Clutching at straws?

imgres

There are a fair few social media apps that I feel are just around because they’re different to the norm, such as Facebook, Instagram, Vine etc but that doesn’t mean they’re any good.

The latest one to come to fruition is an app called Whisper, it is a free iOS and Android mobile app with an associated paid online service which allows users to send messages anonymously and receive replies, basically Facebook/Twitter without the username. It was first launched in March 2012 under the original name ‘WhisperText’. Users post a message which are then published displayed as text superimposed over an image which are similar to greeting cards like the image below:

url

It is doing incredibly well for an app that doesn’t get as much mention as big game players, getting on average 3.5 billion page views each month which has got venture capitalists interested, and no wonder!

In May 2013 the owners of the app added a service cost of $5.99 (around £3.59) meaning receiving messages was free but sending messages required payment. In my opinion that was the beginning of the downfall of the app, and the fact that in February 2014 the service charge was made free for ‘most users’ but paid messaging was something that was required for certain users for certain reasons.

I struggle to see the point in this app, I understand that it serves its purpose of a social media app that allows more anonymity than most others but I just don’t understand. Maybe thats naive of me but I’m sure most people would agree that it is some what unnecessary, then again, a lot of people would say that about social media as a whole.

Even though I am a Social Media Executive Intern, I think social media on a personal basis is somewhat pointless, meaning I don’t think many people actually need to read about what you had for dinner or the fact you’re bored, but social media for a business is priceless.

I suppose we will all find out how popular this app is if Facebook tries to buy it in a few months!

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Are you doing social media right?

Image

Many people think that I just get paid to sit on Facebook all day and don’t do anything productive, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Social media has to be done correctly to save yourself from the consequences of bad PR for yourself AND your client. There are certain steps in which you should take in order to ensure that you are getting the most out of the tool that has the potential to connect you to so many more people than tradition PR and Marketing allows you to.

A lot of companies who don’t specialise in a communication vocation think that they have to do social media just to ensure that they are keeping up with competitors. What needs to be understood is that it is a free tool and just takes man-hours to make it right. I’ve been to many interviews for PR and Social Media job roles and when I’ve done research in to the company in question I’ve more often than not been left a little let down by the social media already in place.

If you find yourself with fewer followers than everybody else, you need to look at what YOU are putting out on the social media platform, not wonder why people aren’t falling for your spiel. You need to ensure that you are updating regularly, with relevant information to your business (or just what you want to put out there) so that your followers know when to check back with what you’re saying. If you post on a Monday, and then don’t post for two weeks and post on a Friday, followers won’t know when to check back and gradually fall out of the routine of checking back with what you are saying.

Unknown

When you think of Facebook and Twitter, chances are you think of your friends or an organisation just broadcasting what they want you to read and there isn’t much room for engagement. In order to gain followers and boost your reputation, you should post content that will generate conversation, don’t forget that this is SOCIAL media and is very much a two way communication channel, use it to your advantage and don’t let it hinder you.

What most companies need to understand is that their Facebook and Twitter feeds are not meant to be glorified ad streams, and need to have good quality content that generates conversation to ensure that followers don’t lose interest. I often find that the easiest way to make people aware of your brand is to not really advertise it at all on social media (within reason, obviously) and a great example of a brand that has got it right is believe it or not, Tesco Mobile. The fact that their Twitter account is more often than not, dedicated to tweeting everybody who tweets the brand with funny, on the line, witty replies is pure genius in my eyes.

Another sin that many people commit on social media, is just auto-post updates across all of their social media platforms. Facebook is incredibly different to Twitter, which is different to Pinterest, which is different again to Linkedin. Look at it this way, you wouldn’t have the same conversation you have with your best friend with your grandma would you? So don’t do it on social media either. Make sure that you connect effectively with each audience to maximise the success of your social media efforts.

