Staff are your best asset

Good communications comes from the top – it also comes from within. I’m not trying to be deep, but I have worked with and for a fair few companies of all sizes in my career and the ones that are the most effective at communication make sure they talk to their staff before they share news with the outside world.

They invest in channels that their staff want to read, easy-to-digest blogs, emails or short newsletters and they make sure they communicate regularly with their staff – including face to face updates. That way, staff don’t get any nice or nasty surprises by reading about their employer in the local rag before hearing about it internally. It may seem a small thing, but treating staff in this way is inclusive, respectful and helps to breed loyalty.

It can’t just be lip service – if you want employees to stick with you and go the extra mile – you have to give something back. Not just news, but really listening to what they want and how they want it and responding to them.

A little thanks also goes a long way…a client of mine Bluebird Care (Slough, S. Bucks and S.Wycombe), who are genuinely passionate about what an amazing job their carers do, recently created a wall of thanks and achievement for their staff, capturing their training success, customer comments, awards, years’ service and any fund-raising efforts. What a great gesture – see below.

Staff room close up COTM Staff room Carers of the Month

The staff response – “Wow”! Now, that’s the sort of company we would all want to work for.

They’ve also shared their news coverage so all staff can see their company news in column inches.

Staff wall close up of cuttings

It still makes my day when a client says “Good job”,”Fantastic” and “Well done”  – I’ll gladly put in the extra hours to get them the best media coverage, social media engagement, write the most riveting column and the tightest of press releases. I take pride in my work and positive feedback makes it all worthwhile.

So make sure you include your staff, listen and respond to their comments and suggestions and always share your news with them before it goes out to the world and his wife – they’ll become your best advocates and certainly your best assets.

Squeezing value from your public relations

Having regular newsletters for customers and staff are a great way of keeping in touch with your audience. But it’s no good writing your heart out if your subscriber list is in single figures and looks set to stay that way!

Try and encourage more people to sign up via your website and social media messages – offering a competition or reward if you can.

Email newsletters or mailers are another channel to use to shout about your great newsletter – with the ability to include links to enable people to click through to sign up easily.

To make you worth subscribing to, make sure readers get to hear the latest news first via your newsletter.  It’s a good, sustainable way to build your following and a loyal customer base.

Make public relations work harder

The people that sign up for your newsletter will ideally also follow you on social media – so squeeze every last bit out or your public relations and marketing and ensure you have visible and easy links to both newsletters and social media on your website. It’s all about communications.

Make sure your social media messages link to your latest newsletter and that your newsletter is available online and has direct links for people to follow you on Facebook, Twitter and any other social media platforms you have.

And make sure all link back to your website or wherever you wish to direct them – with short links (using tools like Bitly or Hootsuite) so you’re utilising as many valuable characters as possible.

It’s all about making your public relations work harder for you, while still creating content and communications that your customers or staff will want to read.

The benefit that a newsletter has over social media is that it covers articles in more depth and is a stand alone, complete publication which can be both online or printed as a hard copy.

Make it interesting!

It sounds obvious but your newsletter needs to be worth reading. You need to have stories which will engage and interest people – human interest or real-life stories work well.

Try and avoid any hard sell in your newsletter. People have to feel they learn something useful from your newsletter – not that it’s a sales tool. It will help give the organisation credibility in a more subtle and effective way.

Picture perfect

Include lots of photos and if possible graphics, like infographics, which bring stories to life and break up text and pages with much-needed colour and interest.

Pictures need to be in sharp focus and spend time cropping and editing to give a more professional look to your newsletter. Always write captions…we all like to know who we’re seeing!

Get sharing

It’s all about engaging people, so if you launch a campaign – run it across your social media and include it in your newsletter. You can ask people to send in their stories or examples – then you can run the winning stories in future issues and on social media.

Get them sharing and chatting on social media – online communities are a force to be reckoned with and will help gain followers and engagement. It’s all about making your public relations work across the different channels.

At Catherine Kelly PR we help with compiling, writing and arranging design of your newsletter. We specialise in writing engaging copy for your website, blog, social media, press release or booklet. We can help you to achieve column inches, a social media presence or a stunning new website – contact me for an informal chat about your PR or communication project.

 

 

Which social media platform is right for you?

Social media Hootsuite, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn logos - Catherine Kelly Public RelationsSocial media can be highly effective and more organisations are using it as part of their daily PR and marketing mix. It is also time consuming and knowing which platform is right for you and your audience is increasingly important as more and more platforms vie for our time and attention.

All social media platforms have their own demographics, but as well as a bit of number crunching, it’s just as important that you reach out to your audience as a ‘person’ and not as a faceless organisation. It’s OK to have personality and to be informal on social media – in fact it’s essential.

After all – that’s why it’s called SOCIAL MEDIA!

Social media options open to you

I’ve picked out some of the favourites and highlighted some useful demographics to help you make up your mind:

Facebook

The mega social media giant Facebook, is still regarded as ‘THE’ social media platform of choice and not just for staying in touch with friends and family. In the UK it boasts 31 million users, with almost the same number of men as women using it. It’s so popular, that around 60% of us now have a Facebook account in the UK.

The age group of users is older – with 26 per cent in the 25-34 age group.

Although not all the younger generation will be active Facebook users, there are still 2.5 million 13-17 year-olds who use the site – a statistic not to be sneezed at.

LinkedIn

The business networking site not surprising has a slightly older demographic with just 21 per cent under the age of 35. Men make up 58 per cent of the user share of its 60 million views each month in the UK. Its search functions are useful for seeking out potential customers and business partners as well as for recruitment. Who doesn’t check out their job candidates regularly on LinkedIn?!

Twitter

With around half the users of Facebook, Twitter’s microblogging site still pulls in an impressive 15 million UK users – with two thirds under the age of 34. Nearly 80 per cent of people use their smartphones to access it – with an almost even split in the battle of the sexes. It’s not used as widely by teens with just 26 per cent citing it as their favourite social media platform.

Pinterest

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing platforms since being launched in 2010. And it’s popular with women – very popular – with around 80% of UK users being female. As well as ‘pinning’ users can send messages with infographics and photos – the most popular ‘pins’ are around food and drink, although a wide number of subjects and topics feature from motivation to friendship.

Google +

In complete contrast to its female dominated rival, Google + mainly appeals to men – 63 per cent of its 400 million worldwide users are male. Over a third live in America and have an above average salary. In the UK, users are mainly in the younger age groups – 41 per cent are between 18-24 and 29 per cent are aged 25-34. Nearly half haven’t tied the knot and are still single – not surprising, given the younger age of most users.