The right path…

In December, I was in a mild panic. Typical Siobhan, I must say. I was panicking like any other soon-to-be graduate about a career after my degree. I was worried about finding the right job or even a job at all. I knew I wanted to be in the PR industry, but where, who and what was still playing on mind. I kept asking myself that inevitable question each graduate asks, what path do I want to take?

In February 2017, I applied for graduate schemes and jobs. Hearing back from a few led to attending interviews and assessments days. It felt exciting but it still didn’t feel right. Feeling right about a placement, job or even work experience is severely underestimated and not often taken into account. I’ve always been told “if you get a good opportunity, go for it”, but what if you don’t feel confident or feel good about the opportunity?

A bad or uneasy feeling about an opportunity is telling and as important as the opportunity itself. I wish somebody had told me this at the start of the year.

In March, I was invited to an assessment day with an agency. I was extremely surprised. This scheme has been widely talked about in the PR industry as an innovative approach and I thought my application would get lost in the influx of incredible candidates. I was thrilled to make it to the assessment day. On the day,  I instantly got that right feeling. The environment felt friendly, fun and creative. I came away from the day, wanting the job even more than when I walked in that morning.

A few days later, I was notified I had been selected for the scheme. As soon as I got the call it felt right. At the start of the year, I panicked about what path to take and what I would do after I graduated. Paths do present themselves but it is crucial to make sure it is not only a great path but the right path. The saying commonly used when talking about love relates here, “when you know, you know”. In the future, this saying and learning curve will help in making decisions that feel right to me.

I am thrilled to say my path starts with Golin London on their new scheme Golin B&B in May and I can’t wait!

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Back in Devon… minus the sigh & huff

I am surround by green fields and silence and this time it’s not with a sigh or a huff. I was looking forward to coming home this summer. Second year was hard and took a lot out of me. Everybody tells you it’s a step up from first year, that second year is finally the reality of a degree. Of course, it flies over your head in first year due to your bigger tasks like “what the hell am I eating for dinner?”.

I really tried my best this year. Second year for me, was my year. I wanted to get a first, even if it required blood, sweat and tears (which it did!). From March till about April,  I sat on my butt at my flat table in the kitchen for hours writing essays, reading and generally trying to educate myself. It became a second home for not just me but the rest of my flatmates. But fortunately, guess what? It payed off. This year, I walked out of my second year with a first.

I’ve never been bad at education. I’ve always been average. Yes I assure you, I know it’s nothing to moan about. Starting PR in my first year, I finally felt that I found something I loved, enjoyed and bonus, I was kind of good at. I found myself having ambition and drive to do well. First year, I walked out of the year with a high 2:1. I was happy but I swore I would work my butt off next year and try for a first. (Sitting at that table for so long, my butt didn’t work but more became numb!)

I didn’t think  a first was possible to be blatantly honest. Writing this, I still can’t quite believe I managed it. To some people, it is just a number or a regular thing but for me it finally convinced me that I had found ‘my thing’.  It gave me the confidence to pursue something that I enjoy and love so much.

Anyway, I’m back in Devon now. I took three weeks off seeing people, spending time with family and enjoying Devon in the sunshine. It was a lovely break. The sun has not lasted long, of course but I have found myself a ‘summer’ job and guess what? It’s in PR. I’ve been very lucky that a digital marketing agency down here have taken a chance with me. I am a PR  / Content Assistant for three months until third year comes calling in September.

Moral of the story: Stop doubting yourself, work hard and make it happen.

 

Made to Stick // TFL ‘Report it to Stop it’ Campaign

report it to stop it.png

I have lived in London for two years. Thankfully, I have had a great time in the city but a city comes with its chances. At first, being a country girl I was always on my guard. After a few months, complacency sets in and slowly you start to turn into that ‘typical Londoner’. Always in a rush, always unaware of surroundings.

At the start of my academic year, as a group project we looked at the TFL sexual harassment campaign. This campaign was created after researched showed 90% of incidents on London Public Transport go unreported. The campaign encourages commuters to report harassment on London’s Public Transport. Personally, I only realised the significance of the campaign when being faced with the issue myself.

A few weeks ago on two occasions I have been made to feel uncomfortable on London Transport. Something that I have never had to experience. It’s a coincidence both incidents happened in one week.  The incidents were minor but even so, I was made to feel so uncomfortable that I started to question my safety. Forgetting about gender, male or female, nobody should be made to feel uncomfortable on public transport.

I completely connected with the TFL campaign months after I had been exposed to it.   After the incident, I realised the campaign message was made to stick. I knew instantly how to report, where to report and what to report, all from a short video  TFL had created back in April 2015.  Campaign messages can still connect with their target audiences successfully. This TFL campaign shows that even with the many messages in this noisy old world, a campaign can still break through the noise.

