Blog :

PR STUDENTS – BEAT THE BOREDOM

PR STUDENTS – BEAT THE BOREDOM

Our client executive, Amy gives her advice on how PR students can beat the boredom and stay focused during this lockdown.

“As a recent PR & Comms graduate and a current Client Executive, you are trained to handle whatever the world throws at you. Right?!

“However, at unforeseen times like now, being proactive and motivated can be tough – but these are key skills of any PR practitioner. As we’re part of an ever-changing industry, there’s luckily plenty going on to keep on top off and ahead of the curve (plus, most importantly, shake our boredom!).

“Despite universities being closed and at-home work commencing, it’s so important not to lose momentum on what keeps your brain ticking and your creativity flourishing. Whether you’re a student, a graduate or a practitioner – if you’re in PR, you should always find yourself boosting your education on the latest trends and tactics, as well as advancing your skills in these for the future.

“Textbooks may seem like a heavy load to start off with – so keep up-to-date with what’s going on by subscribing to useful online trade magazines including PR Week, Marketing Week and The Drum. Their articles are punchy, succinct and a much easier way to digest news updates from a relevant PR perspective.

“There are also the obvious platforms we all resort to when boredom strikes: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat – and now TikTok.

“Why not take the extra time you have to understand these existing and new social platforms better? That way, you can apply this when normal life resumes, either for creative uni assignments or idea suggestions for clients. For example, this short yet interesting article by PR Daily explores TikTok’s background, statistics and projected staying power in the world of PR.

“LinkedIn Learning offers a free trial month and is worth delving into if you want to enhance your knowledge on Google Ads, Google Analytics, writing ad copy and understanding SEO to name just a few. By completing these short courses, you will be ahead of the game as well as be able to pop these on your CV!

“Or, if you’re looking for something to do that’s interactive and allows you to unleash your creativity, why not try starting up your own blog? If you want to kick-start a career in PR, there’s nothing better than having your own personal portfolio to impress prospective employers with. You heard it here first!”

It will get better, and it will soon – just remember to look after yourself, keep busy and #stayhomesavelives. 

If you are a PR student looking a placement in September or any industry advice please get in touch via hello@rumourmillcomms.com. At Rumour Mill we are keen to support and develop the next generators or communicators and content creators.

FIVE NEW ARTISTS CONFIRMED FOR LATEST REVEAL 2020 PROGRAMME

FIVE NEW ARTISTS CONFIRMED FOR LATEST REVEAL 2020 PROGRAMME

One of Northern Ireland’s award-winning theatre companies, Prime Cut Productions, is delighted to announce a new cohort of artists for their latest programme, Reveal 2020. After an extensive recruitment campaign, five new recruits are joining the company and will be working on various collaborative projects over the next two years.

With a surge of interest in the programme, came over ten times as many applications as there were places to fill, highlighting the need for greater support for independent Northern Ireland artists. The quality of submissions exceeded the expectations of the Prime Cut team, making the decision to choose the final five a challenge, given the calibre of talent.

The new artists are; Dominic Montague, Reveal Artist; Katie Richardson, Reveal Artist; Natalie Murphy, Associate Producer and Michael Patrick and Oisin Kearney, who received the Reveal Playwriting Commission.

This latest Reveal Programme was supported by prestigious arts funding from leading independent funder Jerwood Arts’ Development Programme Fund, the Funding and Development Agency and Arts Council Northern Ireland.

Emma Jordan: Artistic Director of Prime Cut Productions said: “Now more than ever the necessity of supporting NI independent theatre artists is crucial in creating a society in which we can all be proud to belong to. In these challenging times along with our basic necessities we need artists with the vision of our new cohort to try and help us make sense of a world which has altered irrevocably in the past few months.

Una NicEoin, Executive Producer of Prime Cut Productions said: “There was huge interest in Reveal and the quality of the applications was second to none, making our job in selecting the final four roles extremely difficult. It’s testament to the creativity and tenacity of Northern Ireland’s independent artists and we look ahead to an exciting couple of years with the Reveal programme. Given current circumstances this is a challenging time for all, especially the arts sector. We must continue to support, protect and nurture our local talent. Therefore, our aim is maintaining the successes of previous Reveal Programmes ensuring the artists get the recognition they deserve.”

