POSTED BY Carly Smith

PR Skills Training - Never Stop Learning

PR skills training: why it matters

I’ve previously written on why public relations is an art, rather than a science. However, that doesn’t mean that PR skills training isn’t vital to the professional success of individual practitioners – and the media campaigns they develop and execute.    

The benefits of professional development

As a consultancy
which specialises in the recruitment and talent management sectors, we
often work with our clients to share stories around the benefits of professional

Research from Guidant Group, for example, recently found that almost half of businesses (47%) believe that

Think your office refurb makes for interesting PR?

No one cares that you’ve decorated your office: ways to find PR stories that are of interest

The disparity between what a business thinks is an interesting PR story, and the information that actually grabs the attention of target publications, is often vast. However, by viewing potential press angles through the eyes of the audience, brands can uncover stories which won’t fail to make headlines.
In reality, even the most niche publications are unlikely to have much interest in the fact that you have had an office refurbishment, refreshed your website or invested in a new coffee machine. That is, of course, unless you have a solid angle as to ‘why’ you have made those changes which

BBC’s The Bodyguard: the power of reactive PR

While expertly executed PR programmes, based on carefully constructed plans, are the bedrock of any successful PR campaign, reactive PR and marketing activity can offer brands a fast-track route to getting their voices heard.
And this technique was something that Counter Terrorism Policing UK demonstrated perfectly, when it capitalised on the popularity of BBC’s The Bodyguard: the most watched new British drama in more than a decade, with more than 10 million viewers tuning in to the first episode.
Demonstrable ROI
By creating a social campaign tagged to the hit show – which offered behind the scenes insight and directed

the power of polls

The power of polls

Positioning your brand as a thought leader in its field through PR takes not only a superior understanding of the market, but also time and dedication. However, while there is no shortcut to building a solid media profile, generating data through surveying your networks can supercharge a press release by boosting both newsworthiness and the potential to repurpose.
Flick through any national newspaper, or scroll through any major newsfeed, and you’ll find that a significant number use statistics as a hook. Thanks to the power of polls, we know that Magnums are the UK’s favourite ice cream, England’s progress in

PR is an art, not a science

PR is an art, not a science

I’ve previously written on the reasons why I believe that PR professionals won’t be replaced by robots, and it seems that recent research from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) confirms my suspicions.
The paper, Humans still needed: An analysis of skills and tools in public relations, concludes that the profession needs people to ‘think creatively and abstractly about problems to devise new and innovative strategies, test out different approaches and look to the future’.
However, unlike my own anecdotal musings on the same topic, this report clearly analyses where technology can pick up the slack – and where

write winning award submission

How to write a winning award submission

Entering corporate awards can be a great way to gain exposure, enhance brand perception and validate your market position. However, for each category, there can be only one winner – here’s how you can stand out from the crowd and earn your status as an ‘award winning’ organisation.
Choose wisely
To be in with a chance of taking home a trophy, you’ll have to invest a hefty chunk of time and resources into collating the information needed. For this reason, taking the decision to enter awards shouldn’t be taken lightly – it has to be worth the effort.
Do some

KFC: What can PR professionals learn from the Colonel?

As far as PR challenges go, a chicken shop running out of chicken is a pretty major deal. Which perhaps explains the furore which ensued when KFC was forced to close the majority of its 900 restaurants after bringing a new delivery partner on board.
The fiasco was covered extensively across the UK mainstream media, with the most influential outlets from the Sun to the Financial Times offering real-time updates on the situation. Social media, meanwhile, went into overdrive, with fans of the chain demanding, among other things, that the government calls an emergency Cobra meeting over the shortage.

PR for start-ups what’s the point

PR for start-ups: what’s the point?

