I was in my early twenties when I first saw what professionally trying to ‘dodge the bullet’ looked like…
I was attending a meeting of very senior professionals (clients) in London, who following a serious failure in the system, were all in agreement that at the forthcoming public inquiry they would not give any media interviews and would literally stay quiet and disappear out of a side door at the end.
I can still remember not quite believing what I was hearing and willing one person to challenge the decision. You don’t have to be in PR to realise that you have to be accountable for your actions, especially in a position of seniority.
It was left to me, sweaty palms and all, to stand up at one of the largest boardroom tables known to man and explain why they should ditch their plan and instead prepare to do as many interviews as the media asked for.
Avoiding media suicide
After a bit of coughing and shuffling, they reluctantly agreed. I’m still proud of my younger self for that one – it was terrifying at the time, but I knew their plan would be media suicide and more importantly, it was fundamentally wrong not to take responsibility.
They got pretty fair treatment from the media. It was balanced reporting and even though it was critical, they were able to explain their position and comment on the report. They were also able to explain what measures they were introducing to avoid the situation happening again. Without giving a Press Conference they wouldn’t have been able to do that.
It was critically important for anyone affected by the incident, the organisations involved, their community, other stakeholders and tax payers that they were communicating and accessible. It helps to rebuild trust. It shows you appreciate the seriousness of the incident and you care.
Ultimately, we’re all accountable for our actions, or we should be.
The right approach
Not communicating would have been the very worst thing they could have done that day, even though it was difficult to face the media, it was the right thing for them to do.
In the run up the day the inquiry report was published, I made sure they received the right support, help with answering media enquiries, writing statements, arranging interviews for them to take part in, media briefing and training.
I’m pretty easy going but I won’t ever go along with something I feel is the wrong approach just to keep the client happy. After all no one would thank me if I didn’t take pre-emptive steps to limit any possible negative coverage and to ensure both sides of the situation were reported on.
I learned that about myself three decades ago in a board room in London J
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Whether you need someone to write a Press Release, run your Communications function, deal with media calls, rewrite part of your website or write tailored social media, I can help!
This is Hugo Spowers, client, taking part in an interview after media picked up on the Press Release I wrote and issued.
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I love my job and when we work together I become an invested partner in the success of your organisation.
Since setting up my boutique agency in 2015, I have worked with several leading public and private sector organisations, managing highly-successful campaigns in the healthcare, social care, recruitment, education and sustainable technology sectors.
Drawing on my experience as a PR and Communications Manager and former journalist, I work with companies and organisations of all sizes, fulfilling their communication needs.
I have helped website traffic increase by 250%, gained national newspaper, magazine and television coverage and supported three successful crowdfunding campaigns with PR, raising over £2 million. I have provided Press Office cover, dealt with countless media enquiries, written publications and helped successfully manage negative online comments.
I provide a tailored service to just a handful of clients at a time, ensuring you have the benefit of my many years’ experience in the industry.
See a selection of our media coverage here:
Mail Online and Mail on Sunday pieces
Primary Health Care
Nursing Times Patient Blog
Nursing Times Article
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Freja Smith, Learn with OjO Marketing Manager
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Tim Richards, CEO, Future Resume
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Sarah Dimmock, West Sussex County Council
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Stephanie Lee, Jonathan Street Public Relations, London
I’ve been working with Cathy for nearly 1.5 years, after she was recommended to me. She writes and manages all our social media, advising on the best channels and specifically focuses on LinkedIn and writing our Blogs. She is experienced and knowledgeable, especially about using LinkedIn as a marketing tool, which is a big plus. She also advises how to best use our marketing budget and which activities to focus on. She regularly steps in with an expert perspective on specific projects, such as content for adverts and helping us to overhaul the website – rewriting key pages and advising on the best design. She’s kept up to date with the latest marketing tools, which is good news for her clients. She’s proactive, professional and provides an excellent communications and PR service. “
Dermot Kennedy, partner, Giltinan & Kennedy LLP
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Freja Smith, Learn with OjO Marketing Manager
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Ian Inglis, Bluebird Care
“I worked with Catherine Kelly PR and was exceptionally impressed. I had attempted to use a couple of other PR services, but the results were disappointing. During our first three months, she secured a number of PR opportunities, including several newspaper articles, radio interview, monthly column and a large magazine feature. Not only this, but she is knowledgeable about social media, blogging and speaking engagements. She listened carefully at our first meeting and assessed my needs – and then drew up a tailored plan to meet them. Our budget is fixed, with the opportunity for flexibility where required, so I have peace of mind. I would not hesitate to recommend Catherine Kelly PR. She is a delightful person with whom to work and a total professional.”
Miranda Banks, Director, Smartivate and Excel in Exams
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Karen Dennison, Director, Health Champions Training
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Events that shaped me | West Sussex Health PR Blog