Southern PR's blog is a multi-author, multi-purpose playground: you'll find news and thoughts on the latest issues affecting the sectors we work in, feature stories, practical communication and savvy social media tips.


Our newest creative – Carlie Welsh

We’re thrilled to introduce our newest creative to Southern PR HQ! Carlie Welsh has come to us from across the Tasman and is delighted to call Queenstown her new home.

After completing her degree in Professional Communications at one of Australia’s leading universities, Carlie was determined to combine her love of the mountains with her passion for the communications industry.

She’s worked with some of the top PR firms in Melbourne and brings fresh ideas, new online strategies and her contagious smile to the Southern PR team.

We’ve asked her all the hard questions so you don’t have to…

Who are you and what’s your role at SPR?

Carlie Welsh, Account Executive at Southern PR with a focus on digital communications and social media strategy.

What excites you about a career in PR and communications?

Every day is a new adventure. There’s always a new story, opportunity or event happening – no day is a boring day in PR! I love keeping on top of economic, political and social updates, crafting stories and keeping my clients in the news (for all the right reasons of course).

It’s such an exciting time to be in communications, when there’s new technologies and new opportunities for development every day. I’m truly lucky to work with a broad range of clients that I’m genuinely passionate about, helping them shape their stories and personality from within.

One lesson you learnt from your time working in PR in Melbourne?

We are always ‘on’ in PR! There’s no ‘downtime’ for a PR professional, so you’d better love your job if you want to succeed.  PR is a 24/7 job and our clients’ needs are always our first priority. Luckily, I absolutely love the industry and it has always been my goal to find a job that becomes an integral part of my lifestyle.

Finish this sentence: on Sunday mornings you can usually find me…

Out and about (with a good coffee in hand)! I’m an active person and love nothing more than hiking, biking, eating and drinking my way through Queenstown. In the winter I’m a snowboarder (sorry mum and dad, I’ve gone to the dark side), so you’ll most likely find me up The Remarkables hanging out in Outward or Homeward with my fellow boarders. In summer I’ll be out brunching before embarking on a half-day hike or a tikki-tour tour through our stunning wine country.

What would be your personal motto?

“A ship is safe in the harbour, but that’s not what ships are made for.”

This is such a great quote that my Grandpa once told me and it’s stuck ever since. We as humans often don’t like new things and pushing our boundaries, but we don’t grow and learn if all we do is stay in the safety of our comfort zone. Never become complacent and always push your limits – you’ll be surprised how exciting life can be!

Want to know more? Get in touch with Carlie.

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17 things we’ve loved in 2017

Aaaaaaaaand…. that’s a wrap. Our cosy office in the heart of Frankton is all locked up and ready for some peace and quiet this silly season!

With 2018 just around the corner, we thought it was timely to summarise what we loved most about 2017.

It’s been a big year – a year of change, success, girl power and finally a win in the America’s Cup (and don’t get us started on Trump).

So here it is…

17 things we’ve loved in 2017:

1 > Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern 

For her stringent citizen test and love of pineapple lumps. Oh and girl power. The fact she loves cats. For inspiring our daughters. For showing Gareth Morgan that voters can, indeed, “be that thick”. And look what happened to him, eh? (Image: ZM Online)

Jacinda-Arden-ZM-interview

 

2 > Rebranding Southern PR 

Our clients rely on us to protect their reputations and build their brands, and 2017 was our year for the brand revamp. Practice what you preach!

So we took the leap, and what came next was truly spectacular, thanks to the creative team at Whitelaw Mitchell.

We said hello to our new bright Pantone colours (mixed with a healthy balance of black), geometric shapes, and fonts to match. We love it. Hope you do too.

3 > Launching our savvy new website

With our cool new look, the next step was a website to match. We came out of the dark ages and transitioned into the digital imperatives of a responsive and mobile-friendly website, with visitor experience top of mind.

Missed it? Here’s 6 ‘must-know’ facts about our website launch.

Southern-PR-new-launch

4 > Coffee

It simply gets our creative juices flowing. Thanks to our new KeepCups we’re saving the planet one coffee at a time.

We feel good, anyway.

5 > Kiwi golfer Michael Hendry – king of the course

Hendry was the first New Zealander in 14 years to win the Brodie Breeze trophy, and what a celebration it was!

He’s back to defend his crown for the 99th ISPS Handa New Zealand Open at Millbrook Resort and The Hills on 1 to 4 March 2018. See you there! (Image: New Zealand Open)

New-Zealand-Open-Michael-Hendry

 

6 > Planet Earth

A tribute to Sir David Attenborough.

He’s taken us closer to nature than we’ve ever been before and if the Hans Zimmer sound track isn’t enough to keep you on the edge of your seat, the penguins jumping off the cliff will tug at your heart strings…

7 > Award-winning us

Back in August, we were named top public relations agency in Australasia at the Australasian Leisure Management Communications and Marketing Awards.

It was incredibly exciting to be recognised for the work we do throughout Australasia in the tourism and leisure sectors.

Southern-PR-Sarah-Fiona-Laura

 

8 > Our family of clients making a world of difference

Our clients? They’re awesome. Do we need to say anything else? Highlights of the year, as always.

