What I’ve learned in 2016 – Emily

December 14, 2016

Emily joined the team in May, and she’s been kicking butt and taking names ever since. As our resident Projects, PR & People Person, she’s been working on innumerable projects, doing amazing things for all kinds of clients. Here’s what 2016 has taught her (as well as a snap of her on our AbFab day!):

Own who you are and embrace your team.

There is no point trying to be the best at everything, especially if you have a good and supportive team around you. Own your skills, be aware of your flaws and embrace who you are. At Intelligent Ink, I have been very lucky to have been surrounded by some amazing women who all have something slightly different to contribute, which has made being me a whole lot easier and has meant that when I am struggling with something, one of the others has always been able to help.

If you’re upset or struggling with something, talk about what is going on. People can’t help if they don’t know what’s happening. And often, if you talk about a problem it can seem like a whole lot less of a problem than if you let it stew. Often you will find that people also like to be asked for their opinion.

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-3-35-59-pmRemember to breathe

It’s easy to get wrapped up in what’s happening each day. Between work, home and everything else in between life can get chaotic and can often hit a point where it feels like the to do list never ceases to shrink. This year I’ve learnt that sometimes things are completely out of my control and while there may be numerous ways to try and get them back on track, some things are better left where they are. And the only way to let go, without feeling guilty about leaving things is to take a deep breath and walk away.

We live in the future!

We live in a world now where we are so used to having things in the space of a day; where we can order a present online and it arrives overnight, or have a question and with the click of a button it’s answered. We longer have to wait for the post to arrive to tell us what has been happening with our friends and loved ones. In some respects, technology has made us impatient; we think everything can be done now, or should have been done yesterday. But it’s not always true.

Recently I have tried to leave my phone behind at least once every couple of weeks when I go out to just detach myself from the stress that comes with constantly being switched on or plugged in. Instead of using Google maps to direct me during these times, I’ve had to pick up a map book – you would be surprised the number of people who look at me incredulously when I tell them that. Detaching myself from technology has taught me so much but it has also given me such a sense of freedom. I am at no one’s beck and call and I have nothing to do but enjoy the moment!

What I’ve learned in 2016 – Brittany

December 7, 2016

Our intern Brittany only had a brief time with us, but she found the time to pop together some thoughts about what she’s learned this year. So we thought we’d kick off this year’s ‘What I’ve Learned In…’ series with Brittany’s learnings!

It’s totally ok to say no (stop overcommitting yourself!)

No is a word I don’t use very often, especially when it comes to working. I’ve always been afraid to say no, whether it be because I didn’t want to let anyone down or I didn’t want to miss out on any opportunities. As a fresh a graduate, I felt everything that came my way from events to working extra hours I just couldn’t (and didn’t) say no. I did everything that was expected of me and more.

However, I quickly realised there weren’t enough hours in a day to finish everything I had committed myself to. To keep things going, I learned that it’s more than okay to say no. Once this realisation kicked in, I instantly felt happier. Spreading yourself way too thin does more harm than good. Now I give myself a commitment limit!

Handwritten lists are still golden

This year I learned very quickly that although I rely on my iPhone and laptop way more than I should, handwritten lists are still as helpful as ever. I know programmes have come out to make organising your daily tasks simpler and easier but I enjoy nothing more than writing down everything I need to do using a pretty pen and cute note pad. A pink pen and cute notepad from Typo, to be exact! My notepad doesn’t run out of battery when I urgently need to find out where my next meeting is, and it definitely doesn’t overheat and explode. It’s actually the only time of the day I realised I wasn’t on some sort of technological device, which now too often consumes most of our days!

PR is a difficult job to explain to your parents

Throughout my time at university my parents never quite understood what PR was. And it didn’t quite help that when I was asked what the job consisted of I couldn’t give them a definition that they understood. As the year progressed and people started to do some crazy stuff in the media I was finally able to show my parents some practical examples of what PR is. Although I am a graduate and have not had my fair share of experience in the PR industry just yet, I was able to show my parents what PR practitioners should (and shouldn’t do) when it comes to crisis management. Whether it be helping a rugby team get out of a stripper crisis or doing unnecessary things in a public toilet, my family was finally convinced that PR is an important and much needed profession!

