Work Experience Week


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.  

Why Engagement Rates Really Do Matter

Long gone are the days where your follower count legitimised your social media presence, now it is all about interacting with your audience and boosting engagement rates.

As accepted wisdom once suggested, the more likes or followers an account has, the greater its influence.  However, in the world of social media, where a shiny profile can hide a multitude of sins, followers and likes are an easy game to fake thanks to the rise of bots and buying.

With measurements of social media success ever evolving and leaving last year’s benchmarks as obsolete relics, we thought it worthwhile to un-flesh the latest buzzwords- ‘engagement rate’.

What exactly is engagement rate, how is it measured and, most importantly, why does it matter?

What is Engagement Rate?

Obviously, the metrics vary from platform to platform, but generally speaking engagement rate is used to measure the level of interaction an account receives on its shared content. Simply put, it is the percentage of your audience which react or respond to the content you broadcast. The greater number of likes, shares or comments indicates a greater level of engagement.

How is it Measured?

Your engagement is measured by your likes and comments combined per post divided by your total following and times by 100.


Average engagement rates are notoriously unreliable as it is hugely industry specific. As a general rule anything over 1% is considered good engagement on Facebook whereas Instagram generally averages at around a 3% engagement rate, perhaps explaining the monumental rise of brands on the platform.

Twitter on the other hand only has an average rate of 0.7% given the volume of tweets and the speed of the timeline.

It’s a good idea to keep a spreadsheet of your different post types and the corresponding rates to accurately gauge what your audience is responding to, and what they’re not.

Why is it Important?

Followers and Likes are often referred to as ‘vanity metrics’ as although important, they don’t complete a full picture of how your audience is responding to your content.

For example, most people like a page because they see their friends do so or because they like a certain post at a certain time, but it is quickly forgotten. Therefore, even with high number of followers, it is still possible to see little interaction.

For example, the infamous Twitter fail from Rita Ora back in 2014. The pop princess tweeted she would release her new single on Monday if she got 100,000 retweets. Despite having 4 million Twitter followers, only 1,000 people retweeted her and the tweet was swiftly deleted.

Even with millions of fans supposedly at her finger tips, without an engaged audience, Rita Ora was effectively only speaking to 1000 people which is an engagement rate of 0.025%!

Evidently, a high engagement rate is a good indication that your followers are listening to what you have to say, developing trust in you as well as your brand and ultimately increasing brand awareness.

How to Improve Your Engagement Rate

Think of social media as a committed, long-term relationship with your followers. Ideally businesses and brands want to ensure they deliver the best customer experience through these platforms. In that sense, improving engagement is by no means rocket science but it does take dedication.

1.       Start a conversation

The cardinal rule is to give your audience something to ‘engage’ with. Talk about your industry, share some behind the scenes content or share something of value with your followers which isn’t just a product or service. When people realise there is a human, or humans, behind a brand they will be much more likely to follow it.

2.       Promote Brand Enthusiasts

A simple yet effective way to boost conversation is to promote your fans. Posting user generated content helps boost engagement by rewarding those who follow and engage with you and consequently encouraging others to do the same. The guys at Jimmy’s Iced Coffee are great at doing this and making customers feel part of something bigger.



3.   Jump on Trending Topics

If something is viral, you want to be part of it! If it’s trending or in the news in any way think how to harness a topic and divert traffic to your channel. Clothing giant Gap did a good job of this when the retailer promoted its sustainable wares for #EarthDay.



4.      Be Responsive

Make sure you respond to questions and queries as quickly as possible to keep your followers on side. It’s important to appear alert an attentive, otherwise people will think you don’t value them as a follower. Like this painful feed from telecommunications company Airtel.



5.      Join the Conversation

If starting a conversation seems like a big step right now, or if you’re stretched for time and resources, an effective way to boost engagement and simultaneously creativity is to join a Twitter chat or Q&A. You’ll be surprised how quickly you will see results, whether directly or indirectly from picking up tips and ideas along the way!


We Achieved 103 Pieces Of Coverage In One Year (8.5 Pieces Per Month) Reaching Over 249 Million People

It's always a great feeling when you summarise the results from a yearly PR campaign and let's just say that there were high fives all around when we summarised the recent PR campaign for card company thortful.

Start-up company thortful is an online card company that focuses on supporting creative talent and having a card for every occasion. They came to us to help launch their brand to the media, opinion formers and target demographic. Their objective was to build brand recognition to boost card sales and boost repeat online purchases. The online card marketplace is crowded so we knew that we needed some seriously creative PR campaigns to truly make them stand out amongst the competition.

As well as promoting the general card range, Sunny Bird PR also developed a number of creative PR campaigns that would garner as much coverage for thortful as possible. This included the following:

-          Product placement and card round up pages
Throughout the year the team held multiple one to one media meetings in London and we ensured that thortful was always front-of-mind in advance of all key seasonal times of year (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day etc.). Press became so used to seeing our faces (which is only ever a good thing) and thortful became synonymous with original, fun and thoughtful cards. Many journalists requested card samples for themselves and family members as a result and it was a brilliant way to introduce the media to the brand.

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-          Father’s Day ‘the best advice your Dad ever gave you’
The team travelled 1,000’s of miles across national train networks to collect the best advice people had received from their fathers. This campaign resulted in some great quality coverage within the Mail Online as well as social media and consumer engagement.

