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Employing and Working With a PR Agency

June 4th, 2021

You can conduct a PR campaign in-house. However, if you have the budget, you will get better results from employing the services of a PR agency. A good company will offer comprehensive skills and experience, creativity and a wide range of press contacts.

However, choosing the right company is vital – make sure you know what you are going to be getting for your money.

Choose people you trust and think you can work with
They may not be based in your building, but you’ll find yourself regularly on the phone to your PR company. As more journalists become interested in your brand you may end up working with these individuals quite closely so it’s vital you are on the same wavelength.

Choose a straight-talking company
PR also has a reputation for being vague and ‘fluffy’. You will get better results if you choose a company that uses plain English and is upfront and honest about what they can do and achieve, for you.

First meeting

When you approach a PR company they will usually suggest a meeting to find out more about you.

Give them as much information about your business as you can. Share your business plan – you can always get them to sign a non disclosure agreement first. Tell them your business aspirations – where do you want to be in one, five, 10 years? Tel them about existing marketing plans and show them any creative work. The better your briefing, the better the quality of their response will be.
The proposal should show you the approach they will take to publicise your business, and should demonstrate that they understand both your business and your industry.

Creativity and focus
If you are a smaller company you will have less news, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be written about. The days of press release driven PR are over and agencies have to be more creative. Ask your potential agency to provide examples of creativity – case studies will help to illustrate.
It is also important that your agency is focused on strategic and proactive activity. Pinging out untargeted press releases will attract journalist’s attention but not in a positive way. Receiving irrelevant press releases annoys journalists and can actually put them off writing about you, or worse write a negative article.

Help your PR company to help you

The more you help your PR agency, the more successful the campaign will be. Here are some tips on how to work together to get results:

• Your agency should be able to help you position your brand – identifying key messages and brand values for example. But to help your agency do this, you should also discuss your target audiences and how you would like to be perceived by them, then your agency can work out how to best get your message across.
• Have regular meetings and expect regular updates.
• Tell your agency what feedback you have from individual articles. Then they can repeat past successes.

Anyone can advertise if they have the budget, but when a journalist writes about you it is a stamp of approval because they have considered you worth writing about. This is why editorial has up to ten times the value of advertising. When you consider that the cost of a full-page advertisement in The Sunday Times is around 56,000, the value of effective PR cannot be overstated.

Whether conducting a PR campaign in-house or outsourcing, there is never a

Self-Employment And Work Experience

April 4th, 2021

For many years I managed a computer training centre. During those years I handled the financials, sales and marketing, human resources and anything else that required input. During this time I also on rare occasions and as an emergency, took over in reception answering the phones. This was not difficult and I did a fair job of it. Certainly never had any complaints! I abided by the easy principle of being friendly to people. I would hazard a guess that I would not be able to find employment as a receptionist as I would not have sufficient work experience.

What experience would be considered essential to being a good receptionist? I would guess, being able to deal with people would be the most important. Learning how to use the telephone system would require a maximum of half a day’s learning, and any clerical systems the company used, would be different from company to company. This means previous experience would not count.

Take this reasoning one step further and apply this to self-employment. If you work for yourself, you will be required to deal with people. Would answering the telephone at a large company provide you with the experience you need? Or would you be able to learn how to do this by following a few basic steps such as being friendly and helpful. In fact one would almost be inclined to say, that working for a company could mean that you pick up bad habits. Recently I had occasion to phone companies to find out who the relevant people would be to send information to on training. The general rudeness that I came across during this exercise has been quite staggering. If anybody handling their own business, were to behave like this to callers, you would be out of business.

I can hear the objections already. Low skilled jobs are different to high skilled jobs. Working as an investment broker for instance requires work experience. What is experience? It generally involves learning from doing something right or from making mistakes. Some people also learn from following people blindly, but those generally tend not to be in senior positions, or if they are, not for very long. Does it matter where this experienced is gained? Working for yourself you will do things right and you will make mistakes, the same as working for a company. The mistakes you make while working for yourself could be expensive. The mistakes you make for a company could mean you loose your job. There doesn’t really seem to me much difference. If you do things right working for yourself you win financially, if you do things right for a company, there is generally no change in circumstance. You might get promotion and earn another £500 per month, or your boss might just take credit for your good work!

In order to minimise making mistakes, we tend to seek advice from other people in the company we work for, whether it is your immediate boss or the division head, or co-worker. When self-employed, finding advice and help is not as easy as walking into the office next door, or asking a co-worker in the cubicle next to you. But help and assistance is available as well, and often quicker and cheaper for instance on the internet provided one learns where to find it. Is it quicker in a company? Not necessarily. It requires some time as well to work out who the right people are to ask, and where the company might keep the resources for additional information.

I don’t really see any huge advantages to working for a company when it comes to gaining experience. In fact it can be said that some companies might even teach their staff bad habit such as rudeness to customers or even unethical practices.

Anja Merret lives in Brighton, UK. She has recently started a blog and writes on issues that interest her from self-improvement to tech stuff for amateurs. Anja has had a varied and interesting career journey. She started as a high school teacher, changed professions to become an admin manager at her late husbands law firm because this allowed her the flexibility to look after her small children at the time. After many years she left this position to try her hand at an art gallery, moved across to public relations and finally found her niche in education again managing a computer training centre for many years. During this time she also involved herself in writing standards and qualifications in the new media field. 10 months ago she moved from South Africa to join her younger daughter. She now writes a b