Ghost Stories / PR & Social Media with Rumour Mill Creative Communications

This talk was one that I had been looking forward to since the start. I have known Samantha for a number of years now, and find her insights fascinating.

Until today I suppose I viewed PR as perception and very little to do with reality. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Those that know me will understand how hard that is to admit. Nevertheless, it’s true.

The Chat.

Samantha is the consummate professional, but not in a stuffy way. She has a quiet confidence about her that puts you at ease. Without directly telling you, one understands that she is saying, “Relax, I know what I’m doing.”

Straight off the bat, I made my feelings regarding PR known to Sam. I wasn’t trying to insult her industry, but challenge her to convert me, and convert me she did.

Bad P.R. is making up stories to soothe the masses and keep things tickety boo.

P.R. proper, is keeping the message genuine, and within the ethos or the person or the business. In the unfortunate instance of negative press against these, there is data to suggest the positive.

Samantha was one of the first P.R. consultants in Northern Ireland to become chartered. The process was long and difficult; however it is a testament to her dedication to her industry.

In order to explain P.R. Samantha gave us this analogy. If you consider a magazine or a book, Advertising is the cover, and P.R. is the story. This immediately made perfect sense. After the marketing and advertising is done, it’s the content that matters.

There was a point brought up during the session from a participant. They are currently working on their website, and Samantha was asked if it was a good idea that they employ her to look over the content before publishing. Samantha expertly responded,” You should get on of your customers to look at it”.” It will give you a better idea of what the market wants to see in a website”. Sound advice in my opinion.

What we learned.

  1. Before making a public decision in your business you should consult a qualified P.R. Consultant.
  2. The reasons for this. If your message and method for growth is through a particular channel, make sure this reasoning is evident at the granular level within your business. For instance, if your business is based on sustainability, make sure everything you do is towards sustainability. i.e. Don’t be all about the enviornment and drive a 5 ltr engined car. (If this makes sense).
  3. For the second time in #GhostStories the point was made to be careful about the language and tone of your business. (The first was with Gareth Lynas when discussing branding). Your tone and language is vital. The message you are trying to get across should match your core values and appeal to your market.
  4. On Social Media, even if you have 10k+ followers, the quality of your content depends on the business you can achieve from these followers. Content is king!!!
  5. All businesses need to understand the importance of Social Media, and the impact it can have on your business. Directly or Indirectly.
  6. Understand where your shop-window is. Your business does not exist on the physical high street as much. Look after your digital space.
  7. Your employees are your 1st Brand Ambassadors.
  8. The line between you and your employee’s working/not working is disappearing. The behaviour outside of business hours, will affect your business. Employees attitudes online elsewhere can have a positive or negative effect on you. Make sure that this is understood across the board.
  9. Make sure that your employees are involved vision changes of your business.
  10. All businesses need to have a Social Media policy in your company handbook.
  11. In the “about us” section of your website, you should have your company’s actual policy regarding your businesses attitude towards race, colour, creed, gender etc.
  12. As far as Awards go for your business. They should be linked to industry standards, not to whomever can employ the best copywriter.

Top 3 Rules.

In closing I asked Samantha for her top 3 rules regarding P.R. consultants, and why we should engage one.

She gave me 5:

  1. Understand and believe in P.R.
  2. When you engage a P.R. consultant have a set of measurements of what you are trying to achieve.
  3. Have a P.R. budget.
  4. If you or your business is going to say something publicly, be prepared to back it up.
  5. You must have an ethical approach to P.R. Don’t stage it.

Thank you very much Samantha, you clearly know what you are doing.

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