Hughes PR

What will PR look like in 2020?

Tim Hughes Writes…

What will public relations look like in the next five years?

I delivered a speech on this topic recently to the South Australian Marketing Summit, with my personal view being that a dominant place in the future marketing mix for the PR sector is ours to lose.

The re-shaped PR industry has the potential to ‘own’ strategic communication and reputation, and that means having significant influence over the work of advertising agencies, marketing agencies and digital agencies – possibly including taking some of their work from them.

I’ve formed this view because:

  • Our profession is trained to get to the point;
  • We are fleet of foot – that’s the nature of news and the nature of issues and crises;
  • We’re story tellers; and
  • We’re about more than marketing and play a key role in brand building. We know how to build and protect reputations.

As we say at Hughes, “we have the power to influence action and opinion”. Others say it in other ways but as an industry we have the ability to do it, and I believe, better than any other component of the marketing mix.

Not that we’re the be-all and end-all of marketing – yet! It’s just that we’re going to play an ever increasing role.

For the PR industry to realise its potential, I see five key areas we need to focus on:

1. Global industry positioning – we must earn the right to own responsibility for organisational reputation, and as part of this we must address the hoary chestnut of our industry: measuring value. As a profession, we haven’t been good at measuring the benefits we provide organisations, but as David Rockland – CEO of Ketchum Global Research & Analytics – said: “If we want a seat at the grown-ups table, we have to earn it via metrics.”

2. Technology – all the technology and social media platforms in the world are just toys – not tools – unless we can measure the significant positive contribution they make to business bottom lines: financial, social and environmental.

3. PR teams – what will PR agencies and in-house communications teams look like in the future? Will we limit ourselves to one geographic market? Will we specialise in an industry with universal needs around the globe? Will we have an office with a bunch of staff in it, or will we be networked to the best (or cheapest) talent the world has to offer, perhaps calling them in on a job by job basis? These are questions we need to answer.

4. PR people – who do we need in our profession in the future? A major part of our role is story telling so those who can do this will continue to be sought, as will those who can proactively identify issues; honestly appraise reputational risks; fearlessly advise on addressing those risks and effectively assist in neutralising or managing them to the benefit of an organisation.

5. Future services – my view is that the PR industry will be delivering the services it’s delivering now, including publicity, reputation management, publications, training, stakeholder relations, social media management, video production and graphic design. But we will have greater control over the strategy that drives them and the way in which they’re integrated with an organisation’s brand building and reputation protection strategy.

As for future trends to keep an eye on:

  • Mobile – we must think mobile and deliver our content to suit;
  • Virtual reality – these devices will soon become mainstream, so similar to mobile devices, we’ll need to deliver our content to suit; and
  • Big data – who owns data collection, interpretation and delivery? Big data is certainly not a toy – it’s a tool – and may require a specialist operator to serve the country’s PR players.

In summary, the PR industry is going to be increasingly responsible for developing and delivering business strategies. Our industry’s influence is set to grow, and while our core role and services won’t change in the immediate future, the tools and how we use them will.

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, video production, graphic design and strategic problem solving. Find out more.

Hughes PR, Marketing, Writing

Five tips for beating blog burnout

Jamie Hershman writes…b

It’s fair to say that at one time or another, every blogger reaches burnout.   Check out these handy tips for beating burnout with your company blog.

  1. Find inspiration

One of the keys to successful blogging is a clearly defined niche. We find that knowing what’s happening within the communications / marketing sphere as well as in specific client industries and in current affairs, helps us to create relevant, quality content.  We start by looking at our favourite blogs, reading news sites and examining social media – basically, if it has anything to do with us, our clients or current news, we’re on top of it.

  1. Get personal

Exposing yourself to new opportunities, can go a long way towards keeping you inspired.  We find that regular networking as well as meeting personally with clients and other key stakeholders (rather than just relying on phone, email and social media) is often a great place to find inspiration.

  1. Give yourself a break

Every now and again you will need to take a break. Powering down and rebooting sounds simple enough, but forcing yourself to do it occasionally, can be challenging. Our advice – Just do it! You’ll come back recharged and with a few ideas up your sleeve.

  1. Invite some ‘friends’ to collaborate

Often your followers or friends (your biggest advocates) will have great content, but no platform to publish.  By partnering with them to create a new post it can often be a win-win.

  1. Use the flood to make the drought easier

There are times when you are just ‘on’ and the great content is flowing.  Rather than posting all of it in a huge rush, hold back some of the less time sensitive posts.  These can always be used when your creative reservoir has dried up. Make sure you give them a final edit before posting at a later date – they still need to be authentic and relevant to the time they are posted.

Good luck!



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.