Tag: pr

TRANSITIONING FROM JOURNALISM TO PR, ONE YEAR ON…

This time last year, I was preparing to leave my career in journalism behind.

A necessary change

After four and a half years in the industry, I finally made the decision to switch to public relations. But, as my former colleagues often taunted and teased me about turning to the ‘dark side’, I can safely say that the transition has been an extremely illuminating experience.

During my tenure as a business journalist, I was on the receiving end of the hard work of many PR professionals. Whether it was receiving press releases, organising interviews, collecting client comments or the often-tedious task of sourcing high resolution images, collaborating with PR agencies makes the lives of journalists a hell of a lot easier.

Although I’m sure many in the profession may be quick to disagree, or squirm at this admission, it is the truth!

Yes, journalism is a competitive, demanding and high-pressured job, but it can also be extremely exciting and rewarding. The thrill of being the first to break a story, working towards an impending deadline, meeting high-profile individuals, being privy to many major announcements and simply not knowing what the next day may bring were just a few of the things I thought I’d miss about being a journalist.

When my decision came to light, I found myself on the receiving end of the vitriolic questions journalists often pose to their target. But the majority of my contemporaries would simply want to know ‘why?’

Leaving a legacy

In recent years the rollercoaster ride of being a journalist turned into more of a repetitive slog where the twists and turns were becoming less frequent and lacked the thrill they once provided. In a world of economic uncertainty and squabbling politicians, the same doom and gloom headlines dominated the news in a never-ending cycle.

‘What legacy is this?’ I often asked myself. The realisation finally came that it was my time to stop and get off the rollercoaster. Another force pulling me to the ‘dark side’ was the positive experiences I had during my frequent encounters with PR professionals from a plethora of different agencies. I was always intrigued about the variety of clients just one PR agency could work with and the diverse ways in which they strategically operate to reach a certain outcome.

Collaborating with multiple businesses; learning about different sectors; promoting beneficial initiatives; marketing the latest products or just simply learning and refining new skills are a number of aspects which made PR much more appealing to me than journalism. My days of finishing one story then going on to the next were over.

My PR journey begins

Not long after joining Open Communications, I was introduced to what it really meant to be an agency that delivered PR, social media and content marketing strategies for brands and businesses across a range of sectors.

The concept that public relations industry revolved around writing press releases and making phone calls all day was quickly eradicated. My reality check was quick. PR professionals are multifaceted, motivated individuals who need to prioritise their own time, strategically plan out each day and week and expect the unexpected.

The biggest eye-opener for me was initially monitoring the scale of the day-to-day tasks the team carries out and how they all form part of a results-driven process which is applied to every single client.

Gone are the days where I’d be churning story after story for newsletter after newsletter, hoping and waiting for the monotony to end. My daily activities now comprise a range of tasks I didn’t have the means to complete just one year ago.

With no two days ever the same, I can be writing copy for a clients’ new website; laying out a comms strategy to enter new markets or creating promotional content one day, to researching the latest innovative features in a specific field or carrying out a social media campaign across multiple platforms the next.

It is also worth mentioning that the good old-fashioned press release still plays an important part but it’s certainly not the sum of the piece!  This is the sort of legacy I want to leave, and I cannot wait to see where my PR career continues to take me.

ADDING AWARDS TO A COMMUNICATION STRATEGY

It’s hard to miss the glitz and glamour of the ongoing movie award season. Every broadcaster, radio station, magazine and social media platform is trying to ride the wave of the public’s unwavering interest in the rich and famous.

But despite these celebrities seemingly living a life we mere mortals can only dream of; it’s still surprising to see how much pride and joy they feel when receiving an award. More importantly, the viewer will register and remember who the winners are.

A movie or television show is much more appealing to the viewer if it has already been dubbed as ‘award-winning’. This forms an expectation that it is of a high quality. The same rules apply in the business world.

Winning awards adds credibility

As we live in such a connected and digitalised society, businesses can be subject to a thorough background search by practically any potential customer or client. Hence why it’s crucial for businesses to pursue opportunities to be awarded. Any type of special recognition will significantly help when differentiating themselves from competitors.

As such, awards must become a priority. Pursuing awards often falls under a company’s communication strategy, which will be implemented by their in-house marketing team or external PR agency.

