Category: Lifting the lid


Boost your CV with work experience

By Raspberry Jim,

We’ve recently been joined by Swansea University student Nerys Durbin who’s written this great blog for us on the benefits of undertaking work experience.

Here Nerys gives us an insight into the benefits of heading out into the world and getting first-hand experience before jumping on the career ladder. For anyone looking to get into the communications industry, this is a great read …

One of the biggest worries during your time at university is wondering if you’ll ever actually get that dream job as soon as you graduate. With thousands of students graduating this summer, it can seem like a bit of a battlefield to ensure you end up employed.

Having some work experience in a role you might be interested in will not only give you the practical skills that are necessary for working in PR, but it can also give you the confidence to reach your career goals. We’ve collected the top five things you will gain from work experience, so you can stand out amongst those thousands of graduates and get the job of your dreams (or at least one that pays the rent).

Variety is the spice of life

Something a degree focusing on the theories behind PR won’t teach you is the huge variety of tasks that you’ll do each day. Getting some real-life work experience will let you try your hand at everything from writing blogs and press releases to creating a social media calendar, giving you actual examples of your work that can be shown to prospective employers. Having this variety of experiences will also give you something to chat about in that all important job interview.

Real World Experience

Whilst you’re in the university bubble, it can be easy to forget work you produce could one day be released into the big wide world. Getting to craft your writing skills away from an academic setting will allow you to grow in confidence, whilst also letting your creativity flourish. It can also add a new kind of pressure knowing that more eyes will be seeing whatever you get to produce, giving you a taste of how a full-time job would be and better equipping you to deal with day-to-day pressures.

Communication is key

You’ve probably heard this before, but communication skills are some of the most valuable ones you can gain. In a world where face-to-face interactions are becoming few and far between, having a solid set of written communication skills will boost your position amongst your peers. Whilst navigating a group project email chain at university can really test those verbal communication skills, nothing beats being plonked down in an office setting. Between asking for help, answering phones or sending professional emails, being able to effectively communicate will always help you out.

Try Before You Buy

Did you go to university thinking you’d figure out a career path somewhere between a 9AM lecture and a 3PM pint with your flatmates? Deciding what you want to do for the rest of your life is a lot harder than those distant relatives who ask, “but what do you want to do with that degree?” think. Giving yourself the chance to try out a variety of different jobs will make that journey slightly easier, even if it just allows you to eliminate the jobs you absolutely do not want to do.

Stand out from the crowd

Whilst that dedication to the university dance team will add something to your CV, having practical experience in a similar setting to a job that you are applying for will surely make you stand out. With a lot of graduates applying for a small pool of jobs, having some evidence of prior interest will definitely elevate your application.

Beat the January Blues and start planning your 2019 PR content 

By Raspberry Jim,


Let’s be honest – January is a long, cold, and slightly disorientating month when the only thing you really want to do is hibernate until February.

Sadly, for many, that is not an option.

So, shedding your pyjamas, venturing out of the house and facing the world is an inevitability.

For those of you getting back into the swing of it this month, planning ahead for your news , PR, digital, and social media content in 2019 might seem ever so slightly daunting.

However, this could actually be the ideal time to get planning and get one step ahead of the rest.

This is especially true if you are looking ahead at maximising potential PR, social media, digital, and media angles for the year. Many natural PR, editorial, and social media opportunities crop up around special calendar days and national days, and now is the time to start planning these in and pitching to the media.

Many online sites are devoted to detailing every traditional, unusual, and sometimes strange, calendar observances throughout the year, which you can tap into.  A quick search online should lead you to national and UK-wide calendar days throughout 2019.

These can range from health awareness initiatives, such as National Obesity Awareness Week running this week, to general awareness days such as the gloomy Blue Monday on January 21, to slightly obscure celebrations such as Popcorn Day on January 19.

Whatever your business and its focus, these upcoming events could prove to be especially useful when you’re planning your media and PR activity for the year.

Take for example, Data Privacy Day; Spouse’s Day; and eDay, which are all set to take place this month.

For legal or intellectual property firms, both eDay and Data Privacy Day could be prime opportunities to promote their services and create an article, specialist feature, or advice-led piece around.

Or you could tap into the social media aspect of these days, creating a bespoke social media calendar offering data privacy top tips every few hours, quotes from experts at your firm, gifs, video interviews, and links to articles, which could really bring your social content alive. Always remember to also use any relevant hashtags to ensure you are part of the national discussion.

Equally, Spouse’s Day could also be another opportunity for legal firms to discuss their services either through an article or social media.