It is important to set a social media plan to ensure that there is structure to your posts. Even though many people think that social media is spur of the moment and shouldn’t be thought about to much, there needs to be some sort of similarity in posts so you don’t veer of the mark too much. In order to make sure that there are guidelines, you should figure out the following:

  • Who is responsible for updating your social profiles

Try not to have too many people writing on social media profiles, if your company has a social media team, leave it to them, as silly as it sounds, tone of voice is very important. Consistency is important for keeping your readers interested.

  • How frequently your social profiles will be updated

Figure out a schedule and keep to it, your readers will appreciate the effort of consistent updating and enjoy the content even more.

  • What type of content you will post

It won’t make sense for your readers if you post something extremely serious or sales related to your brand and then post a picture of a puppy with no accompanying copy.

  • How you will use imagery in your posts

Will you include and image in every post? Will your content be mostly images? Imagery plays a big part in how engaging your post is. If a huge lump of copy is teamed with images to break it up, the more likely your readers will finish reading.

  • What tone of voice you will use when posting

This, to me, is the most important of all. If you are writing on a blog and using the tone of voice you would use when talking to your clients, you’re doing it wrong. Figure out whom you are speaking to and adjust accordingly.

Unknown-1

The worst thing a company can do, and I’ve been subject to it, is to delete negative social mentions. It WILL happen, you cannot please all of the people all of the time. I had a dragged out argument with Boohoo over the terrible customer service I had received regarding a problem on their end, and when I commented on their Facebook wall asking for some help because I didn’t know who else to speak to anymore, they messaged me privately and deleted my comment off their wall in order to save their reputation from taking a knock. I personally think that if you publically handle a negative situation, the better you appear to your consumers.

I am no professional when it comes to social media, and I don’t confess to be. I don’t think anyone should say that they are and if you find a method that works for you and your business, stick to it. There are no ‘rules’ that you should follow, and this post isn’t to say that you are doing your social media wrong, but simple hints and ‘guidelines’ to help improve your social media presence. I’ve done extensive research in to social media for the past year and a half, and always kept up to date since starting university in 2010. I did my dissertation on how to be influential on Twitter so I feel I do have some insight in to making it work!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Clever Social Media

I love nothing more than when I see a well known brand getting over its big name and just being funny. I personally think being PC (within reason) takes too much effort. PR executives can spend forever and a day trying to please all of the people all of the time, but whats the point in coming across like a suck up? I’ve been to many interviews and had some great conversations with some key players in the industry and a common theme has been that they wish they could say what they wanted but don’t due to the fear of losing followers/loyalty. I say throw caution to the wind, it’s a well known fact that you can’t please all of the people all of the time, so theres no point in trying to be honest!

The best social media conversation I’ve ever read in my life occurred in the beginning of November last year and it came to my attention today via Buzzfeed.com and it involved some major players in the UK! To sum it up, Tesco Mobile, Cadbury’s, Jaffa Cakes, Sainsbury’s, Phileas Fogg, Yorkshire Tea and Walkers have some of the best social media executives in the world in my opinion!

It all started by somebody showing Tesco Mobile a Facebook post of somebody dissing their brand (may I just add that Tesco Mobile do not take lightly to people doing this! Just take a look at their Twitter feed, it’s fantastic!) and it escalated quickly from there on out.

Take a look at the images below of the unreal exchange between some of the biggest brands in the UK! It really is great to see such a relaxed and funny stance on social media that people genuinely enjoy reading!

Tesco 1

Tesco 2

Tesco 3

Tesco 4

Tesco 5

Tesco 6

Tesco 7

Tesco 8

Tesco 9

Tesco 10

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No such thing as bad publicity?

Image

Like the title suggests, is there anything such as bad PR? I personally think there is, from both a consumer and a PR point of view. If a brand you like is being publicised in a negative way, you are less likely to want to continue to use the brand, and from a PR point of view, if your client is receiving a considerable amount of negative press, well your job just got a whole lot harder!

