Meet the Professionals 2017 at Solent University

Meet the Professionals 2017 at Solent University

The annual Meet the Professionals event at Southampton Solent is a valuable networking event for students. This year it was in the newly completed Spark building and attracted a much bigger crowd.

It is a fantastic opportunity for Southampton students studying public relations, advertising, marketing and creative subjects to see what’s available in the local area, network and pick up valuable advice.

This is my third year doing the event, the first as a student and the second and third as a PR professional. Read about the tips and tricks I picked up and gave out at this year’s event. Continue reading “Meet the Professionals 2017 at Solent University”

RE:SO SHED vintage clothing launch – the benefits of hosting a blogging event

RE:SO SHED vintage clothing launch – the benefits of hosting a blogging event

The Retail Solent Initiative, RE:SO, hosted a special blogger preview event for the launch of the new SHED vintage clothing in Southampton.

Continue reading “RE:SO SHED vintage clothing launch – the benefits of hosting a blogging event”

The top 10 things I learnt from my first blogging event as a blogger – MAC Liptensity launch – part three

The top 10 things I learnt from my first blogging event as a blogger – MAC Liptensity launch – part three

MAC Cosmetics recently launched their new Liptensity lip sticks and they invited the bloggers of Southampton to a special preview event to take a peek.

Continue reading “The top 10 things I learnt from my first blogging event as a blogger – MAC Liptensity launch – part three”

Blog Lovin’ – a blogging curation and networking service

Blog Lovin’ – a blogging curation and networking service

The battle of keeping up with all the blogs you want to read may have just taken a step closer to being a bit more manageable.

Blog Lovin’ is a new service that curates blogs on topics of your choosing, the bloggers you follow and connects you to potential advertisers and paid blog opportunities. If you are short on time, and let’s face it who isn’t, this a one stop shop for keeping up to date with all your favourite blogs.

The step-by-step process when you sign up guides you through adding your blog to the site. Don’t worry if you can’t find your blog at first. I emailed them and a few days later it was added for me and they sent me a lovely email to let me know!

To connect your blog you need to ‘claim your blog’ which then gives you a code. It then asks you to post a new blog post with that code which allows Blog Lovin’ to recognise your site and display your blog posts.

Once you’ve added your details, added a picture and changed the settings to your liking you are all ready to go. This was a fairly quick set up process for me, it took me about 15 minutes once my site was recognised.

When it connects it lists all your blog posts in a wall that can be clicked on by your followers, under a tab called ‘Everything’. It also shows all your followers and other blogs similar to yours under two separate tabs.Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 20.50.19

Along the top row are five headings, a bell symbol that lets you know when you have new notifications and a silhouette of a person or your image once you upload one, that takes you to your account menu.Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 21.12.44Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 21.12.38My FeedScreen Shot 2016-02-22 at 21.13.01The blog posts are laid out simply and are really user friendly…

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 21.13.44It gives you the option to read it by clicking on the title, save it, share it through social media or email and mark it as read so you can keep an eye on what you have read already.Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 21.13.37When saving it gives you the option to create a category so you can organise your saved blogs for when you come back to them later. This I find really useful because I don’t always have the time to read things but love to come back to post. Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 21.13.28Explore

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 20.51.51This gives you multiple ways to find new blogs. It gives some popular categories across the top, further categories under more, or you can use the top right hand search function to conduct some manual searches of your own…

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 21.27.41Find Blogs

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 20.52.06This works in a similar way to ‘Explore’ but rather than listing it by topic this is a search function for the person behind the blog.

Activate

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 20.52.28Activate allows you to instigate the networking side of the Blog Lovin’. By filling out your blog details it will match you to incoming PR and advertising opportunities, some of which are paid in money or gifted items.

Shop
Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 20.52.56This is another great feature of the site, it curates items from blogs and gives you the links or place where you can buy the products. Which instantly answers the ‘Oh my god, I love that, where can I get it?’ question that I usual have when reading blogs that feature amazing products.

It looks like a useful resource to discover new blogs, network, find new blogging opportunities and get more followers. I’m going to trial it for a few months and see if it helps improve followers to my blog. If you like it and create a profile don’t forget to add me too!

