STUDENT SPEAK
14 Aug
7 Habits of Highly Effective PR Professionals

In Blog

The world of PR is highly competitive, demanding, diverse and yet amazingly exciting. To succeed as a PR professional, you need to be at the top of your game, all the time.

Many of you might have heard of the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. It was one of those timeless master pieces that you know will always come in handy no matter where you’re in life.

We believe that the habits mentioned in the book can also be applied to building a highly effective public relations professional.

If you have not read the book yet, that’s fine, here are 7 Habits from the book that you can apply to become a highly effective PR Professional.

Habit 1: Be proactive

As a PR professional, don’t just wait for your clients to approach you. A great PR person is always 2 steps ahead.

With the help of the internet and the plethora of social media and research tools available online, you can research your client’s industry trends, research on the changes that are taking place in the industry, the hot topics that are trending and look out for a loophole that you can capitalize on and create an opportunity for your client.

This will help you acquire new clients too. Imagine contacting a potential client at a time when they are looking out for someone like you.

Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind

Before you start creating a PR campaign, the first question you need to ask yourself is what are you trying to achieve for your client, is it brand awareness, an increase in sales or signups for a fundraising campaign?

It’s extremely important to understand the goals of your client before you start building your PR campaign. Putting the end goal in mind will help you with the planning process and make life much easier.

Habit 3: Put first things first

Prioritize your tasks in its order of importance. Create a content calendar for your daily tasks and arrange them based on priority. The highest priority obviously being number one.

By prioritizing your tasks you will be able to tackle all the most urgent responsibilities first and avoid getting caught up in those that are not as important.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win

Mutually beneficial relationships will always have a lasting and fruitful impact compared to those that don’t. Before you approach your partners to help your clients, think of how your partner will also benefit from the activity.

Successful partnerships in the field of PR are born from mutually beneficial relationships.

Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood

This will take you a long way, especially when you’re pitching stories to journalists. Research on what stories they have done and if they have done something for your competitor and request if they would be interested in covering your story

Inform them why your story stands out and how would they benefit from it, research their schedules, the beats that they cover, and their style of operating.

Once you understand your target media, you will be in a better position to understand how to approach them.  

Habit 6: Synergize

There is a saying, ‘many cooks spoil the soup’ however in the field of PR, the opposite is true. Great campaigns are built when there is a collective effort.

You need to be able to effectively collaborate with all your media partners, potential partners and sponsors to achieve spectacular results.

Habit 7: Sharpen the saw

Never stop learning. The field of PR is constantly changing, especially when it comes to social media and technology. Dedicate some time daily to learn new skills that will help enhance your skills and stay ahead of the competition   

 

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13 Jul
8 Deadly Facebook Advertising Mistakes That Are Killing Your Business

In Blog

Considering the sizeable dent to your company’s wallet on digital advertising, the real question is; Is your current online ad strategy making you a killing or killing your business?

Read on to ensure you’re not guilty of these 8 cardinal sins in paid Facebook advertising.

 

1. Failing to optimize bids toward the right goal

To run a successful ad campaign it is crucial to understand the goals of your business. A budding enterprise would place its focus on generating new likes and page visits, thereby building brand awareness. An established business targets lead generations. The first step in setting up a Facebook ad campaign is settling on an objective. This means making Facebook aware of what you intend to achieve with the assigned bid. This could be anything from website traffic to conversions. As an example, if you decide that your objective will be website clicks, the further ad optimization options that are at your disposal will accordingly be suited to that objective. You may only ever choose one objective per campaign.

Thusly, if you have a clear-cut objective in mind, you will be able to squeeze the maximum ROI out of each and every advert by aligning them with your company’s objectives.

 

2. Thinking your audience is everyone and their second cousin

It’s better to have a sub-par ad targeted toward the right people than a fantastic ad targeted toward the wrong people. To assume that all your users from ages 18-80 of every gender under the sun are going to go bananas over all your products/services is a mistake - a very costly mistake.

