PRFest Day 2: What I learned

PRFest Day 2: What I learned

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of attending a day at #PRFest in Edinburgh. #PRFest was founded by Laura Sutherland. Each speaker gave an insightful account into different aspects of the PR industry, ranging from myths of PR to SEO and mental health in our profession.

The day started off with John Brown’s presentation focussing on “Myths of PR”. He looked at different issues such as our low tolerance for bad videos, and why human interaction will always be better than digital communication. If we don’t show real life on social media, why should we believe the message?

After the devastating terror attack in Manchester in May, Head of Corporate Communications for Greater Manchester Police, Amanda Coleman, gave a poignant account of the events that took place, and the crisis communications procedures they followed.  She captured the audience by talking about the communication strategy implemented in the immediate aftermath of the attack, and focused on the importance of honesty, accuracy and the right tone. Amanda highlighted seven key points that are vital to have in place before a crisis:

·         Plan and prepare
·         Train key spokespeople
·         Know the roles
·         Exercise initial response
·         Work with others
·         Gain trust from CEO
·         Build a supportive network

Most importantly, being surrounded by a support network was invaluable for Amanda and her team. Her presentation was inspirational, and touched the audience, ending in a standing ovation.

Later in the afternoon, co-founder and director of Threepipe, Jim Hawker’s presentation on SEO furthered my knowledge of the challenges of digital upscale, and that often PR agencies are performing SEO without realising. Given the SEO industry’s $65 billion-dollar worth, it was an eye opener into how PR companies can use it most effectively.   

Overall, my productive day at #PRFest offered an insight into the importance of planning, how to use insight to inform strategy, and how to help a colleague who may be suffering from a mental health issue.

Fiona Reyner, assistant account executive @mucklemedia