This blog post has been kindly written for us by one of our talented Experts in Residence, Stella Broster. The Experts in Residence programme was created to fill a distinct gap in business support for post-start and micro-businesses who fall outside of the usual SME support on offer. These businesses are often in their first 3 years of trading and after pre-start support programmes, are ineligible for further help or guidance. Click here to find out more.
Whether you are a business or a charity, PR should be a key part of your marketing strategy.
Public Relations, or 'PR', is all about the way organisations communicate with the public, promote themselves, and build a positive reputation and public image. ... PR professionals try to influence the media to represent their organisation positively and communicate key messages.
The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA)
Used well, PR enhances reputation, builds understanding, raises profile and generates more of everything your organisation needs. If you are a business the result is more business, sales and profits. If you are a charity it means more donations, volunteers and funds raised.
There are many elements to PR including attendance at public events and newsletters. Content such as blog posts, case studies and social media is vital to grow awareness of the products and services an organisation provides, particularly among customers, patrons and others who already have some awareness of the company or charity.
In this blog, I want to focus on the simple press release. Successful press releases feature in local press and appropriate online publications, therefore reaching the wider general public, ie people who otherwise might never have heard of the organisation. Therefore, the press release is essential for cost-effective yet powerful profile raising and, especially, improving public image.
I have created a variety of press releases for over seven years and for a wide range of clients including The West Midlands School Leaders Annual Conference, Opening Doors & Venues and Kinder Pocock. However I want to focus on one client as an example of how effective press releases can be.
JERICHO is a small charity making a big difference in Birmingham. JERICHO changes lives through enterprise, seeking out and engaging people who have experienced significant barriers to being fulfilled, skilled and employed. To help them, JERICHO provides real work experience in one of its social enterprise businesses, combined with an individually-tailored package of personal development support for each client.
For two years I provided a package of PR and marketing services including a series of professional, well-written press releases, which transformed the public image of JERICHO and significantly raised their profile across the city and beyond.
At the time Richard Beard, Chief Executive, Jericho Foundation said "we have been working with Stella from 58 Communications for over a year now. In that time she has helped us to completely transform our social media and online presence and significantly raise our profile as a leading social enterprise through a series of creative and professional press releases, newsletters and related PR initiatives. I would highly recommend her to similar organisations wishing to improve their visibility and public image."
Recently, JERICHO once more contacted me to ask for my help with PR. They had won a prestigious Centre for Social Justice Award and wanted to share the news. This was an impressive achievement - part of an annual, high profile ceremony (in partnership with The Telegraph), and announced by Bear Grylls.
Of course, I was delighted to draft and circulate a press release on behalf of JERICHO. Gratifyingly, it was published by a number of widely-read local publications; including the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and also national charity publications such as Charity Today. Several of these publications have also circulated the news to their extensive mailing lists (the BCC alone has 15,000 recipients). In all, JERICHO was delighted with how far we were able to spread their good news. As well as raising awareness of this significant award, even more people now know about JERICHO’s amazing grassroots, poverty-fighting mission to get people back onto their feet and into work.
Stella Broster (Marketing Consultant) & Steve Broster (Video Production) are 58 communications, a flexible, practical and reliable partnership. 58 communications produces creative and engaging content and is recommended by SMEs, charities and schools. If you're a business looking for support or a mentor, please get in touch with our team and we will be able to put you in touch. If you are eligible, you may be able to join the Experts in Residence programme to work with Stella or one of our other talented experts.
Click below to find out more about the BCGH Experts in Residence programme