Journalist of Month

Caroline Lindsay is a features writer on The Courier newspaper, the second best-selling regional newspaper in the UK, as well as the daily papers for the Tayside region, Angus, Fife and Perthshire. Caroline is also editor of The Courier’s weekly food and drink supplement The Menu, which won best Scottish Supplement of the Year 2018/19 at the Scottish PPA Awards in Glasgow.

Caroline took some time out from her busy schedule to answer the notorious SBPR questions. Here’s what Caroline had to say…

What are the 5 words that best describe you?

Friendly, thoughtful, inquisitive (nosy!), diligent and spendthrift.

What magazine do you love reading and why?

Country Living because I’d love to have a cottage in the country, or by the sea, one day.

 What is your favourite book?

In a Good Light by Clare Chambers. It’s about a brother and sister who grew up in a rambling old house, their challenges as adults and resurfacing memories.

 Which song makes you dance?

I’m a self-conscious dancer but when I broke my arm a few years ago I did my physio exercises at home to Martin Solveig’s and Dragonette’s hit Hello. Very naff but it took my mind off the pain!

 What has been your best career moment?

When The Menu won Best Scottish Supplement of the Year at the Scottish Regional Press Awards.

 What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Look the world in the eye and be proud of yourself. Oh and that purple eye shadow isn’t a good look and no one’s fooled by those freckles you’ve added with an eyebrow pencil.

Where are you happiest?

At a beach on the Orkney islands with my family and border collie Bramble.

 Who would be your number one dinner guest and why?

Miranda Hart – she’d be funny and appreciative.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

It’s not quite a superpower but I wouldn’t mind being as fit as Milla Jovovich in the Resident Evil movies. She’s my girl crush.

If you had to ask us one question what would it be?

Why is your agency called Sunny Bird?

We get asked this one a lot! It’s because Sunny Bird is the name of our fabulous founder and managing director.

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Work Experience Week

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Work experience is a key step in choosing the right career and we believe that it’s important to give students the chance to understand an office environment. As a company we are very keen on giving students experience as we understand it is essential for self-development and securing a job in the future. During National Work Experience Week, the SBPR team welcomed 14 year old Tom from Twynham School and 15 year old Louise from Bournemouth Collegiate. We asked them both to write a blog at the end of each day to see how they were finding agency life and here’s what they thought…

Tom’s Day 1 blog really showed how the SBPR agency  can make a valuable first impression “I found my first day really enjoyable with the access to free drinks supplied for you”, and the kitchen continued to strike a chord with Tom as on Day 3 he went on to explain that SBPR had ‘good kitchen facilities’. Luckily Tom was equally impressed with the rest of the office too “my first impression on Sunny Bird PR is that it is very bright and vibrant and very fun.” Louise also had a great first day: “My experience on the first day was wonderful, everyone was very welcoming and friendly, and the working environment was very happy and relaxed.”

Before the teens arrived, we reached out to brands via social media and invited them to send their teen products into the office for Tom and Louise to review live on the SBPR social channels. Companies all over the country jumped at the chance and before long SBPR HQ was inundated with books, beauty products, food and drink products for them to try and review.

Louise was very pleased with this task “I got a lot of freebies to review and try out which I think is awesome!”, Tom wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about the beauty products but discovered a silver lining: “I wrote a review for a lip balm I got,” he said “but I gave it to my girlfriend because I didn’t want it and she did.” While the lip balm wasn’t a hit with Tom, he did make a fashion statement in the office by wearing the Good Night Anti-Snoring Ring every day.

We have a team lunch every Wednesday and this week we took the whole team to Flirt Café in the centre of Bournemouth which was very well received! Tom flexed his new PR muscles and proved that he was already thinking like a PR Pro: “I had BBQ pulled pork nachos and 3 bowls of chips, this was very tasty, so I wrote a review of the café and posted it on Twitter to create good publicity.”

