Below is a collection of work done whilst working with both Acceleris (2015) and Brass (2016).
2016. Brass Agency.
Analysis of portfolio.
My time spent with Brass taught me much about Public Relations and what work one can be expected to undertake whilst in a junior role. Throughout my placement I was unsurprisingly given less than critical work, however I still feel I was able to represent myself as an able PR practitioner. I worked at Brass once weekly for 8 weeks, the placement concluded at the end of April.
Piece no.1 Forward Features matrix-Blacks solicitors.
Whilst seemingly a simple spreadsheet this piece of work required hours of rigorous searching through publication websites, media packs and on the Gorkana database. I began my search on Gorkana by applying the relevant filters to my search. I searched for UK publications that fitted a specific demographic. They needed to be relevant to the solicitors, the legal profession and a specific set of clients, in this case manufacturing and business management. Even after this however I was required to sift out irrelevant publications. From that point if I was in luck I would be able to simply view the forward features on the Gorkana database, in most cases however I was required to first search the publication website for a media pack and either extract the forward features from there or contact the publication directly via phone or email and so request a forward features list. As can be seen in the relevant image not all forward feature lists contained specific deadlines.
This project required me to adopt a more analytical mindset in order to compile the most accurate and efficient matrix possible with the resources allotted. Rather than being able to utilise the creative mindset to which I am comfortable with I instead had the opportunity to express my versatility. This piece of work will continue to be of use past my time at Brass in aiding the agency in tailoring pieces to suit specific publications.
Piece no.2 Hammond’s Furniture blog post.
This piece of work was much more similar to my favored area of expertise, writing. That is not to say however that this did not remain a challenging task. Though I consider myself very well read and capable of using the English language to great advantage, if one isn’t beholden to sufficient knowledge about a subject then no matter your talent with the written word, a challenge will inevitably arise. That was unfortunately the case with this work piece. This piece of work whilst of short term benefit to the agency did mean some wait was taken off of the shoulders of the full-time staff and ensured the social media plan for Hammond’s was adhered to.
The purpose of the piece was as part of a weekly blog post for Hammond’s furniture and specifically concerned how best to decorate windows. I was required to create five pieces of advice on how to best utilise this piece of furniture and so advised the following styles: window seats, mix & match, stylish consistency, using every inch and catch forty winks.
Whilst my family have always had an astute eye for home furniture, and this has rubbed off on me a little, I do lack the specialist knowledge which this article did require. This forced me to undertake swift research into the topic of window seats and transform this into advice for Hammond’s consumers. A matter which I was admittedly somewhat unqualified for. However through research into current trends & clever selection of marketing images taken of Hammond’s furniture I was able to transform my naivety into something worthy of Hammond’s consumers.
The University of Exeter recommends several points on how to write a good blog post, including consideration of audience, pictures, research and readability. I feel that my article matches those, however as I was not the final individual to publish the post the other recommended points are outside of my control. These tips are expanded upon by the content marketing institute who add that it is critical to speak to just your target audience rather than addressing different audiences frequently, this leads to many organisations having different social media presences for different areas and products.
Somewhat inevitably several edits were made to my first draft prior to the final publication of the article, however it still bears the majority of my own work. I have had to undertake similar write-ups in the past yet never without the sufficient source material I lacked in this case. This aspect made it particularly challenging which of course, also made it particularly valuable as a learning device. In PR a practitioner will frequently work with clients that they might not have great knowledge of, this is why it is important to be versatile.
Piece no.3 Snuggledown social media content calendar.
This final piece required me to schedule social media posts for a client of Brass’ called Snuggledown. I scheduled one months worth of posts (the first of to be posted on the 12th of May) for both Twitter and Facebook, both posts were to follow an overarching theme. If a specific event were taking place it would be tailored to that, otherwise I had the responsibility of choosing something related to a Snuggledown product. In the case of the 12th of May post I chose to focus on the Snuggledown memory pillow for no other reason than I could see no evidence of it receiving the focus of a social media post, additionally having it’s specific properties makes it an interesting pillow to write about comparatively speaking.
Facebook recommends a few key practices when writing a Facebook post. They recommend linking to your website (in this case, some posts linked to the product where available for Snuggledown), keeping a calendar and keeping posts short alongside attractive images. Twitter on the other hand is a greater challenge given the 140 character count which is further reduced when adding an image to a tweet. Inevitably Twitter recommends keeping it short, on the other hand however they still boast the importance of images, which given that the associated link lowers the total character count is proof of Twitters faith in short posts.
Unlike the pieces 1 and 2 this was not a challenging task and was well within my comfort zone. This allowed me to use well practiced skills taught at university, and when working for Acceleris, in writing social media posts. When writing social media posts, one has to toe the line between writing enough to be relevant and ensuring the content does not lack substance. I believe the publication of my posts will confirm this and I look forward to seeing if they all make the final cut.
This piece of work will continue to be used until the end of May, when compared with similar
Whilst my time at Brass Agency was indeed valuable and taught me much, I did feel like I was given work which did not necessarily match my potential. In contrast, when undertaking a placement for Acceleris (see here for details) I was given larger projects which in some cases spanned several weeks such as that undertook for the shipwrecked mariners society. However, this is likely due to the difference in the workplace. Acceleris is a dedicated PR agency with two offices and fifteen staff at the office I worked at. Brass on the other hand is an integrated marketing agency that may have dozens of staff in total yet has just a Public Relations team of four. This meant that they had fewer projects to work on and so less work to be distributed.