Work from tips – revised

I recently shared tips with A little Pink Book about working from home, which you can read here.

Since then, the period of working from home culture has almost become the norm.

With that in mind, here are some *more* tips for your consideration.

*If you’re in a location where you can meet face to face, but don’t feel comfortable to do so, don’t be afraid to say so. You may want to say that at this point in time you’re still working from home and that you’d be happy to facilitate a meeting over zoom or over the phone.

*Don’t stress too much about your background in Zoom meetings, remember we’re all human! We all have piles of laundry and unopened mail lying around, it’s just that some of us are better at shoving it away (read: organising it!). If you want to choose a virtual background there are some options here to avoid any of the embarrassment.

*Invest in good headphones /microphone. Most computers have decent microphones, but if you’re wanting privacy then headphones with a microphone are the best way to go.

*Set up an auto-responder. You’ll want to talk to your employer about this, however if you’ve set up a flexible work agreement and within that flexible work hours, then you should let people know *what* those hours are, so they know when to expect to hear from you (if it’s outside of normal business hours).

*Make time to catch up with others. Just because you’re out of the office, doesn’t mean you should miss out on that vital interaction. It’s critical for your mental health. So why not organise a virtual get together or perhaps as the weather warms up an outdoor gathering? Even better, you may want to work from a Cowork space, such as The Foundry Cowork at Erina on the NSW Central Coast, it allows you to have the flexibility to work remotely, in a collaborative workspace.

Finally, if you are transitioning back to the office and you’re feeling anxious, make sure you let your Human Resources department know. An understanding employer will be sympathetic to your needs and will help with the transition.

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.

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.

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.

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

“Words are free… It’s how you use them that may cost you”

Never have truer words been written.

This week’s Small Business September offer is for a Blog Ideas Session and quite possibly one of my favourite things to do.

Thinking about content for my clients is exciting, it gives me the opportunity to think creatively. “How can I position this message differently, to reach a unique audience?” I often ask myself.

Once I’ve decided with the client the different audiences to target, it’s then a matter of being creative with the message to ensure cut-through.

That’s what you’ll get this week.

Over 60 minutes – two phone calls sessions (one at the start and one at the end) we’ll talk you through the ideas from start to finish. During the first call, we’ll get you to tell us what you’d like to achieve from these blog posts. 

We’ll then get our creative hats on and come up with up to 12 suggestions for post ideas. 

Please note: if you’d like us to write these posts, this is a separate cost. 

As a result of blog posts we’ve written for clients, we’ve been able to secure exposure for a major fashion brand in business magazines (not the first place you would think to look!), we’ve been able to get coverage for an educational business in industry magazines to spread the message of their services.

So if you think a blog post is just to sit on a website, think again!

Click here to get started.

 

 

 

 

Photo by LUM3N on Unsplash

Consult with someone who knows

When you’re running a business, you want to engage with the best people to get optimum results.

We’ve all heard the saying “You don’t ask a mechanic about your water pipes”, so why would you engage the services of someone who doesn’t understand the PR landscape to help you communicate your message?

Pursuit Communications knows the best media outlets to contact (and the people behind them)  across a wide variety of sectors, including niche “vertical” outlets within a multitude of industries.

It’s knowing “Who’s who in the zoo”, their deadlines, their communication preferences and so many other variables to get your message across to the media and to your desired audience.

It’s also an ability to think creatively, understanding what’s the BEST way to communicate your message to the media and your customers, that’s going to stand out from the rest!

With our first Small Business September offering – a 1:1 phone call, over 30, 60 or 90 minutes, we can cover all of this – and more.

So if you’d like to have a discussion, click here to get started and connect with someone who knows.

 

 

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.