Think about PR and reputation management as core to your overall business or marketing plan. By building your reputation, you are building your brand and growing its value. A good reputation is about achieving positive perceptions, so how you behave and how you communicate are fundamental.
Developing and managing reputation through PR will support your goals of engaging the people you need to talk to, influencing what they think and winning their loyalty. This can lead to participation/advocacy/sales or whatever you want to achieve.
Your reputation management needs to be considered in the context of the 24/7 news environment we live in today. Anyone using social media (take for example a disgruntled employee or customer) is their own news channel – and a story which breaks on Twitter spreads virally within a few minutes.
So managing the media will be important to managing your reputation, both through digital (online/social) channels as well as through traditional print publications and broadcast media.
Five top tips
• Understand who your key stakeholders are; those people who are connected to you in any way (e.g. customers, target customers, employees, community, funders, media, and suppliers). Map out their importance and level of influence.
• Decide your PR goals. What are the priorities for what you want to achieve. Agree which target stakeholders will be most important and why. PR strategy and programme activities can flow from here.
• Define the key messages for each of your stakeholder groups. Follow these through in all communications. PR, website, newsletters, marketing literature.
• Be proactive with your media relations. Create a PR programme which fits with your overall goals and use the media effectively to develop your reputation. This includes offline, online and social media.
• Be creative and think laterally. There are a wide number of PR techniques which can deliver your strategy and will also generate media relations opportunities as part of your PR plan. Opinion surveys, community relations activity, stakeholder events, charitable support, sponsorship and many more.
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