Another team activity that went down well was our SBPR team yoga sessions, we have these twice a week with the amazing Lillie. Louise was brave enough to join us and experience her first ever yoga session: “I took part in a yoga session that the team do on Thursday lunch time. I have never done yoga before and honestly it was so relaxing. I felt sleepy during it as the lights were off and we had this special oil on that smelt so good. I think I might take up yoga class once a week, I feel like it will help me with things like stress, exam pressure and just general life situations that aren’t too good.”

Tom and Louise had a great week with us at Sunny Bird PR and we really enjoyed having them with us in the office. Aside from lunch, drinking free coffee, and reviewing products, Tom and Louise did an impressive job in learning the fundamentals of PR. They both wrote engaging press releases, created brilliant social media posts, developed a strong understanding of media types and helped prepare for the Miss Dorset final by organising over 250 goody bags. We hope they learnt some valuable skills that they can take forward through school and in their future careers.  

Beating the Algorithms - What's New?

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Social Stats

90.4% of millennials, 77.5% of Gen X and 48.2% of Baby Boomers are active social media users! 

Social media platforms are changing their algorithms all the time and to help you stay one step ahead without spending hours online, we thought we'd share our research with you...

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Lizzie on LinkedIn

"LinkedIn doesn't move quite as rapidly as the other platforms but it has added a new video button which is key for mobile posting.

As with Facebook or Instagram, native videos (uploaded directly onto LinkedIn in real time rather than from your camera reel or desktop) will be boosted by LinkedIn and will reach more of your connections than a non-native post or a non-video post. 

And while we're on the subject of videos, never share posts that send people onto different sites (like YouTube etc) unless you absolutely have to/want to, LinkedIn wants to keep everyone on LinkedIn and anyone signposting elsewhere will not be viewed favourably!”

Alex on Instagram

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“As apps continue to develop their in-app services, it’s no surprise that Instagram has been developing into the shopping arena. This month, the social media giant has been testing an in-app checkout which allows influencers to tag the products they are wearing, or using, to direct their followers to an in-app purchase page where items can be bought within the app.

Currently, this development is only in the early stages of public testing, but if it is rolled out, it could be a game-changer for brands working with influencers. Whether it’s bloggers or A-list celebrities there’s no denying the weight influencers carry on Instagram. If companies are able to shift this relationship from brand awareness when a well-known Instagrammer tags in the brand, to actually driving sales it could significantly change the scrolling and shopping experience for all parties.”

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Laura on Facebook

“Facebook’s ever changing algorithms have taken another turn, where the process that ranks all available posts on a user’s news feed is now based on how likely that user is to have a positive reaction. Facebook’s algorithm now prioritises content posted from friends over publishers, with a focus on 'meaningful interactions'.

You should tailor your content to promote positive engagement, and be a conversation starter in order to get your content seen. Plus your content should always be relevant to your core audience. Make sure you don’t ask people to engage, your content should inspire people to like, comment and share without you having to ask.

It’s also apparent that videos need to be over a minute long and viewers need to watch until the end for it to be ranked higher."

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Rachael on Twitter

"Twitter has an ‘algorithm feed’ and a ‘real time’ feed that you can select depending on your preference. The real time feed is in reverse chronological order like the good old days! 

Unfortunately, most people land on the algorithm controlled feed so we still have to work hard to get our posts ranked highly. With 500 million tweets posted a day, it is hard to stand out from the crowd much like the other platforms but ‘rich’ content including polls and gifs will help you to get up there."

We offer social media courses as well as tailored group sessions and one-to-one training for social media. So if you would like any support from strategy, to content creation, scheduling, engagement, advertising or analytics call the team on 01202 293095 or email hello@sunnybirdpr.com 

Journalist of the Month

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Rachel Tompkins is a freelance writer, journalist and editor with more than 14 years’ experience working for national magazines, newspapers, websites and apps. Rachel began her career as a writer for Take a Break magazine before going on to work on the launch of Pick Me Up Magazine in 2005. Debuting with a readership of half a million, it was the most successful magazine launch of the decade and won the BSME launch of the year. Today Rachel works as a freelancer feature writer for the national press and has taken time away from her busy deadline schedule to answer the notorious Sunny Bird PR questions.  