An example of this came to light a couple of days ago. As I was on Facebook, I came across a link that was doing the rounds on the social media website that revealed two very popular high street shops, H&M and Topshop, that have stores all over the world. Topshop are all to a custom to a disaster or two in the past, such as the tax evasion and sweat shop allegations but this time after secret filming came to light of workers of a sub-supplier for both stores in China were found to be plucking fur from rabbits who were sadly still alive and go through this every three months once the fur grows back again. The footage was released by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) showing the awful, despicable act.

H&M were the first high street shop to acknowledge the fact that some of their items were being produced in this way and quickly ceased and recalled all items of clothing and took them off their website and off the shelves in stores. I personally think that this is a great show of respect and concern for ethical trading by H&M, and from a PR point of view it is extremely clever, taking a very serious situation and turning in to something that benefits them reputation wise. What H&M didn’t bank on was the way in which Topshop are handling this situation, once again, I find that Topshop have half heartedly halted the sourcing of Angora wool purely because they know they have to, rather than because they genuinely believe in ethical trading like H&M have shown themselves to do.

I say this because they have continued to sell the rest of the stock of the 42 items of clothing that are made of Angora wool, clearly on a money making scheme which is definitely what the point of business is, but sometimes I fear companies do more damage to their reputation in the long haul in what could be a short term money loss situation, and I’m sure Topshop aren’t doing that bad!

There is currently a petition to stop the sales of the remaining stock of the Angora wool garments in Topshop and at present there are just short of 101,000 signatures on the petition and the total needed before action is taken is 120,000. H&M have said that they are going to step up their inspections of its sub-suppliers in order to stop anything like this happening again in the future and has released a statement saying customers who have previously bought Angora products in the past from the store can take them back for full refunds, which is a fantastic approach to take and definitely keeps the respect and loyalty of regular customers but also attracts new customers who wouldn’t normally shop in the affordable clothing store. Topshop is doing the complete opposite and is showing a very poor attitude in such a serious matter that is becoming increasingly apparent to todays society, especially when there are more humane ways to treat animals rather than what was looked over in the past.

Topshop’s PR department need to tread carefully in the following days as it is easy to let this situation turn in to a huge disaster, I personally think that they should just swallow their pride and pull the items now to show that they do actually care about the issue and not all the money that their over priced garments are going to make them in this holiday season!

Much like Tesco’s horse meat scandal earlier this year, the way in which they handled it was somewhat questionable considering the apology they released didn’t sound like they were sorry about the situation, but rather that they were sorry for being caught before trying to pass the blame on to everybody else rather than themselves.

I think that companies who are major players in their sectors should genuinely concern themselves with issues such as the ones spoken about in this blog, purely because it puts a sour taste in peoples mouths, and tarnish’s the brand, a quote that jumps to mind is ‘forgive but never forget’, even though their customers will remain loyal, they will forever be brought up in questionable times.

Crisis management at the ready!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Christmas Spirit

Unknown

So it is that time of year again, the Christmas tree’s are brought out of their boxes, glitter covers the entire house, tinsel as far as the eye can see, and of course the obligatory Christmas TV advert from our favourite brands. There are plenty of new adverts this year, from the nations favourite Coca Cola advert to a brand new tear jerker from John Lewis, and it is nice to see big player getting in the Christmas spirit!

Coca Cola

Coca Cola always do a fantastic job at creating different variations of the classic advert. Coca Cola really pulled it out the bag this year though. After hearing the devastating news regarding the Philippines, the huge company decided that they were going to suspend their ad campaign this Christmas in the Philippines in order to donate all the money that would of otherwise been spent promoting their brand. So far Coca Cola have donated $2.4million in cash and in-kind contributions. There are still some cynics about who think that Coca Cola have done this as a marketing strategy to make them look like do gooders, but in all honesty, if it raises over $2million for the Philippines, who really cares what the motive is?! From a PR perspective it is a fantastic move, considering the sales for Coca Cola are falling, this stunt will really work in their favour!

