My morning routine since the COVID-19 pandemic hit

If you’ve read any of my Instagram posts in the past or indeed blog posts here detailing what an “average” morning is like for me, you’ll see it’s pretty busy from the minute I open my eyes. (Not unlike anyone else really!!)

COVID has completely changed that and I thought I’d share how important time management has become since lock-down.

While I wish I woke up looking like this….

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After running a brush through my hair and all that “business” I’m up and out of bed anytime between 5.50am and 6.30am while listening to hourly news headlines, I make my bed and I organise my clothes (definitely not the corporate /smart casual attire of pre-COVID). Once I’m organised, I then head to the kitchen for breakfast with my phone /laptop or iPad in hand.

While eating breakfast I’ll review the capital city newspapers, it’s at a more leisurely pace now with the TV on in the background and monitor what the breakfast programs are reporting. I have more time to actually digest (no pun intended!) what’s being said and listening to the tone of the presenters.

Depending on what the morning holds, I’ll either jump into a couple of emails (I set a timer for 20 minutes) then go for a walk and listen to updated podcasts or, I’ll jump in the shower, get dressed for any meetings or errands/ outings that day.

As I’m on my way to meetings I’ll listen to the podcasts (that I would have listened to on my walk) and a bit of morning radio (oh and there’ll definitely be a sing-a-long in there too!)

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HOT TIP: Want to know the songs getting me through my WFH work-day? Click here for the ultimate playlist.

Once I’m back from my walk, I get ready for the day ahead and I feel like I’m ready to get on with the rest of the day.

It’s all about a good sense of time management and prioritising. Some mornings I’ll have to forgo the tv monitoring and others I’ll catch up on newspaper headlines later in the day.

So what can you take away from my morning routine? 

  1. Even in these times, a routine can really help. It’s definitely been of benefit for me when things weren’t very rosy.
  2. Create priorities that will help you throughout the day. For me, it’s knowing what’s going on in the world so I can do the very best for my clients.
  3. Music can really help – a big ballad, a pop-tune… Whatever your taste pop it on in the car or connect your earphones and immerse yourself in the music for a few minutes.

As an example, this morning I noticed a new campaign for a competitor of one of my clients. I’ve since set-up some alerts and will be monitoring this campaign on their behalf. What benefit will this be for my client? We’ll be able to watch (in almost real time) the effectiveness of their campaign.

Want to have a chat about how I can assist your business?

Send me an email to discuss the best options for your business.

COVID media coverage shrinks so what’s the story now?

As reported in AdNews*, COVID-19 news coverage has been declining for the first time in nearly 3 months due to US protests, the return of NRL and impending start of AFL, so what will the story be in a week or so’s time?

The answer?

It could be YOUR business... Why shouldn’t it?

If you’ve pivoted, if you’ve changed direction completely, found a niche in your community or reached a milestone, this is the time to let the media know.

We’re entering yet another phase of the recovery process and as such, positive stories are in hot demand.

Especially those stories that can illustrate a direct connection between Government initiatives.

Why?

Because it boosts morale and it creates a sense of positivity within the community something that we all need right now.

So where do you start?

Just start thinking about the positives for your business, jot them down.

Have you been able to stay open? Have you hired extra staff? Are you starting that small business you always dreamed of starting? Have you created a product or service that’s really meeting the needs of your community?

Now you have your positive points down, I want you to think about what it took for you to get there.

Was it years of business experience? Perhaps it happened overnight?

With these two starting points I can assist your business secure the media exposure it deserves.

Now, finally, I want you click here and email us. Pop those points in the email and I will be in touch with the best media outlets to contact with your story.

 

-Brooke Simmons, Founder Pursuit Communications

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Story here

Think the closure of News Corp’s Papers local papers doesn’t affect you? Think again!

Last week News Corp announced dramatic changes to their local papers, after what has been called “a comprehensive review of its assets and observed consumers shifting to online news sources” .

Over 100 of News Corp’s regional and community titles will no longer produce print editions and instead move to digital-only formats. In addition, 14 titles will cease to exist.

You may be reading this post thinking, “yeah, well, I didn’t read the local “rag” anyway”…

Think about the bigger picture just for a minute.

These papers supported local journalists, local photographers, editors and in some instances welcomed high-school or university students for work-experience.

They were the institutions that shared the results of local sporting teams, listed local garage sales and classified listings.

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Collection of News Corp’s local papers (Image: Google)

It was also a FANTASTIC avenue for public relations consultants (like me) to generate exposure for clients on a local level. Having the support of the local community is critical to the success for businesses, especially in regional areas.

While a large portion of titles will move online, stories will likely be behind a paywall, while it’s not confirmed if a digital replica edition will be available on certain days of the week for any of these papers.

If your local paper is transitioning to a digital edition, I encourage you to continue to support those local journalists and provide them with your stories, (if you need assistance with this, we can help!) and achievements. They will, with your input keep our communities educated and informed.

 

 

Instagram Shopping – A new feature

We know you’ve been able to “shop” via Instagram for a while now, but the ability to set up a shop via Instagram is now available (for those that sell physical goods at least!)