Raising a company’s profile

PR agencies are brought in to raise a company’s profile, increase their brand awareness and secure as much media coverage as possible. As award submissions can require a lot of work, which has the potential to garner zero results, there is a risk of letting them fall off the agenda.

To prevent this from happening, the company and PR agency must be aligned in understanding the benefits of winning awards and where it fits within a communications strategy.

Below are three key tips to integrate award submissions into a long-term PR campaign;

Securing Earned media coverage

  • Shortlisted companies in for each awards category will be featured multiple times in the media as part of the build up to the event
  • Media coverage will continue for those that are announced overall winners
  • Awards are a useful way of securing organically generated coverage
  • Promotes companies within industry and wider business community
  • Builds brand awareness and increases overall profile
  • Increases visibility among competitors and industry leaders
  • Can be used as a way to introduce the company to prospects and customers

Social media

  • Promoting an award shortlisting or win on social media platforms to notify existing followers about the newly gained credentials will almost certainly attract attention and engagement
  • Can be used to attract new followers, which could be converted to new customers
  • Allows the company to add more personality to posts on social media i.e. celebratory gifs
  • Enables a company to engage directly with followers, thanking them for the support
  • Reshare media coverage of the shortlisting and win, adding in the awards # to engage with other nominees and attendees

Website/blog copy

  • Feature copy of shortlisting and win in the news section of website is a good way of increasing visibility with new and existing customers or clients
  • Repurpose copy for a blog post
  • Enhances a company’s reputation within its specific industry and distinguishes them from the competition
  • Validates services or products a company offers
  • Use links to blog and news section in social media post to draw traffic to website

Having a positive impact from awards

Winning awards can not only impact new business, but it can also have a positive effect on employees, senior team members and the company as a whole. They must not be overlooked. A robust communications strategy must place emphasis on award submissions, and if they are done right, the long-term impact can be extremely beneficial.

For more information about how Open Communications works with businesses and brands of all sizes please call a member of the team.

YOU DON’T NEED PR IN MANUFACTURING

Manufacturing business

Manufacturing businesses are some of the most exciting companies in the country. Not only do they produce products, their organisations are full of innovation, automation, talent and aspiration. That is why it is so baffling that there continues to be a belief that you don’t need PR in manufacturing.

It doesn’t really matter what you produce, when I walk out onto a factory floor I am always mesmerised. There is so much going on. It’s not just about the process or the flow of the production process, it’s the smells and the sounds too.
Working in manufacturing

Starting my career in a print factory, I had the chance to work with operators, team leaders, warehouse operatives and managers. All had a story to share and experiences that brought their tales to life.

Since that time, I have worked with many companies that rely on the expertise of machine operators, engineers, production managers and operations directors. Understanding what a significant part they play in the success of an organisation is just half of the battle.

Working with manufacturers

As a PR agency we take this insight and shape content that will generate earned and owned coverage. As such the story needs to be compelling enough for journalists to want to print it and for visitors to want to read it.

The challenge that we have when we are delivering PR in manufacutring companies is that many of them don’t see what incredible work they do. They come to work, do a day’s graft and go home. Some of these organisations are more than a hundred years old. Although times have changed and processes have progressed, they still see their day job as the same as it was before.

Trying to explain to some businesses that they need to communicate with customers, to share their story and to allow their brand to resonate falls on deaf ears. Some don’t feel they need to bother, and others just don’t know where to start.

Making the most of every opportunity

In a world where we are surrounded by opportunities to communicate, whether that be online, in print or across digital platforms, we should be making the most of it. Instead, a lot of companies simply stick to what they are good at.

The truth is that many manufacturers run as a business and forget the relevance and commercial value of creating a brand. In some instances, they feel that talk of marketing and

PR is ‘the fluffy stuff’ they don’t need to bother with. Not only is this untrue, it could be very damaging.

Supporting the reputation of a business

PR supports the reputation of a brand and business. It provides insight into a company, its values and ambitions. It isn’t just a sales tool, it is a vehicle to share a story and to attract talent. Saying nothing doesn’t mean that nothing will get said, it simply means you won’t control the message.