1.              What are the 5 words that best describe you?

That would depend who you asked! Colleagues have previously called me a terrier - because of my tenacity when chasing a story. I'm conscientious and a worrier, which means I feel an immense sense of responsibility when being trusted with someone's story. I'd like to think that my friends and family would describe me as kind and funny too.

2.            What magazine do you love reading and why?

Take a Break will always have a special place in my heart because it's where my journalism career started when I left City University. The same goes for Chat and Pick Me Up because I worked on the launch of Pick Me Up and was the Features Director of both titles before going freelance. I love their clever headlines and eye for a great story.  When I'm relaxing, I love Top Santé for some health and fitness inspiration and Guardian Weekend for thought-provoking longer reads.

3.            What is your favourite book? 

Through The Wall by Caroline Corcoran. It's out on October 17th but I was lucky enough to get a preview press copy and I literally can't put it down. It's dark women's fiction, or a psychological thriller, which is extremely relatable to me on so many levels. 

4.            Which song makes you dance?

Don't Stop Believin' by Journey, I first heard it in a piano bar in San Francisco on my honeymoon and it's become the anthem for so many nights out.

5.            What has been your best career moment? 

Getting my first job for Britain's top selling magazine felt pretty incredible at the time. Back then Take a Break sold well over 1million copies a week and I went on to learn so much there. Since becoming freelance there have been many little moments when I stop and pinch myself, for example a recent article I wrote for The Guardian Weekend about women without children. It took a lot of work to pull together and it was very moving and insightful to speak to some of the women involved. I was really proud of the end result. 

6.            What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? 

Believe in yourself and worry less. 

7.            Where are you happiest? 

At home in Oxfordshire with my family. After living in London for about fifteen years I cried the day we left. London will always hold so many fond memories, both with my career and also family and friends, but I've made a home in Oxfordshire now and I love our life here but also the fact that I can get the train into town in less than hour so I still feel connected.

8.            Who would be your number one dinner guest and why?

Can I be cheeky and say two - Prince Harry and Meghan! They intrigue me so much, I would just love to know what goes on behind closed doors with those two!

9.            If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

To be able to fly, very quickly! That way I could whizz over and see my sister (who lives the other side of London) in seconds and catch up with friends who live far away without having to waste time getting there and back. Many of my good friends have migrated out of London like me now and one of the things I miss about living there is being able to hop on the tube and meet up with them easily. 

10.        If you had to ask us one question what would it be? 

What's the most unusual campaign or client you've worked on? 

We pride ourselves on being a creative agency and thinking outside the box to get results for our clients. Here are a few of our favourite unusual campaigns we’ve worked on…

Three Pregnant Dads

Our client The Book of Everyone came to us with the objective of launching its latest bespoke book; a personalised gift for Mother’s Day called ‘The Book of Mum’. To ensure the brand wouldn’t get lost amongst the Mother’s Day gifts already on the market, we needed to really grab the media’s in the run up to Mother’s Day – the concept of ‘The 3 Pregnant Dads’ was born. The company directors, themselves three middle-ages dads, wore “Empathy bellies” that weighed 33lbs/15kg for the duration of the month. This included; when attending client meetings, using public transport and even when heading to the pub! Everything was filmed and documented and shared with the media. The campaign secured 383 pieces of national and international coverage across 38 countries within a 3-week period. ‘The 3 Pregnant Dads’ were featured across all national titles and TV, including Lorraine Kelly, This Morning, Good Morning Britain, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, Huffington Post and Times Magazine US amongst many others. Our 3 Pregnant Dad’s campaign led to a 2,765%, increase in sales, 2,000 shares on one Daily Mail article alone as well as a 1,850% increase in Facebook social media engagement.

