5 of Our Biggest PR Peeves!

How to evaluate pr is a hotly debated topic in the pr industry, and in the Paskett PR office!

The issue regularly comes up and there seems to be no set formulae for the best way to put a value on what we do and the results that we achieve. Certain factors such as circulation, breakdown of the coverage by publication type and readership are key metrics but there is no best practice for putting a price on the coverage to help clients calculate their ROI.

AVE (advertising value equivalent) was the system once used in the industry whereby a value is placed on the coverage to represent what the space would have cost if it were bought as advertising. However, there are many flaws with this – it doesn’t take placement within the publication account or perhaps most worryingly, the tonality and sentiment. The epitome of all publicity is good publicity?!

Last week we took part in a live webinar discussing the “alternatives to AVE that actually really work” and it was very valuable, as well as sparking some interesting discussions among the team.

The overriding message of the webinar is that AVE is dead and that it is not the value of communication.

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I’m a firm believer in this and we’re constantly striving to find new ways of evaluating our work. Therefore I’m putting AVE in my list of PR Pet Peeves – here’s my top 5 list (in no particular order)

  1. AVE
  2. The use of phrase “pr that” – it doesn’t make grammatical sense! “PR” isn’t a verb! (On that note, whilst writing this I found a great post from @abrinkman about the topic – https://www.cision.com/us/2010/04/to-pr-or-not-to-pr-pr-is-not-a-verb/
  3. Similar to the above, the use of “pr” to describe a job title for pr practioner. “I’m looking for the pr for” – again, this doesn’t make sense!
  4. On a less ranty note, poor images. These can really make or break a client’s chance of getting coverage. Not just the content of the photo but also the resolution and quality of the shot
  5. Getting a bite but not reeling it in – when you get a lead on a story that will be a big hit and make the client very happy. You send over all the information but then hear nothing back!

Rant over! What are your PR Pet Peeves?

Holly

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Garden centres to benefit from generous pr discounts

The UK’s leading gardening public relations agency has partnered with The Horticultural Trades Association (The HTA) to offer public relations and social media services for considerably discounted rates.

The “From Acorn to Oak” scheme grants HTA members the chance to utilise Paskett PR’s vast experience in both the gardening and retail sectors. The partnership is part of the The HTA’s Preferred Partner Scheme and has two packages for members to choose from.

The Oak package, at £350 per month, grants HTA members 10 press releases and two promotions per year. The second package is the Acorn, for £200 per month, for which Paskett PR will work with the garden centre and its local media on six press releases and an annual promotion. In addition to these there is also the option to add social media services too.

The scheme will launch at the HTA’s Marketing Forum in November where Paskett PR will give delegates a pr masterclass, explaining what pr is and how it can be used to grow businesses, whilst highlighting best practice methods and explaining what to do in a pr crisis.

Holly Daulby, account director at Paskett PR commented: “We have two main sectors that our clients operate in. The first is gardening and lifestyle, and then we also look after many shopping centres across the country to drive footfall so working with garden centres, and The HTA, unites this perfectly.”

The new partnership comes following a string of successes for Paskett PR which started last year when the agency expanded to offer clients a new social media service. This was followed by new account wins and the agency being appointed to handle the pr for Town & Country. The agency then announced that it is now working with the National Garden Scheme (the NGS) on a charitable basis and then topped that off with being shortlisted for Best PR Campaign at the recent UK Agency Awards for its “Memory Tree” campaign that it created at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for Hillier.

Own a piece of Chelsea Flower Show history

Thirteen people will be able to own a piece of RHS Chelsea Flower Show history and at the same time raise valuable funds for a good cause, thanks to Hillier Nurseries and its charity partner Wessex Cancer Trust.

The online auction, which will run from 6th – 16th October, is the culmination of a very successful ‘Memory Tree’ project displayed at RHS Chelsea this year by Hillier. The family-owned company has exhibited at the world-famous flower show for almost a century and has won a record-breaking 72 consecutive gold medals.

With so many amazing memories connected to the show, the Memory Tree was created so that this year’s visitors could share their treasured garden memories too.

Visitors to the show signed tags to hang from the tree, a Davidia involucrata – more commonly known as a Pocket Handkerchief tree – and wrote down their most treasured garden memory in a special book. It was a great success and by the close of Chelsea, over 500 tags were fluttering from the branches, which was quite a spectacular sight.

