The New Year comes with new energy and resolutions. As we start off I have five tidbits to share with my fellow colleagues in the world of PR and marketing. I call them PR notes for the New Year.
1. Social media is for interaction
Social media has revolutionalized how organizations interact with their stakeholders. A good opportunity to communicate with clients and also collect and respond to feedback. However some companies are yet to grasp the entirety of social media.
A good number of them (especially government ones) use their social media accounts as avenues for releasing press statements and announcements. You will find loads of inquiries that are not responded to and rarely any update that is not an announcement.
This new year I challenge PR and Marketing professionals Interact more with the stakeholders. Post a good morning message, post a news item relevant to the sector, post a message from the CEO e.t.c. instead of just press releases.
2. Think internal stakeholders first
Ever been in a scenario where you discovered that your employer made a huge loss through a friend or the media? It is very embarrassing. Your staff knowing about the appointment of a new Board Chair through the media makes them feel unimportant to the organization. This year when it comes to anything new remember that your staff members are your best ambassadors, always start internally.
No matter how small or big the update is, find a way to inform your staff before going public even if it means giving them basic information just a day to the big announcement. You don’t want to launch a new product which your staff members have no idea about and therefore cannot explain it further to their networks.
3. Charity begins at home
One time when I was working as a journalist, I attended a press conference for a local bank that was launching a social enterprise through a walk. I got a package of give aways. A week later I met a friend who was working at the bank who was shocked to learn I got the bag for free while he and his colleagues were forced to buy it. That got me thinking – why would an employer make its best ambassadors purchase something they were giving away to the public?
As we begin this year, ask yourself, besides their staff ID what other thing would make your employees be recognized as your staff? The beauty of having give aways for your staff is that besides having a branding aspect, it also makes them feel valued and feel part of the organization. These two have a direct impact on their work.
When thinking about staff gifts think facilitative things like a branded flash disk, a branded key holder, a corporate shirt.
4. PR staff must show ROI
One of the reasons why some of the PR and Marketing professionals are not taken seriously is because they are considered as just spenders. All we do is spend and spend and spend and show no return to the business. Interesting though, it is not that we don’t bring back value; it is that we rarely quantify it and show it to our bosses. In this New Year, relate your spending to what the returns it brings, work a way of quantifying this value and show it to your bosses.
In my line of work at the University for example I have learnt to tie in the investment I put on branding items for staff to the referrals that come from staff. I have started a system to track the referrals and therefore I quantify this every semester.
5. To Hell with Font 7 newspaper Supplements
Everyday I peruse through newspapers it pains to see how much money gets wasted from the crowded font 7 newspaper supplements. I can bet for sure that very few people read these supplements besides the PR people who place them. As a PR professional you must get a way of convincing your supervisors that not every manager need to have their message on a newspaper supplement. An attractive design and more images should be your mantra when it comes to newspaper supplements this year.
I will definitely be writing more in details on these tidbits. Have a blessed 2014 and make a difference in the practice!
– Article by Anthony Kagiri