Hughes PR

When did swearing become the new normal?

Adam Trombetta (intern) writes…


When did it become okay for professional journalists to use profanity on the front page of a newspaper?

Probably about the same time it became possible to send new information into the world at the single press of a button. The fear is gone, and the de-sensitisation has breached even our traditional form of media.

For example, the front page of The Australian last Wednesday featured a headline which read, ‘It’s total bullshit’. The article was a well-researched piece about Atlassian founder Mike Cannon-Brookes in defence of his decision to move his Australian based company to Wall Street.

The broadsheet newspaper, which largely focuses on business and political affairs, probably would not have dared feature such a term even just a few years ago. But times have changed.

We can credit this change in literary style to the explosion of social media. With young people now more involved in the discussion of news and current affairs than ever before, traditional media is looking at every option available to stay relevant and contemporary.

As a result, news organisations seem to be becoming more relaxed in their approach, and are somewhat forfeiting their once strict style standards – at least when it comes to publishing profanity. The new standard seems to be as long as we don’t use the F word, everything is okay.

What do you think, is swearing acceptable in mainstream media?

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

Digital Media, Hughes PR, LinkedIn

Your LinkedIn summary: first person or third person perspective?

One question I’m often asked when I do LinkedIn training sessions is: should I write my LinkedIn profile summary from the first person perspective or the third person perspective?

Both ways of approaching your profile summary are seen throughout LinkedIn. However, in my view, I believe you should write your profile summary from the first person perspective.

Why? Your LinkedIn profile is created by you. By writing from the first person perspective, you’re talking directly to your existing and potential connections, and showing them that you’re ready and willing to engage with them.

I have heard the argument that your third person perspective LinkedIn summary could be used as a bio for documents such as conference guides or website profiles. However, if you have a need for this, I think you are best off including your third person perspective bio as a PDF attachment on your LinkedIn profile instead.

To do this, edit your profile and click the small box that appears when you roll your mouse over the summary area. You can upload files to your summary here – upload a PDF of your bio and label it accordingly.




If you think your team would benefit from knowing more about LinkedIn, please get in touch with us here at Hughes. We can help your people present themselves and your organisation professionally, and provide guidance on using LinkedIn for business development, promotion and networking.

Hughes PR

The digital playground – when does expressing an opinion become cyberbullying?

Belinda Scott writes…

Firstly, this is not a blog post about a personal stance on the Goodes debate currently dominating TV discussions, talk back radio and social media platforms. As a professional Digital Consultant it’s simply an observation from a bird’s-eye view of some rather heated conversations unfolding online.

Everyone has the right to an opinion whether face-to-face, writing a letter to the editor or sharing a news article on a personal Facebook page. Since the evolution of the internet, we are now able to share images / videos or post a comment on hot topics much more easily, frequently and to a larger audience, joining online communities who share a similar view.

On the flip side, perhaps having a digital playground to passionately vent about issues (often fueled by the media) with other like-minded people enables some people to behave in a manner they would not normally engage with in real life.

The online community has a powerful voice and provides a listening tool into the heart of the community, often forcing the hand of brands to actively respond to their concerns and provide a solution.

We all have those ‘usual suspects’ Facebook friends who pop their head up online whenever an issue unfolds but would they be so vocal in person?

Again, everyone has the right to their opinion but this is a timely reminder that what you share on your personal social media accounts could also be perceived as the opinion of your employer. Most recently, I witnessed a heated conversation between two fans on a business Facebook page with one of the participants threatening to send an email to their employer about their aggressive online behaviour. Suddenly, silence.

Remember, you are communicating on a public platform and what you say can be seen by a lot of people and shared vastly. Sometimes it’s wise to take a pause before posting, the outcome might be different.

Common human decency tells us to be kind to strangers and the same manners should be applied to online discussions. Be respectful and polite.

Posting mean, hurtful and threatening comments is cyberbullying and can have detrimental effects on all parties involved. To find out more about cyberbullying, visit (

Don’t be a poor sport, play nicely.

Does your organisation have a staff social media policy in place? It’s an important tool that can protect your brand, employees and most importantly, the organisation’s reputation in a time of crisis.

Hughes PR

Why your rivals attract more media coverage than you

Kieran Hall writes…

You’re reading your morning newspaper or checking the latest news on your smartphone over breakfast and see yet another media story featuring one of your competitors. Argh!

