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.

Branding 101

As part of our PR Intermediate course, we dive into the elements that should comprise of a comprehensive business plan.

We know only too well that budgets can be tight, so how do you start?

In this blog post I share some of the key elements of what should be part of your product inventory (and therefore included in your business plan!)

You start with a style guide and keeping it consistent EVERYWHERE. (Sorry for the caps, but it was needed!) What’s a style guide? Well in simple terms, it’s the fonts you’ll use for your business, the size of your logo… all that sort of “stuff”.

If you’re a physical store, does the feel of your store reflect what you’re sharing on socials?

What about your menus-  if you’re a cafe? Do you have details of your socials on there? You want people to share the word right? A little reminder at the bottom is a must.

How about receipts? Invoices? Flyers? Do they all have best contact details for your business, return policy details (if needed), your logo?

If you’re a service-based business, does the tone of your email reflect the nature of your business? Do you have the luxury to communicate in a relaxed tone? Make sure it’s consistent with your business.

Then there are the logos of your business, the business “theme” colours, the way your logos are to be used and oh-so-much more.

Need help with this? Give us a call, we’re happy to have a coffee (face to face or virtually!) and share some more ideas that will specifically help your business reach its goals.

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

Three things you can do before Christmas

It’s little over a month until Christmas Day… You may be thinking, “What else can I do to capitalise on the Christmas rush?”, or you may be thinking – “Eeep, I’ve left it too late, what can I do?”

Never fear… we have three easy to achieve activities for you to get some cut-though before the big day!

ONE: Thank your customers for their patronage this year. If you’re an online store, send a discount code to your email database as a token of gratitude.

Keep your message festive, short, sharp and ensure you include any terms and conditions with your discount code. Now is NOT the time you want to get caught up in any legal matters.

TWO: If you have a bricks and mortar store, have candy canes at reception or at the service counter for your customers. You may also want to reward your customers who visit in December with complimentary services or bonus items.

THREE: Keep in mind people’s budgets. If you’re noticing a lack in sales, don’t panic. Remember there’s always the January sales period, start thinking about what discounts you can offer (now’s a good time to get a head start on stocktake).

If sales are exceeding expectations, why not tell your local press? Get the word out there about what you’ve achieved.

BONUS: Why not offer a percentage of profits to farmers in need or a local charity? You’ll be able to promote your donation once you’ve finalised the total. Think about a cause that’s close to your heart and get started now.

What will you gain from our PR courses?

So you’ve seen us promoting our courses on Instagram and Facebook.

You’re thinking, sure that’s something I might want to explore. (Then register your interest here!)

What will you gain from the courses?

Well, there’s the obvious response… Knowledge.

Pursuit Founder Brooke Simmons has experience across the business to consumer and business to business PR arenas.

She’s represented multinational airlines, multinational FMCG brands, and independent sole-traders. She knows the way to get your individual message heard.

Okay, that’s great, but what else?

Confidence. Confidence in PR is essential, in your brand, and in so many other areas that are covered in both courses.

You’ll also have the opportunity to network if you’re attending one of the public courses. The ability to meet people who are of a similar mindset to you, who want to achieve the same goals. It’s an opportunity to expand your business network.

If you’re ready to learn PR basics click here. 

 

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.

Two PR Courses coming SOON!

If you’ve been following us over on Instagram, then you may have heard that I’m launching not one but TWO – yes TWO PR courses in 2019.

Why?

Because I have a tonne of knowledge and want to share it. Simple as that. If I can help you with your PR activities, then fan-bloody-tastic.

So, what will the courses look like? Well, I’m glad you asked!

There will be a course for beginners, this is for those of you no PR experience whatsoever. Don’t know the definition of PR? Awesome! Don’t know the difference between PR, advertising and marketing? Sit right down.

The beginner’s course will cover the basics of PR and give you that very gentle nudge to start you on your PR adventure.

The second course is set at an intermediate level. So you may have dabbled in PR either with an agency, or by yourself, but the results have been… how can we put this gently… Lackluster? Shambolic? A right mess? Then pull up a chair, because we’ll cover some of the common areas where mistakes can (and often are made). We’ll also dissect a media release in the course to get you ready and raring.

I’m currently putting the finishing touches on both courses.

The beauty of both courses is that they’ll be available face-to-face in solo sessions and groups AND online for individuals and groups!

So, if you’re interested in either course I’m encouraging you to sign up to the relevant mailing list.

Why? Well if you do so now, you’ll receive an early-bird discount and all the details before ANYONE ELSE.

So if you’re interested in the beginner’s course SIGN UP HERE

If you’re interested in the intermediate course SIGN UP HERE

Looking forward to sharing details with you soon!

Why we offer freebies

Did you know we have a freebie page?

We do!

Right now, we’re offering a New Year’s hashtag cheatsheet. A complete list and thought-starter document for your social media needs.

Go and check it out. 

We offer freebies to build rapport with our existing audience and to build on that audience.

Our content changes frequently because we know our audience’s needs changes as frequently as our own!

We’re currently working on ideas for 2019 for our freebie content and we’re excited about the offerings you’ll be able to download.

 

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.”