Check out this CIPR event!

CIPRevent1

CIPR Midlands is giving you the opportunity to hear from a range of video content experts who can advise on getting the most from video content.

Not only will you get to hear from Vermillion Films MD, Lee Kemp, and Rob Glass from Flotilla Video Training, but you’ll also get the chance to see a campaign showcase of inhouse and PR agency work incorporating heavy use of video content, as well as take part in an expert Q&A where you can quiz the experts themselves.

What’s more, if you’re a CIPR member, you’ll not only get a cheeky discount (lowering the price to a mere £19.75) but attending will also earn you 5 CPD points!

WHEN: Tuesday, 2 February 2016 from 18:30 to 20:30 (GMT)

WHERE: Vermillion Films – 20 Victoria Works. Vittoria Street. Birmingham B1 3PE

Book at Eventbrite

 

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GET INVOLVED in blogging! Behind the Spin’s #BestPRBlogs competition launches for a third year!

Blog yourself a job!

Autumn has officially hit and the new academic year is about to launch itself in earnest, bringing with it all the lectures, seminars and assignments that become the staple features of our lives as we strive towards the best possible grades we can manage – after all, its those grades which are going to be the deciding factor in getting us a graduate job….aren’t they?

I’d actually argue that its in fact the ‘extra-curriculars’ which set you apart from your peers and get you that all important foot in the PR door.

Don’t mistake my meaning; securing a decent qualification (especially one that you’ve invested a considerable amount of money and time in) is of course important in showing people that you know what you’re talking about. But, saying that, in my job-hunting experience at least, my grades (despite being good) were always only a MINOR part of what grabbed employers’ attention when it came to my applications.

Instead I discovered (admittedly to my shock) that it was my social media presence and in particular my blog that secured me my interviews and, eventually, my role at London-based agency, Houston PR. I know that my position at Houston in particular was gained in this manner as I was invited to interview via Twitter after Managing Director, Hamish Thompson, read through some of my posts.

However, what my interviewers and employers may not know is that without Behind the Spin‘s annual ‘Best PR Student Blogger’ Competition, I might never have stuck with my blog long enough to fall in love with writing and appreciate the ways that my own unique ‘voice’ can break through the noise.

My love for blogging is by no means unique however, as last year’s winner, Livi Wilkes (whose blog ‘Live, Love, Laugh PR‘ was commended for its “honest and engaging” writing style) shared this love claiming that:

“I blog because I love it’… …’ being recognised so highly for something I love doing is such a lovely feeling!”

So what IS #BestPRblogs?

Offering aspiring PR students the opportunity to learn, practice, build their networks, and promote their expertise within a lively community, Behind the Spin’s contest now enters its third year of highlighting the best blog posts written by UK-based PR student bloggers.

Keep in mind:

  • It doesn’t matter if your blog has all the fancy bells and whistles that make it visually perfect.
  • It doesn’t matter if your posts are written as an assignment or in response to something topical you’ve seen or read.
  • It doesn’t even really matter if you don’t manage to write something each week (though the more you post, the more chances you have of being chosen as a weekly winner.

The important thing is that you are interested in what you’re writing about; that you have proofed your work before publishing (Typos never look good); that you use social platforms to promote and try to build a community around your work; that you reference the source your images/videos if they’re not ones you’ve taken yourself; that you use relevant hyperlinks when appropriate; and (without sounding ridiculously cheesy) that you have fun – after all, it’s enjoying the experience that makes it easier to type out the cacophany of brilliance in your head.

WORKING

Each week, PR academic and Behind the Spin‘s Editor, Richard Bailey, will browse the #bestPRblogs and #PRstudent hashtags, and collate a selection of the best blog posts written by UK-based PR students (plus the best photo taken by a PR student (usually taken from Instagram)).

