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 exercise and listen to updated podcasts.

As I’m on my way to any meetings I’ll listen to other podcasts 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.

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

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.

 

 

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

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.

Our courses have arrived…

Back in February I said two courses were on the way… well… they were.

Now I’m excited to share, that they’re here. There’s no point mucking around. I’ve created the course content and I’m ready to share what I know with YOU to make your business PR goals a reality.

I won’t rehash the summaries of the beginners course or the intermediate course click here for details, including minimum numbers required to proceed, and to register your interest.

What I will say is that these courses are designed for *anyone* you may have some preliminary PR knowledge and want to brush up on some of the basics. If you’re interested in taking that next step with your PR goals then the intermediate course will be a perfect fit for you.

If you’re a sole-trader, an employee of a medium sized business, or a large corporate – no matter where you are on your career path, you’re welcome to attend!

Plus at the end of both classes you’ll have the opportunity to network with the other attendees and hopefully build some long-lasting connections.

I’m really looking forward to connecting with you and sharing my knowledge to help you achieve your PR goals.

An intern’s perspective

As we look for a new Intern (click here more details about applying!), we’ve asked Jordyn Rankin our most recent Intern, to reflect on her experience.

 

So Jordyn, what did you expect from your internship & what was the reality of your internship experience?

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from interning with Pursuit Communications, I guess that’s because this was my first ever intern experience. So, I went into this with an open mind and an eagerness to learn, even though I knew it would be challenging, yet it would also be very valuable for my future in the PR industry.  

The PR industry is definitely portrayed in a glamorous light and I thought that I would step into this internship with an abundance of knowledge from everything I have learned at University so far. I was quick to realise that a lot of what we are taught in the classroom plays only a small part in this fast-paced industry.

Jordyn, under 100 words – describe your interning experience… 

The reality of my experience, over the 10 months I was with Pursuit proved that practical experience in the PR industry is so important whilst studying at University. I got to see first hand all the time, effort and hard work that goes into having a PR business in order to be successful. I know I have a lot more to learn, however interning with Pursuit has confirmed my passion for PR!

 

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Jordyn Rankin

 

With this in mind, do you think Intern experiences should count towards university credit points?

I think that every University should encourage more students to undertake internships because the benefits are endless. However, in my opinion, the most important benefit is that it gets your foot in the door, gets your name out there and is a way of networking and forming relationships, which is so important to do.

Real-life experience has personally given me a lot more confidence and motivation to succeed and now I’m able to add an internship on my resume, which is also a huge bonus. Brooke (Founder of Pursuit Communications and Central Coast Chronicle) has been an amazing mentor and from day one, I always felt supported in my work and my ideas. With her help, I can now go into my next internship or job interview with some real industry examples and knowledge that will set me apart from the rest.

Where do you see the PR industry moving in the next three to five years?

This is a very hard one to predict because of how fast the industry is evolving and how much the web and social media revolutionises the way the PR industry operates. Having also studied Marketing at Tafe I can definitely see both PR and Marketing complimenting each other and becoming more integrated. Utilising both of these disciplines is definitely proving the overall success of businesses today in reaching its target markets. As a result, I think there will always be a demand for experienced, result driven PR practitioners.

 

How so?

The PR industry is a lot more than just press releases and getting the word out to journalists. (If you’re still thinking that it’s just media releases, you really need to chat to Pursuit – some of the ideas Brooke comes up with for her clients are absolute “WOW-factor!”)

So following this line of thinking, PR is becoming more popular for businesses (well I think so!) because of the multitude of ways a message can be executed. PR isn’t advertising, nor is it like marketing. It’s all about storytelling and shaping an image of a certain product, service, event, or organisation. Therefore, PR gives businesses an exciting way to stay connected with their customers (both existing and potential) and an opportunity to educate the general public about what it is they do – in (perhaps) an unconventional way. 

Any tips for those considering starting an internship program?

The sooner you start interning the more you will get out of your degree and the more experienced you’ll be entering the workforce after University. You will learn so much more by gaining practical experience, so step out of your comfort zone, ask questions (there are no right or wrong questions) and make your resume stand out above the rest. 

