This week in PR (8 February)

About the author

Richard Bailey Hon FCIPR is editor of PR Academy's PR Place Insights. He teaches and assesses undergraduate, postgraduate and professional students.

Liverpool @orlaghclaire
Liverpool @orlaghclaire

In the news

  • The Economist reminds us that Facebook turned 15 this week. ‘Few companies have exerted such a strong influence on society, changing people’s communication habits, reuniting lost contacts, shaping their perception of world events and redefining the meaning of the word “friend”.’ Yet the critics are circling: see this review of insider book Zucked in The Guardian.
  • Remember the world record egg on Instagram? It’s been revealed as a mental health awareness campaign. The person behind this was Chris Godfrey, a London-based advertising creative.
  • How to succeed in public relations consultancy: bring in over £120,000 a year in fee income – and consider working in financial PR. Kingston Smith has looked at the numbers of the top 40 consultancies for PR Week.


  • You have missed the deadline to submit a paper to the International History of Public Relations Conference. But there are two panels planned for the conference:

1) “Future of PR History” led by Associate Professor Dustin Supa. This panel will explore where we are going next in the study of the history of public relations – what new topics and approaches will be at the forefront of the next decade of PR history research

2) “Teaching PR History” led by Assistant Professor Jessalynn Strauss. Participants in this panel will share their ideas for teaching PR history. Possible topics might include but are not limited to relating PR history to today’s college students; teaching diverse histories in public relations; encouraging students to participate in PR history research, and more

Individuals wishing to participate on a panel should create a 200 word (maximum) abstract of their contribution to the panel’s concept. That abstract should be submitted to [email protected] with the subject line “Name of panel” no later than Monday, March 11, 2019. Final participants will be selected and notified by April 5th 2019. Accepted panellists will have 12-15 minutes for presentation. The presentations will be followed by a moderated discussion.

Insights and opinions: Pick of the posts

These are the editor’s pick of posts about public relations this week (UK focused, but with a global outlook). Recommendations are welcome to [email protected] or @pr_place

Purpose and professionalism

  • Simon Cohen: My purpose is to multiply (no date)
    ‘I’m an international event host/chair, and give keynote talks and interviews on leadership, values and enlightened business for the likes of Cannes Lions, Harvard Business Review, Sustainability Leaders Forum – and you, if you’d like.’
  • Padraig Mckeon: Shaping an effective champion for growth of public relations industry professionals and their work (1 February)
    ‘At the strategic level, the opportunity has never been greater. Informed counsel has never been more important. An effective communications function facilitating an ongoing two way process with its stakeholders is a vital component of all of the most effective organisations in the world – across all sectors and models of ownership or control.’

Consulting, careers and skills

  • Maud Davis: How to excel at account management (6 February)
    ‘When I am asked to conduct feedback audits, what clients seem to value most in their account manager is the feeling that they are forever thinking about them and coming up with ideas and solutions. Partnership comes to mind.’
  • Isabel Johnston: The art of telling a story … (6 February)
    ‘Simply put – people love people. They want read and hear about things that bring products or services to life.’
  • Chris Measures: Nick Clegg – the worst job in PR? (6 February)
    ‘I’m going to focus this post on the challenges facing Facebook’s PR team, and in particular Sir Nick Clegg, the company’s recently appointed head of global affairs.’
  • Roger Darashah: ‘No Fundamental Difference Between Agencies’; Only If You Think So, Sir Martin! (5 February)
    ‘Competitive advantage in creative, relationship-based industries is not secured by the race to the bottom; ‘conflict’ is the lowest and least gratifying reason that an agency wins a piece of business.’
  • Adrian Talbot: If you want to offer Integrated Services, integrate your people first! (4 February)
    ‘In the current marketplace it is vital integrated client teams know each other personally and professionally, I actually believe clients can feel it in the room at a pitch.’
  • Simon Wakeman: A sixty year success story (4 February)
    ‘On Wednesday, 4th February 1959 Elvis Presley was at number one in the UK charts and Harold Macmillan was Prime Minister. And in south-east London Dr Tony Deeson founded a small business producing a magazine for the customers of one client — Diners Club, the first credit card to be launched in the UK.’
  • Hamish Thompson: Lens (3 February)
    ‘PR is like having a moving wall with holes in it between you and the audience. It’s like a camera obscura lens that won’t stay still.’