I’ve come across a lot of small to medium sized manufacturers that have said they can’t afford PR. I always respond in the same way; you invest in an accountant to ensure that you are financially stable and compliant, PR is no less important.

Perhaps you do need PR in manufacturing

Manufacturing is a complex industry and there are often a lot of secrets. It may be workflow, innovative products, configuration of machinery or just the need to keep trade secrets. This doesn’t negate the need for PR, nor does it mean that a story can’t be shared.

What we do with our clients that work in the sector is to identify what we can say and to create a year-round schedule of activity that keeps their brand front of mind. We don’t target one audience, we target many and make sure that our messaging resonates where it should.

Over the years we have secured some incredible results for our clients and we’ve had a lot of fun. For those that are debating what PR could do for their business I would encourage you to get in touch. We have lots of examples to share that just may help you to change your mind.

PR CONTINUES TO BE UNDERVALUED AROUND THE BOARDROOM TABLE

PR can often be an outcast and certainly underrepresented around the boardroom table. An unnecessary investment that cuts deep into company budgets. Granted, it can be difficult to measure the true success of a PR campaign but, without developing and maintaining a positive reputation, a company’s image can be put at risk.

The public’s perception has never been so vital to a business’ success and longevity. And as technological advancements continue to merge with our daily lives, the heat of the spotlight is only set to increase even more.

So, what does this mean?

There is very little room for mistakes. Whether it’s a lack of engagement on social media, a refusal to evolve services or an inability to attract new business, garnering a negative perception can often be led to the downfall of any organisation.

But there is hope! This can all be successfully and robustly manged using an effective PR campaign.

The purpose of PR

First of all, companies must determine what they want to achieve from a PR campaign. Versatile by nature, PR campaigns can be as bespoke as needed depending on the specific objectives an organisation intends to meet.

This can be anything from launching a new product, introducing an enhanced service, promoting a special event or the desire to increase the company’s profile and build brand awareness. Gone are the days when a humble press release was the most effective way to communicate with the public. Now a strategic and proactive approach must be implemented in order for a PR campaign to be successful.

Below is a list of things to consider when putting together a public relations plan:

  • Identify target audience
  • Target trade media and journalists that are dedicated to your specialism
  • Engage with target audience through regular social media posts
  • Position yourself as an expert through thought leadership pieces
  • React and comment on topical issues within your field or area
  • Pursue industry-specific award submissions
  • Create more personal and engaging blog posts
  • Pursue interview opportunities with press
  • Create NEWSWORTHY content about your business

Compiling these points into a step-by-step process, which are then scheduled and executed accordingly, will undoubtedly help a company build towards achieving its initial objective.

It is important to remember, however, that the difference between a poor campaign and a successful campaign is the ability to tell a consistent and compelling story.

This is how companies set themselves apart from direct competitors and stay relevant in the public’s perception.

Telling the story

The foundation of a strong PR campaign will be built on a company’s key message. This needs to be constantly seen and reiterated in any content that is produced. The message can be determined by simply asking why? Why is a company rebranding; expanding the workforce; releasing a new product; investing in IT infrastructure; moving offices; and so on.

Although the newsworthy angle will be to focus on what is currently happening within that company, the underlying messaging is often the reason behind it.

For example, a fashion house may announce the launch of a new store opening that will create 25 new jobs. Although this appears to be strong, albeit relatively straight forward news story, the underlying message may be that the store opening is part of a wider expansion strategy to help the fashion house hit the £5m turnover mark in the next 12 months.

For the duration of the PR campaign, the messaging should constantly echo that the fashion house is set to grow to a £5m business. As this is shared via journalists in the press, through social media, in blogs and other available platforms, the public perception will begin to view this fashion house as a growing and ambitious brand.

Communicating the story of the business can often lead to establishing stronger relationships between customers, members of the media and stakeholders, which in turn will help build brand awareness and customer loyalty. Once a brand establishes a strong following and reputation, the longevity of success will significantly increase.

Back to the boardroom

Taking all of this into account, it could be considered foolish for those with their hands on the budgets to deny a business the opportunity to protect and build its reputation.

The truth is that when PR is embraced and used to meet with the wider objectives of a company it can have a profound impact, not only on the brand profile but also the bottom line.

