Not so much baby steps as diving in with both feet.

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Quick selfie after arriving early at the office #keenbean

Starting a new job is always a bit of a daunting prospect. A new office, new colleagues, and new clients – each with their own quirks and idiosyncrasies; it’s a lot to take in and adapt to, particularly when you’re making the jump from academia to working life.

The last week or so has been jam packed with firsts for me as I’ve not only started a fab new role at Houston PR, but I’ve also made the jump from Leicester to the BIG CITY i.e. London.

*Note: the streets are paved with chewing gum not gold. I know… I was disappointed too.

What wasn’t disappointing (in fact the complete opposite) was my job. Despite being *almost* pee-my-pants nervous on my first day – which wasn’t helped by experiencing London rush hour traffic for the first time (despite leaving an hour early for a very short journey, I was still pushed for time) – I’m loving every minute.

Its still early days of course, but fitting into the team has felt completely natural – it still freaks me out that I only started on Monday; it feels so much longer!!! – and I’ve got some really interesting clients to work on. I’m even being given the opportunity to help towards the pitches for two potential new clients (my favourite part of the week so far), and have been asked my opinion on the effectiveness and capabilities of several systems and processes.

Overall, I’d say this week has taught me four key things:

  • Working in PR is very different from studying it and you’re expected to learn fast..
  • Being able to put what you know into practice is the best feeling.
  • Having done internships and gained experience beyond academic life makes things so much easier.
  • Finding the right agency/role for you is so important and, despite the risk of moving to the most expensive capital in the world, I know I made the right decision by joining Hamish and the team at Houston PR, and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Hootsuite Certification: What? Why? and How?

So last weekend, I took the plunge and – in between bouts of frantically revising for my final research exam this Monday (which I really shouldn’t have bothered stressing about as it was super straightforward) – I finally got around to completing my Hootsuite Professional Certification. YAY! With that in mind, I thought it might be an idea to give a bit of a breakdown as to what Hootsuite is and what value a certification in it might (or might not) have within a creative career.

Hootsuite Certified Professional

So what IS Hootsuite?

Hootsuite is a social media management system that collates the feeds of all your social media profiles, such as Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, WordPress, Reddit etc.), and integrates them all within one handy dashboard.

Whether its your Twitter ‘mentions’, your Facebook comments, or your Instagram feed, you can have multiple streams that are personalised to whatever areas you are interested in keeping on top of. Plus, when you upgrade to Hootsuite Pro, you’ll also get access to ‘Bulk upload’ features, the ability to filter your feed by your user’s Klout score, AND the ability to analyse your data to give you the info on how to increase your followers, your content’s reach and your engagement with your community.

How do you get certified?

Honestly? It’s pretty simple. All you need to do is upgrade to Hootsuite Pro, Sign up to Hootsuite university (which is free with the Pro setup, go through the video lessons in ‘Getting started’ and ‘Advanced Tactics’, and then take the 40 question, multiple-choice exam. Super straightforward and super easy!

Why bother?

Although I am without doubt more than a bit of a social media addict, and (to be perfectly honest) this certification is incredibly easy to pass (in part because half the questions seemed a tad too ‘self-congratulatory’ about their work), I wanted to be certified in part because A) it gave me the opportunity to learn how to apply the professional features of a REALLY commonly used tool in PR, Advertising and Marketing, and B) it gave me the reassurance that I was using the software properly.

Would I recommend?

Short answer: Yes. Long answer: It depends.

On the one hand, if you’re already working in a professional role where using Hootsuite is a daily part of your role, then getting professionally certified might be a bit of an overkill as you’re most likely going to pick up what you need to know merely through doing your job.

On the other hand though, if you’re still a student, or are yet to secure a job where social media plays a part, its always good to have another skill box to tick – especially when you can take advantage of the free trial to get it done. The (only) downside of this however, is that once you downgrade/stop paying for Hootsuite Pro, you lose your place within their ‘Certified Professionals’ database. Whether this is an issue for you however is up to you. For me, I’d hope my work would demonstrate my knowledge more than having my name in a database – though admittedly that is nice to have.