If someone makes you feel uncomfortable on public transport, it is wrong. In the words of TFL – report it to stop it.  Find out more about the campaign here. Watch the video here.

Top 5: Campaigns on Female Empowerment

Female empowerment campaigns are nothing new. The past few years it seems the message of female positivity has been a theme. Even though a large proportion of the world view women as equal to men, there is still a strong stereotype that women are the weaker gender even from women themselves. Recently, an essay question that was set for a piece within my course asked to ‘analyse a campaign that has changed a key stakeholders behaviour or attitudes to an issue’. The theme of ‘female empowerment’ has opened the world’s  eyes to certain attitudes and behaviours that need to be changed.

I decided to focus on female empowerment campaigns and these we’re my top five…

  1. Alway’s ‘Like a Girl’ 
    It focuses fully on female empowerment, and uses the phrase “Like a girl” to dissect and front the video campaign. The campaign  focuses on young girls going through puberty, and provides  research to show that over 50% of girls experience a drop in confidence during puberty. However,  the majority of them consider the term ‘like a girl’ to be an insult. This makes logical sense, as you realise how damaging language can be towards young girls and that pre-adolescence is the time in which our language has a significant bearing on gender values. Nevertheless, the company chose a relevant time to make such a universal and relatable statement, which is one of the greatest reasons that this ad was extremely successful in making its point. It doesn’t state a case about language and stereotyping – it makes one.
  2. Sports England, This Girl Can
    This Girl Can is a nationwide campaign to get women and girls moving, regardless of shape, size and ability. The research revealed a huge difference in the number of men and women playing sport. And it’s not because females don’t want to get active. Millions of women and girls are afraid to exercise because of fear of judgement. This campaign was a great way to encourage young British female women to be active in sports without the fear of judgment.
  3. Lean in, Ban Bossy
    Another campaign set on encouraging girls to compete with boys at a young age is Ban Bossy. Beyoncé, Condoleezza Rice, Jennifer Garner, and many more celebs have teamed up with the Lean In organisations to let girls know assertive doesn’t mean bossy. Some of the shocking statistics on their site show that women are twice as likely to avoid taking on leadership positions that might portray them as bossy. This isn’t just in the working world, it starts in the classroom as girls are picked to answer less and interrupted more by others when compared to their male counterparts. By using powerful and influential celebrities to get their message across, the Ban Bossy campaign is showing young girls that ruling the world doesn’t mean you’re bossy: it means you’re awesome.
  4. Real Beauty, Dove
    The Dove Real Beauty campaign was informed by research on female self-esteem, it was incredibly successful in changing an attitude towards beauty. The success shown in the level of engagement from an audience but also the fact that the campaign has been running since 2004.  The campaign has changed an attitude towards beauty, now to be a source of confidence, rather than anxiety, amongst women. Each video content produced for the campaign goes viral and sends social media going wild especially the ‘Beauty Sketches’ video. The Dove campaign showed real women, their real beauty. Raw but beautiful.
  5. HeForShe, UN Women
    I originally was alerted to this campaign by the wonderful speech Emma Watson gave, talking about the campaigns goal to engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights, by encouraging them to take action against inequalities faced by women and girls. Their mission is to make people everywhere understand and support the idea of gender equality. They know it’s not just a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue. It’s goal is to engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights, by encouraging them to take action against inequalities faced by women and girls.

Personally I really enjoy that tackling an issue has become a primary purpose and selling a product is now becoming a secondary purpose in ad campaigns. It’s refreshing. I’m sure there are many more campaigns I have missed. Feel free to put suggestions below!

Top 5: My PR Thought Leaders

Thought leaders are crucial in the field of public relations.  A trusted and innovative source that inspires and motivates people to do more. Innovative thinking that provides answers to pressing issues.

Thought leaders are changing the world in meaningful ways and engaging others to join their efforts. They create evolutionary and even revolutionary advancements in their fields not just by urging others to be open to new ways of thinking, but when they create a blueprint for people to follow – they provide a method, process, guidelines or a set of best practices.I feel that being aware of thought leaders within your degree only motivates you more to do well.

Thought leadership is not about being known, it is about being known for
                 making a difference.