When narrowing down to a target demographic, never underestimate the power of Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor. Of course, in due time you may well end up with a multitude of target groups as your company grows. This gives you an insight into each specific target group and their response/engagement to your products/services, wherein you can also cross compare performances between different groups. It has been confirmed that companies are able to procure about 700% more click-throughs when targeting fans with their ad campaigns.

 

3. Targeting too narrow an audience

On the flip side, be sure you don’t get too specific with your target audience pool. That would do just as much damage as its aforementioned counterpart. This entails affording Facebook extremely restrictive parameters to function with whilst displaying your ad.

A good indication that your target audience is too narrow is if the campaign’s click-through rate (CTR) is relatively low even if the bid is quite high or higher than usual. To test this theory out, try different approaches wherein you refresh your creative to see if the engagement rates fluctuate positively. If not, your audience probably needs to be broadened.

A simple example to hit this point home; Instead of simply targeting people who are interested in stilettos, expand that pool to include people who are interested in women’s shoes.   

 

4. Having your campaign overstay its visit

Quit while you’re ahead. Don’t keep your campaign running way longer than is needed. If your audience gets bombarded with your ad too often they are more than likely to hide all future ads from your page, or subconsciously turn a blind eye to stale ads that have been recycled over and over again, thus rendering your ad campaign ineffective.

Research suggests that adverts shown more than 3 times to a particular user will likely decline in performance, even if they were extremely successful initially. To ensure your ad doesn’t under-deliver, keep it running for a specific time and quit when you notice low engagement, and eventually, you'll arrive at the most optimal duration to run your campaign. Also be certain to stop any previous ads from running before you launch a new one so that they aren’t in competition one with the other.  

 

5. Launching a campaign where the call to action is missing in action

Having no call to action for your advert could potentially defeat its entire purpose, and lay waste to all the resources expended on your campaign. Ensure at all times that your call to action is extremely clear so that users know exactly what is asked of them. As discussed earlier, the call to action will depend upon your ad’s objective. If you’re aiming at driving brand awareness, you’ll probably just need to add your address and phone number to the ad. This way, the user won’t even need to click on the ad to carry out the action you desire to prompt.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to generate leads, you want the user to convert over to your website. Bear in mind that your website’s homepage doesn’t have to be the landing page all the time. Users visiting your home page might get distracted by all the other pretty elements and fail to carry out the purpose that you intended.

So, for example, if you wish them to sign up for your newsletter, try making a custom-made landing page that displays just the details to be filled in by the user. If you wish the user to try a certain product, the call to action must contain the link to that individual product page rather than just your general product catalog

 

6. Falling victim to the ad set syndrome

Here’s the concept of Facebook ad sets in a nutshell - Advertising campaigns on Facebook revolve around ‘sets’ that are essentially groups of individual ads, each of which includes lifetime or daily budget, targeting data, bid type, bid info, and schedule.

As an advertiser, you have the option of placing as many ads as you like in a single set and as many sets as you like in a single campaign. Whilst this technique might seem like the easiest to manage your ads, it isn’t without problems. Let’s say you decide to put 15 ads in one set, Facebook might take it upon itself to assign maximum reach to just one advert in the aforesaid set, depending on what it deems most suitable. Thus, it’s likely that a majority of your audience might not even see the other adverts in that set.

The key is to keep them apart as far as possible. Assign no more than five to six ads to a single set, and no more than 3 ad sets to a single campaign, and you’re good to go.

 

7. Using images that don’t play nice with Facebook or its users

The first thing that catches the eye of a Facebook user is a beautifully crafted image that crisply highlights its subject matter in as little an effort as possible. However, casting a careless assumption that you know exactly what type of image will inspire clicks is not something you want to find yourself guilty of. Split testing images is key. Run an experiment wherein you post two different types of images, whilst keeping the remaining parameters such as target data, bid info, etc., exactly the same.

To illustrate our meaning here’s an example; there was a split test experiment conducted displaying two images to users. The first image showed a woman smiling brightly at the camera, the second showed an assortment of colourful festive ornaments.

Now an uneducated guess would suggest that the smiling woman got more clicks, correct? It just so turned out that in that particular ad campaign, the latter inspired more user engagement than the former. There is no rhyme or reason to these things, the rule of thumb is; if you can afford to split test, do it. It will save you way more resources in the long run.