Snoring Ruining the Nation’s Sex Life

In order to increase brand awareness and boost sales for our client Good Night Anti Snoring Ring we created a headline grabbing campaign. In order to secure column inches we set out to prove that the nation’s sex lives were suffering due to their partner’s snoring problems. We commissioned a survey that looked into the sex and love lives of our nation’s snorers. The survey revealed a whopping 30% of males admitted it took the spark out of their sex lives and 46.4 % of males felt embarrassed about their snoring.  One out of five males and females expressed that snoring put them off being intimate with their partner. To add a real life element we also worked with case-studies who were happy to speak to the press about how snoring affected their sex lives and relationships. On the back of our strategy we secured national PR coverage with the Daily Mail Online, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Mirror. Other titles included; Woman and Home, Top Santé, Prima, Take a Break, Pick Me Up, Health & Fitness, Closer, Bella, Natural Health, Chat and DIVA magazine amongst others.

What Does Your Poo Say About You?

For our client, private healthcare provider Ramsay Health Care UK, we wanted to secure national coverage and generate web traffic around Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. We started with the headline we wanted to see in the newspaper itself ‘What does your poo say about you’ and then built a strong bank of assets to support it.

We created an exclusive infographic that detailed the signs of bowel cancer in stools that are often overlooked.  We then created and executed a survey to over 1,000 people asking them if they would recognise the symptoms of bowel cancer and if they would do anything about them. This enabled us to source attention-grabbing statistics to add to our press release. Finally, we rounded off our assets with an expert comment from a Ramsay Health Care UK Bowel Cancer specialist. We approached the Mail Online and offered them the exclusive story. This resulted in the Mail Online running the piece in advance of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. Once this was secured, we then rolled it out to further online titles, which resulted in the Express Online, Metro, Good Housekeeping, the Sun Online, The Irish Sun and The Scottish Sun. Not only did this boost the awareness of Ramsay Health Care UK within the national newspapers, but it boosted the website traffic by 208%.

New Client Win: The Lagoon

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The Sunny Bird PR team are excited to announce they are now working with The Lagoon, The South’s First Surf and Adventure Park Coming to Bournemouth in 2022

The Lagoon is a man-made surf park with a highly engineered and hi-tech wave machine capable of making over 2,400 ocean-like waves per hour. The entire development looks to attract over 500,000 visitors annually and aspires to become a centre of sporting excellence fit for Olympians. 

 The Lagoon will be based upon a beach shack style, which will be both authentic and attractive, with ocean inspired décor. With a grass roof for the main building, solar panels and rainwater harvesters the site is planned to be energy-neutral for an environmentally friendly solution.

The people behind this ambitious project are Matt Radford, Founder and MD, who teamed up with Director Martin Spooner to create a fast-moving development company. The visionary duo have also employed an impressive team of local consultants with combined experience managing sites such as Legoland, Longleat, Merlin Entertainments. 

An all year round indoor and outdoor attraction, The Lagoon will offer a range of indoor activities from rock climbing to abseiling as well as five different wave areas to cater for everyone from absolute beginners to pros all at the same time. The Lagoon will also offer a tranquil environment with an offering of mixed accommodation styles from a contemporary 145-bedroom hotel to tree houses, woodland lodges, glamping pods and ‘hobbit’ huts. The eco-conscious development will bring a significant number of tourists into the area, create considerable employment and will also supply an important all-weather destination for the local community, holidaymakers and tourists alike. 

Sunny Bird, founder and MD of Sunny Bird PR, said: “We are very proud to be involved with such an ambitious and important project, being based in Bournemouth but delivering national PR, we are perfectly positioned to support The Lagoon in Bournemouth, the region, nationally and internationally along this very exciting journey.”

“Such a monumental vision and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”

New Client Win: The Hampton Trust

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The Sunny Bird PR team are delighted to announce they are now working with award-winning domestic abuse charity The Hampton Trust.

The Hampton Trust was founded in 1996 to deliver domestic violence perpetrator programmes within the criminal justice system to reduce offence rates. To tackle the root causes of domestic abuse, the trust works directly with individuals who are being abusive. The charity makes it their mission to identify the complexities behind violent, coercive and controlling behaviour to end the cycle of domestic abuse and prevent harm coming to victims. Sunny Bird, founder and MD of Sunny Bird PR, said: “We are extremely proud to be working alongside such an innovative charity supporting victims of domestic abuse by reducing the rate of criminal and abusive behaviour.