And why not utilise your internal digital channels too? Upload case studies to your website’s news section detailing the common mistakes couples make when creating a prenuptial agreement. Add Q&A and expert opinions from your family solicitors, and even upload videos with interviews with staff offering advice to couples.

If this is all tied into and published via your social media accounts then you’re ensuring even more publicity and coverage.

While Static Electricity or Kid Inventors Days could prove to be useful for educational or science-based businesses looking to tap into something a little bit different this month. Why not create online tasks for budding kid inventors on your website? This can then be tied into your social media and promotional messages.

There’s an abundance to choose from, with everything from the sublime to the unusual set to take place.

Planning ahead will enable you to truly maximise natural PR, digital, and social media opportunities and media hooks which arise throughout the year and are often jumped on by the media.

Allowing more time to get organised will allow you to plan a more thorough multimedia approach around these special days, which not only provides editorial coverage through press releases and features, but also social media, design, and video.

And if you really can’t find a calendar day to suit your business needs, there’s always Chocolate Cake Day on January 27 for you to enjoy!

For more information on our services please visit www.jamjar.agency

The making of the Wild Creations promotional video

By Raspberry Jim,

Wild Creations is a vibrant, creative, energetic company with great staff, cool clients and some really weird and wonderful creations.

We wanted to bring this to life in their promotional video.

Our starting point… the company’s slogan. Through the video, we wanted to visualise all that goes into making ‘the weird and wonderful realised’.

So, how did we do it?

After spending some time with the company to understand more about what they do, it quickly became evident that it’s the ‘weird and wonderful’ team that work at Wild Creations that are at the heart of their unique creations.

We spent a day at their warehouse filming some fly on the wall footage before interviewing members of the team.

As videographers, it is our duty to make our subject feel as comfortable as we can in front of the daunting lens, in addition to doing justice to what they do by how we capture their essence on the set. It’s obvious to us that the subject matter is what really makes this video compelling. The Wild Creations team is full of fun, interesting people and this video is a showcase of their personalities and their work.

When it came to the edit, we started off with an impactful opening scene, with quick-cutting close up sequences all sound synced to an energetic drum beat.

This method is most commonly known through Edgar Wright’s films, such as “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz”, but the reason why Edgar Wright inspired us to use this method is the fact that it helped set the tone of the video.

The fast paced edit sequence which shows a team member getting ready for the day portrays the fun, energetic nature of the company and the strategic use of close-ups adds to the visual intrigue.

The video is edited to a fun drum beat track, which represents the fast pace working environment at Wild Creations. This track allowed us to experiment with the edit, by having pauses to emphasize the ‘weirdness’ of the team but also to highlight their uniqueness.

We absolutely loved making this video and jamming alongside the brilliant Wild Creations team. We hope you like it as much as we do.

Social media secrets – Top tips for posting on the go

By Raspberry Jim,

While many of us spend our days tapping on our phones and scrolling through our feeds, it can quickly become a full-time job when you’re responsible for work social accounts.

It goes without saying that it can be tough to carve out the time to update your social media accounts when you’re out and about, and “doing it for the ‘gram” could be low on your list of priorities.

Whether you’re in meetings, travelling up and down the country or stuck typing furiously, here are our top tips for keeping your social feeds fresh when you’re too busy to double tap.

Don’t overcomplicate it

When you’re posting a status, a tweet or an Insta caption on behalf of your brand, it can be all too easy to fall mute and settle for an emoji.

Keep on-the-go posts simple, authentic and in line with the visual content you’re posting. If it’s a funny team moment, don’t be afraid to show the lighter side of the working day, and don’t over analyse the post that goes with it. Just please (really, please), proof read before hitting share.

Going to a big event? Don’t be afraid to use memes, GIFs or other trending content to capture those tweet-worthy moments.

Keep an eye out

Not everyone is lucky enough to be a natural photographer, but you can easily train your eye to see what makes a good photograph.

Taking a good photo can be simple, as long as you know what you’re looking for. Keep an eye out for interesting subjects, angles and colourful backdrops to avoid falling into the ‘predictable photo’ category.

Even if you’re rushing around, take a moment to think about framing and composition (you don’t want a lamp post poking out of the back of someone’s head). Make sure you stop and hold the camera still and straight – the last thing you want is a blurry, low quality photograph which could have been saved if given an extra few seconds.

Be ‘appy

Having the right tools at your fingertips is crucial for creating high quality visual content on the go. The trick is knowing exactly which apps can help you in a jam, getting you out of a sticky social situation in no time.