Finally, interning is also a lot more than just showing up and doing what you’ve got to do. It’s about being proactive in the office, anticipating what might be happening and asking if you can help (go above and beyond!) it’s also about getting to know what other PR agencies are out there and what they’re all about so I highly recommend researching, talking to people and attending networking events!! It will hugely benefit you and your future as a PR practitioner during your time at University and also when you step foot into the real world.

Brooke’s note: Jordyn, thank you for what you added to Pursuit and to the launch of Central Coast Chronicle. You were here at a critical time for both businesses and your ability to adapt and “switch gears” from “PC” to “CCC” at a moment’s notice was very much appreciated. I wish you continued success with your studies and entering the workforce.

Top tips for WHAT TO DO at work Christmas parties

As event organisers, we’re in a good position to offer our opinion as to the “do’s” and “don’ts” of Christmas party behaviour!
It’s been a long year for the business and now it’s time to organise that well deserved Christmas party and celebrate the team’s successes.

While this is still a celebration, it is still an extension of the workplace and an opportunity for some team bonding with your colleagues and supervisors. So, keep in mind that good behaviour also goes a long way at these sort of events, otherwise it can result in being overlooked for promotions, or being the office gossip going into the New Year or even worse – losing your job!
Remember, you’re your own PR – so make sure the “news” is good when it comes to your post-party report.

Here are some tips to make sure you stay on the “nice” list at your Christmas party this year:

  • Dress appropriately: Remember this is still a work event, so make sure you are aware of the dress code expectations beforehand. Be sure to avoid anything too casual or revealing.  If in doubt, ask the event organiser or your supervisor.
    Watch your alcohol consumption: Reputation lasts a lot longer than a hangover does – as does anything captured on social media.
  • Stay in control of how much you’re drinking, you don’t want to be known as “the one who takes advantage of the free drinks” over engaging with others.
  • Make an effort: be sure to ‘mingle and jingle’ with as many people possible, not just the ones you speak to on a daily basis at work. Consider this as a networking opportunity.
  • Have fun! Christmas parties can still be a chance to have a great time, so don’t be dull – you don’t have to be a wallflower, you can have a great time while remaining sensible.

Keeping these tips in mind, it will also give you that rare chance to get to know those around the office who you don’t normally work with and develop good impressions which could also benefit you later on.

It’s all about that personal branding!

Writing news stories for radio

Our intern Jordyn is using her time at university to the absolute max!

Not only is she interning with Pursuit and our sister company – Central Coast Chronicle, she’s also interning at Newcastle radio station 2NUR.

 

Jordyn has detailed for us what goes into each news broadcast. It may surprise you!

 

“I have recently started undertaking an internship with 2NUR-FM radio and after only a couple of sessions, it astounds me how much work goes into each broadcast. The sessions I’ve had with the station have been quite varied. I’ve been writing news bulletins, making calls to get news grabs and reading media release after media release for the 12 pm, 1 pm, 2 pm news bulletins and the odd story for the following morning.

 

These tasks aren’t always smooth sailing and will often take time depending on the story. If you’re waiting on a call back from a person of interest for some news grabs, time really is of the essence and not something you can get back!

 

Last week I was working on a bulletin for the new waste collection service around the Hunter Valley area and was waiting on a call back from Council. By the time they called back, I had half an hour to get a 30-second bulletin prepared (or “up” as they say in the newsroom) for the 12 pm news along with a grab from the call recording. This can be quite stressful, especially since I had to report on the same issue for 1 pm and 2 pm bulletins and needing to re-word each bulletin as well as using a different grab for each broadcast. So there was some variety with the same story for our dedicated listeners.

 

I had another instance that same day where I didn’t get a call back for another story I was working on so I just had to take a quote and information from the media release and create an angle to make it sound interesting.

 

What worked in my favour was having a background in PR, my internship at Pursuit, meant I was prepared and could hit the ground running.

 

I have already found interning for 2NUR-FM to be a positive challenge, it’s exciting and I have definitely learnt a lot in such a short period of time.”