9 > Rabbit Ranch Pinot Noir Rosé and peonies!

Pass the pink stuff! This heavenly pink is our favourite rosé for 2017, and spring is our favourite season for the simple fact that extravagantly beautiful peonies become a must-have in our office.

10 > Hello Christchurch

Our savvy little company branched out into Christchurch this year. Starting with a bang, we worked on the PR launch for the new Crowne Plaza Christchurch. (Image: Designworks)

Crowne-Plaza-Christchurch-grand-staircase-Designworks

 

11 > Moving Mountains

Back in March we secured a 12-page spread for our client Southern Landmarx in NZ House and Garden. Yes, 12 pages. A fantastic result off the back of a double medal trifecta award win.

12 > Brain Food

With an unstoppable energy for delivering morning to night experiences, the Yonder team is rightfully winning the hearts of locals by offering something new in Queenstown.

Our favourite on the menu – the Kimchi Bowl. (Image: Whitelaw Mitchell)

Yonder-Queenstown-Kimchi-Bowl

 

13 > Networking

There’s nothing we love more than connecting with Queenstown’s vibrant business community. We’re lucky to have so many inspiring people and entrepreneurial masterminds on our doorstep.

Every event or breakfast meeting is an opportunity to ‘wow’ people with our snazzy square business cards. Who said print was dead? Make an impact.

14 > Upskilling

Don’t get left behind. Invest in your business and your people.

We’re delighted to be working with Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) to help bring more communications-based courses to Queenstown.

Our little resort town can sometimes be ‘off the radar’ due to our ‘remote’ location, so join us for a two-day course early next year to learn how to master communication and gain skills for the digital era. View course details here.

15 > Supporting culture in Queenstown

Yes we love all our clients. But we love LUMA differently because they don’t pay us. That’s because they put all the money they DO get into this awesome event that’s growing bigger by the year. We’re OK with that. (Image: Esther Small)

Luma-2017-Light-Walk-Esther-Small

 

16 > Reputation management

Reputation is key. Knowing what to do when things go wrong (and they do) is all about having a plan. We sincerely hope you never have to use your plan. But when the s**t hits the proverbial you better have one. Talk to us.

17 > Clay Target Shooting

There’s something really, really satisfying about shooting stuff (bad day at the office, anyone?). That’s shooting clays and rabbits (clay discs of course)! We just channelled our inner sharpshooter thanks to the wonderful team at Break One Clay Target Shooting.

Amidst the stunning landscape on the private Queenstown Hill Station, Fiona revealed her ‘wild side’ and took home top score at our office Christmas party! (Image: Break One)

Southern-PR-Laura-Fiona-Amy

 

And there you have it, happy holidays and see you in 2018.

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Storytelling – dare to be yourself

We’re looking into two of our favourite W’s – the what and why – in our latest blog to inspire you to think outside the box when creating content marketing strategy for 2018.

Whatever the channel, it’s all about curating timely, well thought-out and attention-grabbing stories that tick all the boxes for the editor or online channel you’re writing for. You might be creating content to get earned media (public relations), paid media advertising (an advertorial maybe) or for your owned platforms (website, social media).

Whatever your goal, you need to know why you’re creating content.

We’ve attended a number of seminars since September including the Auckland-based Social Media Conference NZ and Destination Queenstown’s (DQ) Queenstown Week Insights Programme. Huge thanks to DQ for bringing international speakers to Queenstown for an exciting week of inspirational presentations on how businesses can ‘talk’ to the Australian market.

A key message that comes up time and time again, one that resonates strongly with us and ‘what we do’ is…

Think beyond your product and tell your story.

So we’ve compiled some top tips to help you on your way.

What’s a story?

In short, it’s a description of a connected series of events. Storytelling’s an age-old craft, enabling people and businesses to transform perceptions and share experiences.

We’re ALL human, and stories help show you’re human.

New Zealand Story’s Marketing Manager Gary O’Neil shared this in a recent presentation – ‘stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts’*.

So, let’s think how you can turn your (potentially dry) product or company fact sheet into a series of stories. Can these facts be broken down? Is there a news hook or angle about your history, a ‘day in your life’ or the one thing that makes you different to any comparative business? What’s your USP’s?

How and what 

Our question to you is how are you planning on capturing attention and what is your Kiwi story?

Are you a 25-year-old tourism business which started off as a one-man-band or the oldest winery in Central Otago with stories to tell about your land, people and wine?

In today’s fragmented media landscape, journalists are being asked to produce double the content but with less resources. As a PR agency, we’re producing increasing numbers of editorial pieces for clients (in addition to traditional media releases) so we can pitch to journalists with content they can pick up and run ‘as is’.

For this to work, you need to know who you’re writing for (what stories have they previously covered?), what’s of interest to them and their readers, and have a basic understanding of what’s ‘media-worthy’.

If your strategy is to create your own editorial content, you’ll need to ensure you’re curating and delivering high quality pieces, written in a journalistic-style and voice to suit your desired publication. Maybe think about hiring a writer for your team or outsourcing to a PR or content agency.