Make no mistake, getting any fledgling business off the ground is tough, regardless of the founder’s skills, experience and level of dedication. And despite the huge potential rewards associated with setting up your own company, it’s a sad fact that around half of new start-ups fail in the first five years.
The recruitment sector is particularly competitive. According to Companies House data, over 9,000 recruitment consultancies set up shop in the UK during 2017. That’s an average of 818 new agencies being registered every single month. Each of these businesses will need to make important decisions around premises, the software

Blurred lines: Differentiating marketing and PR

Blurred lines: Differentiating marketing and PR

In a world where the lines between advertising, marketing and PR are becoming increasingly blurred, it’s little wonder that some business leaders struggle to see where one function ends and another begins. Add in the role played by social media and it’s easy to see why there’s so much confusion.
It’s a hotly debated topic. Should the boundaries be that clear cut? Does it really matter as long as the right result is achieved? It’s important though, to understand what PR does that marketing doesn’t, to achieve a comprehensive communication effort.
In simple terms, the fundamental differentiator between marketing and

essential steps when a reporter says 'yes'

Essential steps when a reporter says ‘yes’

You’ve identified the ingredients for a perfect story, fired off a killer email pitch or picked up the phone and articulated your client’s experience, expertise and angle. The editor or journalist wants to cover the story Result! But where do you go from here? What are the essential steps when a reporter says ‘yes’?
Be clear on what the publication needs from you
It may sound obvious, but be sure that your expectations are aligned. You may have thought that you were setting up an interview, while the commissioning editor had a 1,500 word, Harvard referenced, by-lined article in mind.

How to be an effective media spokesperson.

How to be an effective media spokesperson

We’ve all been there. You turn on the TV or open the morning paper only to see a story which is centred around your business sector splashed everywhere. You knew this story was going to hit the headlines months ago – why aren’t you being interviewed along with the other experts? Here are our top tips for becoming an effective media spokesperson:
Be visible
Becoming a thought leader takes commitment. If a reporter or researcher is looking for insight on GP shortages in rural Essex, for example, the obvious place to begin their search is online. Make a habit of

share content

How to encourage your employees to share content

On average, employees have 10 times more followers than their company’s social media accounts.
We recently shared our 10 top tips for social media success. In the post we stressed that encouraging employees to post and share content about your organisation will increase your reach beyond your own channels, while simultaneously building potential leads and brand perception.

Sounds simple – but in our experience, recruiters have a habit of protesting that they’re too busy getting on with the day job to prioritise social sharing. Here’s how to make them change their minds:
Ensure your content is worth sharing

In it for the long-haul: why short-term marketing doesn’t work

In it for the long-haul: why short-term marketing doesn’t work

Building a brand takes dedication. As well as a great product or service, you need to invest time and resources into spreading your message. There is no quick fix – success relies on a sustained approach. Short-term marketing initiatives are quite frankly, pointless.
Of course, there is a place for dedicated campaigns to promote a time sensitive event or initiative, but this should be contextualised within a programme of ongoing communications. You wouldn’t expect to get fit by visiting the gym once – however hard you pushed yourself during your single visit – so why should the results of PR

sharpen your pr writing

Seven top tips to sharpen your PR writing

I recently blogged on why PR professionals are unlikely to be replaced by robots in the near future. One of the reasons why is the human ability to craft copy to create impact at a time when content can no longer demand attention.

Here are my seven top tips to sharpen your PR writing:
Get to the point quickly
Whether you’re drafting a pitch, press release or article, ensure that your intended message is clear from the outset, or you’ll swiftly lose your audience.
Cover all bases
PR professionals should always attempt to answer

Artificial intelligence technology

Why PR professionals won’t be replaced with robots

A new report from PwC suggests that robotics and artificial intelligence could affect almost a third of UK jobs by the 2030s. However, while the rise of technology is increasing impacting the way that organisations hire – PR professionals won’t be replaced by robots.
A recent blog on PR Daily highlights the four crucial skills that PR professionals will always need (and our blog post last week discusses the skills a PR professional would be unsuccessful without). These are writing, research, project management and presentation.
Looking at writing ability specifically, the ability to craft copy to create impact

Brexit Trump Bake off

Why share your opinion on the news?