Hold the front page!!!

  
I’ve been itching to post this for the last few days but, now that the official announcement has been made I feel I can finally announce that I have joined Behind the Spin’s editorial team as an Associate Editor.

Behind the Spin (for those of you who don’t know) is an online magazine that caters to public relations students and young PR professionals. As well as regularly updating with articles on anything from promoting MOOC’s and industry competitions to feature articles showing the intricacies of a particular role or a contributor’s perception and experience of a particular area of the industry, the publication and it’s Editor, Richard Bailey, are active in assisting with careers advice and ways for young and passionate PR folk to demonstrate their skills.

For me, it has become a valuable resource that I’ve highly recommended to my peers since my discovery of it last summer, but it is it’s provision of opportunities such as its annual national #PRstudent blogging competition, and Richard’s willingness to act as a ‘sounding board’ for any and all of my professional thoughts, queries, and questions that – I believe – sets Behind the Spin apart. Despite being an avid and voracious reader of many popular industry titles (Drum, Creative Review and PR Week to name a few) – something I highly recommend doing for any aspiring or current PR student or grad – Behind the Spin (for me at least) has become that down-to-earth insight into the positives, challenges and just plain realities of what the industry is like at the level WE are currently at.

Cue why being a part of it is all very exciting – to the point of my letting out a rather undignified squeal in the middle of a crowded train platform when reading Richard’s offer.

If you’d also like to get involved (whether you’re a PR student, a graduate, a PR lecturer or an employer), check out this open invitation to tell you how.

Adidas takes a step forward in the fight against ocean pollution

In 2010, it was estimated that eight million tons of plastic trash ended up in the sea—far more than the total measured floating on the surface in the ocean’s “garbage patches.” One report for the UN (conducted by London-based consultancy Trucost) into the activities of the world’s 3,000 biggest companies found that the estimated combined damage was worth US$2.2 trillion (£1.4tn) in 2008 – a figure bigger than the national economies of all but seven countries in the world that year.

One famed sportswear company however has gone from making tentative steps to curb its waste (it was accused by Greenpeace of environmental pollution in the past) to great strides into up-cycling ocean plastic and (to some extent, thanks to the work of The Sea Shepards) poachers’ illegal gillnets to create a new, stylish concept; Eco-sneakers.

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Through its new partnership with envirnomentalism organisation ‘Parley for the Oceans‘ (in which creators, thinkers and leaders come together to raise awareness of ocean pollution, and collaborate on projects to protect and conserve them), the concept shoe offers a first look at the kind of consumer-ready ocean plastic products that Adidas aims to reveal later this year.

The sneakers’ uppers (which may or may not be produced widescale) are created with recycled plastics as well as actual green net fibers – a huge opportunity for those looking to specialise (or branch out) within the footwear and clothing markets.

#BreakingNews Max Clifford has been charged!

Max CliffordInfamous former celebrity publicist, Max Clifford (72) has just been charged with another indecent assault that allegedly occurred in 1981, and will appear at Westminster Magistrates court later this month.

Based on evidence collected as part of Operation Yewtree, the charge is the lastest in a string of offences by Clifford, who was convicted last year of multiple sexual assaults and sentenced to eight years in prison.

Chief Crown Prosecutor for the CPS in London, Baljit Ubhey, said: “We have carefully considered the evidence gathered as part of Operation Yewtree in relation to Max Clifford.

“Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Clifford to be charged with one offence of indecent assault. Mr Clifford will appear at Westminster magistrates court on 21 July 2015.”

Hivehaus’ honeycomb design helps first-time buyers build a home

Three years after 52-year-old builder, Barry Jackson started considering how to create a “man cave” in his back garden (to house his photography equipment and drum kit), Hivehaus – a series of hexagonal room forming a personalised building – has grown to host the potential to revolutionise the housing market; offering first-time buyers an alternative (and much cheaper) way of getting modular3onto the property ladder.

