We say we're a PR firm - public relations - but actually we're a communications firm. Because there is a difference. I promise.
It's in the name really. PR is all the stuff that pertains to your relations with the public. What's external facing - and to the masses. It's actually kind of narrow when you think about it. Often when we talk with clients we use PR interchangeably with communications and we're going to have to stop that because they're just not the same.
When we think about who we as a business communicate with, there are heaps of different people and groups.
Yes there's the public/businesses who we want to work with and that's the PR side. And often PR firms use media to reach those people but as we've talked about in the past, there are plenty of other ways to reach your adoring public. But we don't stop there. We have heaps of different audiences. Bullet-point lists are fun, so here's a short one of just a few different groups of people you should be communicating with:
- The board - often they want to know what's going on in the company, they'll want to know not just that you've done XYZ but why you've done XYZ so you'll communicate with them in a different way than the public.
- Shareholders - often shareholders don't care too much about either that you've done XYZ or why, but rather what the outcome was - whether that be a dividend, or if it's a social enterprise what's the good you've fed back to the community etc. Again a different form of communications.
- Clients/customers - what have you got going on that's worth bragging about, what have you done that you need to 'please explain'? These are the people who want to know whether they should persist in working with you. These aren't new customers, or even leads, these are the people you're currently working with.
- Staff - this is probably the one most commonly neglected when it comes to communications. And it can have the biggest impacts. Your staff should be your best evangelists. They should be at parties telling people with pride where they work and how awesome you are. You should be telling staff as much as possible because information is what makes us feel content; if we don't know something or we don't feel in control then we can have really negative feelings about a place.
Cool list Dave, now what? Well first off, it's not even exhaustive. Secondly, you should be thinking about a plan on how you want to talk to all of those groups and through what medium. There's a variety of those that I'll cover in another post but get your head out of just thinking about getting in the news! There are better ways of telling people certain things.
And please, think of your staff. What are you doing in your business because they'll want to know?
Self serving part: We help with this. It's what we're experts at. We can help you identify who you should be talking to, how you should be talking to them and what you should be saying. So if you don't know where to start or just need someone to come help you finish off your planning then look at using a third-party. It's why we have experts to cover gaps in our knowledge. Goodness knows I'd never try do our accounts (thanks Rach).