Alan Titchmarsh, a long-running supporter of Wessex Cancer Trust, was the first of a plethora of famous faces to take part. Dame Judi Dench, Joanna Lumley, Piers Morgan, Jo Whiley, Nigel Slater, the One Show’s Matt Baker and Alex Jones, Carol Klein, Anton du Beke, Ainsley Harriott, Nigel Havers and Cerys Matthews also signed tags.

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Wessex Cancer Trust is now auctioning the commemorative tags signed by the celebrities. Each one is beautifully displayed in a frame, complete with certificate and a copy of the person’s memory.

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The auction is now live here – happy bidding!

Alongside the auction, Hillier has also launched a digital copy of the Memory Book called ‘Your Garden Memories’. The interactive book replicates the memories that were shared at Chelsea alongside photos of this year’s award-winning garden and commentary from members of the Hillier family. The book can be viewed at here.

A new season for new gardening goals

I can’t believe summer is finally coming to an end and the new school year has already begun, time really does fly!

Autumn is a beautiful time of year, especially that first day when you step outside and the air feels fresher and crisper for the first time in months.  It brings with it all sorts of pleasant feelings as you experience one of the most significant visual changes – the changing colours of leaves on the trees from green to stunning vibrant browns, reds and oranges.

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The new season also brings with it new goals and new things to focus on in the garden.  The next couple of months will be perfect for carrying out some autumn garden maintenance tasks to help you prepare your garden for winter.

 

Here are some top tips:

Clear fallen leaves – keep lawns free from fallen leaves.  Don’t delay clearing leaves until the end of autumn, if left for long periods, they can have a damaging effect on the lawn and cause it to turn yellow.

Control weeds – continue to eradicate weeds in the autumn to prevent them from building up in the winter.  Early autumn is an excellent time to control many lawn weeds, especially tough perennial weeds such as clover.

Control pests – Spray out aphids as autumn is a critical period for eradicating them from the garden and greenhouse.

Planting – autumn is the perfect time to harvest potatoes, onions and shallots, tomatoes, runner beans, lettuce, rocket, spring onions and other late salad crops.

Spring clean your greenhouse in autumn – this will help reduce overwintering pests and diseases.  Remove the plants before sweeping out any plant debris.  Disinfect the greenhouse paths and staging, and the inside of the glass too.

Lawn maintenance – Cutting the lawn is also important if the weather stays mild, to keep it healthy and tidy.

Garden tools – keep garden tools in pristine condition.  Remove rust, sharpen pruners and disinfect them regularly with a cleaning agent.  Give your mower a good clean and replace spark plugs and blades in readiness for spring growth.

 

Happy autumn gardening!

Aroonaa

Finding Britain’s Best Lawn

For the past 12 years Paskett PR has set out to find Britain’s Best Lawn.

In the competition’s life time we have unearthed some fantastic lawns but what has been more of a discovery has been their owners.

Whilst the lawn is of course the key criteria, our winners are always real characters who are truly dedicated to their gardens and are true lawncare aficionados.

This year’s winner was no different to that and Stuart Grindle in Doncaster spends 30 hours A WEEK looking after his lawn. It definitely showed! When we turned the corner into Stuart’s garden we were astounded by his immaculate lawn and panicked slightly that it was fake!

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The edges were perfectly, and unusually fluted, and the grass mown to 5mm to keep it looking like a perfect carpet. There wasn’t a weed in sight and it definitely put my garden to shame!

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What was really nice about Stuart’s garden was that it was not just lawn, it was framed by beautiful borders, unusual planting and pathways leading to secret hideaways, water features, bird houses and seating – not to mention his amazing hanging baskets!

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It wasn’t surprising then that Stuart dominated the national newspapers when we announced the winner. His lawn took over page 3 of The Daily Mirror and The Daily Express as well as almost a full page in The Daily Mail and being discussed on BBC Breakfast TV. He was also in The Times, The Star and The Sun and became quite the celebrity!

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If you think your lawn can rival Stuart’s and you’re interested in entering the 2018 competition then please get in touch to register your interest. Email hollydaulby@paskett.co.uk and we’ll put you on the list to be notified when the competition reopens.

 

Gabriel’s Hounds can quickly spot a dash of yellow

When they were young, our children used to call our home Kerrygold House because it is painted a lovely buttery colour.  It still is and, although it cannot be seen from the road, it must be a real beacon from up in the sky.   We don’t have fields of rape around us so this yellow dot on the landscape really will stand out.