Additionally, ensure that you are using the correct image size as per Facebook’s recommendations. If not, you’re risking lowering the engagement rate to your ad as the image is unlikely to be displayed properly.

 

8. Not knowing when your audience has had enough

Saturation is an absolute no-no. Keep in mind that a majority of Facebook users do not log in only to be treated to a plethora of advertising propaganda. With too large an influx of messages from you, your audience will naturally get increasingly jaded, thus rendering the impact of your ad campaigns less and less effective as time drags by.

A huge red flag to hint at audience saturation is dwindling engagement. If this continues even after you’ve played around with other parameters of your campaign, you can be sure you’ve waterlogged your demographic and it’s time to lay low for a while.

To play it safe initially, expend a lower revenue on ads and narrow your target criteria to understand how much is too much before you begin campaigning at large and risking a much higher loss.

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7 Jul
How to Create a BOSS Content Calendar in Just 3 Easy Steps!

In Blog

Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? You’re a busy person. Last week when you missed the deadline for that creative and brought great shame upon us all, you vowed never to forgive yourself, so help you God. Well, we feel you. So forget what all those other guys said. Here’s the only way to create an awesomesauce content calendar with realisable goals, reasonable deadlines AND see them all the way through. Okay? Okay.

Wait, back it up! What is this ‘Content Calendar’ you speak of?

Pretty much what you think it is; a systematic agenda that details the list of tasks, their intricacies, and subsequent deadlines. It helps create a plan for future advertising and marketing activity by visualising the data to be enforced over a specific period of time (like a month or a year). Of course, some of this data might be altered should unforeseeable circumstances come your way, for which you would have to make due accommodations; an occupational hazard at best.

However, creating a functional content calendar that contributes to a lucrative project outcome is easier said than done. The key is to shine the spotlight on the actual content entailed in your calendar. Why is that so important, you ask? Well, quality content is paramount if you don’t want your website to be just another face in the crowd.

Designs, videos, interactive media, images, insofar as their role in selling your products is concerned, are less effectual in comparison and are thereby relegated to the back burner. Via provoking, relevant and keyword optimised content, you can highlight buzzworthy USPs, enhance your branding, boost your website on the SERP, engage prospects and customers, and build a highly effective content strategy.

So yeah! This is how to do that and stuff.

STEP #1

A little R & D never hurt anybody

And by ‘a little’, we mean ‘a lot’. Content is headlining your website’s performance, as such you have to equip it accordingly to blow the audience away. The right way to begin would be through extensive marketing research. Identify your key demographic; the people for whom you do what it is you do. Most companies have a diverse demographic range and rarely cater to just a single customer bracket.

You might beg to differ. Even if you don’t, here’s an example to illustrate the point anyway; Let’s say there exists company ABC that produces sparkly pink votive marigold-scented candles. The possible buyers for said product would probably be teen girls aged 13-19 and women aged 20-35. For such a specific product, there sure are a whole tonne of different people to accommodate, wouldn’t you say?

And with different people come different kinds of content. Company ABC now has to prepare content for ages 13-28, that would include Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest posts, and for ages 29-35 that would include content suited to home decor websites, lifestyle blogs, etc.

In collaboration with the sales, customer service and marketing departments within company ABC, a team effort is required to accurately pinpoint these diverse customer types. Equally important is to evaluate how to effectively allocate content weight between these different types. This means distributing content between existing buyers, potential buyers, and other assorted minorities, depending upon their perceived or tested value to your business.

Don’t get carried away too much, though. It is vital to assess team capacities and understand the amount of quality content that could be produced within a reasonable time frame.

 

STEP #2

Plagiarise like you mean it!

What’s that? It took you a while to read the above and now you have way less time than what you started out with? We’ll make it up to you. Given below is a basic template for a calendar that would suit a majority of purposes. Feel free to steal it while we’re looking the other way. Of course, tailor-made tweaks to cater to your explicit needs will need doing. But we have faith in you.

