The last two mornings have given us a glorious sunrise, with reds and pinks lining the sky like a physical Aura. It’s a sign that we’re moving into autumn.

Summer has been busy at Aura, with the annual West End Festival, exhibitions at The Lighthouse, planning for the launch of Therapie Clinic in Edinburgh and Glasgow and ad hoc projects in crisis management and communications audits. Most recently we worked with the International Aspirin Foundation on the development of a PR and communications strategy and their Senior Science Awards, held in London last week.

Tower RoomThe Lighthouse is focusing on developing its corporate event offering and has recently launched a fabulous new small meeting space, The Tower Room. It’s got big windows, stone walls and feels like a really great place to hold a brainstorm, away day, meeting or even a planning day. Give the events website a look to see what spaces are on offer.

The autumn and winter are a little quieter thankfully, which is great for forward planning, strategy development and other client work, such as a soon-to-be announced event from West End Festival, the Therapie Clinic launches and Christmas campaigns.

My work with CIPR continues as a Council member, as I lead on a project for volunteer engagement on behalf of the Institute and I’ve been re-elected to Council for a further two years, starting January. Although my CIPR role is voluntary, it gives me an opportunity to help shape the PR industry, continuing to push practitioners towards professionalism and setting high standards across the UK.

I also must mention #PRFest. An Aura event, the first festival took place in June this year, with the second planned for June 2017. I put a call out for speakers to send me their pitches by the end of October. You can find the form here. I want the quality to remain high, but I like the idea of a diverse programme. As always, I’ve called for practitioners to input into the next festival and the ideas document can be found here. Be sure to add your ideas to the list! So far the line-up is strong, with some old and some new faces. There’s still time to input and I’d encourage you to do so.

Aura TalkIssue 4 of #AuraTalk was launched in September. Aura’s free e-zine seems to be popular among clients, SMEs and even other PR consultants. It’s a resource I created to give tips and useful information about how to go about PR, what tools are available and of course an opportunity to give Aura a plug!

I’ll be moving on to Aura business development soon, on the hunt for restaurants, consumer products and services and interiors clients. I also have a love of automotive, but it’s difficult to offer ‘local’ support when most brands run their PR and marketing centrally with limited external support. Although I’m based in Glasgow, I work across the UK and would be happy to hear from clients outwith Scotland.

My CPD (continuous professional development) is already completed for the year! However, I do have a list of materials to read and learn from as well as a few CIPR webinars to watch. Keeping PR skills up-to-date is not as simple as you might think. The industry is moving at a fast pace and whilst traditional skills such as writing and pitching to the press are still relevant, more of the focus is moving into more technical areas like data, analytics and search engine optimisation (SEO). SEO is a bit of a movable feast, with algorithm changes and more. I won’t go into details, but the point is that when you buy PR services now, you’re also buying the person who will be working with you. You need to know and trust that they have up-to-date knowledge and skills as well as being to deliver against objectives. That’s why being a Chartered Public Relations Practitioner (CP) stands me in good stead ahead of my competition. There aren’t that many CPs in the UK. I’ve demonstrated my commitment to being the best, by going through the CP process and achieving the status. In fact it was nearly a year ago that I achieved it!

Who knows what next year will hold. Who knows where the UK will be – in or out. Perhaps Scotland will have called a second referendum. Wherever Aura is and wherever our countries will be, I will be turn challenges into opportunities.

Thanks for reading. Please do get in touch if you’d like to chat over how I can help your business.

Blog post by Laura Sutherland