PR has always been a career choice I’ve considered but if you were to ask me – before I undertook my work experience at Lansons – exactly why I wanted to do it or what it really was, I’d only be able to give you a vague answer. I’ve done my research, read countless blogs and job profile pages, but could never really explain it to family and friends in a way where I sounded like I knew what I was talking about. But after just a week working side-by-side with Lansons’ Junior Executives, my grasp of PR is all the more stronger. As a result, I thought I’d apply my newfound knowledge to my reality – the reality of university societies, which includes everything from drama and dance, to sport and languages. Here are my top Lansons-ified tips for students who are looking to boost their societies’ credentials this coming year.
Stand out from the crowd at Fresher’s Fair
As you might already be aware, most societies are keen to draw in fledgling students with free merchandise. Whether that be a canvas bag, a pen, or a few sweets, we’ve seen it all before. If you want to really stand out, follow in the footsteps of Lansons. By using the hashtag #ShawbrookStandsWithYou, handing out pink socks and encouraging people to wear them and share the hashtag, Lansons enabled Shawbrook to stand out from its competitors. Both the colour pink and the unusual pairing of socks with consumer finance got consumers talking and interested in the brand. Applying a similar approach, societies could engage with their potential new members through social media and an established hashtag, while offering a unique freebie that no one else has thought of, or one that doesn’t directly connect to the society they’re attempting to market.
(Student) Media Relations
One key thing I picked up from my work experience placement is that relationships with journalists and the media, really is key. For example, performance-based societies would hugely benefit from marketing their events to journalists. Offer one free ticket to a journalist from your most prominent publications, asking them to write an impartial review, and it will do wonders for your show. This also applies to non-performance related societies. Publications are always keen to hear about what you’re doing, especially if you’re running a campaign relevant to the student body. Offer to write a piece for them on an event of yours, or if you’re a fellow publication, ask to collaborate. On the flip side, creating strong connections with the PR team at your university is also extremely helpful. While you may already be alerted to press opportunities, you’ll also want to receive emails and information quickly and in the most helpful way possible, something you’ll find difficult if the university’s PR team isn’t on good terms with you. In short, maintain good contacts and relationships.
To conclude, my short, yet jam-packed, week at Lansons was a brilliant experience. PR is very extensive, and there’s a lot to learn.