After kicking the cat on your way out the door, you spend the rest of the morning in a grumpy mood wondering how your competitor does it, and why journalists never seem to call you for an interview.

Securing media coverage to promote your organisation is a challenging exercise at the best of times, whether you’re targeting a major metropolitan newspaper or a TV news outlet, but there are tactics that can help. And some organisations are simply better than others at implementing them.

Firstly, do you have anything worthwhile to say? It’s an obvious question, but without anything genuinely newsworthy to say to a journalist, you’re wasting everyone’s time.

Secondly, who are you going to say it to? Sending a news release or story idea to a general admin email address that you found on a website is unlikely to generate a response, so do your research and identify a specific journalist or producer – particularly if they’ve run similar stories in the past – and personalise your pitch accordingly.

Thirdly, are you – or your company’s spokesperson – readily available for an interview or photo? And “readily available” includes right now! Journalists work to tight timeframes, so you need to be prepared to work to their schedules – not yours. The more accessible and helpful you are, the greater your chances of developing stronger relationships with reporters, and in turn, securing greater media coverage.

Also, always keep track of news and current affairs through traditional and social media, especially relating to your industry sector. This will help guide you on the type of stories the media wants – and who’s writing/presenting them – and may also prompt publicity opportunities if you’re ready to jump on relevant news topics of the day.

To that end, timing is important. For example, if the State Government is handing down its annual Budget on the day you’re planning to issue your news release – or if there’s another major breaking news story that every journalist seems to be covering – consider holding off until a quieter news period.

Finally, always be clear what your objectives for publicity are, who your target audience is and what your key messages are. And think in pictures too – a good photo or vision opportunity can often be the difference between whether a story gets a run or not, so be ready to suggest something interesting, quirky or creative when dealing with a journalist.

Ultimately, it takes a sound communications strategy and a consistent approach to maximise your publicity efforts, which will result in journalists contacting you for stories ahead of your rivals.

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

Hughes PR

The blurred line

Jamie Hershman writes…

If you thought the boundary between advertising, digital and PR agencies was well defined, think again.

In the last few months Hughes has developed three client websites, shot more than 20 videos, created the social media strategy and tactics for two national consumer focused organisations and written, designed and print managed the production of three magazines, an annual report and a share market prospectus – all in-house!

None of these activities would be defined as traditional PR, but with a growing team that is as comfortable with a media release as they are with design and video production, our consultancy is being asked on a daily basis to cross the divide into the traditional advertising and digital agency space.

As a result of our own experience, we commissioned research from the University of South Australia.

In an in-depth analysis of current marketing and communications trends across a range of local industries we discovered the gap between public relations and advertising is closing, with businesses trusting their PR consultancies with the majority of their communication activities – even those that were once traditionally aligned with advertising or digital agencies.

As the digital world has evolved, businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the need for timely, credible, conversational, engaging communication delivery – the type of delivery for which public relations is known.

Key findings from the research included:

  • 50% + of SA businesses manage their communications needs via a combination of internal staff and external consultancies
  • SA marketers see PR as best placed to manage approximately 70% of the marketing mix
  • SA budgets are reflecting this support for PR with the PR spend now commanding 28% of total marketing budgets compared to just 16% five years ago.

How does your organisation manage its marketing and communication and which agencies/consultancies do you utilise to meet your communication objectives?

Hughes PR is a communications and public relations consultancy with proven and extensive experience in publicity and media relations, issues management, crisis management, digital media and social media strategy and implementation, community consultation, event management, media training, publications and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

Hughes PR

Turning Ifs into Actions

Simon Hatcher writes…

Recently, I was again reminded of the benefits of long-term client relationships when Jobs Statewide won a major new government employment services contract to open 17 new offices in two states over the next few months.

 I first started working with Jobs Statewide in late 2007 when they asked for my help with managing a potential issue. I provided some advice and helped them prepare should the issue arise.

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same.

Luckily, the issue didn’t arise but unbeknown to me this early advice would lead to a now eight year working relationship.

In 2008, I started helping Jobs Statewide and its commercial recruitment and training company Excel to build its profile and engage with the community and other stakeholders more effectively.

