Weaving a tapestry involves a coordination of effort, skill, materials, and a clear sense of desired outcome. Approaching a public relations or marketing need can be done in a similar way, and begins with asking quite a few questions before you have your answers and direction.
First, what do you want your finished product to be? Are you going for a singular hit or a multileveled campaign? What materials do you have available to you? How is your skill base in both human resource and technology areas? Have you identified a comfortable budget range?
Rather than rushing to create an ad or marketing campaign, this first assessment and planning phase, which can be quite easily done, will give you your plan to begin creating a customized purposeful tapestry for you, your company, product, cause or need.
Your look. Branding. What is your company name, and does it work for you? How does it look in print? Do your logo, slogan and colors define you and separate you from others? How are you set for photos/videos, are they effective? When people hear you and see you, are you set apart from your competition? These are your basic and strongest threads on which to build – your foundation.
Your public platforms. These are your brightest fibers – the ones people will see first – your website, social marketing (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest), LinkedIn, others…and the tools to use them efficiently and effectively? Do you use photos and other resources to make your posts ‘pop’? Are your messages outwardly centered? Are you updating and is information current? Do you know how to establish yourself as an authority in your field? Are you responsive to those who comment or ask questions?
What is your community footprint? How are you and your company involved in the community? What causes speak to you and how are you contributing back? Beyond donations, are you selecting affordable corporate sponsorships that match who you are? Where do you volunteer; are your employees encouraged to do so, too? Are you maximizing the benefits of your community footprint? This is the gold thread in your tapestry.
Advertising & Marketing. When you reach out to attract others, how do you do this? Are you in the right venues, those matched as close to your intended audiences as is possible? Are you sure, or are you just guessing? It’s a changing media world, oversaturated with messages. Have you talked about placement – and value added opportunities? Are you showing your full tapestry of colors, while focusing on that special thread or two that is timely and important?
Your events. Open house? Holiday party? Host a networking group? Or going to one? What happens before you go and what happens the next day, after you’ve met people and have a collection of business cards? It’s all in the follow-up.
News and media relations. Are you speaking with authority on your topic? Or telling the good news about your company? Do you take photos of your attendance or speaking at community groups? Do you have a blog and are you engaged with others to talk about the work you do?
Weaving your message takes skill, caring and strength – it takes a plan, and a multifaceted approach. When done correctly, each project strengthens the one you did before, building on your solid messages, adding uniqueness. Next time you think you should “buy an ad” or “go on the radio”, stop for a moment. Talk to a skilled public relations expert who can give you independent information and feedback. Pretty soon you’ll be weaving with a solid rhythmic sound, creating your own rich, magical tapestry.