Click here to follow my blog on Blog Lovin’!

Know of any other good blogging sites? If so, please feel free to share in the comments!

Or if you want me to follow you on Blog Lovin’ then again please put your blog link and a message in the comment section.

Meet the Professionals 2016 at Solent University

Meet the Professionals 2016 at Solent University

Journey

I went on a pretty long journey to get where I am today and a key part of that journey was sending myself back to university to do a PR Masters in 2014. I’m hugely passionate about PR and feel that the wonderful education Southampton Solent University gave me was an important contribution in my progression. It’s given me wonderful opportunities and still does.

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One of those opportunities happened at the start of February 2016, I was invited to attend the CIPR hosted Meet the Professionals event, to represent my current company Lee Peck Media.

25 media professionals attended to offer help and advice to current students in the creative industries at a speed-networking event. Yes, this is a bit like speed dating, all the professionals stay seated while every 10 minutes the students rotate around the room.

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I spoke to lots of students across the evening and even managed to network myself a little.

Lauren Witty, the current Wessex CIPR student representative, did an excellent job at getting a large mix of regional professionals to attend. 25 in total – the best turn out in the events history. It was easily double the size of when I last attended this event in 2014. Congratulations Lauren – your hard work paid off!

Laura Bradley, one of the students who attended, has written a great blog on her site The PR Girl  with five key points that she took away from the event. I am always interested to see what people find notable and the advice they gain from these kind of events and whether that information was useful or not. It’s great to see that Laura’s experience was very positive and the key points were useful ones!

Obviously, I am now on the other side, so I thought I’d give you my five key recommendations from the Meet the Professionals event. These were the most popular things that I said in response to students questions that evening:

  1. Be brave – This isn’t easy. It’s daunting out there but be brave, professionals and companies were once where you were. We all start somewhere.
  2. Grow a thick skin – You are going to get some knock-backs, but it’s time to man up and be more elephant! Learn what you can from these experiences, can you get feedback? As soon as you can pick yourself back up, dust yourself down and keep going, your opportunity is out there. No, seriously, put that Ben and Jerry’s down and grab yourself a Kleenex – you can do this!
  3. Never stop learning – Don’t be afraid to enrol yourself on courses, speak to your peers, ask for advice or shadow a colleague. The industry is evolving all the time, but don’t worry there are many ways to keep your skills together including your CIPR membership, you tube, the infinite resource that is Google, online courses, local colleges and universities.
  4. Find a way – If it’s your dream industry or company and you’ve tried and failed to get in through a direct application can you get another job with them and then side step in to what you want? This could be an option. I did, so can you!
  5. Dig the journey – Unless you are the luckiest so and so, and if you are count your blessings, don’t worry if your journey is the path less travelled. Don’t worry if it takes you longer than others to figure out where and what you want to do, you will learn so much that will contribute to your future, more desired, career (and life in general).

Here’s a selection of my tweets from the event:

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Thanks to everyone involved – I hope to see you there next year!

#Ebookinaday goes live!

#Ebookinaday goes live!

 

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Holy Smokes! #ebookinaday is here, completed and ready to rock your socks off!

I still can’t believe that all the content was created by Southampton Solent University Public Relations Students in ONE manic, epic day.

To download your copy for free…oh yes, FREE, your pennies are not welcome here, head to…

http://solentpr.wordpress.com/ebookinaday/

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The book covers the cutting edge tools for communication in the peer to peer PR world, perfect for practitioners, academics, marketers, business owners or those of you just wanting to find out how to be a better communicator.

It has 9 chapters for you to dive into and explore, and what’s great about it is that it’s still growing and evolving. Whether it is taking a selfie to post, leaving a comment or offering your expertise there is still a chance to be involved. Want to know how? Well then take a peek at the #ebookinaday project blog post and click on one of the chapters to find out more.