Public and third sectors

  • Alex Aiken: Alex Aiken introduces GCS 2020 (7 February)
    ‘We need to step up our efforts to ensure our government communicators are fully motivated, educated and equipped to listen, use behavioural science techniques to respond at pace, manage reputation and public trust in government and tackle disinformation.’
  • Richard Evans: 50 charities mentioned most in parliament in 2018 (4 February)
    ‘This year, the number one charity highlights that not all Parliamentary mentions are a good thing: Oxfam, whose place at the top of the chart is because of the focus that resulted from the sexual abuse scandal that caused it so much damage.’

Gender, diversity and wellbeing

  • Amanda Coleman: Finding our greats (5 February)
    ‘Women are still not paid at the same rate as men, they still face the questions about their private lives and marital status, they still find doors to the top jobs closed, and they still have to fight hard to be recognised for their skills and expertise.’
  • Rebecca Griffiths: How I finally kicked my anxiety to the curb (5 February)
    ‘Around eighteen months ago I had my last major anxiety attack. It was triggered by a project which had been relentless (a lot of anxiety attacks stem from one particular thing, sometimes quite small). It was actually a huge success, but it left me a mess. I could barely get out of bed. I cried all the way to the school playground to drop off my kids (and most of the time to be honest).’

Measurement and evaluation

Brands and influence

  • Sarah Burns: Why compliance is key to professionalising influencer marketing (7 February)
    ‘The influencer marketing industry is evolving and it’s evolving in a positive direction, but to achieve full transparency all parties, including the platforms, need to take responsibility for the environment in which they operate.’
  • Scott Guthrie: Yes … another FYRE Festival article… but wait (5 February)
    ‘Instagram isn’t us. It’s the aspirational us. It’s just a digital version of us; one reality. Online there’s a tendency to show only the positive, successful side of our life. Instagram is the platform of choice for this form of self promotion.’
  • Iva Grigorova: 6 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Influencers (5 February)
    ‘Video content is engaging and more interesting because it doesn’t require too much commitment time. In 30 to 40 seconds, you can tell an inspiring story.’

Internal communication

  • Lise Michaud: Internal Communication and the License to Operate (7 February)
    ‘Communication expertise alone is not enough. Practitioners must understand the business and show that to business leaders.’
  • Jenni Kampf: One year on – what I’ve learned in my first year of blogging (6 February)
    ‘I like to think about the stuff I’d have found useful, especially when starting out in communications. And I like to share the things I come across that chime with me and that sound useful.’
  • Debbie Aurelius: How to measure internal communications using a simple learning mode (5 February)
    ‘The Kirkpatrick model [is] not unlike the AMEC model many comms colleagues already use to good effect, but it has some subtle differences I think can help define a more bespoke approach for internal communications professionals.’
  • Lester Posner: Kicking the habit, changing behaviour with communications (5 February)
    ‘If you’re looking to become a more effective influencer, a working knowledge of behavioural science can really add to your skill set.’
  • Ross Wigham: NHS lessons on internal comms (1 February)
    ‘With the NHS struggling to recruit the volume of staff needed and hospitals facing large increases in demand (around 5% in our organisation this year alone) proactive and responsive internal comms are becoming more important than ever before.’

Campaigns and creativity

  • Claire Bridges: A tonic for frazzled brains: how to beat creative burnout (no date)
    ‘As writer Maya Angelou famously said: ‘You can’t use creativity up. The more you use, the more you have.’
  • Heather Yaxley: Power (2 February)
    ‘As a full-time artist, Sophie [Gamand] proves the importance of good photography and the power of public relations to give abandoned animals, and those seeking to find homes for them, a louder voice.’

Technology and AI

  • Vassilena Valchinova: Ana Reyes-Menendez: Our Brain Has Not Evolved at the Speed of Tech (7 February)
    ‘Technology is developing at a lightning speed, society has advanced, but our brain doesn’t move forward as quickly… This is where cognitive biases come in. Driven by our need to understand the world, we’re looking for mechanisms that ease decision-making.’

