Useful career tips and suggestions for building your skills in the industry.
"I just can't do everything - I feel like I'm always on the back foot," is something I hear quite often in my sessions with PR, comms and marketing people.
Are you always looking ahead to the next problem/challenge/thing on your to-do list - rarely taking the time to stop and celebrate the things you have achieved?
I came across a fascinating story this week: a Japanese business that was established to offer refreshments to pilgrims praying for pandemic relief...1,020 years ago.
Posted by Emma Ewing on December 10th 2020
Master storyteller Stephen King will never forget where he was the day he learned the Russians had put Sputnik into orbit. It was October 1957 and the ten year-old King was a young science-fiction fan whose voracious appetite for fantasy and action was being regularly satisfied by a string of sensational Hollywood movies on the subject of alien invasion.
Posted by Sandra Buckle on September 30th 2020
What do we mean when we talk about employee engagement? It's certainly a current buzz phrase and we are often asked, "Tell us the secret - give us your top tips". But the reality is, you don't get the best out of people with organisational level gestures - for what really matters to people is the way in which they are made to feel about their job day to day. This all comes down to great management.
The short answer, is no. But let's break it down. Many people I speak to are actually fearful of overcoming imposter syndrome, because they "don't want to turn into a bit of a dick". Where does that come from?
Posted by Emma Ewing on July 8th 2020
"We've realised that it's ok to say to the team that we don't have all the answers right now. They're not children," declared the comms director I interviewed for my next piece in my "Anatomy of a Crisis" series.
Posted by Emma Ewing on June 3rd 2020
My next interviewee in this series is a comms specialist with several different hats. With a focus on innovation technology, Chris* divides the week by working in-house for a large tech corporate and looking after the marketing and communications for a number of innovation projects across the UK that are funded by public and private sector finance.
Posted by Emma Ewing on May 19th 2020
I'm pleased to publish the second in my series of interviews with comms directors, focusing on internal comms. My interviewee, Sam*, works for a large UK-based corporate. Part of the corporate communications team, Sam has responsibility for the internal comms for a divisional MD.
Posted by Emma Ewing on May 5th 2020
In the UK, we're entering week seven of lockdown. For many organisations, the initial first wave of the Covid19 crisis has passed, and people have settled into some sort of "new normal". I've had some fascinating conversations with people at the comms coalface over the past few weeks.
I'm on a bit of a mission to tackle imposter syndrome in the PR and marketing industry. Why? Partly because I suffer from it, but also because it's so harmful and restricting to our industry.
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent," - Eleanor Roosevelt
Isn’t that the truth? I love to apply this quote to imposter syndrome. If you can accept that the feeling of inferiority comes from the inside, then it follows that you can overcome it from the inside, too.
There was an incredible response to the photo I posted on LinkedIn last week that alluded to my own struggles with imposter syndrome. Let me tell you, it’s way more common than you might imagine. Even the people you meet who seem outwardly confident probably worry privately about being outed as some sort of fraud.
I love our industry but life in the PR, comms and marketing world can sometimes feel rather like being on a treadmill without being able to reach the controls: running as hard as we can at a speed dictated by someone else, but feeling like we are getting nowhere. We are always waiting for someone else to turn the speed down, tell us we’ve reached our goal and reward us accordingly with a promotion, pay rise or even just a “thank you for your hard work”.
Happy New Year! Who's made New Year's resolutions? And stuck to them so far? I confess - I really enjoy being inspired by other people's new starts, but it's not for me! I rebel against the pressure to make sweeping changes in what's typically a grim, dark and anti-climactic month.
Posted by Emma Ewing on December 16th 2019
We've made it to the final furlong of 2019! It feels like we should be winding down as the year draws to a close but, by all accounts, there are still a lot of briefs to tackle, and pitches to get through before we can down tools and usher in the next decade.
Posted by Lorraine Forrest-Turner on March 28th 2019
If you find yourself writing the words “We’re delighted/proud/passionate” in quotes, delete them. Journalists don’t give two hoots about how pleased you or your clients are. All they want to know is what you’re doing to please or support their readers.
There are ten deliberate errors in this article. See how many you can spot.
The human brain isn't geared to notice detail. It's very good at spotting what it needs to see — a mate, food, danger (not necessarily in that order) — but unless told otherwise, it tends to miss the little stuff.
Posted by Lorraine Forrest-Turner on March 10th 2017
When everything in your life is screaming "I NEED ATTENTION NOW!", no time management tool, mobile app, project management system, wall planner, organiser or 'to do' list is going to help. What you need is a reality check.
After nearly twenty years working in public relations, I've seen my fair share of crises. From websites getting hacked to staff leaking internal emails, from companies caught up in the dot-com crash to health concerns over parabens in cosmetics.
I've also seen my fair share of panics from clients and from internal stakeholders.
PR Evaluation. Groan. It's so dull, isn't it? Counting clippings, managing spreadsheets of coverage from multiple media sources, generating coverage reports, chasing down elusive coverage hidden behind paywalls. It takes a great deal of time and organisation — and that's before you factor social media coverage into the mix.