For more information about how Open Communications works with businesses and brands of all sizes please call a member of the team or email info@opencomms.co.uk.

PLANNING A PR CAMPAIGN THAT RESONATES WITH MULTIPLE AUDIENCES

Having put budget behind a consumer-focused campaign, it’s natural to want to maximise that investment. Planning a PR campaign that reaches as many of your target audience as possible is a great way to do this, often making for very impressive results!

 

Imagine, for example, that your product is a toy which appeals to 5-7-year olds. Not only would you want to showcase the toy to children in that age group, but it is also important that you target the parent as well. After all, they’re the ones with the spending power.

 

In addition, grandparents are known to be rather generous. Particularly when it comes to Christmas and birthday presents. Therefore, it would be wise to ensure that they are aware of your product too.

 

So, how do you appeal to all three groups, but still remain ‘on-message’ throughout a consumer PR campaign?

 

1. Begin with clear messaging

Outlining your key messages at the very start is invaluable. A robust planning process creates an invaluable guideline for any future decisions on content.

 

A brainstorm is a great way to get ideas flowing. Some vital talking points include:

  • Keywords to describe the product – bright, fun, tactile, soft, unique, adorable, cool
  • How does this toy make people feel – is it a comforting item, does it make a child feel grown up, is it designed to make them laugh, does it bring joy?
  • What is its purpose – is it just for fun, does it have an educational element?

 

You will then need to refine these ideas, selecting the words and phrases that resonate most strongly with the item. With your choices made, these key messages become the starting point for content creation.

 

Though the tone of the content will change dependent upon its intended audience, your key messages will remain consistent. This will ensure that each piece complements one another and, most importantly, becomes part of a unified campaign.

 

2. Utilise different tactics

Once your key messages have been agreed, you can begin to think about the tactics that will be used to increase awareness of your product.

 

This is one of the clear benefits to investing in PR; there are several tactics that can be considered and used, including:

 

  • Press drops

Once you’ve established your media targets and contacts, engage them with a press drop.

 

This could be a simple box containing the product and press release or it could be something more interactive. Creating a drop that is visually appealing will really make your delivery stand out from the many others which are bound to land on the journalist’s desk that day.

 

  • Influencer engagement

Bloggers and influencers are becoming an ever more valuable resource when it comes to spreading the word about new products.

 

Making contact with those who are relevant to your product and target audience can have far-reaching benefits for your campaign.

 

Find out more about how to choose the right influencer for your brand here.

 

  • Competitions

Offer people a chance to win! Better still, engineer the competition so that it spreads the word about your product.

 

Organising a social media giveaway, either on your own social platforms or on those of a relevant and credible partner, is a fantastic way to create noise around your offering.

 

As part of the entry process, ask that your post is liked or shared. Perhaps even incorporate a relevant hashtag to increase awareness of your product or brand. If your toy becomes in demand, you’ll likely spread the message about your item while increasing your brand’s social media following at the same time.

 

One watch-out however is to ensure that you are putting in place the correct governance and that anything that is gifted is mentioned within any post that is shared. If this doesn’t happen, you can end up in some very hot water!

 

  • Events

Dependent on the item, hosting an event which invites people to engage with your item can be a fantastic tactic when it comes to increasing awareness and love for your product.

 

In this case, creating a small area where children are free to come and explore the toy itself, is sure to have them tugging at their parents’ sleeves requesting that your product features on their next Christmas or birthday list!

 

However, a word of warning – events which deliver a quality experience can be a rather expensive commitment and should be costed before any commitment is made.

 

3. Maximise social channels

In this case, taking a single channel approach is unlikely to yield the remarkable results that you are expecting. Nor will churning out the same content across each platform.

Instead, do your research. Carefully look into each platform. Consider the typical age demographic, then craft and distribute your content accordingly.

After all, what appeals to a 7-year-old, may not resonate quite so well with a 60-year-old.

 

4. YouTube

These days, YouTube is a staple in the homes of most school-aged children. As a result, the famous ‘un-boxing’ videos are an effective way of sharing the excitement that comes with the latest ‘must-have’ toys with children and their parents.

 

Summary

There’s no doubt that planning a PR campaign takes a lot of work, which is why it’s most definitely a job best entrusted to the professionals.