So what’s your angle?

An angle is the specific emphasis you choose for a story that you’ll use as your pitch to media.

We’ve compiled a list of ideas to help you ‘dig deep’ so you can ‘wow and wonder’ in interesting and emotional (adds the human element) ways in 2018.

  • When did you start? Your journey – break this down into bite-sized pieces to unearth hidden treasures around your brand
  • Who are your people? Locals or internationals? Is there a Kiwi story to be told?
  • Be human – where did you begin? What kind of business are you? What do you believe in? What’s your mission and values?
  • Can your audience relate to you? If so, in what areas? Think about brand personality and how you might inspire your community
  • How do you think, envision the future, and where do you want to be? Think about growth and aspirations — what’s in the pipeline for your company directors or front of house teams? Is this an opportunity to profile your people?
  • What trending topics can you relate to (think BuzzFeed and Twitter). Does your team have the ability and resources to be reactive?
  • Do you have an upcoming anniversary you can leverage? Do you recognise employees for their longevity?
  • Think about how you work with your community. Does your company donate time/people to community or charity projects? What emotions are behind this and why do you do it?
  • Something new to say or offer — don’t miss these opportunities.
  • What memories do you provide for your customers? Could this create a story in itself?

While brainstorming these content ideas, you should apply Lauren Quaintance’s (Storyation co-founder) ‘so what’ test.

“Great stories pass the ‘so what test,” she said at a recent presentation on storytelling.

“Journalists want quirky or unique stories that generate talkability or ‘water-cooler’ conversation. Ideas that will grab attention in the social feed.

“Ask yourself, is it surprising, different or eye-catching. Or is it a case of so what?”

It’s our business to communicate client messages accurately to their audiences through relevant channels. Do you need help telling your story? Get in touch.

*Jennifer Aaker, Social Psychologist. Professor of Marketing at Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

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Making newsletters great again

We all do it. The days when your inbox is so overloaded you get the greatest satisfaction from a mass ‘delete’. Or you fervently unsubscribe to all your sign ups at the start of the New Year – it’s so cleansing, right?

But then something catches your eye when you’re trolling the interweb. You read about some cool project, a company you love, a product that’s a ‘must-have’ and before you know it, in a FOMO flurry, you’ve hit ‘subscribe’ or filled in that form.

They gotcha.

Email marketing continues to be a vital communications channel for all businesses in the days when inbox competition for attention from email subscribers remains fierce.  There’s plenty of newsletters that don’t hit the mark, that’s for sure. But every now and then, we get a newsletter that’s so good, not only do we read it, but we click it, share it, and recommend it to our friends.

So you want to be that winning newsletter

SMB’s are stepping up their game in the email marketing world. Focus on email marketing should be in your content marketing strategy for 2018 because it’s such an important strand in your multi-layered business growth strategy.

Think about it. You’ve got a potential or existing client who has already engaged with you to the extent that you’ve got their contact details. They’re willing for you to send them stuff they want or need to know, or want or need to buy (you get the drift).

So don’t stuff it up. Planning and good quality content is KEY to success. You want this to be a long-term relationship not a quick fling.

The ‘how to’ newsletter

Take ‘How to Dad’. He’s built a trusted brand by saying it like it is, with a good dose of Kiwi humour. He’s real. He’s so real and trusted a local electricity company has brought him on board as their brand ambassador to peddle a ‘good cause’.

So, back to your ‘how to’ newsletter.

Keep it real. Don’t be one of those automated email newsletters that just give us another morning task – deleting or marking as read (not read).

Exceptional newsletters or email marketing campaigns need to be cleverly written to attract attention. They should be personalised, filled with interesting graphics or images, and designed for mobile and desktop.

Above all, newsletters must contain a meaningful call-to-action. Every message must have a point to it.

And we do that how?

Try awesome subject lines and preview text. They’re always short and punchy, and they’re consistent and logical. BuzzFeed does this exceptionally well – they know their market.

Keep it simple. If you’ve got a deal or promo on the table, give it a brief initial description paired with a very clear call-to-action. The ‘skimmer’ subscribers can get the basics in a matter of seconds, while those who want to learn more are treated to a more detailed (still pleasingly simple), step-by-step explanation of how the deal works. Uber is a master at this.

Be consistent with your branding. Look at your website, social media photos, your app or other parts of your visual branding, and make sure your newsletter’s singing from that same songsheet. All communications and marketing assets should tell your brand’s story, and it makes your newsletter stand out from the inbox crowd.

What’s working and what’s not

There’s a few ways to measure what’s working and what’s not. Use your analytics, look at clicks etc. For relatively straightforward newsletter templates and measurable campaigns use something like Mailchimp to see how you’re going. Try sending out newsletters on different days of the week, different times, then look at which gets the most opens or clicks. Which parts of your newsletter are being read? Ask for feedback on content or timing – you can easily incentivise that. Keep changing and evolving and most of all, keep it real.

Regular, consistent and relevant communication with current clients is a crucial tool. Know the importance but stuck for words? Let us help, we’re wordsmiths after all.

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