Posted by Lorraine Forrest-Turner on January 25th 2016
Of the three main reasons people cite for attending my writing courses, 'how to make dull subjects interesting' comes a pretty close top. ('How to get started' and 'how to be concise' are the other two.) So let me say here and now what I tell all my students — there's no such thing as dull subjects; there's only dull writing.
Type the words 'writing for the web' into Google and up will pop around 739,000,000 results in 0.41 seconds. I didn't get beyond the first 30 or so but it was clear from those that just about every academic institution, training course provider and professional writer has an awful lot to say on the subject. But is all of this special attention really necessary? Surely good writing is good writing. Is online writing really that different to writing for any other medium?
Trust is a core value for many people, transcending through all contexts of life; at home, socially and at work. But what does the word Trust mean to you?
For me, in terms of trusting other people, it is the reliance on the integrity of a person to deliver on a promise, consistently, demonstrated through their behaviour, or ability to perform a particular task.
We would like to feel we are trusted by others, yet how do we create that trust? How easily do you trust those around you, and what do people have to do to gain your trust?
Posted by Lorraine Forrest-Turner on June 26th 2014
In a week in which David Cameron has been rebuked by Mr Justice Saunders for talking about Andy Coulson before the trial had ended and Luis Suarez is condemned for allegedly biting Giorgio Chiellini, I'm reminded of the benefits of saying "won't" rather than "can't".
Even the best of writers experience writer's block from time to time when they cannot think of anything to write - or they ditch what they have written believing it to be 'rubbish'. So here are ten ways that could help you beat the dreaded ailment.
Posted by Lorraine Forrest-Turner on April 15th 2014
I'm a very sad person. I love ticking things off my 'to do' list. I love it so much that I actually add things to my list after I've done them just so I can tick them off. It turns out that I'm not alone in this self reward behaviour. There's something in the satisfaction of ticking things off (or, in my case, putting a wavy line through) that makes us feel in control of our workloads and good about our achievements.
Posted by Lorraine Forrest-Turner on February 7th 2014
Have you ever wondered why we often meet people we recognise but can't figure out who they are? Sometimes it's even people we know pretty well, but we still can't remember how we know them. I call it the 'out of context syndrome'..
Posted by Lorraine Forrest-Turner on January 15th 2014
My washing machine is broken. It washes, it drains, it spins and the clothes come out clean. So what's the problem? It takes far too long to do it! Until recently, my washing machine had various cycle options, including the so-called 'quick wash' (which took the best part of an hour), the 'normal wash' (over two hours) and the 'if you've got nothing else to do with your life wash'. Now my 'quick wash' takes so long I have to do an emergency 'stop and drain' if I want to keep my sanity. But what has all of this got to do with PR?
Posted by Lorraine Forrest-Turner on December 5th 2013
When I first saw the words 'Black Friday' in an email from Amazon last week I immediately thought of 'Black Wednesday' (16 September 1992 when the UK pulled out of the ERM) and other equally 'Bad Days' in history. Several 'salemails' later I worked out that 'Black Friday' is yet another import from our US cousins - as if we need any encouragement to spend money this time of year. But it did get me thinking about language and how we use it in PR.
I'd like to think that I'm relatively open-minded and willing to embrace change in business (you can feel a 'but' coming on, can't you?) but there is one old rule I refuse to bend on - I insist on standing up when presenting. Sitting down might feel more comfortable but effective presenting isn't about feeling comfortable; it's about persuading a group of people to agree with you. And if you're not prepared to stand up for what you believe, why should anyone else?
Posted by Emma Ewing on November 26th 2013
One of the things I enjoy about being a trainer is that I occasionally get to send myself off for training. It's fun to swap tips, share knowledge and meet people who have a similar obsession with whiteboards. On one such recent course we were chatting about what we'd been up to the previous week. One of the courses I'd given was 'Becoming Assertive for PR Consultants'. On hearing that, one of our little group almost choked on his coffee as he gasped: "Why on earth do PR consultants want to learn to be more assertive?"
Training Courses for PR and Comms Agencies
Improve and develop your working relationships with each client
How to Make Your Clients' Social Media Communications Shine
Say what you mean, professionally and directly
How to write almost anything
Make every presentation more engaging and effective
Manage your workload and get tasks completed on time
Become a captivating and effective presenter
Get more stories published
Incorporate great management techniques into your daily life
Where do you start when it all goes wrong?
Get more of your stories published
Grammatical errors and how to avoid them
Get the best out of your team
Make good working relationships great
The seven steps to successful editing
Be more successful at getting your stories published
Power up your brainstorms and boost your creativity
Influencing and Persuading
Make your writing effective, engaging and shareable
Take your writing to a higher level
By application only
Introduction to PR
Manage your workload from home
Rapid coaching conversations
Stop being overlooked
Crikey, life is exhausting at the moment, isn't it? If you feel that you're on the verge of burnout, then please join us to find out ways to feel better. Sign up to attend our next free lunchtime webinar on Fri 30th Sep.
Our trainer Sarah explores the murky world of procrastination. Watch the free webinar recording.
A 60 minute bitesize webinar for agency staffers who are having to manage their workloads from home.