There are several boxes you need to tick before you can set up shop, so to speak, including having a linked Facebook page and ensuring your Instagram account is a business account and not a personal account. To read the other requirements click here. 

So, what does this mean for the marketplace?

Well, Facebook /Instagram Shops will also allow small businesses to sell products through Instagram Direct, WhatsApp, and Messenger, and tag products during live broadcasts! Talk about engaging directly with your customers!

Shops are free and easy to create and, most importantly, they’re integrated across Facebook’s many apps, meaning once you’ve set up your shop, it’s going to be available on your Facebook Page and your Instagram profile (and accessible from stories and ads).

It’s the perfect tool for businesses to pivot online, and during a time when that’s needed more than ever, Facebook /Instagram have delivered a solution that helps.

The good news? It’s available in Australia right now, to see where else the service is available, click here.

If you’d like assistance setting up your shop, content for your social media or any other PR or social media service, please get in touch.

 

 

Now more than ever we need to communicate

I’ve blogged in the past about the importance of saying “thank you” and whenever I meet a potential client (or an exisiting one) we discuss the importance of a variety of communications channels to get their message across to the public.

In this time of COVID-19, NOW more than ever we need to communicate. Staying silent isn’t an option.

That’s not to say that you should be “taking up airspace” online for the sake of it. What you’re saying needs to be planned, it needs to be considerate of your customers and their needs /wants and ultimately it needs to be informative.

Now’s the time to consider an auto-reply in your inbox, stating if you’re operating to regular hours or have adjusted your schedule due to the conditions. You’ll also want to share updates on your social media pages, including the best way customers can reach you.

You should communicate to your customers, suppliers and business contacts any changes to your operating hours and letting them know of any new services /products you have. Communication is key, you never know who you know who might need something your have in stock or that you provide as a service.

Finally, now’s the time to consider updating your header images for your social media pages. Something that summarises your hours (perhaps text overlayed on an image of your product or a relevant image relating to your services).

If Pursuit Communications can be of assistance to help you communicate your new offerings to the media (and generate hype and awareness through media exposure) then get in touch TODAY.

The lessons from 2019

I’m writing this on a Sunday morning leading up to Christmas – thinking about everything this year has taught me. What a teacher of the year 2019 has been for me.

2019 was very much the year of priorities – and the major priority for me this year was my health.

I heard a podcast this year that used the saying “Your health is your wealth” and that really resonated with me.

In case you missed it (or you’re new to the blog) I had a few health issues this year that made me hit the “pause” button on both businesses for a substantial amount of time. (You can read more here)

The benefit of this?

I realised where my priorities needed to lie with both businesses. It was in taking a step back, I was actually taking a step forward. It wasn’t easy, as someone who is happiest when her laptop is open, keys tapping away, radio /music playing softly in the background and the cat is purring away on “her” chair, resting and listening to my body was a huge lesson for me.

But it’s enabled me to make some changes and plans for the next 12 months and I’m excited about that.

The next priority lesson I learned was in relation to my time. While I was resting and recovering knowing that I had to let this process take its time. It was on its own schedule and I had to adhere to it.

I’m now working on building a better “timetable” which allows me to focus equally on both businesses, while also giving myself the much-needed rest my body still needs.

Finally, the priority of people in your life. Notifying my clients immediately what was going on and being completely transparent really did help build stronger relationships with them.

My family supported me, cared for me and got me through what was a rollercoaster of a year and I can’t thank them enough.

My friends – you know who you are – your support, words of encouragement and visits were appreciated beyond belief.

So, here’s to a better year in 2020, using these lessons from 2019 and creating more success for my clients, my business, and most importantly a happy and healthy life.

Podcasts: What I’m currently listening to

Whether you’re in the car, commuting to work on the train or bus or hitting the gym and need some distraction, Podcasts are a fabulous way to be entertained, informed and educated.

Below I’ve shared my list of my favourite podcasts (in no particular order!)

The Squiz – These girls are my WAKE-UP crew. After I listen to local news, I’m straight into this podcast and their daily email. You won’t regret adding this to your must-listen list, you’ll be kept up-to-date with current news and events in an instant, so you can impress your work colleagues with how very informed you are!

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Seize The Yay – If you read our post about Gary V, then you’ll know I’m pretty darn keen on Sarah and her Podcast Seize The Yay. What I love about this podcast is Sarah’s interviewing style, it’s very natural, I feel like I’m sitting with friends, having a conversation. Added bonus – the show notes – are BANG. ON. Always great if you’re keen to learn more about a guest.

Screen Shot 2019-10-03 at 6.04.44 pmLauren Conrad – Asking For a Friend – Okay, so for anyone who has known me for more than 15 years will know, that I have an absolute girl-crush on  Lauren Conrad aka LC. So much so that a friend bought me an authentic LC autographed picture one Christmas. What’s so fabulous about Lauren’s podcast? The topics are varied but so relevant to any young woman. Her guests (often friends of Lauren’s) offer great bits of advice that’s achievable, in any particular area. It’s the honesty, but also the support network that’s clearly a reflection of what an absolute gem Lauren is inside and out.