Lilli Geissendorfer, Director, Jerwood Arts said: “We congratulate the five artists on their appointment. The Reveal programme has proved to be a huge success in previous years. Since 2014, with investment from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and latterly Jerwood Arts, Prime Cut Productions has made and co-produced work with eight Reveal Artists that have led to three internationally touring award-winning shows, a further four showcasing at Dublin and Edinburgh Fringe as well as Island of Ireland Tours, ongoing career development for many more and two major industry events. We have no doubt these five artists will develop powerful new work for Reveal 2020.”

The Reveal programme has proved to be a huge success in previous years. Since 2014, with investment from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and latterly Jerwood Arts, Prime Cut Productions has made and co-produced work with eight Reveal Artists that have led to three internationally touring award-winning shows, a further four showcasing at Dublin and Edinburgh Fringe as well as Island of Ireland Tours, ongoing career development for many more and two major industry events.

Established in 1992, the Prime Cut Productions ethos has been to delve into subjects that matter across various communities; making international work that resonates with local audiences.

DOES TIK TOK SPELL THE END FOR INSTAGRAM?

DOES TIK TOK SPELL THE END FOR INSTAGRAM?

In February 2020, Tik Tok reached a whopping 1.5 billion downloads globally. There were 615 million new users who downloaded the app from the App Store and Google Play store in the past 12 months, an increase of 6% from the previous year. But why is it so successful?

Tik Tok is a hugely popular video-sharing social-platform owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based company founded in 2012. Content creators take existing formats, such as jokes, memes and songs, and reinterpret them in their own way. A song is lip-synced by hundreds of creators, each adding their own twist to it. The content shared via TikTok can be described as mostly frivolous, but users don’t care. They have fun creating it and don’t seem bothered by public scrutiny.

Unlike Instagram, TikTok isn’t about you or what you’re doing. It’s about entertaining your audience. It’s not spontaneous chronicling of your real life. It’s about inventing characters, dressing up as someone else and acting out jokes. It’s not about privacy and friends but strutting on the world stage. And it’s not about originality — the heart of Instagram. TikTok is about remixing culture — taking the audio from someone else’s clip and reimagining the gag in a new context by layering it on top a video you record.

Should Instagram be worried? TikTok is unlikely to replace Instagram, but it could become a good alternative source of entertainment for users. Most users won’t abandon Instagram for TikTok, but the amount of time they spend on Facebook’s photo-sharing app could decline. TikTok is almost the opposite or a deliberate parody of what’s on Instagram; its users seemingly go out of their way to denounce the latter platform’s aesthetics, high-profile production values and originality. If anything, the majority of TikTok creators embrace the silliness to the fullest, and in that lies its biggest strength: setting the entry bar very low. TikTok enables anyone to jump in quickly and create content, without the work that goes into polished production.

TikTok has a relatively younger user base than Instagram. Nearly half of its users are teenagers, and more than 65% users are under 25 years old. The app is equally popular among male and female users. However, a large number of millennials and boomers install the app out of curiosity and end up ditching it after a while. It is fun to scroll through these videos for a half-hour every now and then, but it eventually becomes repetitive and loses its stickiness after a while.

While both Instagram and Facebook are pretty ad-heavy, TikTok isn’t (not yet at least). They started showing short ads in January 2019, and they now have an advertising system, but it isn’t driving people away from their platform yet. TikTok generates revenue through in-app purchases such as digital gifts and emojis. But it’s also ramping up its advertising business, showing you portrait-mode video ads. Unlike Instagram, TikTok has access to both the Chinese and international markets for advertising means. Facebook’s apps don’t have access to 1.4 billion people in China.

Teenagers are gaga for TikTok. And with the advertising floodgates wide open, brands are too. Chipotle, Nike, Skittles, Fenty Beauty, Pepsi, and Universal Pictures are among the many companies that have already been lured by TikTok’s warp speed success.

So, is it time for your company to start TikTok marketing? The team at Rumour Mill has had a play around with the app and we are all unanimously sold. The platform acts an endless feed of short entertainment bursts which are light-hearted, warm and often funny. This is a welcome alternative to the perfectly polished aesthetics of the gram. We especially love the ability for everyone to get involved in Tik Tok. The app actively encourages people of all ages to try the latest dance trend or lip sync their favourite comedy skit. We can certainly see how it would fit in the marketing mix in the near future. Restaurant clients making quick fire food videos, fashion brands doing sassy runway shows and much more. It is essentially Instagram Stories on steroids, and we are here for it!

