many talented people who have not yet been discovered or given the opportunity. Instead of fantastic talent going to waste, it is important that the industry continues to let this under represented group inside the PR doors. I got the chance to meet a successful black PR specialist named Rose Bambi; she was very inspiring having had an outstanding career in PR and owning her own agency before going on to sell it.

Rose Bambi represented a small number of black and ethnic minorities who have had amazing careers and gone onto achieve so much in a white dominated industry.  The quote below is from an interview she recently did for PRcareers and shows the sheer determination she had facing the PR world:

 “It was Oprah who has inspired me to believe that as a black woman I could succeed in a vocation that is still not well represented by people of black origin in the UK.”  

The PR industry has greatly improved thanks to programmes like the Taylor Bennett Foundation, a programme that gives graduates from black and ethnic minorities the chance to train and network with PR professionals. The industry should continue to work together and with organisations like Taylor Bennett Foundation to source new talent, giving them the opportunity to get their foot in the PR world. Agencies should also be trained on how to go about sourcing talent from these communities and working with educational institutions to raise awareness of events such as career days. The industry still has a long way to go with raising awareness in ethnic communities, while pushing for further ethnic diversity in PR. It is great that at least there are positive organisations like the Taylor Bennett Foundation working with a number of agencies to initiate and implement change to the ever-growing industry.

(Image: Taylor Bennett Foundation trainees)

10 Blogs worth checking out!

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As another week on the Taylor Bennett Programme comes to an end I find myself becoming more and more familiar with PR sources that are out there. It has been during my time on the programme, that I have discovered an entire network of PR professionals and a community happy to offer their advice/opinions on the ever-growing industry.

Following my quest to gain knowledge of the PR industry, I’ve come across a number of great blogs, some of which I’ve decided to write about today. Below I have compiled a list of ten blogs I feel offer some fantastic content for PR professionals:

1. PRbuddy.org is a brilliant blog for students and young professionals. I didn’t even know this blog existed until recently after reading a recent published blogpost called – 10 essential digital tools that will help you become a better PR student. I really liked the content that is featured on PRbuddy.org and recommend this to anyone at junior entry level in their PR careers, students and anyone who is hoping to get into PR.

2. Michaelwhite.online is one of my favourites and I love the creative layout of his blog. It’s so eye-catching with a countdown feature that displays the number of articles that have been published, the followers he has and the number of coffees he’s drunk since his blog began. At 26 his already a Digital Account director at Lansons and I can see why! His blog offers well-written pieces so it’s definitely worth checking out especially if you’re a young PR professional. Check out his social page on his blog and while you’re at it his article – If you’re looking to get rich, blogging may not be the answer, which is a very humorous read.

3. Mark My Words by Mark Borkowski is a striking and artistic blog in terms of design. When I first visited this blog I was captivated by its clean layout and variety of content ranging from entertainment, crisis situations, celebrity and a dash of current affairs. Mark Borkowski’s blog is for a mature audience who have had several years of experience in the PR industry. Writing for a number of media publications and still in high demand from clients ranging from BP to BBC, I think his blog is one PR professionals should definitely visit.

4. Nevillehobson.com is a really cool, useful and informative blog with many updates on current affairs that are extremely helpful especially if you’re in the PR industry. I really liked his interactive social page that is linked to his live updates from his social platforms. With over 25 years’ experience in public relations, marketing, communications, employment and much more, Neville Hobson is a genius and his blog is clear for anyone to use. I would therefore encourage all levels of PR professionals to check it out!

5. Stephen Waddington is a partner and chief engagement officer at Ketchum with a wealth of experience under his belt. His blog is clean, fresh and clear with blogposts for all levels of PR people. So if you have some time on your hands, I suggest you have a quick read with what’s trending and going on in the industry by visiting his blog and gaining exclusive insight from the man who once was President of CIPR in 2014.

6. Sarah Stimson’s blog offers such great advice and posts for people seeking advice on moving up or coming into the PR industry. I’ve been luckily enough to experience working with Sarah and have gained some great advice from attending her workshops since being on the programme. Anyone who wants to enter the PR industry or wants to gain some great tips for moving forward, Sarah Stimson’s blog is the blog to go to!

7. Berkeley PR blog is so artistic, contemporary and fresh with white, yellow and black designs. A blog that is inviting and doesn’t hurt my eyes with overwhelming content as I enter the homepage! It has to be one of my favourite blogs by far and has a variety of articles that young PR professionals would enjoy reading. So go ahead, enter the world of Berkeley PR!

8. Hotwirepr.com blog has a lovely simplicity to it that makes it enjoyable to read published pieces. It features opinion pieces, industry insight, PR news and spotlight content. So if you want to know more about what is going on in the industry or just want to have a good read, Hotwirepr.com is worth visiting.

9. PR Moment is such an easy PR blog to use as it offers a wide range of opinion pieces, insight into the industry and research. This blog is fantastic for individuals wanting to learn more about the industry.

10. Vuelio blog is an outstanding blog with four key sections that include some brilliant content including PR, marketing, media and public affairs. This blog is great for all PR professionals as it regularly updates articles that cover key trends, current affairs and opinion pieces on the industry as well as covering the four key sections mentioned above.

There it is. Ten blogs I’ve discovered during my several weeks on the Taylor Bennett Programme that I feel are worth checking out! I hope you find the blogs useful in your PR journey the way I have my fellow next PR generators. #Next Generation.