-          Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Sunny Bird PR enlisted a thortful creative to curate a range of empathy cards. The idea behind the campaign was to create a range of cards that is different to the traditional ‘get well’ cards on the market. The creative herself previously suffered from cancer and was positioned as an authentic case study. This campaign resulted in 20 pieces of coverage in titles such as Mashable, Metro, Elle Online, and Good To Know.

-          Gary James McQueen ‘Are you OK?’ card range
The team collaborated with the nephew of the late Alexander McQueen to create a collection of ‘Are you OK?’ cards to tackle mental health stigma and to give thortful the opportunity to be positioned within the fashion and health titles. A mental health charity partnership was secured to add authenticity to the collaboration and the collection was featured in 17 titles, including; Hello Fashion Monthly, Emerald Street and Country & Town House Online.


-          Launching the Father’s Day Sock Card
Father’s Day 2017 saw the launch of the Father’s Day Sock Card – a gift and card in one. The team issued personalised samples to leading TV producers and male presenters who were also fathers. Not only did the team source the names of the influential fathers, but the card designs were chosen for them based on their public persona and taste. This activity resulted in stand-out coverage on ITV’s This Morning with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield in a Father’s Day gift guide. The programme was watched by over 3 million viewers and thortful saw a direct increase in sales as a result.

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-          Launching the Keepsake Cards
Sunny Bird PR pitched the Keepsake Cards as an alternative Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day ‘gift and card in one’. The press feedback for the Keepsake Cards was very strong, especially among the supplements. All key journalists received personalised Keepsake Cards and we offered them the opportunity to order a free Keepsake Card as a gift from thortful for a loved one of their choice. The activity was in line with thortful’s key messaging of always being thoughtful and it resulted in some great coverage, including pieces in S Magazine, Notebook and Fabulous.

-          Trade and Business outreach
Sunny Bird PR targeted key trade and business titles to ensure that thortful was positioned as a voice of authority and a start-up that was shaking up the card industry. The founder, Andy Pearce, was pitched as a successful entrepreneur and the face of the brand which resulted in standout coverage being achieved within the following titles; Marketing Week, Growth Business, Fresh Business Thinking, Progressive Greetings, Entrepreneur & Investor, Campaign Week and Enterprise Nation.

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-          App reviews
One of thortful’s secondary objectives was to encourage sales through the thortful app to boost repeat purchase. Sunny Bird PR targeted journalists who often write app reviews specifically and also seeded the app and a free code to key mummy bloggers. This activity resulted in positive app reviews both in key national newspapers and on high circulation blogs. These reviews often included direct hyperlinks to the app store so that the app could be purchased. The blogger coverage also provided an opportunity for a ‘step-by-step guide on how to use the thortful  app’ to be published which educated the reader on the pros of using thortful over the competition. Coverage secured included; Metro, Mummy Constant and The Mirror.

The results are in!!!
One year, lots of media meetings and multiple creative PR campaigns later and we have secured 103 pieces of coverage with a reach of 249,370,993. The coverage spanned from high circulation online titles such as Mail Online, Mashable,, and a prime daytime TV slot on This Morning’s Father’s Day gift guide that resulted in a direct spike in thortful website traffic and Father’s Day sales.  

Want to find out more? Drop us a line on 01202 293095 to find out how a creative PR campaign could work for you too.

Journalist of the Month

Gemma Ralph is the Deputy Editor at Hospitality Interiors magazine. A self-confessed foodie, fairy light fiend and lover of all things cosy, she has taken a few moments away from glam interiors to ask the infamous Sunny Bird PR questions for Journalist of the Month…

1. What are the 5 words that best describe you? Perceptive, odd, bookworm, nosy, romantic

2. What magazine do you love reading and why? Women’s Health – I sit and read it cover to cover every month because it has so many in-depth and inspiring articles.

3. What is your favourite book?  This question is my nemesis, I LOVE all books. I’d have to say Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf as she is my absolute hero, but if I could sneak a cheeky close second in it would be Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.

4. Which song makes you dance?  Any song that comes on when I’m 5+ drinks down…I’m definitely not a natural when it comes to dancing!

5. What has been your best career moment?  I count myself lucky any time I get a sneak peak of new interiors, sometimes when they’re still building sites. A highlight would definitely be touring Mondrian London with Tom Dixon and hearing all about his inspiration and vision for the project – I’m so privileged to be part of such an interesting and creative industry.

6. What advice would you give your 20 year old self? Don’t devote so much of your headspace to other people and their opinions of you.

7. Where are you happiest?  Probably when I’m in a restaurant with good food and drink.

8. Who would be your number one dinner guest be and why? I’d say Bill Murray – he’s immensely talented, doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously, and I think he would have some epic stories to tell … also I might have a slight dad-crush on him!

9. If you could have any superpower, what power would it be and why?   I think I would choose the ability to time travel – I’ve always felt like I was born in the wrong era, so I’d love to travel back in time to experience different periods and historical events.

10. If you had to ask us one question what would it be? What would you say is the most rewarding element of your work?

The team all had the same answer – seeing the coverage they’ve achieved come out in publications and online – our favourite was of course in Hospitality Interiors!