Learn a little more about what we do here at Open Comms here. If you’d like to discuss an upcoming campaign, simply give us a call on 01924 862477.

NEW YEAR, NEW PERSPECTIVE AND A BRAND-NEW YOU

It’s a brand-new year and the possibilities are endless. The perfect opportunity to put pen to paper and note down any New Year’s resolutions which will make the next twelve months better than the last.

However, while the arrival of a new decade may be positive for some, it can be infinitely challenging for others.

Whichever scenario describes your 2019, here’s a little positivity to begin 2020 which could, quite possibly, be your best year yet!

Perfection is a myth

There’s no denying that each year presents plenty of reason to celebrate. But, with success comes moments of difficulty, feelings of failure and, perhaps, some memories that we’d really rather forget.

No matter what social media tells us, the ‘perfect’ life rarely exists. There are some moments that are undeniably sad, and it’s these times that can have us questioning what we did wrong?

In the most part, a happy life is merely a matter of perspective. Take the time to cherish the positives and celebrate achievements, however small. Only with the right mindset will positivity be able to prevail.

Don’t be a stranger

Following a period which is traditionally spent surrounded by friends and family, a New Year can be an extremely lonely time for some.

Family fallouts are all too common and, I’m sure, a regret that weighs heavily on people’s hearts. It’s never too late to try and bury the hatchet.

If friends and family are not around, take a positive step to meet others. There are many groups, coffee mornings or sports clubs which can be a fantastic way to establish friendships.

Understand your value

Some people are simply more considerate than others. It’s a hard fact that can be difficult to accept and a source of much upset.

However, moving on from situations that are detrimental to your happiness is important. After all, many of us have come to realise that life really is too short.

Give a little kindness

Kindness costs nothing, so give it freely – not only to others, but also to yourself.

It’s amazing what impact a thoughtful comment, offer of support or small gesture can have on someone else’s life.

New Year, new you

In this time of endless opportunity, relish the chance to be the author of your latest chapter in the whirlwind that is life. Setting realistic expectations while also challenging yourself will give you balance. There is no point in creating an unachievable list of tasks from the get-go.

Split your hopes and dreams into sub-categories and spend a little time each month pushing yourself closer to where you want to be. Taking steps forward is more positive than standing still.

For a few more tips on making 2020 a year of progress, read Open Communications PR Account Executive, Nick Hill’s latest blog here.

EVERYONE CAN WRITE, RIGHT?

Everyone can write, right?

Working in PR can be a challenge. There, I’ve said it. Not only has it been the forgotten relative for years when it comes to budget allocation, there is also the fact that people devalue the specialism because ‘everyone can write, right?’.

No longer is the process of putting pen to paper – or words on a page electronically – considered an art. It’s just a thing that is done and because businesses are increasingly told they need to upload content and to share posts, it makes our service a commodity.

At a recent event with the business community in Wakefield, I got chatting to an associate who asked how you make people believe that PR is worth the investment.

PR is more than words on a page

The truth is, PR will deliver but it takes time, effort, experience and the ability to take a step back and to realise it isn’t words on a page. What we produce is compelling content that engages with an audience and resonates.

PR is an incredibly powerful tool when it is used correctly. Good or bad, it can influence thoughts about a brand that could impact on the reputation of that business or individual forever.

People don’t seem to realise that what they share with the media or online reflects their values, what their business stands for and what they hope to achieve in the future. Thanks to search engines and the ability to copy and save, there is no waste paper bin or fish and chip wrapping, this content lasts a lifetime.

Using PR tactics to have a profound impact on business

The beauty of PR and writing quality content is that when it is managed correctly it can have a profound impact on a business and its success. Agencies and in-house specialists were once reliant on the press release, but we now have so many more tactics we can call upon.

The information we need to draft a press release can be used to craft an interesting thought-leadership article for the website, which can then be used to capture sound bites that are shared on social media.

Creating a content schedule means that you can now get the best from every piece of news that you have to share, if you manage the process correctly.

Investing in PR

I’ve lost count of the number of times people have asked me how I coerce our clients into paying for an agency when they could appoint a graduate or get someone in-house. Firstly, we don’t coerce anyone into anything and secondly, if a company wants to invest in the resource needed to deliver a year-round PR campaign then great!

