Showing posts with label community groups. Show all posts
Showing posts with label community groups. Show all posts

Monday, December 5, 2011

4Cs To Boost Your PR Career

 It is university graduation time in Australia and a hundreds of PR students across the country are leaving college and looking for their first real job.  It is time for them to set aside the books and begin their professional life in earnest.

Let me share some tips from leading US PR professional Cheryl Proctor Rogers who recently outlined the 4Cs to boost your PR career.  Cheryl was speaking at the Public Relations Society of America Conference in Florida in October. 

#1  Capabilities: You need to set out on a path of continuous self improvement to expand your PR knowledge and skills. You never stop learning in the communications industry.

#2  Careers:  Join networks and professional associations and take advantage of their training programs and opportunities to meet other professionals.  Network, network, network when you first start out and make it a hallmark of your career.

#3   Cabinet:  Presidents and prime ministers have cabinets of trusted advisers so why can't you? Seek out and learn from mentors, advisers, supporters, peers and friends. Draw on their experience to increase your own.

#4   Community:  Volunteer to help out with PR for a not for profit. Your first job may not give you the range of professional opportunities you would like.  Helping a charity is good for the soul and importantly can lead you down different communications avenues.

Good luck if you are just starting your career.  Remember the success of your career will be proportional to your effort, enthusiasm and the generosity of your spirit. Enjoy the journey.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Keep Your Eye on Australia

Last month Canberra ad agency Grey Group Australia released its third Eye on Canberra survey.  

The survey comes out of the wider Eye on Australia survey which looks at Australians,  what's going on in their families and households and how they view the issues of the day.  

The Eye on Australia survey has been going 19 years and collects data from 998 people across the country by telephone and through the Internet.  This year's findings reveal some interesting insights:
  • While Australians are generally satisfied with their lives, people in Darwin are the most satisfied and those in Brisbane are the least satisfied of people living in capital cities.
  • Brisbane people are also the most likely to be concerned about the economic outlook for the coming year while residents in Darwin are the least concerned.
  • People aged 25 - 34 are the most concerned age group about the economy, perhaps suggesting those early in their careers, couples with young families and first home buyers feel vulnerable to any economic downturn.
  • 72% of Australians agree their family is becoming more important to them every year and 81% of us will sit down together and eat as a family.
  • Nearly three-quarters of us think there is not enough respect shown to older Australians and advertising does not portray our seniors properly - which is odd given baby boomers are the most cashed up group in our community.
The survey also ranked the major issues for Australians in the next five years.  The five top concerns on our minds in order are -  and probably why these subjects are getting attention in the current Election:
  • Lack of water and water management.
  • Climate change.
  • Unemployment and job security.
  • The cost of living and lower standards of living.
  • The health system and the increasing costs of health care.
When asked to describe our Australian values, being multicultural, easy going, free, living in a land of opportunity and being competitive are things that rate highly.  However we place less importance on being traditional or sophisticated, Australia as a world leader or living in a classless society.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Community Radio Can Be Powerful PR

Australia is rich in radio.  But community radio stations rarely feature in PR and media relations plans. And that's a pity because community radio covers a lot of territory and reaches a lot of people in this country.  

It is estimated more than 4.5 million adult Australians listen to community radio stations every week.  That makes them an effective way of channelling campaign messages to grassroots and often committed audiences.

Community radio caters for many interests including community, multicultural, Indigenous and religious broadcasters. And like its commercial cousin community programming includes a stew of  music, news, current affairs, lifestyle and local content.

Although bigger stations may have a full-time station or program manager, volunteer broadcasters who give a few hours of their time each week are the lifeblood of stations.  As well as their broadcasting value these volunteers are often activists in their own right who can provide word of mouth and other engagement opportunities beyond the reach of the station. 

Here are the websites of peak and other bodies where you can learn more about Australia’s community radio sector:

Community stations even have their own news service. A small team of dedicated journalists run National Radio News from Bathurst in NSW supported by communications students at Charles Sturt University.  Their three minute news bulletins are syndicated to local stations across the country.

Many years ago I was a part-time community broadcaster.  That plus recent experience of working with a host of community stations has convinced me that volunteer radio can be an important medium in a PR project.

What has been your experience of community radio?

Friday, October 30, 2009

10 Steps To Engaging Communities

In recent weeks I have been working on a major conservation project which is in response to climate change. It is as much about people and communities as it is about science and data.