I wanted to look at my ‘Top 5: PR Thought Leaders’, people who inspire me to become a success as a person and in the field of PR. By following these  thought leaders on their Twitter, their blog or their LinkedIn you are constantly aware of their content and up to date with current movements in the industry. Each day I am either inspired or motivated by these top 5…

 

  1. Stephen Waddington
    My favourite content produced by Stephen recently is his talk at ‘Thinking Digital’ in Manchester. He talks about how brands can use the internet effectively and correctly, great information for entering the industry. One of best thought leaders in digital and great content over on his blog and Twitter feed.
  2. Mary Whenman
    A great advocate for women in the industry. Supporting younger women in the PR industry is a particular passion of hers. Mary is President of ‘Women in PR’ (an independent association specifically for senior women working in the UK PR industry) and speaks at a lot of events on the female pipeline and women in the boardroom.
  3. Colin Byrne
    Colin is a thought leader due to his tremendous work in Weber Shandwick but his knowledge of the wider context. A blog post he wrote in January “2016: The year PR leaps ahead”  on Weber Shandwick’s website, shows clearly how aware Colin is of trends and issues that will rise in 2016.  Colin also writes a personal blog with content ranging from his love of David Bowie as a creative, to be in PR or not and diversity in PR.
  4. Paul Arden
    Unfortunately, Paul Arden is no longer with us. This month I have been reading his book ‘It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be’ and I love it. It still applies to PR in 2016 even though it has developed considerably since it was written back in 2003. Paul was not only a thought leader in PR but this book is a concise guide to making sure people make the most out of themselves in their career.
  5. Richard Bailey
    Richard has a great website that runs a weekly competition #BestPRBlogs. It looks at students nationally who write blog post that are informative, engaging and well written. Richard is a thought leader specifically for students and constantly comes up with new ways to engage the students that are the upcoming PR practitioners of the industry.

 

Can’t afford a ticket to a PR event? Don’t despair…

In October 2016, I received an email from the CIPR about their National Conference.  It was instantly intriguing due to the female heavy line up. I am writing my dissertation on femininity within PR therefore I was extremely keen to grab a ticket. As a student, the ticket price led to the predicament eat for the month or attend.

So, I decided to find out the events company running the conference and popped them an email. Contacting a company to ask for a free pass starting with the line ‘I’m a student’ can sometimes feel slightly uncomfortable. Actually, it always feels uncomfortable. So instead, I asked if I could volunteer at the event. The events company agreed. On Tuesday 22nd November, I made my way to the Barbican to attend the CIPR National Conference 2016.

Asking to volunteer at the event led to gaining a pass to the conference but I also learnt further skills on how to run a corporate event. I experienced greeting guests, organising packages for guests and most exciting of all, I was left to organise the questions from the audience for speakers through a digital app, Slido. I gained a new skill by learning how to operate the app and I was able to watch every individual speaker. It was a truly inspiring event full of brilliant women and men.

I loved being part of the conference and the events company had an extra pair of hands. It was mutually beneficial for both parties. So, if you see an event that you would like to attend but your student budget doesn’t quite stretch. Ask if there is an oppurtunity to volunteer. The worst they can do is turn your offer down and in my experience, everybody loves a helping hand.

Big thanks to the CIPR and Don’t Panic Events for the brilliant opportunity and day.

 

Header image credit: http://mamameowtoledo.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/volunteer-opportunities-for-toledo-teens.html

Feeling like a fraud…

The journey to university was a struggle. After bad health, an extra year in college and a long commute each day, I finally submitted my application. Late November, an email popped into my account from UCAS.  I had been accepted into my first choice, University of Greenwich.

From this point onwards, I referred to my acceptance as ‘lucky’. Not once, did I mention to anybody how hard I had worked, how I had spent an extra year gaining the grades for the course or my long commute each day to college. I put my acceptance to university down to ‘luck’.

In 2015, I ran in The PR Fraternity elections. A society that runs alongside my PR and Communications degree. All of the candidates were extremely strong and I assumed my chances were nil. Surprisingly, I was voted the role of President. I was extremely happy, but in the later days I found out that the vote had been very close. I chose to focus sorely on this information and again, I counted myself as ‘lucky’.

I didn’t know it at the time but this is called imposter syndrome: the fear of being exposed, that you don’t deserve your success, aren’t as good as others – and could be “found out” at any moment. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

This month, I read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In. This is where I learnt of imposter syndrome and instantly related. It describes that women are more likely to feel that they are not worthy of their success than men. Men experience imposter syndrome to but use it very differently. Women use imposter syndrome to lean out of work, and men use imposter syndrome to lean into work. Men see imposter syndrome as doing something right, a challenge that they will conquer.

Throughout my presidency last year, I felt the success of the year was purely down to my team, honorary patrons and luck. I still to this day give myself no credit for the achievements throughout the year including a consistent guest speaker series and turning the society around to become the ‘biggest academic society of the year’. A male in this position however, would “always be proud of their success” says Sheryl Sandberg. Men label their success down to hard work, graft and effort.