The above was created in Google Sheets and follows a crisp, linear layout that makes it easy to read and execute. With the main menu titles; Topic, Date of Publication, Day of Publication, Details, Type, Author, Platform, Current Status and Notes, the calendar highlights salient points in the content strategy and avoids convoluting it beyond what is necessary.

STEP #3

Keep an eye on performance

Now that you’ve conceptualised your content for the coming month, it’s time to put it through its paces. You’ll have to track certain metrics through Google Analytics to evaluate your content’s performance. This enables you to develop an understanding of how effective your content marketing strategy is by analysing visitor engagement A.K.A. the number of clicks.

This helps analyse other parameters like;

~ The number of unique visitors to your website

~ Where do these visitors live

~ Where does the most traffic flow in from (social media, externals links, etc.)

~ Which tactics influence the most traffic (images, quizzes, GIFs, contests)

~ Which content is responsible for the most conversions (i.e. leads into customers)

~ Which content displays the least visitor engagement and drives traffic away

Understanding the above metrics also enables you to execute the perfect plan 2.0 should your original content strategy prove ineffective.

And there you have it; the ultimate guide to creating a content calendar to end all content calendars! Godspeed!

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3 Jul
The Subtle Art of Slaying at PR

In Blog

PR - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The sphere of Public Relations and Corporate Communication represents the most diverse, influential, and exhilarating professional endeavours in the 21st century.

Acting as; a lifestyle manager for an A-lister in the entertainment industry, an accounts executive in a financial conglomerate, a marketing and social media coordinator for a tourism giant, a digital media specialist for a restaurant chain, an event management consultant for a sports agency, are only a handful of bullet points in what is a laundry list of opportunity in the world of PR.

A Dummy’s Guide to Understanding PR

Behind the smoke and mirrors, a Public Relations agency simply undertakes to paint the company in a flattering light vis-à-vis its target audience. Priority numero uno is to lend their client an aura of honesty, success and relevance as far as public perception goes, thereby boosting their credibility quotient.

Despite the popular adage, ‘There is no such thing as bad publicity’, these agencies also administer damage control should their client find themselves in less than tasteful situations. Though nothing piques the public’s curiosity like success through scandal, a PR guy plays his cards carefully to understand which scandals work in the client's favour, and which do not, and acts accordingly.  

Through direct mediums such as participation at conventions and award ceremonies, as well as indirect mediums like radio and print campaigns, social media marketing, blogs, press releases, newsletters, etc., a PR manager is tasked with researching, writing, planning, editing, designing and implementing effectual strategies to establish and retain a strong connection between the company and the media/public.

As opposed to an advertising agency, a PR firm does not indulge in any form of ‘paid media’. That is to say, they do not design and execute material for advertisements, billboards, nor do they directly promote client products. Rather, they are involved in ‘free media’, meaning they focus on newspapers, magazines, websites, and the likes, to act as ‘Reputation Nazis’ on behalf of their clients.

People are often of the opinion that any form of paid promotion is put forward by the company itself and hence, needs to be handled with gloves of skepticism. Whereas, the material presented in respected third-party outlets like newspapers, magazines and websites easily elicits trust from the public, as these conduits are viewed as occupying an unbiased standpoint. This is why the work of a PR guy emulates that of an artiste. By adding the essential cherry atop a deadly dull cake, they have the power to influence public attitudes to a startling degree, something that even advertising agencies cannot do.

Suiting Up for Battle

That’s a lot to take in, isn’t it? Just as in any business role within the professional sphere, a PR specialist faces the core challenge of helping draw in new customers whilst retaining existing ones. To distinguish the company amongst its competition, one has to adopt effective brand management techniques, thus converting leads into sales. However, to truly excel in what has become an increasingly cut-throat field, one needs the perfect start to getting ahead.

St Pauls Institute of Communication Education (SPICE) ushers in the advent of an exciting new era for the academic world of Public Relations and Corporate Communication. The Postgraduate Public Relations program takes students through a ten month long enriching learning experience that imbibes both theoretical and practical knowledge, skills and trends prevailing in the industry.