John Lewis

Following John Lewis’ 2012 Christmas advert where we seen the heartfelt relationship between a snowman and his snowlady, I thought it would be pretty hard to follow that up with something of the same level. The powerhouse department store threw a massive £7,000,000 at the advertisement this year which is aptly called Bear and the Hare:

This extremely expensive advertisement sees the unlikely friendship between a bear and a hare. The beginning of the ad see’s the run up to christmas and that the bear hibernates so has never had a Christmas before. The hare then hops off to John Lewis and buys the bear a present, long story short, it’s an alarm clock that wakes the bear up on Christmas day and all the woodland creatures have a fantastic day and enjoy the festivities. The slogan of the advert is ‘Give someone a Christmas they’ll never forget‘, it is a really endearing advert and attracts all ages, so it’s a job well done by the creative teams over at John Lewis, is it worth £7million though? Probably not!

Sainsbury’s

Now, this well known supermarket decided to go one step further than most brands we have become accustomed to, and created a 50 minute feature film that can be viewed on YouTube and actually premiered in a cinema in London. This cleverly heartwarming advert is constructed of short video clips that have been filmed by real families in the UK around Christmas time to show what real Christmas looks like.

The advert really pulls on our heart strings when at the end of the advert, a family with three young children are filming a message to send to their father who is currently on tour with the Army. I thought that this was a clever PR move for Sainsbury’s, especially how they handled the bomb shell that someone over in the editing team failed to spot the Co-Op lemon torte, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding in plain sight behind an unsuspecting gentleman explaining his Christmas dinner! Wouldn’t have liked to be the person who must of been the topic of conversation in that meeting!

Marks & Spencers

Marks & Spencers always puts on a great Christmas Advert, and this year doesn’t disappoint! The theme this year is Alice in Wonderland, Little Red Riding Hood and The Wizard of Oz and features some famous faces that must have cost a fortune to get on board! From heart throb model David Gandy, to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to the hugely loved Helena Bonham Carter, it has it all! It is a truly magical advert that fits right in with Christmas, it is beautifully executed and definitely draws you in to watch the entire advert without turning over! Very well done M&S!

Debenhams

Debenhams have tried to replicate the success of their 2012 advert with the statement red coat this year, which features two beautiful coats, one male, one female. I find that this is one of the only adverts that is obviously advertising their own brand, which isn’t a bad thing, I just think it is missing something special even though the advert is beautifully shot and edited. The advert contains the singer, Foxes, who has done a slow, Christmassy version of her well known song Youth, but again, it lacks a special Christmas element for me personally!

I must say that all the big players have pulled out all the stops to get in the Christmas spirit, but my favourite advert this year has to be John Lewis’ The Bear & The Hare, there has been so much effort put in to the production and the story is sentimental and has a great Christmas story at the centre of it all! £7million well spent!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Do machines really need to do everything?

Unknown-1

I read an article this afternoon about search engine giant Google and the fact that they have patented plans for software that slowly learns how you react to things you see on social media networks. In layman’s terms, the software will mimic the way in which you usually respond to updates and messages from friends and relatives to help you ‘cope’ with the daily processes. The software sifts through the messages you receive and conducts an analysis of continuing interaction and goes on to flag messages that demand a more personal response.

I find it hard to believe that social media is that much of a chore that people need a robot to respond to your friends and family, or even just followers on your Twitter account! This entire concept just takes the personal touch away from what should be a conversation between two or more people!

A software engineer at Google, Ashish Bhatia, said that the popularity and use of social networks and other types of electronic communication has grown dramatically in recent years. It is often difficult for users to keep up with and reply to all the messages they are receiving. Again, I find this very hard to believe that a standard person finds this task difficult, that said, I do believe that businesses find it hard to maintain the amount of messages they receive, and I can see the benefits of having an automated personal response rather than a bog standard repetitive message to all your followers.