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Socialette: Bite-Sized Online Marketing Podcast – This is the perfect quick listen after a meeting or whenever you’ve got less than 10 minutes. Steph’s podcasts and short, sharp and to the point. I love the frequency of the Socialette podcasts and the variety of guests.

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I’d love to be guest on a podcast, in fact, it’s a goal on my vision board for 2020. In the meantime, I’ll keep listening to these podcasts and hoping that I get closer to that goal day by day.

Tell me, what are YOU listening to? Any recommendations would be gratefully appreciated.

 

Featured image via Unsplash

Lessons from Gary V

I was listening to the Seize The Yay podcast yesterday, it’s a fabulous podcast that I highly recommend you subscribe to.

Sarah Holloway is the presenter and she was interviewing Internet personality and New York Times Bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk.

If you haven’t heard of Gary V before jump on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook – any social platform and you’ll find his profile.

He’s unforgiving in his attitude, but (in my opinion) that’s how he got to be where he is today.

One of the many takeaways from this podcast that ties in well with this month’s Small Business September activities was his idea of “Giving more than you take”.

It’s simple and something that I’ve tried to do in many aspects of my life, including business (hence Small Business September) but I thought how can I extend this further?

It’s akin to the saying “underpromise and over deliver” when working with a client.

I’ve been working on ways to GIVE MORE in 2020 for our clients (both existing and new) and I’m excited to say that while brainstorming with my textas and coloured pencils, there will be MORE for our clients in 2020.

I’m fine-tuning the details over the next weeks and then will start getting wheels in motion so everything is good to go come January.

In the meantime, take a look at this week’s Small Business September offer. We’re changing the offers each week and they’re all BRAND NEW services at highly discounted rates.

Just by listening to a podcast Sarah and Gary have given me (and in turn my clients) more.

 

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

 

 

Dedication is not a dirty word

So I’ve had to make a very difficult decision in 2019.

This will be the first time in ten years that Pursuit /Central Coast Chronicle won’t have an internship program running.

Earlier this year, I shortlisted three wonderful candidates, met with them and organised a trial with one. So I was serious (at that stage) about another year of supporting an Intern.

When I was scheduling this trial, I realised I needed to dedicate a full day to this Intern, despite the fact she would only be with me for 3.5 hours.

There was the organisation of tasks before she arrived, (making sure the tasks weren’t too hard and equally not too easy, yet showing her the breadth of responsibilities). Once she arrived, there was explaining how “things work” at Pursuit and Central Coast Chronicle, showing her where everything is saved and then, getting around to some work.

It’s not that I didn’t love this interaction between an Intern and myself and learning to look at things a different way or consider a younger viewpoint.

It really did come down to dedication.

When you have an Intern or a Junior, there’s a lot of explanation that has to go on. If the face to face time is only weekly, that’s a lot of going over the same ground (hopefully only initially). It’s dedicating time and knowledge to someone who is willing to learn, someone who will benefit from your knowledge and you’ll benefit from their participation. It’s explaining the “how’s”, “who’s” and “why’s”.

So often, I’ve had an Intern tell me, “I’m learning so much, Uni doesn’t cover this sort of stuff!”

For me, that’s worth its weight in gold.

I do sincerely hope that in the future, I’ll be able to revisit an Internship program. It may be a program that’s completely different in nature, only time will tell.

I do know when it does happen again, I’ll be completely dedicated to ensuring both the intern, Pursuit Communications /Central Coast Chronicle and our clients all benefit from the experience.

Liking the new Instagram changes…

We’ve all had some time to digest the fact that Instagram has removed likes in what is being called a “test” across seven countries. 

In case you missed it, no longer will you be able to see how many times an image (that isn’t yours) has been liked or viewed that has been posted by someone else – unless you’re looking at Instagram on a desktop computer!

You’ll be able to see WHO has liked the post in some circumstances when people you follow like an image from an account you follow. 

The

I think this is a fabulous step from Instagram /Facebook. 

Why?

Because for many of us, (including yours truly) we’re guilty of focusing on the number of likes our content receives rather than the content itself.

Speaking of content – it’s all well and good to post the things we love but business accounts are about the customers and what *they* want. In short, post the aesthetically pleasing pictures on your personal accounts. 

I’m not saying that your business account should be a “hodge-podge” of images, but it should serve your followers well. 

Employ a local photographer for a day, have a plan of what sort of shots you want to get and then you’ll have social media content for at least a couple of months.

So, now that the number of likes has been removed, what will this mean for metrics? 

In short, nothing. 

Some influencers may argue with that point, but you’ll still have the data in the back-end, so in my opinion, it’s a moot point. 

While it’s been called a “test”, I don’t think we’ll see likes come back in the way they were.

My thoughts? In the future, I think Instagram will allow business accounts to see the numbers, perhaps not directly under the image but perhaps somewhere on the home screen.

Perhaps the whole issue is best summed up by this quote;

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” – Dyer.