Tik Tok grew by over 400 per cent between 2017 and 2018 and is now a mainstream app. The question is, will this explosion continue? Or, are we approaching the ceiling whereby user growth will flatten a la Snapchat and Twitter? Time will certainly tell.

Give it a go this Easter Weekend or follow our Rumour Mill Social Media Guru Ciaran for a few giggles: @ciaranmullan04. Once we get past Covid-19 and we are all together – Rumour Mill TikTok will be born to entertain you all.

DELIVERY IS BACK ON THE MENU AT FISH CITY

DELIVERY IS BACK ON THE MENU AT FISH CITY

Are you missing some tasty Fish & Chips or a mouth-watering Seafood Chowder? Worry no more! Award-winning restaurant, Fish City, is thrilled to announce that its delivery service is now LIVE.

With a sprinkle of salt, lashings of vinegar and a good spoonful of mushy peas, it’s no wonder this hearty dish is a local and national favourite.

Yet, given the introduction of social distancing and the #stayhome campaign, Fish City was forced to close its doors temporarily. Keen to bring its signature dishes back to the masses, the team has been working hard to get delivery back on the menu.

Based in Belfast City Centre, Fish City, has now partnered with Just Eat, along with Deliveroo, Uber Eats and its own app – to bring some of its amazing dishes straight to you.

“This has been an extremely unsettling and worrying time for all businesses.” says owner of Fish City John Lavery.

“But we have remained focused on supporting our team and our customers. Our commitment to serving “the freshest seafood and most sustainable in town” has earned us a number of awards.

“At this stage in the lockdown, people are probably bored of cooking at home and are looking for a real treat to see them through this time. Fish & Chips has always been a local favourite and our customers can choose from some of our favourite fish and seafood dishes, such as Haddock or Cod Fish & Chips, Seafood Linguine or the Fisherman’s Curry. All cooked fresh to order.

“We took this initial period since closing the restaurant to ensure we could perfect the logistics around delivery. We are adhering to the government guidelines and ensuring the safety of our customers and staff remains paramount.”

Delivery is available from 5pm tonight (Friday 10 March) to the Belfast and surrounding area. You can also collect from the eatery direct and due to the relaxed parking restrictions on Ann Street, get right to the door.

You can download the Fish City app via its website: www.fish-city.com or you can order via Deliveroo, Uber Eats and now Just Eat. Alternatively, you can avail of its click and collect service online www.fishcity/Iwantfed.com or call 028 9023100.

WORKING FROM HOME

WORKING FROM HOME

Are you new to this whole working from home thing? Us too! Companies around the world are adapting to mandatory remote working, including us. We are having to adapt to a new environment, primarily our living rooms and kitchens; spots in our homes that may not usually lend themselves to productivity.

Whilst we are missing each other and the daily banter – plus the tea making rota; there are ways to keep positive and avoid going stir-crazy. Over the past few weeks, we have been adapting, and figuring out what works for us individually, from setting up a good workspace, to the way we keep in touch as a team. Here are a few of our top tips.

Communication is key: At the start of each working week, we always have a client catch up. Then each day, a mini task focused chat to establish what our day will look like. In the office, communication is easy and effortless. Rather than doing this face to face, we now have a team Skype call every day, at the same time. This helps encourage a routine and we can each establish what tasks we have planned for that day and plot out the rest of the week. We also have our team WhatsApp group chat and when we aren’t sending each other memes, we can send quick voice memos to check something that doesn’t merit a phone call.

Rather than client meetings, we are arranging Skype or Zoom meetings, which are great for those clients who are used to seeing you in person. If all else fails, a good old phone call does the trick.

These are uncertain times for us all, so we continue to check in with our clients, via phone calls and emails, reassuring them we are here to help. At the end of each day, we send a task update to the team via email. It only takes a few minutes to do this and it is a simple way for us to check on where we can support each other to complete tasks if needed.

Create a workplace setting: We are all so used to the same routine, getting up, going to work, getting to the office and setting up at our desk. Most of us who don’t work remotely are unlikely to have an office space at home, so we have had to create one. OK, confess, who has joined their team conference call in their pjs? Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! Get up, take a shower and get dressed, treat your day like you are at work.