The house is midway between two large areas of water – the vast lake outside JCB’s World Headquarters at Rocester and the lovely Blithfield Reservoir near Abbots Bromley, both in Staffordshire.  These two water features are home to many species of duck, geese and swans, with the incredible Australian Black Swans on JCB’s water.

As the evenings began to draw in after the Summer Solstice my wife and I, both avid gardeners so usually outside, began to notice that at certain times towards dusk we could hear the calling of geese out on the breeze.  This lovely, haunting sound is often known in the country as the cry of Gabriel’s Hounds.  Well, to cut a long story short, they clearly use Kerrygold House (not its real name) as a flight path beacon on their journey from JCB to overnight at Blithfield, and again on their return journey in the morning.

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You can virtually set your watch by them.  The only thing that seems to alter their time-keeping is if it’s an unusually cloudy or dark day, they are then five to ten minutes earlier than normal.  Jennifer, my wife, claims that I have very selective hearing – not true of course – but I can pick up even the faintest call of his hounds, particularly in the evening.   We usually have four separate fly-pasts over a ten to fifteen minute period and the largest number of geese – they are Canadas – I have counted 22 in a single skein.  It really is something we both look forward to.

We really must try to get out more!!

Happy Gardening – Graham

The Camden Highline

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog about a train line… In a previous post I talked about one of my favourite spots in New York, The High Line – a stunning escape from the busy city where a disused train line has been converted to an elevated public garden walkway.

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A new crowd funding project has been announced that will replicate the High Line in New York and personally, I think it’s a great idea. The Camden Highline, which has been backed by Sadiq Khan, comes at a time when the highly discussed Garden Bridge project has been axed, so it offers a new alternative.

The proposed project will see an old and overgrown railway line, which runs adjacent to the overground track, being transformed to provide a walkway for pedestrians and cyclists between the iconic Camden Market and Kings Cross. The space will be 800 metres long, 18 metres wide and 8 metres high.

Initiatives like this are a great way of taking unused, unloved and long forgotten areas and, instead of leaving them to go to ruin, transforming them into beautiful, usable public spaces for now and generations to come. One of the great things about the New York High Line is the way it is multi-functional so grants, not only a means of getting from A to B whilst avoiding traffic and having a more scenic view, but it also has seating, musicians, art displays and cafes. And, of course, a variety of intricate planting, all designed and selected with a different consideration in mind.

Plans are still in the early stages for the Camden Highline but with the funding now secured I’m sure there will be more to come on this very soon and we look forward to hearing about the design and types of planting, as well as the sustainability of the walkway.

Holly

 

Find out more here www.camdenhighline.com

#CamdenHighLine

Instagram @camdenhighline

5 Useful Things You Can Do With Grass Clippings

Many people will be continuing to mow their lawns until at least October and, for many, the resulting grass clippings, and how to dispose of them, pose a real problem.  But they are valuable in the garden and here are five really useful things you can do with the grass clippings:

  • Use them as a mulch around the base of fruit trees to help retain moisture and nutrients
  • Spread them liberally along the base of raspberry canes. This not only helps retain moisture but suppresses weed growth

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  • If growing runner beans either in rows or wigwams, weed and then water the area between the beans. Next spread several inches of clippings in the same area to seal in the moisture

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  • Mix them with falling leaves in the autumn, particularly beech if you have these trees, and make a separate compost heap. The resulting mixture is excellent to use in the garden the following spring

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  • Use several inches of grass clippings as a non-dig method of growing potatoes, mixing the clippings with straw.

In really dry weather remove the clippings box from your machine and leave the cuttings to simply mulch down and benefit the grass, by returning nutrients and moisture back into the soil.

Happy gardening!

10 Tips for a Productive Workday

We all know the feeling, sometimes the more work you have to do, the harder it is to get any of it done, with even just knowing where to start being a task in itself. With a small team, and a lot of clients to look after, the Paskett PR team know a thing or two about creating a productive, creative environment – here are some of our favourite tips.

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  1. Declutter and organise your desk

Declutter anything from your desk that you have not used for a month. Do you need three pads of post-its and a pot of pens with no ink? Sorting your desk will make you think clearer and feel more organised. For items that you use every day, keep them neat with trays and desk tidies. Not only will this make you feel more ordered, but you will be able to find what you need much more easily!