We’ve administered a complete overhaul to the age-old course loads, enabling exposure to a well-devised curriculum curated by veteran business experts. Additionally, the course work is regularly reviewed to ensure that it is relevant and current from an employer’s perspective.

The program is designed to portray an up-to-date reflection of the 3 essentials of PR;

Research

Through pedagogy in consumer behaviour, marketing, media engagement, and data analytics, the student is encouraged to conduct independent research and finely tune their ability to conceive and execute the perfect PR pitch.

Creativity

This segment encourages pupils to shoot down tried and tested methods. Becoming an innovative force that propels the execution of creative techniques through research, rather than manufacturing  ‘yes men’ is a focal point in the program.

Communication

Content is king; a no doubt overused, over abused statement, but one that still holds water.  The program hones the student’s written and verbal communication faculties, enabling them to put forward their well-researched ideas. Presentations, essays and class participation form a vital portion of the course, boosting the pupil’s confidence to throw in their creative ideas and arguments, and face constructive feedback from their peers and teachers. To remain in tune with the emerging needs in the field of PR, we inculcate concepts like finance, corporate, and lifestyle communications.

Entering the Professional Arena

St. Paul’s PR alumni speak volumes without ever having to say a word through their post-education accomplishments. Our pupils have created a name for themselves in some of the most reputed media corporations, whilst exhibiting the skills cultivated through our industry inspired curriculum, designed to prepare them way before they even set foot into the professional sphere.

PR Pundit, Avian Media, Madison Public Relations, Edelman, Adfactors PR, MSLGroup, Text100, to name a few, have a fruitful track record of taking SPICE’s students under their wing. These students have traveled from strength to strength with plenty of exciting opportunities coming their way.  

The bottom line? There is always ample elbow room to accelerate a career in public relations, and deliver said career onto a custom-made tangent. By exhausting one’s faculties in various capacities such as designing and executing strategic communication plans within the company, to organizing promotional gala dinners for thousands of people, a PR specialist can author a very colourful portfolio.

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22 Jun
Your Successful Career in Media Begins Right Here!

In Blog

How would you describe the media industry? 

Go on. Take a moment. Picture it.

Everything you’ve heard and read has probably clued you in to what the life of a media management exec is like. If you still find yourself coming up short for words, let me help you out; shark-eat-shark, cut-throat, fiercely competitive, and also…

Incredibly rewarding.

Call it what you will; a sliver of interest, a budding passion, pure happenstance, or all of the above, have probably led you here. And here is the perfect place if you’re a 12th grade graduate with a shiny degree, but sorely discombobulated about the big, bad F word. That’s right - the Future.

So let’s break it down. What even is Media and Entertainment Management? More importantly, is it perfect for you or should you jump ship right about now and go be a lawyer or something?

Media and Entertainment Management 101

Here’s the great news! Media Management enables you to diversify a dull portfolio. How? Well, it includes management roles in a whole host of exciting fields including gaming, events, film, music, television and interactive media. The entertainment world will be your oyster and you pretty much get to go cherry-picking from several incredible opportunities. You’ll manage teams, boss people around, achieve your creative vision within challenging deadlines, which you decide, whilst overseeing budgets and coaxing through everybody’s best efforts in the most cost-effective manner possible.

 

This is where your leadership qualities are motioned to the forefront in a world that is constantly evolving, thus keeping you on your toes. A couple of key areas that are part and parcel of the industry are public relations, marketing, advertising, and publishing. To put it plainly, a media manager is really like any other except he or she has special knowledge and skills pertaining to his or her chosen field in addition to generic skills. The raison d'être for any media manager is to always ensure that the company's branding strategy plays nice with its public image. 

Sounds fun, right? You shoot, you score!

So um, is this the right career for you?

Here’s the not-so-great news. Whilst opportunities abound, it’s easier said than done to nab the perfect job. Employers look for a blend of both interpersonal and entrepreneurial skills; a surprisingly rare combination that oft eludes most. You have to be incredibly dynamic, a people-pleaser but definitely not a pushover, a person that stays 12 steps ahead of everybody, somebody with a vision and the nerve to see it through, and an effective approach when it comes to controlling a team of what will probably be a whole ton of different age groups with different temperaments.

