March Newsletter

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Getting eight European and central Asian journalists to a US aircraft carrier in the Arabian Gulf to report on progress in defeating ISIS was a logistical headache. But the press trip we helped organise for the US-European Media Hub was an unforgettable experience. As one journalist said: “I’ve covered the World Cup and reported from inside North Korea, but this tops them all.”

So what makes a great press trip? Here are our 5 tips for making sure your media visit is a success:

    1. Keep it short: 2-3 days max. Any more is difficult to justify for busy reporters.
    2. Plan the trip around potential stories rather than smart restaurants.
    3. Avoid conference rooms. Journalists like to see stuff not hear about it.
    4. Don’t try to pack too much in. Leave time for reporters to file stories.
    5. Be aware that most US media outlets and newswires will refuse free press trips.

More tips and tricks in our Working with Journalists course.

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February Newsletter

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We’re delighted to introduce a new two-day course on how to shoot and edit videos using your smartphone.

In this interactive workshop you will learn the practical skills needed to make professional videos with your mobile or tablet. And you will discover how to mix sounds, add credits and titles and upload your video to the web or social media.

The training, led by experienced journalist, cameraman and video coach Hervé Verloes, is light on theory and heavy on practice. It’s also great fun.

Check out the full two-day programme and sign up to take smarter videos with us.

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January Newsletter

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We hope you had a sparkling festive season and wish you the best of health and much happiness for 2018.

At Clear Europe we started the year by taking a long, hard look at the training courses we offer to make them even more focused, practical and relevant to your needs as communicators. But we can’t do this without you. So if you have a couple of minutes to spare, we’d love to hear what you think of our current courses and which new ones you’d like to see in future.

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Marketing and communication intern

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Clear Europe is looking for a marketing and communication intern to help promote our services both online and off. You will also be expected to update the website and social media accounts, help write our monthly newsletter, do some basic administrative tasks and organise training courses, press trips and networking events in Brussels.  

The position is paid, full-time and for six months.

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How to spice up EU communication

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EU communication has a reputation for being boring, stuffed with jargon, obsessed with process and hardly cutting edge. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

One EU official who seems to be on a personal mission to shake up the way Europe communicates is Dan Sobovitz, an Israeli, Swiss and Hungarian national who is a speechwriter and digital communication strategist for European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič.

We’re big fans of the campaigns Dan runs so we invited him along to talk about ‘How to Spice up EU communication’ at the monthly News and Booze meeting for NGO communicators we co-host with Joanna Sullivan and Julia Ravenscroft. 

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December newsletter

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It’s been a busy year for us at Clear Europe and we’re taking a well-earned break. We hope you are too and wish you and your loved ones happy holidays and a cracking new year.

To get you in the Christmas spirit we’re posting our favourite festive video – from the BBC above. But if you’re looking for something slightly less Santamental check out Greenpeace UK’s epic trolling of Coke to hammer home a powerful message about protecting our oceans.

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November Newsletter 2017

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There are two quotes in the tweets above and both are terrible. Why? Because they are crammed with jargon (#EuropeanSemester, #PillarOfSocialRights), obsessed with process (#EURoad2Sibiu) and full of stuffy technocratic language like ‘social dimension’ and ‘country specific recommendations’.
So how do you craft a cracking quote?
  • Use colourful, vivid language that paints a picture.
  • Voice strong opinions rather than bore people with facts, context and process.
  • Make use of rhetorical devices like contrast and repetition.
  • Cut all jargon, process and acronyms. Use clear, simple language.
You can find more tips on how to write sticky soundbites in Gareth Harding’s article here. Or sign up for his masterclass on Working with Journalists on December 12.

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The myth of influencer marketing in Brussels

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The notion of ‘influencers’ has been all the rage in Brussels recently. Understandably. In the real world, influencer marketing – the practice of teaming up with influential people to help promote an organisation or product – can be highly effective.

The principle of influencer marketing is not new. We’ve all sniggered at grainy ads from the 50s featuring doctors flogging cigarettes that do wonders for a niggly sore throat. And in public affairs, we’ve also been at it for years – think pharma and patient groups, or agrochemicals companies and farmers – but calling it stuff like key opinion leader mobilisation (or whatever).

But in the social media age, the concept of influencer marketing has moved on a notch:

· It is far easier to build a public platform, so there are simply more people who are       influential (as well as plenty more who think they may be, but patently are not)

· Similarly, it is easier to get an influencer in front of those one is seeking to influence online than it is offline

· Higher levels of mistrust in entities like industry and media makes credibility harder to attain, and influencers can help

Cue: lots of people, including public affairs practitioners, with high hopes for online influencer marketing.

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How to make your quotes quotable

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2017 is not over yet but there are already two strong contenders for Clear Europe’s ‘worst quote of the year’ prize. And they both come from the same person.

The unquotable quotes above were cobbled together for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and tweeted within minutes of each other at a summit of EU leaders in Gothenburg on November 17.

So why are these soundbites so terrible? Because:

  • They are crammed with incomprehensible EU jargon – #EuropeanSemester sounds like a study abroad programme, while #PillarOfSocialRights has to be one of the weirdest, wonkiest hashtags in history.
  • They are obsessed with the tedious process of EU decision-making – #EURoad2Sibiu sounds like an EU-sponsored Romanian motorway rather than the latest plan for reforming the Union.
  • They are full of stuffy technocratic language like ‘social dimension’ and ‘country specific recommendations.’

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Can You Write A Good Press Release?

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Are you a PR guru? Take the test and see the results!

Always send press releases as attachments to emails.

Correct! Wrong!

Opening attachments takes time. Always send press releases in the body of the email.

Quotes in press releases should contain opinions, not facts.

Correct! Wrong!

Quotes should be quotable. Strong opinions in colourful language please.

Jargon in press releases shows you are an expert in the field.

Correct! Wrong!

Avoid jargon because your audience may not know and care about the issue as much as you do. #curseofknowledge

Can you write a good press release?

You may want to improve your knowledge by joining our Perfecting Press Releases course on November 7. Book now via the Eventbrite link below.
Fairly well...

You can still learn more with our Perfecting Press Releases course on November 7. Book now via the Eventbrite link below.

Congratulations! Join our Perfecting Press Releases course on November 7 to get a deeper insight. Book now via the Eventbrite link below.

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