The honeycomb design (theorised to be an example of ‘nature’s efficiency’ by the Ancient Greeks), costs approximately £55’000 for three units, and can be erected in less than a week by three builders. Admittedly, it requires planning permission if owners are looking to live within the structure, but the flat-pack, Scandinavian-style buildings have a wide range of potential uses such as, for example: a garden room, office, gym, conservatory, studio and (as allegedly suggested by one London post-production house) film editing suites.

The wooden frame floor’s ‘feet’ can be adjusted to compensate for uneven ground, but (for me) the key feature of this house is without doubt the interlocking shape system. As you can see in the video below, as well as the main hexagon spaces, Barry has also designed smaller diamond-shaped rooms with bathroom fittings, and similarly shaped patterns for an outdoor decking area.

“With this idea, every module is the same size and you think of the module as a space which you use for whatever – if you need another bedroom, you add another module”, says Jackson, making the units perfect for a young couple who could then add to the structure with more units as their financial circumstances improve.

Hivehaus‘ simplistic and minimalistic stye might not suit everyone, but with the way the housing market is going, the Hivehaus is innovative enough to pose as a significant and (most importantly) affordable option for first-time buyers – something that has been a key motivator for Jackson.

“A lot of young people won’t ever have that chance that I had. They are still living with their parents in their 30s. It delays having families because people don’t feel that they belong anywhere, because they are stuck in some rental trap.

“The more I developed this idea, the more I saw that this could be developed for good and hopefully help people who can’t get on the housing ladder.”

Do you smell what “The Rock” has been cooking?

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Source: David Shankbone (Flickr)

When it comes to personal branding, some get it and some don’t. Some are branding masterminds; falling easily into their brand ‘personas’. Some need a team to help them with branding decisions, something which, by the way, is perfectly okay – it’s what we are here to help with after all.

And – so there’s no doubt – when we’re talking about ‘electrifying’ personalities, we’re talking about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – my childhood (and admittedly adulthood) celebrity crush. Successfully transforming himself from a one-time Pro Wrestler to “The Great One”, “The Rock” not only branched out from the esteemed ranks of the WWE elite but, in recent years, has become an undisputed Hollywood heavyweight.

It would be fair to say a big part of what is driving “The Rock”‘s ‘brand’ is his social media presence. After all, what with 49.5 Million Facebook ‘likes’, 16.7 Million Instagram followers, and 8.8 Million Twitter followers; there’s no denying the figures regardless of whether they’re ‘fitness fanatics’, ‘film afficionados’, or one of the Millions AND MILLIONS of fans of the good ol’ “People’s Champ”.

Despite being a late adopter due to his claim of being “a very private

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It’s not just wine that ages well Source: Ifran.nasir05 (Flickr)

person and therefore unsure how to engage”, Dwayne’s approach perfectly encapsulates the concept that “Organisations don’t tweet, people do.”

When he finally took the plunge and opened his Twitter account, he claimed (according to Social Media Expert, Amy Jo Martin) that his biggest goal was “just to be authentic, so that people know that when their tweet alert goes off on their device, that it’s coming directly from my hands.”

It is this – his hands-on approach – that is unmatched in today’s world of celebrity. Nobody speaks on his behalf. Ever. Dwayne’s success is argued by Ms Martin, as being due to his being “fully and personally committed to delivering value to his audience”, by using platforms to “Motivate, Encourage and Entertain”.

By constantly delivering value when, where, and how his fans wanted it, ‘The Rock’ was able to establish a two-way, dynamic relationship which consistently increases his personal reach (generating a larger following) and deepens the loyalty of his existing followers’ (through stimulating greater engagement)—two goals of every business on the planet.

With that in mind, can you smell what ‘The Rock’ is cookin’? Because whatever it is? It’s something we should ALL be getting a taste of.