In my experience, when a company does have a dedicated PR or marketing resource, the remit of that person becomes increasingly diverse leaving them to become a Jack of all trades but a master of none.

Unfortunately, PR is still widely misunderstood and that can leave senior managers considering it to be an extension of the admin function, rather than a specialism that could have a significant impact on the organisation and its performance. It goes back to the heading of this blog, the misguided belief that ‘everyone can write, right?’

PR isn’t easy

This is infuriating to PR practitioners that have worked for years to develop their skills and believe in making a difference to the companies that they deliver a service for. Appreciating the time and effort that goes into finding the story, drafting the story, sharing the story and then further elevating that message is not for the faint hearted.

PR isn’t easy. It requires attention to detail, thought, craftsmanship and passion. It takes someone who wants to tell stories in the right way to grasp hold of the information and then shape it in a way that makes it interesting, informative and educational.

I don’t go to work each day looking forward to writing a press release. I go to work feeling excited by what we can achieve when we consider how we will communicate across various platforms for a client and what campaign reach we can secure, which will then support sales.

Back to where we started

Putting pen to paper is a skill that requires thought, attention and experience. Writing compelling copy isn’t easy and it takes time. Identifying a story and pitching it to the right journalist so that it secures coverage can be a challenge. Learning all about topics you have never heard before and writing content that is shared online as a comment piece from a client can be nerve-wracking.

So, going back to where we started, when people do say that ‘everyone can write, right?’, the answer quite simply is no. People can put pen to paper, but it takes a specialist with knowledge and experience to write content that will deliver results.

For more information about the services that we offer, please visit: www.opencomms.co.uk/whatwedo

BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL BRAND

Every day we count our lucky stars knowing that we work with a host of amazing businesses across diverse industries including automotive, recruitment, digital, food manufacturing, architecture and third sector.

Despite our clients operating in such distinct areas, they all have one thing in common; not only do they know how to build a successful brand, they also understand how to maintain that success.

What’s great is that we get to support these organisations and to celebrate their ongoing achievements.

Establishing values

At the start of any brand journey, it’s vital to sit down and think about the bigger picture.

What inspired you to offer your particular product or service? Is there a passion that drives your organisation forward? What issues are important to your business? Which common traits describe your team?

Only with these points addressed can a business truly live, breathe and begin to present a cohesive approach which effectively communicates the brand and its values.

Identifying a brand ‘voice’

Once a company has pinpointed its underlying values, it’s a good time to begin forming a brand voice.

Brainstorming a collection of words which feel ‘right’ is a useful way to start the process. With a bank of vocabulary in place, this can be used as a basis for press releases, website copy and a social media schedule.

Adopting a style of communication which is unique to your business is a great way to add some personality and to give a point of difference which will allow a brand to stand out from the crowd.

A catchy, concise positioning statement

If you could use only one sentence to explain your business, what would it be?

Taking the time to craft a crisp positioning statement which encompasses all that your organisation delivers will help consumers and other businesses to quickly become familiar with the product or service that you offer.

Hierarchy of messaging

With your overarching statement perfected, what other key messages would you like to share about your company?

Perhaps what sets your offering apart is the fact that it is organic, eco-friendly or addresses a problem which has yet to be solved.

Identifying three or four main points will ensure that future communications are prioritised correctly, focusing on the elements which are most important about your product or service.

Authenticity

In today’s world, consumers are savvier than ever. With access to a company’s website, social platforms and any news articles at the touch of a button, it’s important that a brand remains authentic in its approach.

For instance, it’s no good positioning a business as caring about the planet and then using unsustainable materials within the manufacturing process. With social media and on pack guidelines someone will notice, and it could spell a make or break situation for your organisation.

Instead, an honest and open approach which is in line with brand values, is a sure way to build up consumer trust and loyalty.

Right message, right place, right time

In short, it all comes down to communicating key messages to the right people, in the right places and at the right time.

Getting this process correct is imperative if your organisation is to reach its full potential. Here at Open Comms, our guidance has helped a range of leading businesses to build a successful brand.