We as women need to take note. There is a fine line between self-deprecation and self-destruction. We don’t need to start acting like men, or approaching imposter syndrome as a male, because of course, we are women. We just need to be ourselves and own our success.

More information on Sheryl Sandberg’s, Lean In campaign here.
Image credit: http://f–f.info/?p=18021

Back to the city lights..

She threw her arms in the air and shouted ‘I’m baaaaaack’…

I’m back in London. Well, truthfully I’ve been back in London for about a month. After a lovely holiday, a visit to my hometown in Ireland and a crash on the M4 (everyone was fine!), I’ve successfully made it back to the city. Since being back, it’s been a very busy few weeks. Third year feels like another step up from last year. So, please do excuse this post for being so late.

I had already been preparing myself through the summer for this year to be… mental. Last year, we were fortunate enough to know our third year class very well. They were ace. They helped us out so much and also prepped us for what was to come. I was truly happy to see that they all graduated with incredible grades. Now it’s our turn…

I am dreading my dissertation. Who doesn’t? I think the dread and worry is due to wanting to produce a piece of work that I am proud of. I also know that this topic needs to be done justice but I am glad I have chosen something I am thoroughly intrigued by. My topic is a current issue in the PR industry that I am not only passionate about but want to be a part of effectively changing. My dissertation is based on qualitative research and I’ve had such a lovely response from the PR Practitioners that I have asked to interview (all have said yes, woo!). Which only adds to my previous experience of PR industry professionals, the majority are always happy to help, so do not be afraid to ask.

I’ve also got to find myself a job this year. It’s hit home this month that in a blink of an eye I will be graduating. I plan to apply for a number of graduate schemes and jobs in the coming months. I’ve started to think what makes me as an applicant unique. What will make my application (hopefully!) stand out from the thousands I will be competing against, because ultimately, there will be thousands of young PR graduates looking for a first job in 2017. My ideal scenario… to be accepted onto a scheme or get a job in a top agency. Looking for my first job in a top agency is a high goal, I know but I feel anything is achievable if you work your ass off. That is what I’ll be doing this year.

So, if you don’t hear from me for a while, that’s where I’ll be, thoroughly working my ass off.

 

 

What I learnt capturing an event on social media…

This summer, I worked for a digital marketing company as a PR/Content Assistant.

I was asked to attend the company’s business show that allowed local businesses to connect and network. The day included exhibitors, seminars and workshops bringing people from across the region together in one room. My responsibility for the day was capturing the event on the company’s social media.

I had previous experience from my time as President at the PR Fraternity, as our team would manage our own events to a very high standard. Social media was a key factor in gaining a brilliant reputation for the PR Fraternity from industry professionals. At the PR Fraternity events, using imagery seemed to be the most effective content to engage followers.

I used imagery throughout the event which gained great engagment online.  This throws up an important point, always tag, it introduces a new audience to your photograph. I found that by tagging the company’s involved in the photographs, it was being retweeted by them on their account. This alerted their followers/customers to our event and gained more interest from a wider audience.

Another trick is quoting. If people can’t make the event, quoting a speaker or presentation is a great way to engage an online audience. It’s the best of both worlds,  a short quote keeps the audience up to date and relays relevant information.

What gets a quote traction? A hashtag. Hashtags puts your port in front of an audience or community that are actively seeking this topic. It helps your post reach that niche audience you are looking to target. It presents your company or business to an audience that may or may not of heard of you before. Which could consequently result in new opportunities and even new clients. Don’t go overboard though! Use hashtags relevant to your post, it shows professionalism and it isn’t passed off as spam or desperation.

My regret of the day. I didn’t jump on the Facebook Live band-wagon. In my opinion, it’s overtaken Periscope in the live streaming game. I have to say it is a great tool and content creator. After your Facebook Live broadcast, the video can be edited and then posted on your site. Video streaming, especially through Facebook Live, is an incredible opportunity. Baring in mind, the prediction that 75% of content online will be video by 2018. We better all get jumping on the video bandwagon.

In conclusion, the main tips I have learnt from this experience.

  • Visual always gains more engagment and traction, so make this your number one feature of your posts covering the event.
  • Always tag either the company or the individual in the posts or photographs, opening up your content to a whole new audience.
  • Even though visual is now everything, people like to hear relevant information. Quotes do this nicely.
  • Create a hashtag for your event. Make sure it is on each post. Use popular hashtags on your posts but only if relevant to your event.
  • Don’t be afraid to use video. A great tool to  firstly showcase your knowledge and secondly, increase your fan, follower and customer base.