The system analyses the responses you initially make so it can eventually start making suggestions of its own that, ideally, should be indistinguishable from those of an actual person. Which asks the question, what is the point. Why do you need this? Does it automatically publish the responses? What if it got a response wrong and made a huge mistake? How could you answer that? This whole concept has many flaws to it, I can see the benefit to a company who wants to please its consumers, but I think it’s just another step in the wrong direction. Some things need to be personal and come from a real person in my eyes!

The article from BBC News went on to say that instead of writing every response individually or clicking buttons to “like” or forward messages, the software would generate suggested responses which a person could simply agree to be posted on their behalf. Now what is the point? The person would have to read the message that they received and then read the automated robot’s response and then decide whether or not it was suitable. Just answer the message! It seems like an awfully long winded approach to just simply writing out a response that takes no more than two minutes anyway!

An example given in the article was:

In response to learning that an acquaintance called David has changed jobs, the system might suggest: “Hey David, I am fine, You were in ABC corp for 3 years and you recently moved to XYZ corp, how do you feel about the difference, enjoying your new workplace?”

That to me reads like an automated response. If my friend told me that they had changed jobs, I wouldn’t feel the need to tell them that they had been working in their previous position for however many years. I think it is a really lazy way of keeping in touch with people!

I find that we have spent so long, especially in Public Relations, telling people why social media is so important, and why you should make every effort to personally respond to relevant messages personally has been totally disregarded with this software, and I find it a strange move on Google’s behalf. Social media allows human-to-human interaction, and I personally think that shouldn’t be messed with. As the old age saying goes, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to create a good headline!

 

Unknown-1

In order to gain good readership, you have to have the ability to write good, interesting headlines in order to make the reader want to continue reading your story. I consider the headline to be the most important aspect of an article, it is the first impression that you make to your readers, which deserves a decent amount of thinking time!

Of course, it is not just an article that requires the headline thought process, blog posts, book chapters, even dissertations all need to make the reader want to continue reading your handy work. The main question that you need to consider throughout the entire writing process is ‘would this make me want to read on?‘, if it doesn’t, don’t put it in!

There are various different methods of writing headlines and various different types of headlines, it all depends on the nature of the story which method you choose to use to construct it.

1. Direct Headlines

As the word ‘direct’ suggests, these types of headlines don’t beat around the bush, but instead sum up the story in a matter of words. For example ‘50% off all stock all weekend’.

2. Indirect Headlines

Indirect headlines are used to raise the curiosity of the reader, they pull the audience in and the content of the story fills in the rest of the information. Indirect headlines use a variety of different ways to interest the reader such as:

  • Puns
  • Double-meanings
  • Play on words
  • Figures of speech
  • Metaphors
  • Symbolism

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about Miley Cyrus and her very strange and erratic behaviour, especially the stunt she pulled at the MTV EMA’s that were being held in Amsterdam. For those that don’t know what happened, Miley won an award for Best Music Video for her song Wrecking Ball, as she was giving her speech she proceeding to pull a joint out of her bag and light it up on stage. I read an article in the Metro whilst on the bus with the headline that read ‘Miley High Club’. This is a great example of an indirect headline, as I’m sure most of the people reading this blog post will know what mile high club means, and the obvious misleading meaning it has in terms of this story!

3. News Headline

This is kind of self-explanatory, as long as the news itself is actually news! This could be a product announcement, software updates. A great example of this type of headline is ‘Apple Release New Iphone 5s’

4. How to Headline

This is one of the most popular types of headlines as it is easy to gain readership with the promise that help is going to be provided for a topic the reader is not too sure about. This headline is very popular online and offline and a perfect example for this type of headline is, well, this blog post!

