Tonight I am super excited to be shining the spotlight on the Perth-based Tammy Wayne-Elliot, founder of TWE PR & Marketing. PR is something I feel like a lot of small business owners need to know a lot more about, and use as a really viable and powerful part of their growth strategy. Often investing in a great PR campaign can be so much more powerful for your business than other forms of A&P, yet for some reason a lot of business owners don't consider it. Well, I want that to change! Tammy's written a great blog post for tonight's feature on PR and what it can do for your business. Enjoy! x
When I started my public relations degree, I didn’t exactly know what it was, but I knew the practice of public relations had an impact. I had seen its genius at work as a young office worker, and had been inspired by a lobbying effort undertaken by a public relations firm at the time. It attracted a heap of media coverage and raised awareness. Just what the local government I was working for needed at the time.
Whilst this was an exercise in attention seeking, Public Relations at its core is about communication and reputation. It’s about communicating with your customers better, raising your profile, and letting the work come to you.
Public relations practitioners and marketers often get mixed up. From our point of view, it’s like referring to Australians as New Zealanders. We are not the same, we respect each other, but we are very different. The easiest way to explain it is whilst marketing is about how you look, such as your business brand, and the general look and feel of your business, Public Relations is about what people think of you, how you are being perceived, and the strength of your relationships. Not just the relationships with existing and potential customers, but with your stakeholders, your staff, and the media.
Here's five ways Public Relations can change your business:
1. Media Coverage
It’s a scary concept for some, but public relations practitioners deal with the media every day, and I can confirm, the media really isn’t that scary. They have a job to do, and they are not afraid to do it – but they are not scary. Journalists are constantly looking for interesting stories that they can turn to at a moment’s notice, preferably accompanied by a captivating image. Here’s where you come in. Your business has a tonne of great stories, just waiting to be discovered. It takes some work to dig a little deeper and find the story within the story, but the stories are definitely there.
Again, people often shudder at the thought of hosting an event. Please, hear me out. I am not talking about a big expensive festival. Events can come in many shapes and forms. A business networking evening, a small function to reconnect with existing and potential customers or a bouncy castle and sausage sizzle in the car park can all be considered an event. There’s nothing like a party to get everyone talking. The great thing about an event is that in the lead up to it, as you are promoting its existence, you are also promoting your business, so it’s win/win! Planning and delivering an event will also bring your team together for a united cause. You could also consider sponsoring a local community event where you can build your brand through marketing materials, website and social media coverage.
3. Getting your message right
Intertwined with public relations is strategic communication. This is about ensuring key messages are in place to communicate well with your different target audiences. Whether its customers, stakeholders or staff, it is important to communicate with messages which strategically position your business in the marketplace. Whether you want to be known as an expert in your field, an employer of choice or an affordable provider, public relations is vital to developing your messages and communicating them effectively, especially should you ever find yourself in a media storm.
4. Internal communication
It doesn’t matter whether you have one staff member or 20, communicating with them regularly and effectively is important. Public relations also incorporates internal communication. Internal communication is about how you share information with your staff, what you say and how you can build a positive reputation as an employer. This is more important than ever with the ongoing evolution of social media. Some staff members may feel the need to share their bad day with their followers, and whilst you can have a Code of Conduct in place to discourage such actions, once the post is published, the damage is done.
5. Stakeholder engagement
Public relations is also about reputation, managing your reputation, foreseeing any issues for your reputation in the future and strategically responding. So, it goes without saying, stakeholder engagement is one of the key players in our work. Community consultation campaigns, focus groups, surveys and other feedback mechanisms are all vital to the strategic direction we take. Effective stakeholder engagement means you gain an understanding about who your stakeholders are, their opinions and expectations, and their future needs. This is also helpful information to have when you are looking to change consumer behaviour.
TWE PR and Marketing is led by Tammy Wayne-Elliot, a public relations practitioner qualified with a Bachelor of Mass Communication, with over a decade of experience in public relations, communications and marketing.
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