Few people hold back from airing their opinions on current affairs in person. And let’s face it, 2016 and 2017 have been particularly easy years for making small talk. However, while I’m sure you will have shared your firm thoughts on Brexit, Trump or The Great British Bake Off to anyone within earshot, for the majority, this insight will never be broadcast more widely.
However, publicly sharing your viewpoints on relevant news stories online can be a fast-track to building your personal brand and, by association, your company’s corporate identity.
You can’t become a thought leader without saying what you

Give Graduates Credit

Let’s give graduates some credit

I read with interest a recent article which proclaims that corporate culture captures and destroys our best graduates. Particularly as PR – alongside finance, advertising and management consultancy – was listed as a pointless and destructive occupation.
While I don’t dispute the aggressive recruitment drives that multi-nationals employ to extract the brightest talent from top universities, I think it’s a little strong to liken the annual milk round to a kamikaze mission.
Having never worked for a large corporate firm, I can’t authoritatively comment on whether they habitually use the military style ‘Build them up and break them


Your reputation – how to create a brand – and how to keep it!

BlueSky PR’s very own Stephanie King will make her speaking debut at Recruitment Agency Expo North on the 2nd and 3rd of October 2013.
Following the huge success of Recruitment Agency Expo in London over the last two years, recruiters now have the chance to network with peers and potential suppliers at a brand new, midlands-based event. Recruitment Agency Expo North will take place on 2nd and 3rd October 2013 in the Pavilion Hall at the NEC, Birmingham.
Steph will be talking on the importance of creating, protecting and maintaining your reputation as a recruiter. The lines


BlueSky’s bloopers

Just for a laugh – here are the out takes from BlueSky PR’s YouTube channel:

leverage your PR coverage

Lessons in PR – what I’ve learned during a year on the job

Last week BlueSky PR directors Tracey and Adrian Barrett kindly treated the account executive team to lunch to celebrate our first year with the company. As we reflected on the highs and lows of an incredible twelve months, it dawned on me just much I’ve learned during my time at BlueSky.

Social Media

Recruiters – are you using social media effectively?

Earlier this week my colleague Hannah Jones and I attended a workshop: Social Media Content for Recruitment.


How to use Pinterest to add value to your company

In April we offered tips on writing a press release and, this time, we’re going to look at how Pinterest can add value to your company.
Pinterest, which launched in 2012, is now the third most popular social network after Facebook  and Twitter, so it’s perhaps not something you should ignore. It doesn’t work in the same way as most other networking platforms as there is no direct communication. However, it is becoming increasingly popular with businesses as a new platform for engagement.
So how does it work?

Pinterest is an online pinboard where you can ‘pin’ (post) images

Q&A a&dc

Recruiter Q&A: a&dc

Why do you use PR?
At a&dc we are seen as leaders in the field of behavioural assessment and development, and our clients look to us for the latest thinking and research. In order to really portray ourselves as thought leaders, we feel that PR is absolutely critical.
We have been working with BlueSky since September last year, and have come to rely on PR. We are now able to seek out opportunities within industry and national press, both in digital and in print, reaching a much wider audience.
Social media is also important for us, and we now have

Case Study: Antal International in China

The company
Antal International is a management and professional recruitment specialist, focusing particularly on the sourcing and retention of candidates in the ‘Generation Y’ bracket. Founded in 1993, it was one of the first recruitment organisations to devote substantial resources to emerging markets.
The company now has over 100 offices in more than 30 countries, including China where there are offices in Beijing and Shanghai. Here, Antal works with both multinational organisations and major local Chinese companies.
How PR works for them
BlueSky worked with Sarah Jones, Antal’s operations director for Asia, to create an informative and authoritative article on


Have You Taken an Interest in Pinterest?

Launched in 2010, Pinterest is now the third most popular social network worldwide after Facebook  and Twitter . Unique users doubled from 2m in January 2012 to 4m in March 2012 and Public Relations is number six in the top ten audience interests. So can this fresh new platform add value to your business?
You may wonder if you have the time and resources to manage another social media account but Pinterest seems to have many unique attributes. Unlike other platforms, Pinterest doesn’t allow direct contact which positions it as a ‘buzz-building’ tool rather than a direct networking device. Pinterest’s


BlueSky’s Latest Recruit – Carly Smith!

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Carly Smith, one of the lucky four chosen to join the team at BlueSky as an Account Executive. I will be working on the recruitment side of the business. I graduated from the University of Bedfordshire last year with a degree in Journalism and Public Relations.
Since then I have spent time interning at Cirkle Communications and worked as a Marketing Assistant at Eshop Retail Group where I commissioned a brand new ecommerce website and introduced the company to the wonderful world of social media.
I can’t tell you how excited I am about