“The work they do is vital, and we are eager to increase The Hampton Trust’s national presence, so the charity can continue making our communities safer throughout the UK.”

www.thehamptontrust.org.uk

New Client Win: Just Shutters

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The team at Sunny Bird PR are thrilled to announce that they are now working with the UK’s largest independent shutter company, Just Shutters.

Founded in 2006, Just Shutters have built up an enviable and unrivalled reputation for being the number 1 choice for plantation shutters in the UK. Just Shutters boast an extensive range of beautiful shutters including their own exclusive ranges that can’t be found anywhere else including the truly unique collection of eight stunning colours inspired by the British coast.

Sunny, Founder of Sunny Bird PR, commented: “We are very proud to be working with such a well-established and well-thought of brand, the reputation of Just Shutter precedes them. We will be working with the national brand on its PR across national consumer and trade media. Myself and the whole team at SBPR are very excited to start working with the Just Shutters team and achieving good quality media coverage for the brand.”

Journalist Of The Month

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This month we asked Senior Writer from the MailOnline, Chloe Morgan the notorious Sunny Bird PR questions. Chloe writes real-life features for the website’s popular Femail section and can often be found running laps in her local park or throwing shapes to R Kelly's 'Ignition.’ Take it away Chloe…

1.         What are the 5 words that best describe you?

This is a tough one to answer without sounding arrogant! So of course, I took the easy option and asked the one person I can always count on to pay me a compliment - my boyfriend! He described me as beautiful, caring, selfless, hardworking and intelligent. What a way to make me big-headed!

2.         What magazine do you love reading and why?

This is slightly biased as I worked there for nearly four years, but it’s got to be That's Life! magazine. It’s a fab team to work with and plus, who doesn't love a Jeremy Kyle story?

3.         What is your favourite book?

This is going back a few years, but I really loved Of Mice and Men which I studied at school. When I went to New York I saw it on Broadway too and it completely lived up to my expectations.

4.         Which song makes you dance?

Anything by Sean Paul never fails to get my limbs moving - albeit it not in any rhythm. Another classic that always gets me on the dance floor is R Kelly's 'Ignition.’

5.         What has been your best career moment?

I applied for work experience at various magazines when I was in sixth form and had several rejections, so getting one of my first work experience placements at TV Choice was a big highlight for me. I made some great friends there who I still see today and am so grateful they decided to take a chance on me. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn’t have achieved all I have today.

Also, getting the job at Femail, MailOnline as Senior Writer is a massive highlight. The chance to feature a real-life story which has helped a lady raise vital funds for a lifesaving operation is just one of the many reasons that I love to write.

6.         What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Hard work and perseverance will pay off - even if it doesn't feel like it at the time. Starting out in journalism, I didn't know anybody in the industry and worried that I would never get my foot in the door. But through endless work experience placements and internships, I got there in the end and couldn’t be happier...

7.         Where are you happiest?

...but I could be even happier if was on a beach somewhere sunny with a Pina Colada in my hand! Or if money is tight, a run around my local park will do! After running the London marathon last April, a few leisurely laps at my own pace is a DREAM!

8.         Who would be your number one dinner guest and why?

David Attenborough. I've watched all of his documentaries (more than once!) and am fascinated with his career and how he has changed our outlook on the world. Stacey Dooley is a close second. I got the chance to interview her a while back and massively fangirled her - and I don’t even regret it!

9.         If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

To click my fingers and be ready for a night out, and to click them again and be ready for bed - with my make up off! It's always such a chore...

10.     If you had to ask us one question what would it be?

PR always seems like such a high-pressured job. How do you cope with the pressure of meeting your targets?

Alex: “Lots of lists and office Yoga!”

Jess: “Prioritise the most important tasks, make time for switching off and always ensure you have a generous stack of highlighters!”

Lizzie: “Being super organised and a whizz at prioritising.”

Rachael: “At lunch I try to have a 15-20 minute walk. I think it’s really important to reset your mind and refresh yourself for the afternoon.”

Laura: “I like to enjoy a nice glass of wine in the evening!”