High-five’s and thanks go out to:
  • All my wonderful peers who gave a lot of blood, sweat, tears and ideas
  • Tom Fowler, the Solent Creative developer and technical genius
  • Stephen Waddington for giving us valuable advice and well-timed pep talks
  • But the ultimate, golden high-five, goes to Catherine Sweet for accepting Stephen Waddington’s challenge, all her hard work and for getting me involved in such an awesome project! Who else can say they are an author when they haven’t even finished their Masters yet? Not many!
Read it, download it, print it, share it or get involved…it’s yours, for free, forever! 
What a wonderful thought 🙂

EBook in a Day – A project brought to you by Southampton Solent University’s PR Students

EBook in a Day – A project brought to you by Southampton Solent University’s PR Students

I’ve owned this blog for 3 years and never posted anything. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zip. The other day I was reminded of this fact by a Word Press email wishing me a happy anniversary. Oh dear. How could I not have written anything in 3 whole years? No posts. No writing confidence. No engagement. And I want to be a PR practitioner? Gee Whizz.

What changed?

On the 26th March 2014, I helped to create an ebook in a day. There are 8 chapters and all the PR Masters students had to pitch to win their chapter from the client and then pitch to gain undergraduates on to their team. This was tough. I had never pitched before. I created something silly; thinking that even if it didn’t work at least the person reading and watching the pitches would have a giggle. But, much to my disbelief, it did work and it engaged. I got the chapter I wanted to work on: Co-creation and attracted 7 students in to the team. Phew!

team co-creation
Team Co-creation

45 people squished in to Solent Creatives to start what we thought was an ebook but turned out to be a PR movement. It taught me so much and sharing is caring after all, so here are the things I learnt from the ebook in a day…

  1. Be Organised

Sounds simple, but without having organised my chapter it would have been a disaster. There was so much to think about. It was about half way through the day that I was thankful my lecturer had insisted on a Gantt chart as it had got the old grey matter in to gear in advance of the event. I was prepared and it took the stress out of an overwhelming workload.

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The invite for the chapter demonstration
  1. Start Early

Being mean is not my style, but I insisted my team came a whole hour early as our demonstration I had arranged depended on invitations and engagement. We needed a good solid start. Thankfully the team showed up and it made a world of difference, especially when other barriers came in to play.

  1. Don’t Trust Technology

This is one of those pesky barriers I’ve been talking about. 45 students in a small space tested the University WIFI to destruction. It failed four times over the course of the day and this seriously would have hampered our progress had my fantastic team not turned up early.

  1. Imagination and Innovation is Powerful

The other students, staff, lecturers and industry practitioners were incredibly inspiring and creative. The ideas and advice they offered on the day blew me away. Working in an environment like that made me better. In sport they always say that if you train with people who are better then you raise your game to their level and in this case it was most definitely true.

  1. Social Media, is Social, so Get Involved!

I had never seen a multi-platform event from the ‘other side’ before and it was amazing to see every team obtaining high levels of engagement from only one days worth of effort. Sometimes I get fed up with the endless streams of content being chucked my way from social media, but when it’s focused with a proper stakeholder salience strategy applied it can be highly effective and engaging. It can start a conversation, a project or even a movement!

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  1. Be adaptable: from MA to Manager!

Personal challenges can come in any form. I have managed teams before, but it had been a while. So off came my student hat and on went my manager hat. How do you engage a student team who are not being assessed on a project? Food. It’s always a winner. The key here, know your audience! I even had some really lovely thank you’s…

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Twitter Thank You’s!

However despite all of these lessons it was the final parting comments of Stephen Waddington, president of the CIPR, that inspired me to finally break my silence and post this, my very first blog post.

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Stephen Waddington addressing #ebookinaday

He offered 3 tips for ‘making it’ in PR:

  1. Get on Twitter and build relationships
  2. Network and build your profile on LinkedIn
  3. Blog, this is important, it showcases your skills

Stephen made it sound so simple and through the experience of the PR masters I think I finally have the confidence to write. So here I am.

 

Here’s my pick of other blogs about #ebookinaday:

  • Stephen Waddington – Early lessons from the #ebookinaday project at Southampton Solent University
  • Lisa Duygu – Ebook in a day, a project, an event, a challenge, a success!
  • Livi Wilkes – Ebook in a day, the day so far
  • Bethany Ansell – The best of the week 28 March
  • Nikita Gagnon – Putting the public back into public relations