If possible, change your setting. If you can work in your living room one day, try the kitchen the next. If the sun is out, like we have been lucky to have the past few days, bring your work outside for some much-needed vitamin D! A change of scenery can really boost your mood!

If you are working from home and you live with other people in your house, set some boundaries to minimise distraction. Agree tea breaks and your lunch time so you can have a break together and you can work towards enjoying a break in your day.

Positive vibes only: Now is a great time to dust off the pom poms and be one another’s cheerleaders. We are all in a rather stressful and unknown territory right now and keeping morale high can be hard. Keep in touch with your colleagues throughout the day. You can’t see them, so a message to check how they are will make them feel less isolated and reassure them that you are all in this together.

Keep in touch with your family and friends. There are so many great platforms out there now, that are making it really easy to communicate. We are loving WhatsApp, Zoom, TikTok and House Party.

Ensure that you are getting your daily exercise and if you can get out for fresh air, even better. But reminder to stick to the government guidance. Exercise has been widely proven to help reduce anxiety, depression, and negative moods by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Yes please!

There are lots of celebrities supporting online right now with this. Facebook lives and IGTV free workouts we are loving right now are Joe Wicks, Alexandra Cane, Tyson Fury and Rio & Kate Ferdinand.

Stay in touch, stay at home and stay safe. #StayHomeSaveLives

THE TOP APPS GETTING US THROUGH LOCKDOWN

THE TOP APPS GETTING US THROUGH LOCKDOWN

Quarantine can be a bit of a slog – there’s only so many thrills you can get from going on your 100th trip to the fridge, or aimlessly scrolling through Instagram looking at people’s throwback pictures of previous holidays.

Believe it or not, this important period of isolation has proven to bring people together in ways they never would have – with innovative socialising apps being downloaded by the second, creating new cultures on how we’re making the most of our time.

From games to quizzes, group chatrooms to viral videos for the purposes of leisure or work – the possibilities are truly endless. Living in a digital age isn’t all bad in times like these!

Here’s a couple of Rumour Mill’s top favourites during this lockdown:

Houseparty

After becoming iOS Store’s most downloaded free app in the UK this month, Houseparty really is everywhere! It is basically a virtual version of a massive get-together. If your friends are ‘in the house’, you can chat with them one-to-one – or you can gather a group in a room to talk or play games, either locking that room’s door or leaving it open for new people to walk in and join you. Its great for changing things up when you’re feeling particularly bored and offers more entertaining elements than your typical Skype or FaceTime.

TikTok

TikTok is now firmly embedded in our everyday lives now. The video-sharing app is used to create short-form dance, lip-sync, comedy and talent videos – showcasing a lot of ridiculous yet addictive content. It’s ability to spark viral-worthy videos is unparalleled compared to any other app, with fresh content constantly evolving each day the more users put their own spin on what’s trending. You can read more about our thoughts on TikTok later this month and see the author himself, Ciaran Mullan, master the fine art of the app @ciaranmullan4.

Netflix Party

We all know there’s no greater betrayal than when someone swears, they won’t watch a Netflix show without you, and then watches a sneaky episode when in quarantine. If, like any of us, you daren’t break the Netflix bond with your friend or partner – this is the perfect way to keep that promise and tradition rolling. Netflix Party is a Google Chrome extension that lets you watch movies and shows remotely, with synchronised video playback and an added group chat – making it a real-time experience for you and your fellow viewer, as well as making long distance that little bit easier.

Our top Netflix picks at the moment are Tiger King, Lost Girls, RuPaul’s Drag Race and The Stranger.

Gander

It would be wrong of us not to mention Gander. The world-first app we helped launch last year, that tells you in real-time about reduced yellow-labelled items in your local SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO and ViVOXtra store.

When buying food responsibly has never been more important, Gander can help you protect your savings and reduce any food waste. Now more than ever it is important to avoid the perils of stock piling and buying for the sake of it. We have all seen images emerging of the amount of foods going to waste, as a result of the recent panic buying pandemic. Be smart, use Gander to find reduced food in your local store, manage your food budget, freeze and prep; then enjoy your food in the knowledge you have done your bit to protect the environment. Remember yellow-labelled food is just reduced in price and not in quality.

What apps have been getting you through this quarantine? Let us know! Remember to adhere to government guidelines, keep each other safe and #stayathome.