When it comes to photography, apps can sweep in to save the day when you’ve only got your iPhone camera at your disposal. Using highly developed and popular apps such as Afterlight 2, Snapseed and Adobe Lightroom can help enhance photos and correct composition if you’ve been slightly too hasty with the shutter button.

You can also design Instagram and Facebook stories using apps such as SNOW and Unfold. SNOW boasts a variety of templates and filters designed to perfect your Insta moments, while Unfold provides designed templates which allow you to polish your stories with an editorial look.

Check the App store on a regular basis to see the latest must have downloads or trending photo apps such as HUJI.

Schedulers aren’t just for desktop

It may seem like you only need scheduling platforms for those moments when you’re sat at your desk, but schedulers such as HootSuite and Sprout Social will be handy if you need to post on the go. This means you won’t need to keep your social accounts linked to your personal Twitter and Facebook, and for anyone who works with social media knows, that’s a boundary that’s too easy to cross.

Let me tell you a story…

Social media is all about digital storytelling and less about the obvious sell. To drive brand awareness and engage followers, you’ll need to be capturing real life moments and documenting your brand’s journey in an authentic, relatable way.

Instagram’s Stories feature has been changing the way brands share their story, including a range of features such as GIFs, polls and questions – making it an easy tool for market research as well as driving engagement.

Stories also allows followers to indulge their nosiness (we’re all guilty!) and provide a behind the scenes look at your company, people and working life.  Just be sure to use your phone’s camera and not the built in Instagram alternative, which compresses images.

Without the barrier of the platform’s tricky algorithm and the pressure of maintaining a perfectly curated and on trend Instagram grid, Stories allows brands to break through the noise. Need more convincing? Stories boast 300million daily users, so make the most of them.

Read all about it… later

Got big news but too busy to write a blog about it? Announcing your news on social could be the quick and easy answer, but you may lose the opportunity to drive traffic to your website by speaking too soon.

If you’re eager to share but want to make the most of the opportunity, post teasers across your social media accounts. Use emojis and cropped images as clues, creating mystery with only a few taps.

Still in a quandary? Our jammers can help sweeten up your social. Whether you’re looking for fresh content ideas, need some training or want to fully outsource your social media management, please check out our services and give us a call.

Standing out in the business blogging world

By Raspberry Jim,

When it comes to blogging, many people may believe this is simply a space to unleash all your innermost thoughts on the world.

And, in some cases, they would be right.

 

However, blogs can also play an effective and engaging role in the business world too.

Rather than sending out a press release to the masses, a blog allows businesses and their staff, to engage with their clients in a far more intimate and relatable way.

It enables those at the heart of the organisation to share their unique perspective and underline their expertise as only they can.

But, this isn’t news to many businesses. Many managers, and team members are seasoned blog masters who have cleverly utilised this skill to their advantage for years. So, how can you make your blog stand out from all the online noise?

Here’s our five top tips to creating a blog that demands to be seen and heard…

Unleash your expertise

When it comes to blogging, the first step is, obviously, deciding what you want to say.

In terms of business this might be to share your expertise in mergers and acquisitions, make science more relatable, or bring legal matters to the fore in an engaging way.

Whatever it is, you’ll be starting your blog with a purpose – but so will millions of others.

So, what makes your blog speak for itself?

You! Your voice and expertise are what sets your blog apart.

Don’t be afraid to share your expert knowledge, experience, and advice, and highlight what you, and ultimately your business, have to offer.

If you spot a news topic you can add your own perspective on, why not blog about it? If it add to the ongoing social or news commentary – even better!

Ultimately, the online world of news and social media is fast moving, and an online audience is always on the hunt for the latest, most unique, and most interesting topic.

By drawing on your unique industry expertise, and offering a new opinion, this is exactly what you’re providing.

Relating to your audience

Knowing your audience is probably one of the THE most important aspects of blogging.

Identifying who you are speaking to, and what they will be interested in, is certain to make your blog soar.

As we previously mentioned, if you are targeting businesses in your sector, add to the discussion and unleash your expertise, this is your time to shine! If you think something is newsworthy and interesting – chances are, your industry colleagues will too!

However, if you are targeting a non-specialist audience, such as potential clients, it’s time to get your research hat on, delve into what interests them, any newsworthy topics which are hitting the headlines, and speak to them in clear and understandable language.

Lost in translation

It can be easy to adopt jargon we use daily, however with a person outside your industry, this might be quickly lost in translation.

For example, using industry jargon or technical language might be fine if you are appealing to someone from a specialist financial/legal/ intellectual property or similar audience, who know their corporate finance from their copyright law.