5. A Question Headline

This type of headline has to do more than ask a question. The question needs to be worthwhile and appropriate to the story and has to spark up some good answers in the readers mind that compliments the body of the article. Ideally the reader can empathise with the question and would like to see it answered. A good example of a question headline would be ‘Are You Tired of the Same Old Shopping Routine?’. After a question headline there needs to be instant recognition of the question, so the first paragraph of the content needs to have the answer before the information, for example ‘If so, then come to the new shopping centre here at … and let us revolutionise your shopping world!

6. The Command Headline

This basically tells the readers what to do. It is a simple headline option, and often helps get the results the author wants. The first word of this type of headline should be a strong verb demanding action, for instance ‘Subscribe to AKavanagh PR Today!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

‘PR’ – misunderstood

Unknown

I’ve noticed over the past few months in particular, that nobody other than PR practitioners (or indeed those in a communications role) actually understand what public relations actually is. After I graduated in July of this year, I went for an interview that was entitled ‘Marketing Trainees Wanted’. Now I thought that this was perfect for me, as I had just finished a 3 year Public Relations course and felt that jumping in to a full time PR practitioner role was a big leap from learning about the sector. I attended the interview and was told that it was definitely not a sales adviser role, but one that allowed me to progress quickly through an ever growing company whilst allowing me to progress my marketing and PR skills.

After leaving the interview feeling positive, I then got a call that evening letting me know that I had been invited to attend an open day. Long story short, I attended the open day, to find that my job for the next 12 months would be standing in various shopping centres throughout Yorkshire attempting to sell various products and services to shoppers. I weighed up my options and decided to leave the open day that wasn’t the job that was advertised to me.

I find it hard to accept people using the term ‘PR and marketing’ so freely and just conning people to believe they are getting one thing but actually it is something completely different.

The definition of Public Relations according to the CIPR is:

“Public relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.

Public relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.”

I obviously know the definition of PR, it’s hard not to know it after studying it for 3 years solid, but to someone who doesn’t understand the business aspect of PR, could quite easily think that the people on the streets handing out leaflets to passers by for the latest club night in the city centre are doing PR. They’re not, they’re handing leaflets out, BIG difference in my eyes!

As with most career sectors, if you don’t know about it, you come to your own conclusion about what the day to day roles of that job is. I find with PR, that it is often dumbed down a lot, especially with it being included in the ever so popular Sex and the City, where you see popular character Samantha Jones living the high life as a huge PR director. If I’ve learnt anything over the past 3 years, its that PR is nothing like what you see in the movies!

All in all, PR takes time and meticulous planning abilities, it is not a simple hour meeting where you can bash out the objectives and see results by morning. It’s something all businesses and organisations need to be successful, it is not to be taken lightly!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

#fail

Unknown

Back in May of this year, a fantastic example of a really bad PR decision came from a company called Ferraro, better known as the creator of a very popular chocolate spread named Nutella. Any company who wants to move forward and use social media as a tool rather than fear the advances it brings, knows that you have to utilise any social media hype.

Nutella is enjoyed by millions of people worldwide, and back in 2007, an American fan, Sarah Rosso, who lives in Italy decided to create World Nutella Day in order to show her dedication to the brand and maybe talk to some like minded people and just have a bit of fun with the Facebook page.

Fast forward to May 2013, and after 7 years of World Nutella Day, Ferraro decided that they were just not happy with the concept whatsoever and delivered a cease and desist letter to their #1 fan ordering her to shut down the fan page as there was a misuse of the brand.

The social media backlash to this was huge, after Rosso published the letter she received to the fan page she created, users took it upon themselves to comment on the official Facebook page for Nutella to express their disappointment in the way in which they went about this situation.

As I am someone who has grasped the concept of social media, and understand what it can do for a company, Ferrero completely missed a trick, not only were they receiving the benefits from a brilliant social media campaign, they were doing so for free with no work to do on their behalf! Stuff social media executives dreams are made of! Considering Nutella doesn’t even have an official Twitter feed, they should really have taken this in their stride and sent a letter of appreciation and a free jar of Nutella to Rosso at the very least!