Media and digital

  • Stephen Davies: The Digital Communications Hype Cycle 2019 (no date)
    ‘Instagram recently announced that 500 million people use stories every day, up from 400 million in June 2018. Expect to see a lot more growth in this area with an emphasis on monetising them.’
  • Michael White: My first vlog (this one isn’t about brewing) (6 February)
    ‘Keeping a blog running is a lot of hard work, you really have to be writing something at least once a week, probably twice a week…. Weirdly, despite the number of influencers in the communications industry, I haven’t actually come across a vlogger.’
  • Stephen Waddington: Podcasts are booming, but how do you measure success? (4 February)
    ‘The number of podcast listeners has almost doubled in five years – from 3.2 million in 2013 to 5.9 million in 2018.’
  • Dan Slee: YOUNG PEOPLE: What you need to know about the channels they’re using in 2019 (4 February)
    ‘There is a gap in the knowledge of many comms people over under 16s. This gap in the vocabulary means that Ofcom’s newly published ‘Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes’ report is a welcome addition.’
  • Gary Taylor: Useful links: thoughts from when the web was young (3 February)
    ‘In the last 12-plus years my content has attracted seven comments. Five came from the same person, one was a response I made. It can make life harder if you’re trying to track engagement or build an audience.’
  • Andrew Smith: Paid media management for PR (1 February)
    ‘Rather than viewing all paid media as advertising, perhaps sponsored content via social media should be seen as another string to the bow of the 21st century PR practitioner.’

#prstudent #bestPRblogs

PR Careers: 2019: 150 PR internships and graduate schemes

  • Lucy Hayball (Bournemouth): Why everyone needs someone to look up to – a bit of motivation (7 February)
    ‘Those people who I look up to inspire me to work hard and achieve maybe what they have in a few years time. They inspire me to keep learning and working to be the best and happiest I can be.’
  • Lottie Wilshire (South Wales): Guess who’s back, back again? (6 February)
    ‘There’s a plethora of tips and tricks online about how to best manage your time if you work in PR, and I think that a lot of them can be applied when working towards uni deadlines! Here’s my top three.’
  • Orlagh Shanks (Liverpool John Moores): The ‘Purpose’ of PR (6 February)
    ‘I wasn’t curing cancer and neither was I saving the rainforests but I was promoting products that made people feel better about themselves and that sent out inspiring messages to consumers.’
  • Beth Smith (Sunderland): HOW TO | Make the most out of your PR internship/placement (5 February)
    ‘Potential employers could be using an internship as a trial run of what you can do and what they expect from you. Give it everything you’ve got, just like you would if you’d got hired full-time.’
  • Nora Brennan (Ulster): My personal guide to living (your best life) (5 February)
    ‘Try not to take everything in life so personally (I am soooo guilty of this), and do not listen to that little voice in your head who drops by from time to time to tell you that you aren’t good enough.’
  • Ben Lewis (Lincoln): Why I believe a placement year is worthwhile (4 February)
    ‘In Summer 2017, after a series of interviews and tests, I was offered the position of Communications Intern at Bentley Motors. After an extremely successful nine months at Bentley, I worked a further two months at an automotive PR agency in London, called Influence Associates.’
  • Bronagh Carey (Ulster): Vegan – Your Way (4 January)
    ‘I want to give my thoughts on the very topical “vegan lifestyle” and what that means to me, and I challenge anyone reading to keep an open mind.’
  • Niamh Murray (Ulster): Taken (3 February)
    ‘But where do you belong? You’re not happy with the rich and they’re not happy with you. But you can’t go back to your real family because you’re not welcome there either. It’s too late now to go back.’
  • Sian Jones (South Wales): Learning Welsh (2 February)
    ‘Communication in many industries in Wales has to be bi-lingual. Right now it’s difficult as tweets I want to send I need to get the Welsh translation. Unfortunately that can take time and I miss getting important communication out.’
  • Megan Tidbury (Southampton Solent): The importance of work experience (1 February)
    ‘You definitely need perseverance to find a work placement, it’s the only thing that will get you through the rejections or no responses.’