 

A savvy media manager will take maximum advantage of new age media platforms to enhance the company’s relationship with its customers. This means you’re expected to transform into a one-man circus act and keep several plates spinning all at once.

 

Intimidated? Don’t be! We’ve got a surprise for you.

Not to get too cliché, but education is the key to a successful career. And what better way to kick-start that career than under the tutelage of some of the most proficient mentors in the industry? Learn the ropes from business practitioners who’ve been around long enough to know the ins and outs like the back of their hand. In the presence of their expertise, you’ll receive an unparalleled theoretical and practical education, giving you that edge amongst your peers.

This is where we come in. St. Paul’s Institute of Communication Education (SPICE) has devised a Media and Entertainment Management undergraduate program to give you an early start right after you graduate from the 12th grade. Segmented into 6 concise semesters, the course’s curriculum covers all the essentials in pedagogy including business communication, advertising and marketing management, media writing, journalism, human resource management, event marketing, digital and social media management, brand advertising, project management, and so much more!

 

If you think nothing could possibly top that, we’ll do you one better! SPICE has also incorporated guaranteed internships and live projects into the program to give you the inside scoop on what professional life within the industry is like.

This program is in coalition with the highly esteemed Bharathiar University, an institution that ranks amongst the top 25 universities in India. It was awarded an A grade by the NAAC, and is recognized as a dominating force in the scholastic community worldwide. We ensure that you've cultivated the right skills during the tenure of the course, making you thoroughly employment ready in a field that is yet emerging and perpetually evolving.

To add to this enriching learning experience, we’ve taken great pains to make certain we live up to international standards right down to the last detail, even more so as far as infrastructure is concerned. Air-conditioned classrooms, multimedia and video editing laboratories, television, sound recording and digital photography studios, and more, ensure that you have all the room you need to thrive in an environment of infinite opportunity.

We could go on but we’d rather invite you down here personally to come take a look. If for nothing else, do drop by for coffee and a chat with us. It really is delicious! The coffee, we mean.

Here’s our information;

T: 022 26435709

M: +91 9833806739

Email: admissions@stpaulsice.com

Apply Here: http://www.stpaulsice.com/Media-and-Entertainment-Management.html

Go on, you know what to do.

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4 Apr
Social Media: A Double-Edged Sword

In Blog

The importance of marketing has changed drastically. Hashtags, Twitter trends, tweets, posts, insta-clicks are just a few of the social media lingoes that can be found from the vast ocean of the World Wide Web. Just name the product, service or event and a catchy hashtag is born.

Marketing is no more just restricted to promoting or selling your product. It’s far beyond it. It is not the way you present the product, but the way your customers view it and share it with others.

Social Media has given a platform for customers to reach their favorite brands in a single click and companies have leveraged this as a cost effective platform to reach their target audience.

The evolution of social media has helped companies to reach the masses in creative, easy and cost effective ways. Yes, of course, it is equally difficult to maintain your credibility online since a dissatisfied customer can ruin your brand image with a single post as well. An example of my personal experience is when I had an issue with my Vodafone sim card and despite calling the helpline number on multiple attempts with no satisfactory solution, I happen to (out of frustration) make a post about my complaint on the companies Facebook page. Within minutes, I received a reply on Facebook as well as a personal call from the supervisor acknowledging my complaint. I was immediately provided with a solution to my concern. Now, this is true power. This is the reach of social media.

Companies have to maintain a good brand image and can’t afford to take a single post lightly. There was a time when they could avoid customer complaints but now a complaint gone unnoticed can have serious consequences for a companies image.

Social media sites have become a great platform to spread your word, to build awareness, to engage with customers and more.

Its reach has evolved and consumers have become smarter while making purchases. So beAware & beSocial.!!!

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ST PAULS

St Pauls Institute of Communication Education (SPICE) has created a benchmark in educating and training students from across India to become skilled media professionals. Located in Bandra - at the very heart of Mumbai city - it is one of the India’s finest media schools with another campus in Bangalore.

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