After the huge social media backlash Ferrero went on to drop the cease and desist action which in turn saved World Nutella Day, head over to the website to see what it is all about, and prepare for the 8th World Nutella Day!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

PR Interview Questions – How to answer!

Unknown-1

I feel that throughout my time at university, and especially now that I have graduated, I’ve become a seasoned pro at going to job interviews and handling the questions you know that are coming, but also those that you aren’t expecting! 

1)    Tell me about yourself…

This question is usually the opening question of the interview, and it does not mean tell them that you love going for a few drinks on the weekend and you enjoy going the cinema! You should start by telling the interviewer your highest level of qualification, how you felt during your course (how did you feel you coped with the pressures of deadlines and working with different people that you are not used to). I would aim to talk for just a few moments about this topic, as the interviewer will ask more questions regarding a particular statement if they wish to know more. Remember that this is your first impression, and they really do count, you need to work on creating a rapport with the interviewer – these are your future employers and co-workers!

2)    Explain why you want to work in PR?

PR agencies look for a confident, people person with great communication skills who’s an all round media junkie. You really need to know your stuff, and not just say ‘PR is my life, I have always wanted to work in PR’, because lets face it, you haven’t. I will be the first one to admit that I haven’t always wanted to work in PR, I have spent a hell of a lot of money and time learning about PR and realising that my personality and my ability compliments the role a PR practitioner takes on board. I wanted to be a vet or a princess when I was younger, not a PR practitioner, got to take what you can though!

You need to talk about your passion for multimedia such as newspapers (remember to only say this if you actually know the difference between newspapers, tabloids to broadsheets etc), magazines, TV, radio, websites, social media and blogs. As somebody looking for a job in PR, you should be spending your time creating an online presence for yourself. You won’t get very far if you don’t practice what you preach!

3)    What are your strengths?

You need to ensure that you don’t come across as overly confident at this point. It is very easy to go over the top and say that you are the best person for this company and that they won’t find anybody more clued up than you. That’s a very naive thing to say, there is always going to be somebody better than you (understanding this keeps you grounded) but what you need to remember is that you know more than other people, and you have made it through to interview stages so be sure of yourself! Pick three strengths and explain how they can be a good addition to the company in question and how they can help you grow. You need to show them why they should employ you and how it would be a big mistake letting you go.

4)    What are your weaknesses?

Many people dread this question, as they think this is confessional time and they need to confess their sins against PR. It’s not. This question is asked purely to show the interviewer that you want to learn and you are aware that you are not the most experienced PR practitioner out there! Don’t sit there and say that you’re cranky and you love a good argument, show how you have constructively made positive steps to rectify something you’re not very good at. For instance, you could say that your IT skills aren’t the strongest but you have spent your own time doing courses to improve your skills and that you’re willing to learn.

The worst thing you could do in this situation is say ‘oh I don’t know!’ or ‘I don’t have any weaknesses!’ … You may as well shake their hand there and then and say thanks for your time, sorry to have wasted it! Also, don’t say that you have a tendency to work too hard as this is seen to be avoiding the question!

5)    What salary are you looking for?

Don’t be afraid of this question, in the past I have been a bit daunted by being underprepared and not really sure what to say! For a graduate PR practitioner going in at graduate entry level in Leeds (or anywhere up north really), you’re looking at about £16,000 – £19,000 depending on experience. Don’t feel like you’re being cheeky stating your salary, at the end of the day you’re there to be employed and they’re there to pay you!

6)    Ensure you ask your own questions!

Time and time again I have gone in for an interview and got to this question and panicked and said ‘everything has been answered thank you!’ Make sure you prepare around 5 questions that you can ask your interviewer, so you have the chance to find out more about the role you will be taking on and what the goals of the company are. You need to ensure you will fit in working at the company you are being interviewed for, at the end of the day, you want to be happy and so do they!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,