Monthly Archives: June 2016

Is the North the new capital of PR?

Rebecca Jackson, Account Manager

Rebecca Jackson, Account Manager

PR tends to be considered as a London-centric industry but this discounts the wealth of opportunities outside the capital. With the Northern Powerhouse movement gathering momentum and so many agencies in the North performing so well, we take a look at how businesses in Yorkshire and beyond are stealing London’s limelight.    

A journalist by trade, I joined Acceleris from The Daily Telegraph in 2013, where I’d worked as a content editor across the title’s digital platforms as well as the paper. At such a pivotal time in how we consume our media and access our news, it was a great opportunity to explore what was then and still is now a relatively unknown future for the papers that have been institutions for decades.

A Yorkshire girl born and bred, I found London too faceless – ironic for a city with such diversity and so much culture –and it takes itself just a bit too seriously. I was quickly drawn back to Yorkshire, where I began looking at opportunities in PR.

With so many agencies in the region, it quickly disproved the London-centric image that PR only truly exists in the capital. The regional awards ceremonies show there’s a thriving scene in the North and there are digital centres and media hubs popping up across the region’s major cities.

As an agency with a wealth of public and third sector clients, I was drawn to Acceleris and its work in the charity, health and social housing sectors. With a headquarters in beautiful Harrogate, as well as an office on Oxford Street in London, I get the best of both worlds. I have the opportunity to travel to the capital to meet clients and journalists and take part in events, but am able to return to a region with spectacular scenery, a functioning housing market and a thriving cultural scene that gives London a run for its money.

There’s a real danger with both PR companies and businesses that they think London is the be-all and end-all when it comes to a career, in anything. With opportunities in the capital so competitive it’s short sighted not to look further afield and consider some of the non-London agencies.

There will often be better career and progression opportunities, as well as some of the best training and the opportunity to network with the top PR practitioners across the region. You also get to work with regional journalists and publications which are still essential ways of communicating with the local community. PR Week’s recent ‘Top 150 Agencies’ table includes 30 agencies from outside London – showing how regional agencies can hold their own against the London offices.

Working in a boutique agency has given me the opportunity to work closely with experts in their industry – something you just wouldn’t get in a big London agency.

Whilst some businesses might place emphasis on working with a big agency, the reality is that at any agency you will only get one account team and boutique agencies are often able to offer a more hands-on senior team. We work with clients regionally and nationally, and even internationally – where we have held our own against some of the biggest brands and agencies in the world, winning the European Excellence Award for Reputation and Issues Management not once, but twice in the last three years, the last time in 2015 beating off internal teams at BP, Unilever and BASF.

This message should especially be enforced with students – Leeds Beckett has one of the top PR courses in the country but we regularly lose our best talent to the capital. Even when I was at University in Liverpool and Sheffield, I was told the job opportunities are in London. This creates an ongoing loss of talent from regions and a densely populated job pool in the capital, with applications for vacancies becoming increasingly competitive.

That graduates in London struggle to break into such a fiercely competitive industry potentially alienates some of the most talented future PR people – my own personal experience of friends trying to break into the industry left many disillusioned and looking at other careers.

Regional agencies often have more to spend in terms of time and training – we regularly have work experience students in from our local schools and sixth forms and they all get stuck into real jobs, not just making tea and watering plants!

Acceleris also runs the Acceleris Academy, which includes paid internships and placements, as well as internal training for the wider team – with individual staff members often presenting on different client campaigns, sharing knowledge and best practice. Members of our team sit on the regional board of the CIPR, ensuring we keep up-to-date with the latest trends, learnings and opportunities in the industry.

London is often mooted as the place to be, especially for young creatives wanting to work in the media, but with the Northern Powerhouse really taking shape and towns across the country now boasting healthy agency scenes, there’s never been a better time to look at alternatives to the capital for your next career move.

Rebecca’s blog first appeared via PR Careers at http://prcareers.co.uk/london-vs-regions/

Where’s the link? Top tips for boosting your LinkedIn profile

Dan Stead, Account Executive

Dan Stead, Account Executive

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you have a LinkedIn account but how many of us keep on-top of it regularly and keep it current with the freshest content and updates? While its primary function may be to act as a kind of online CV, showcasing your talents to the web, it’s important to realise the effect your own profile, and those of your employees, has on your business.

The social network for businesses now encompasses 400 million users and businesses across 24 different languages. With all that noise online, we must ensure we have stellar LinkedIn accounts to stand out from the crowd and promote our businesses on the ‘World’s Largest Professional Network’. Let’s take a look at exactly how LinkedIn can be used to promote your business and boost its reputation.

 

LinkedIn is obviously a must-have resource for both employers and employees but how exactly can your individual professional profile help to improve your business’ professional profile?

LinkedIn is the best tool out there to show that your company employs a skilled and qualified workforce. It’s important to keep your profile up-to-date with recent training, experience and achievements. It’s also important to be active. Active LinkedIn users are people who engage and interact with relevant groups, sharing appropriate content and contributing to debates. These people are more likely to be recognised as thought-leaders and therefore will make their employers stand-out.

 

What can businesses do to boost their own profiles to make their products or services more appealing? 

Employers should look to build their own brand if they want to source new business opportunities and also attract the best talent. Much like individual profiles, businesses should be looking to market their own specialist services, products or expertise. They must work in tandem with their employees to share updates with connections and drive LinkedIn users to their company page. This can be done through creating original content such as news and blogs.

 

Take a look at our Top Tips for LinkedIn best practice below:

Individual profile

  • Ensure your profile is up-to-date with previous work experience and job roles with a description of each including your duties and responsibilities
    • WHY? This will demonstrate that you have the relevant experience to be working in your current role and will convince others to trust your judgement
  • Join the debate – request to join relevant groups and begin discussions
    • WHY? This will boost your own presence, in turn positioning your business as a thought-leader
  • Increase your professional connection network and request to have your skills endorsed by reputable individuals
    • WHY? This will show that your company employs skilled personnel

Company profile

  • Share original content as updates from your company page but also encourage your employees to share content which redirects their connections back to your page
    • WHY? Your employees will have connections that your business doesn’t, it’s important to maximise the reach your updates will have
  • Invite clients and customers to interact with your page to provide feedback on your updates
    • WHY? Positive feedback will give your company’s reputation a boost and encourage LinkedIn users to approach you to conduct new business
  • Use analytics to review how effective your updates have been
    • WHY? It’s important to recognise if a strategy isn’t working so you can change the way you share updates or create content in the future

 

All in all, LinkedIn provides users with an accessible platform through which, if used effectively, can promote both yourself and your employer. If you follow our best practice guide, who knows what opportunities you might create!

Source: LinkedIn

Source: LinkedIn

For all the latest professional news from Acceleris, go to: https://www.linkedin.com/acceleris