EBook in a Day – A project brought to you by Southampton Solent University’s PR Students
I’ve owned this blog for 3 years and never posted anything. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zip. The other day I was reminded of this fact by a Word Press email wishing me a happy anniversary. Oh dear. How could I not have written anything in 3 whole years? No posts. No writing confidence. No engagement. And I want to be a PR practitioner? Gee Whizz.
On the 26th March 2014, I helped to create an ebook in a day. There are 8 chapters and all the PR Masters students had to pitch to win their chapter from the client and then pitch to gain undergraduates on to their team. This was tough. I had never pitched before. I created something silly; thinking that even if it didn’t work at least the person reading and watching the pitches would have a giggle. But, much to my disbelief, it did work and it engaged. I got the chapter I wanted to work on: Co-creation and attracted 7 students in to the team. Phew!
45 people squished in to Solent Creatives to start what we thought was an ebook but turned out to be a PR movement. It taught me so much and sharing is caring after all, so here are the things I learnt from the ebook in a day…
- Be Organised
Sounds simple, but without having organised my chapter it would have been a disaster. There was so much to think about. It was about half way through the day that I was thankful my lecturer had insisted on a Gantt chart as it had got the old grey matter in to gear in advance of the event. I was prepared and it took the stress out of an overwhelming workload.
- Start Early
Being mean is not my style, but I insisted my team came a whole hour early as our demonstration I had arranged depended on invitations and engagement. We needed a good solid start. Thankfully the team showed up and it made a world of difference, especially when other barriers came in to play.
- Don’t Trust Technology
This is one of those pesky barriers I’ve been talking about. 45 students in a small space tested the University WIFI to destruction. It failed four times over the course of the day and this seriously would have hampered our progress had my fantastic team not turned up early.
- Imagination and Innovation is Powerful
The other students, staff, lecturers and industry practitioners were incredibly inspiring and creative. The ideas and advice they offered on the day blew me away. Working in an environment like that made me better. In sport they always say that if you train with people who are better then you raise your game to their level and in this case it was most definitely true.
- Social Media, is Social, so Get Involved!
I had never seen a multi-platform event from the ‘other side’ before and it was amazing to see every team obtaining high levels of engagement from only one days worth of effort. Sometimes I get fed up with the endless streams of content being chucked my way from social media, but when it’s focused with a proper stakeholder salience strategy applied it can be highly effective and engaging. It can start a conversation, a project or even a movement!
- Be adaptable: from MA to Manager!
Personal challenges can come in any form. I have managed teams before, but it had been a while. So off came my student hat and on went my manager hat. How do you engage a student team who are not being assessed on a project? Food. It’s always a winner. The key here, know your audience! I even had some really lovely thank you’s…
However despite all of these lessons it was the final parting comments of Stephen Waddington, president of the CIPR, that inspired me to finally break my silence and post this, my very first blog post.
He offered 3 tips for ‘making it’ in PR:
- Get on Twitter and build relationships
- Network and build your profile on LinkedIn
- Blog, this is important, it showcases your skills
Stephen made it sound so simple and through the experience of the PR masters I think I finally have the confidence to write. So here I am.
Here’s my pick of other blogs about #ebookinaday:
- Stephen Waddington – Early lessons from the #ebookinaday project at Southampton Solent University
- Lisa Duygu – Ebook in a day, a project, an event, a challenge, a success!
- Livi Wilkes – Ebook in a day, the day so far
- Bethany Ansell – The best of the week 28 March
- Nikita Gagnon – Putting the public back into public relations