Unfortunately, we didn’t know that less than a year later Jobs Statewide would be facing a much bigger issue when the government re-tendered the government employment services contracts under a new system called Jobs Services Australia.

Jobs Statewide lost almost all of its contract and had to reduce its offices from 11 down to two within a couple of months and make a large number of people redundant. This despite being one of the highest performing providers in Australia and helping more than 41,000 people into work.

If you can keep your head when all about you

It was then I learned of the determination and resilience of Jobs Statewide Chief Executive Officer Wendy-Jayne Williams who had built the organisation from the ground up after walking through the door as a job seeker herself.

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you

But make allowance for their doubting too

Rather than hiding in the shadows, we ramped up our communications and went out on the front foot with media and stakeholders, vowing to rebuild and remaining committed to local job seekers, employers and communities.

In her words, it’s about having self-belief.  Belief that if we could build it once then we could build it again.

This approach gained the respect of government and coupled with Jobs Statewide’s ongoing high performance won them a contract extension and a new office just a year later.

I then started working with Jobs Statewide on tender submissions to fund new training programs, employment services and pilot programs to improve government funded employment services systems.

Jobs Statewide won nearly all the funding it applied for along with new contracts to provide disability employment services.

We engaged government by meeting regularly with the Minister and Department and prepared submissions to help refine Jobs Services Australia. All were positively received.

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting

Jobs Statewide bided their time, continued to proactively engage with stakeholders and focussed on maintaining its high performance and developing systems and programs to support job seekers and employers.

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run

 In October last year, the Federal Government released its new employment services tender and again we worked with Jobs Statewide on its submission.

Then after lodging in mid-November, four months of nervous waiting began before last week’s announcement of Jobs Statewide’s big win.

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it

Congratulations to the team at Jobs Statewide for not looking back and turning ‘Ifs into Actions’.

Note: Apologies to British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling for use of extracts from the poem If.


Hughes PR

Engaging users with persuasive ‘hero image’ design

Luke Howard writes…


We all know the internet is a crowded space with millions of websites, many poorly-designed, competing for the attention of users.

When people visit your website, one of the first things they see is your website’s ‘hero image’. A well-designed and relevant hero image will help your site cut through the Internet clutter and quickly win over the user, so they are compelled to keep scrolling.

Here are a few simple tips and techniques that you can apply to your website’s hero space, and some examples of sites with hero imagery done well.

High Impact
Full scale responsive images have become common place now as internet connections have sped up. Don’t be shy, and use this space to its full potential. This web site by CH Hausmann is a perfect example.

Keep it simple
Yes that old chestnut rings true again. Minimal visual elements and messages in the hero will actually raise the credibility of your brand.
The Seattle Cider Company have used nothing but a branded image, their logo and a tagline.

Great Photography
Whether it’s photography or artwork, it needs to be attractive and relevant to the user and to your brand.

Grain & Mortar have used some great personalised photography to express who they are. As you learn more about their company, you’ll discover something that’s really important to them is working with clients who get them.

This does not just include your logo. The hero image itself and all the other elements also need to speak to your brand.

The imagery used on the Adelaide Zoo website, particularly the hero images, consistently carry through a branded treatment. Light green is usually very dominant, tying in with the logo, and a spot focus is used.

Text only
These sites buck the trend by only using text in this space while keeping the large responsive image size.

See how bold this technique can be at the New Wave Company website.

Animation is powerful in telling your story, keeping the user, and helping your site stand out from the crowd.

At this point in time, animation is still a bit of a novelty in hero design. Have a look at how Dog Studio cleverly integrate it into their hero images and throughout their web site.

Bold Headings
In terms of hierarchy, making the heading stand out over your logo, main navigation and background image is a great way to maximum its impact.

Checkout how Rainmaker, a digital marketing advice website have done this.

My Predictions for 2015 web design

I believe fly-out side menus will become popular over 2015. At first you may find them jarring, as most changes to website user interfaces are. However they create a more tailored experience on mobile, not just desktop. See how the RAWNET’s web site looks on desktop and mobile to get a better understanding of this new format.

A few subtle changes to a website hero image can make a huge difference to the level trust users have in your brand and their experience on your site.

If you ever want to have a conversation about smart website design, feel free to get in contact with the digital team at Hughes.