We’d love to chat about our recommendations for your organisation. With the right support, you could be joining our award-winning clients and celebrating your achievements throughout 2020. For further information, simply give us a call on 01924 862477 or browse our website to learn more.

WAR OF THE WAGS AND A PR CRISIS IN THE MAKING

It’s the debacle that’s had many of us glued to our devices. When Coleen Rooney waged war on Rebekah Vardy for allegedly selling stories about her to The Sun newspaper, people grabbed the popcorn and settled down to enjoy the latest celeb showdown.

Providing the nation with a welcome distraction from Brexit, this comparably light-hearted performance offered a break from the doom and gloom which has dominated the headlines of late.

While I’m not entirely sure what to tell you about Brexit, we can certainly share a lesson or two about public statements, crises and dealing with the media.

Timing is everything

Considering the timing of a statement, press release or media product drop is essential if the message is to be interpreted as intended.

In Coleen’s case, the statement was posted the day before World Mental Health Day. An extremely risky move to say the least. Notable dates have a significant influence on the media agenda and will determine content, so it’s prudent to be mindful.

With mental health in the headlines, the topic was bound to be front of mind with both journalists and their readers. As a result, the timing and nature of Coleen’s statement offered the perfect angle for a journalist to discuss the potential impacts on Vardy’s mental health.

While Coleen appears to have avoided such an issue on this occasion, this could very easily have been a PR crisis in the making.

Consider the wider impact

Whether intentional or not, the behaviour of celebrities influences the actions of others. This kind of public ‘performance’ brings with it a certain level of responsibility and if people are not careful, accountability too.

As prolific users of social media, it’s no surprise that young people are amongst those particularly engrossed in the activities of those in the public eye.  Being followers of the latest trends, children take cues about how to behave from those that they idolise. As a result, there’s no doubt that this method of ‘public shaming’ will be replicated in schools, with potentially disastrous consequences.

What’s more, although it’s entirely understandable that Coleen would feel betrayed – assuming the allegations are true, taking revenge so publicly is precarious territory.

After all, Coleen’s family have endured their fair share of hurtful headlines. The fact is, however guilty Rebekah may or may not be, the implications of exposing a story such as this not only has repercussions for the alleged perpetrator, but also for their family too.

Fact check, and check again

Though Coleen’s investigative techniques have impressed her fans, there are some obvious flaws. Narrowing the possible leak down to just one account, may be rather damning, but what about the people, other than reporters, that Rebekah may have shared the news with?

The truth is, she could just be guilty of being a gossip, who has naively divulged information about Coleen to her friends. And, let’s face it, she wouldn’t be the first person to share a screen shot of someone’s story in a group chat!

For her friends, who may not be in the public eye or have the salary of a football player at their disposal, the lure of a quick buck from a willing red top tabloid may have proved too much.

Of course, there’s also the question of whether Coleen herself has shared her plans with others. A trusted friend or family member could quite easily be the culprit. However unlikely that seems, I’m sure she wouldn’t be the first person to be betrayed in such a way.

Should Coleen’s conclusions turn out to be incorrect, there are bound to be some very red faces and incredibly serious repercussions for her own reputation. Ensuring, without a shadow of a doubt, that any statement is factually correct is absolutely essential.

Plan ahead

Every good PR plan should incorporate an element of crisis planning.

By exploring and identifying areas that could become stumbling blocks, a pro-active PR plan can be put in place to address issues in a timely manner, should they ever arise.

However, it’s always worth remembering that no matter how well prepared you are, it isn’t always possible to see a crisis coming, which is why having professionals on hand to manage a crisis situation can be invaluable.

Navigating unfamiliar territory without professional support is extremely unwise and could have lasting repercussions for your brand or business.

Summary

Reputation takes a long time to build and only a short time to ruin, which is why leaving this important aspect to chance is a perilous strategy.

Making statements to the media is a serious business. Unfortunately, once something has been said so publicly, it is very difficult to take back. That’s why it is important to get it right the first time.

Working in PR involves being cautious, taking time to plan and having a wider understanding of issues that impact upon a brand or business.

Utilising the skills of those who are qualified to advise on issuing statements, press releases or managing a PR crisis is essential if your number one asset, your hard-earned reputation, is to remain intact.