However, if you are attempting to relate to a younger audience, such as graduates, or even prospective employees – then bombarding them with specialist terms might miss the mark.

Tailoring your message and tone of voice to your audience is guaranteed to speak to them on a more relatable level, and set your blog apart.

A picture is worth a thousand words

And when it comes to blogging it’s definitely worth remembering this!

It can be all too tempting to reel off paragraphs of information to your audience, particularly if it’s something you are passionate about.

However, excessive information presented in a wall of words can easily become overwhelming and detract the reader.

So, why not introduce an image or two?

If you have any images relating to your topic add them in, this will break up the text and make it more visually appealing. Equally videos, graphics, and Gifs can also add an engaging and fun element to your blog.

Remember to try and use good quality images, and if you’ve downloaded them from online ensure you have permission to use the image.

Break it up

A wall of words can be both daunting and off putting.

So why not use a few headings to break it up?

It’s a simple and effective tool which helps to divide your writing into easily readable sections, and make the blog more appealing to your audience.

Make sure each heading clearly relates to the section it is introducing, and is not too vague.

One man and his blog

The title of your blog is your first chance to grab a reader’s attention – so get it right!

An interesting, funny, witty, or thought-provoking headline is more likely to demand the audience’s attention and tempt them to read on.

While a standard headline explaining the blog’s content is fine, it’s highly unlikely to stand out from the crowd.

A top tip is to write your headline after completing the blog, and you’ve got a gist of what the piece entails. This will enable you to write an informed and interesting title that will command attention.

Unlike a news article, the blog headline doesn’t need to be explanatory, it can instead be interesting and intriguing, but remember it also must relate to the blog topic.

When getting creative, just ensure this is right for the tone of the article. If you’re writing about a sensitive subject be particularly careful with your headline.

If in doubt, do a bit of research into other industry blogs to get a more realistic perspective on what is effective.

 

Rebrand vs refresh

By Raspberry Jim,

Rebrand vs Refresh…and what’s the difference?

In a world where attention spans are decreasing and the propensity to buy and research a company online is dramatically increasing, it is imperative that your brand remains fresh, current and reflective of your business.

Just like fashion, the look of your brand identity can feel dated after a while, so it’s understandable that many businesses rashly decide that a rebrand is in order.

But is a rebrand what you need? Or could a brand refresh be the answer?

The difference between the two concepts can often be confusing, so having just undergone a brand refresh at jamjar, we thought it was timely to put together a blog to help clear up any confusion.

But before we start, we think it’s as important to sum up what a brand is, as many incorrectly assume it’s just a logo.

 

What is a brand?

Your brand isn’t just your logo, name, culture or marketing efforts. Your brand is your company DNA. It’s your image, reputation, personality, point of distinction and promise to everyone who experiences it. It’s the culmination of it all that when combined work together to create a whole brand. Each piece is as crucial as the next, and you can’t have one without the support of the others or your brand will fall flat.

Rebrand or Refresh – what’s the difference?

We think a good way of differentiating between the two is using a property development analogy!

Is it a fresh coat of paint that you need or a complete rebuild of the property?

Do you need to refresh what you have to make it more current or should you “kill” the brand and start again?

Rebrand

A rebrand is essentially a complete reworking of your brand. It’s more than a brand redefinition or even a reposition. It’s a full restart and the end of the current brand and all that it stands for.

Everything from your name and aesthetics to your brand strategy will be completely different.

A rebrand is the right decision when your brand can’t go on as it is.

It may be due to new ownership or leadership, when your business is going in a new direction, or when your brand equity is negative or heading that way.

Refresh

A refresh is a makeover of the current brand. It can as subtle as tweaks to the logo to make it fresh, current and up-to-date with the direction of the company. But it can also be a ceiling-to-floor rethink of how the brand not only looks but also how it delivers, speaks and operates.

The reason it’s different to a rebrand is because the brand’s DNA remains intact. The brand retains its core market position, its brand equity and values, but opens the door to change other aspects of the brand as required.

When to refresh?

  • To update an older brand and make it appealing to a current/new audience.
  • To address current market conditions.
  • When it feels disconnected from your offerings

Examples of brand refreshes

Ours is a good example of a brand refresh.

Our old brand was no longer fit for purpose as we now offer so much more than just PR – Marketing, Creative, Digital and Social. It was time to drop the PR from our name and get a new, fresh look.