No matter how compelling or frightening the data may be, governments still need to convince people they need to act in the face of challenging circumstances. This means consulting them, getting their input and then fashioning a response individuals, communities, business, government and others can act on.

Often community consultation involves a series of inter-locking steps:
  • Identifying stakeholders and individuals who wield influence
  • Identifying local attitudes, aspirations and concerns
  • Helping those affected understand what it is proposed, how it will improve things and when things begin to happen
  • Providing opportunities for community feedback and involvement throughout the project
  • Keeping people, especially key people, continually informed
  • Incorporating feedback into planning and subsequent actions and, as importantly, telling people you have done so
  • Communicating milestones and outcomes
  • Simplifying communications yet providing access to detailed data if people want it
  • Frankly acknowledging setbacks and disappointments
  • If people have to change behaviours, providing information when they need it and how they need it and offering ongoing encouragement
Above all build flexibility and persistence into your own mental mindset.

Things rarely go to plan 100% of the time in community consultation, coalition building and communications. After all we're dealing with people - just like us - and that's just the way it is.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fundamentals for Not Profit Communications

We just finished the 2009 season for our free workshops for not for profit organisations.

Now in its sixth year these sessions offer pro bono marketing advice to volunteers groups, charities and not for profits.

To finish up the 2009 program we asked colleagues in our international PR networks to name the top ten things not for profit organisations must get right when they set out to communicate to their communities.

We got more than ten so here's the list.

Craft a message that resonates and connects. Before embarking on a PR campaign, craft your message. Who you are and who do you help? Do your services overlap with other groups? How is your organization unique and what makes it stand out? People want to know before investing what area of the community you serve. Is it pets, homeless people, the elderly, disabled children, etc? They also want to know that the majority of funds go to the intended programs and recipients.

Find out how to connect emotionally with your target audience. Put a face on the population you serve and tell their story. Describe their situation and how your services have helped them. If you must present a bleak picture be sure to provide a solution. People want to hear positive outcomes to things that affect them and their community so how do your services improve the community's quality of life.

Make your message as personal as possible to the audience you are trying to reach. And the information you are giving them has to be kept simple on the front end. People aren't going to read, or listen to a lot at the outset. Once you get their interest then you can deliver more content. So you have to really target your audience carefully. Tossing out lots of content broadly hoping to catch a few is wasteful in this economy.

Demonstrate the need, show you have a solution and then share your successes.

Listen before you communicate. The good Lord gave us two ears and one mouth for a very good reason.

The basic motivation factor of "putting something back in to the local community" is a good message. It leads to a sense of achievement and well being for volunteers and a sense of philanthropy for donors. Also promise donors publicity because people like to be seen to be doing good things.

Communications must empathise transparency and accountability. Ensure you report on how the funds you raised are being used and that what you claimed you would do, you actually did.

A lot of not for profits want to start with the tactics first and forget to spend a few minutes asking the questions to make their efforts smarter. So before you communicate, ask what is the purpose of my communications? What is the primary message I want to convey? Who is it designed to reach? What do I want people to do after they hear what I have to say? How will I know I have been successful?

Have I got my logos, images, taglines and spokespersons ready to roll before I start talking?

Understand the media likes conflict. Where there is no conflict or opposing views there is no story. So find a local hero and go for a feature story rather than a news story.

What is your value to the community at large? How many people are using your services, how many are unable to get these services? Where would those folks get services if your organization didn't exist? What would happen to them? And what is your impact on the general community?

Take advantage of third party endorsements in the form of testimonials from clients, favorable media placements, or even simply through the reputations of the people who serve on your board or who volunteer. But please choose them wisely. The best part of this strategy - it's virtually free.

Show the value you provide - the value of your research, the fact you employ real people at all levels, spend your money in the local economy and that you are open to people asking questions and seeing what we do. Wrap those points up in good story telling and tell a story about people who do things. Storytelling is becoming a lost art but you can't lose if you can get a handle on it.

... and my very special thanks to our contributors - Chips Henriss, Kristie Aylett, Karen Miller, Tim Entwisle, Janet Bosserman, Jeff Botti, Mike Spear, Rosanne Gain and Susanne Dupes.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sponsorship and Fund Raising Presentation

Go here for our latest fund raising presentation for community groups.

If you have ideas on how not for profits can keep their cash flow going in these uncertain times please share them with others by leaving a comment.