Weekly winners will be recorded in an ongoing leaderboard which will determine the final shortlist of talented writers announced next April. These five bloggers will then be given just four weeks to polish, edit and impress the discerning and digitally-savvy, Michael White (Associate Editor for Behind the Spin and Digital Account Manager for Lansons), who will go through each of their blogs with a fine comb before announcing Britain’s Best PR Student Blogger 2016!!!

There are plenty of blogs out there you can use for inspiration such as:

If you’re still really stuck on where to start after reading all those though, you can always read: How to write a blog post, which outlines all the basic things you should be paying attention to.

Happy Blogging!!!

Lobbying for change

Should a political party tell the public what it believes, or should it ask the public what it wants? So goes a beloved dilemma of political theorists and party policy-makers over the years – from long since before the internet came to prominence.

Of course, there is no easy answer to it; particularly when individually each MP (irrespective of party affiliation) may be subject to external influence by PRs or the corporations for whom they are working.

The UKPAC definition of lobbying claims that it means working:

in a professional capacity, attempting to influence, or advising those who wish to influence, the United Kingdom Government, Parliament, the devolved legislatures or administrations, regional or local government or other public bodies on any matter within their competence.

In the UK, lobbying plays a significant role in the way that policies and decisions are made at local, regional and national levels, as lobbyists attempt to influence the formulation of legislation in ways that benefit their clients. Most lobbying activity is undertaken by professional public affairs agencies who represent multiple clients and primarily focus on lobbying within the corporate, charity and trade sectors.

Although I believe that working to influence political decisions regarding policy and legislation is a legitimate and moreover a necessary part of the democratic process, I do think that there needs to be a wider and more fair level of engagement in the process, with more transparency as to the dealings between Whitehall and lobbyists.

In 2010, David Cameron said that lobbying was “the next big scandal waiting to happen” and subsequently ‘promised’ to “sort it out”. However last year, the issues within lobbying reached a level where (according to a TI poll) 90% of UK respondents believed that “our government is run by a few big entities acting in their own interest”

A Lobbying Act was implemented in January 2014 in an attempt to rectify the poor reputation of lobbyists that had been steadily growing over the past decade (some of which are shown below).

07120215_Liftingthelid_TI_web

On February 10th however, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations revealed its manifesto for the upcoming year which raised seven key areas that the public relations profession wants to see addressed (both in the industry and beyond), namely:

  • Lobbying
  • The future of corporate governance,
  • Independent practitioners and future skills needs,
  • The gender pay gap,
  • Data protection,
  • Internet governance and broadband.

Lobbying

For the last few years, the CIPR has been calling on government to actively support higher levels of accountability and standards within lobbying. Althoguh this did pay off last year in the Lobbying Act, but understandably (as shown in the above infographic), there is still a fair way to go.

CIPR president, Sarah Pinch, says, “The next UK Government should seek to restart the dialogue with stakeholders on the role of lobbying in our democracy, and actively support the development of a highly skilled, qualified and ethically competent group of public affairs professionals that serve the needs of a modern complex democracy. Ensuring that the law that introduced a statutory register of consultant lobbyists genuinely provides the public with more information about how policies and laws are shaped should be considered a priority. Failure to do so will result in lobbying genuinely being the next big scandal waiting to happen.”

The Gender pay gap

The gender pay gap is another prominent issue that is regularly discussed in the public relations industry. The CIPR suggests that future governments need to dedicate themselves to strengthening the Equal Pay act, ensuring it is universally applied. The State of the Profession report, due to be revealed sometime this week, will contain up-to-date information on the size of the current income gap, but last year’s study showed that the gap between men and women was as large as £12,390 in senior roles.

Pinch adds, “Looking outside of our traditional areas of influence, some of the really big questions facing our society – internet governance, data protection – have (so far) not figured largely in contemporary political debate, but our future government will need to take a lead on finding answers to them.’

“Most of these issues are not ones for which a government can simply legislate, and most of them do not have a simple, straightforward solution. Rather, they require an open and informed public conversation which will allow us to arrive at a sustainable set of policies and maintain the UK’s world lead in what are critically important areas.”