Other examples include:

  • Converse
  • Airbnb
  • Netflix
  • Starbucks
  • Youtube

Rebrands gone wrong

If rebranding is the answer, be mindful that it can be intensive, costly and if not done right, can go horribly wrong.

A local one that springs to mind is Cardiff City. When new owner Vincent Tan took over, he decided to change Cardiff City’s brand identity as much as possible.

Known as the Bluebirds, with a history of blue kits and a blue logo, when Mr Tan took over, he decided to change the kit from blue to red, along with replacing the blue bird on the logo to a red dragon. Fair enough, he was playing up to the Welsh flag, but it just didn’t make sense.

To add to the confusion, Vincent Tan decided to let the team keep their original nickname and added a small blue bird to the bottom of their predominately red logo. Eeks!

Not only was the rebrand costly in terms of monetary value, it also cost Cardiff City the faith and trust of a selection of their newly confused fans. Needless to say our beloved Bluebirds are now back in blue!

What’s the right move for my business?

Hopefully, we’ve shed some light on the difference between the two concepts.

But before you decide to revamp your brand ask yourselves these questions:

  1. Why are we proposing a change?
  2. What would be the goal of a rebrand/refresh?
  3. What is our brand equity – good/bad?
  4. What will we be able to do as a result of this change that we have never been able to do up until now – and how do we know that?
  5. If we took a more/less radical approach, what would we gain/lose – and would that be worth it?

 

If you need any further advice or have taken the decision to rebrand or refresh your brand and need some creative support, we’d love to hear from.

How to spot a good news angle

By Raspberry Jim,

How do you spot a good news angle?

That’s a question that I, as a former journalist turned PR professional, get asked quite frequently by clients.

Before writing an article, press release, or blog, everyone will ask themselves if the topic they are considering writing about is, in fact, interesting enough to warrant further discussion.

The term we often use to refer to a good article angle, is whether it is newsworthy or not.

Identifying a newsworthy story can be the difference between achieving great coverage, or sending an article out into the news and media abyss.

Newsworthy or not?

But how do you know if something is newsworthy?

Generally, a good news angle is deemed to be something which is genuinely new, interesting, and informative, and provides a unique perspective which promotes widespread interest and discussion.

However, when it comes to PR, this can be tricky. What a journalist deems newsworthy, and what a business believes is newsworthy may be two totally separate things.

There are many reasons for this. It can be difficult for managers or those personally invested in a business to separate what’s interesting to them, from what’s interesting to the general public.

Being realistic and truly assessing the wider news value of your company information, can often shed a light on whether something is actually newsworthy.

When deciding on news value, it’s always handy to carry out a little bit of research online into similar industry stories and gauge interest.

Tapping into the news

Then there’s current events and news.

This could be seen to be an easy win for businesses in achieving coverage.

It allows businesses to comment on a story with in-built media interest while offering their own specialist opinion and adding genuine value to the article.

Any time a company can legitimately further the discussion around a news story or widely discussed topic, they are ensuring their story is newsworthy.

Let’s be honest, if you’re talking about something in the news, chances are the public will be too.

Human interest

 

Heartfelt human interest stories are particularly newsworthy and effective in engaging with the general public in an emotive way.

Readers will empathise with articles which detail personal achievement, overcoming adversity, tragedy and triumph, and heartfelt struggles. This enables them to form an emotional attachment with the story’s subject matter increasing their engagement and understanding of your message.

But this can be challenging when you are searching for a human angle in a business story.

Ask yourself, did this promotion come after years of tireless work and personal achievement for the staff member? Has an MBO allowed a family member to continue their family’s business legacy? There could be something you haven’t considered!

Obviously, this should only be used under appropriate circumstances and when there is a legitimate story to tell.

Statistics and figures

What catches your attention more effectively – Workers taking duvet days due to stress, OR Over 1.8 million workers forced to take duvet days due to stress.

Using statistics and figures within an article, and headline, not only strengthens it and draws in the reader by quantifying what you are discussing, but it backs up your point with numerical evidence and legitimises it.

More people are likely to be engaged by an article that discusses specific figures that they can relate to, rather than something vague, such as terms including ‘large sum’, ‘significant amount’ or ‘numerous’.

If a story said: People in Wales were consuming 100 chocolate bars per hour – I’d definitely want to read it! And be honest, you might too …

Finally …

Overall assessing whether a story is newsworthy or not is really about being realistic, doing a little bit of research, using some news savviness, and exercising honest non-biased judgement.

If in doubt, the PR team at jamjar are always here to help steer you in the right direction! As content and media specialists, we have a ‘nose for news’ and are happy to advise you on what has news value.