  1. Make room for a plant

Whilst we love a clear workspace, we believe that there is always room for a plant. In fact, research shows that having plants in the office can increase productivity by up to 15 percent. Not only that, but they can boost happiness and purify the air, making your space visually, mentally and physically more stimulating.

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  1. Implement Friday action plans

We like to block off half an hour on a Friday, sometimes more, to sort out and organise our desks, and get planning for the following week. This is a good opportunity to go through what has been achieved in the week, and what action needs to take place after the weekend. This type of organisation means you will get back to work on Monday with a tidy desk, and a clear plan for the coming week; meaning the Sunday night panic doesn’t hit so hard.

  1. Take regular breaks

It’s really important to take scheduled breaks throughout the day in order to maintain a constant level of performance. This may be a tea and biscuit break, or a short walk around the block, but stepping away from your desk for a few moments can really reinvigorate your motivation and creativity.

  1. Set yourself deadlines

Self-imposed deadlines can be really helpful in giving you a focus and helping you to meet your goals, and can also help to schedule your work so that there isn’t a mad rush to get everything finished on the same day. Just make sure that your deadline is realistic so you don’t end up demotivating yourself.

  1. Stop Multi-tasking

We are often told that multi-tasking is something that we should strive towards, and that it increases productivity, but, in fact, the opposite may well be true. It has been found that attempting more than one task at a time can result in lost time and productivity, as well as poorer quality work being produced. Try, instead, to focus on one task at a time.

  1. Turn off notifications and be proactive, not reactive

When working on a project, switch off email and phone notifications so that you can give it your full attention. If you allow incoming emails and phone calls to dictate your working day, you will be able to deal with these issues as they come in, but everything on your to do list will be pushed down the line and may not get completed by the end of the day. Try and schedule a few points throughout the day to check any messages and emails; enquiries will still be dealt with, but in a timeframe that works more productively for you.

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  1. Get small tasks done when you get the chance

If you find you have five or ten minutes to spare throughout the day, it’s a great time to check off those little jobs that fill up your to do list. These are often the jobs that we keep putting off, because we know that they don’t take long – but that’s exactly why it’s best just to get them done when you have the chance. In the space of 10 minutes, five of these little jobs can be ticked off your list, and we all know how good it feels to do that!

  1. Say no to meetings – when possible

Many meetings, especially internal ones, can be a waste of time – five people at an hour long meeting converts to five man hours used. Before calling a meeting, think about whether it is really necessary, or if a group email would be sufficient. It is necessary, set a time limit for each topic and stick to it.

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  1. Track how much time you spend on tasks

There is research that suggests that only 17 percent of people are able to accurately estimate the passing of time. This means that it is possible that you are spending more time on projects than you think. In order to keep track of how long you are spending on each task throughout the day, make a note of when you start and finish, and any distraction that take place. This way you can identify how long tasks realistically take you, and how much of your time is spent of irrelevancies. This will also help when it comes to planning your work for the following week, by allowing you to set realistic, achievable goals.

National Garden Scheme partners with UK’s leading gardening pr agency

We are delighted to have announced that we will be working with the National Garden Scheme (the NGS) on a charitable basis.

Paskett Public Relations, which was formed in 1976, will help to promote the charity’s fantastic work. This partnership ties in with the NGS’s rebrand which was launched this year to celebrate its 90th anniversary, and marked the start of its new strategy to increase public awareness about its work.

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Paskett PR works with many gardening brands including Wilkinson Sword, Cobra, The Posh Shed Company, the BASF Nemasys and Nemaslug ranges, Forest Garden and, most recently handled the pr for Hillier’s record-breaking 2017 Chelsea Flower Show garden, where Paskett PR created the popular Memory Tree campaign.

Holly Daulby, Paskett PR’s account director, will be heading up the work and commented: “The NGS carry out some amazing work so we want to help them shout about it to raise their profile, and ultimately raise more money for a range of fantastic causes. We have a long history with the organisation and many of our clients already support the charity in various ways. Planning is already well underway and we’ve got some exciting campaigns up our sleeves – we can’t wait to get started!”

George Plumptre, chief executive of the NGS, said: “Paskett PR has a fantastic reputation in the industry and I have worked with the team there for many years. We are delighted that they have kindly chosen to donate their services to the NGS and are very grateful for their support”.

The NGS was founded in 1859 and has grown to be the most significant charitable funder of nursing and caring charities in the country, donating over £50 million so far, through money raised via its open gardens programme. Currently, more than 3,700 gardens nationwide open their gates for the NGS each year.