Making the most of your Christmas break

November 30, 2016

We, like so many people in business, are eagerly awaiting the Christmas break – not because we don’t love being at work but because after a long year, we’re excited for a much needed refresh!

The summer holidays are the perfect time to reboot your brain and body and get yourself thinking creatively again. While we very much recommend taking a good break from thinking about work in any way, we do have a few tips for making the most of your summer holidays.

Prep for a break

christmas baubles on a twigThere is nothing worse than worrying about work while you’re on holiday – so make sure you’ve prepared yourself for a real break. Let your customers know when you’re heading off, pop on a good out of office, schedule social media posts, tidy up your desk and finish off those tasks that you’ve been putting off all year. Having a clear mind when you finish up for the year is one of the most valuable things you can do.

Go out and experience new things

It’s amazing what can inspire new ideas for your business and communications. Don’t be afraid to visit a new part of the country – following those brown signs up and down the country can lead to some pretty cool places, that you never would have found otherwise. While visiting new places or trying out new things, grab photos or videos to use for social media fodder throughout the holidays or on your return. It can help people connect to you and might even inspire their own adventures!

Keep a notebook on hand

It’s funny how, when you relax, you suddenly start thinking of better and more creative ideas than when you’re busy and stressed. However, we’ve all had that “damn, I thought of something awesome last night and now I can’t remember it” feeling. The solution? Keep a notebook on hand wherever you are – a little one will fit nicely into your beach bag, glovebox or on your bedside table – and you never know what you might come up with.

My favourite example of this is an uncle who wrote down his dreams and discovered that the cure to world hunger might just be photocopying biscuits, but I digress.

Think about the year ahead

Use the time you’ve got to think about what you’d love to do over the coming year, personally and professionally. I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but thinking about what you want to achieve and what your dreams are when you’re relaxed is so much easier than when you’re back into the swing of things with no spare time to hand. Having a clear vision for the year ahead helps you stay focused on what’s really important, whether in your personal life, professionally, or more specifically, in how you want to communicate with the world.

So that’s it really – make sure you can take a break, stay open to new experiences and ideas, and let yourself dream about the year ahead. Here at Intelligent Ink, we’ll be off from the 22nd of December and are likely to be back on board fully on the 16th of Jan. We’ll see you then!

A different kind of cultural sensitivity

November 23, 2016

If you’ve ever been to the Intelligent Ink office, or had a meeting with a couple of people from the team, you’ll have likely cottoned on to the fact that our workplace culture is very important to us. We support one another. We create an environment that keeps us invigorated. We celebrate our success and that of our clients.

It’s how we do things.

So if someone was to ask you about your workplace culture, what would you say? If they were to pry you about your vision, your values, your typical recruit – what would be your response? Can you articulate what it is you are committed to being and becoming, beyond the strategic side of the business?

Employees can certainly engage with strategy to some extent – but for those in the cubicles, on the shop floor, it’s not something that they are necessarily actively exposed to, at least not on a regular basis. One team strategy planning day a year is hardly enough to keep an entire workforce engaged in your direction – but a company culture that allows them to deeply appreciate the business as a whole is a key factor in keeping everyone on track.

stock photo smiling manValues

Earlier this year, we blogged about ‘The value of values’ – and we mentioned just how important established values are to creating and maintaining company culture. It’s a key part of the process of day-to-day business – but it’s also vital when it comes to hiring new talent.

If you don’t already have values laid out, there’s no time like the present to change that. Check out the aforementioned post for tips. Print them out. Hang them up in the lunchroom, in the bathroom, in the boardroom – anywhere that you see fit. And keep them in mind when interviewing potential new hires, so that you can mentally tick off values that they have mentioned without prompting.

If someone is on the same wavelength as you and your employees from the get-go, the onboarding process will inevitably go a whole lot more smoothly. You want people who will live and breathe your organisation – at least between nine and five – and feel like they belong, that they feel a sense of alignment to the company as a whole and with the individuals within it.

Team connectivity

There’s no one way to run a team. Different industries favour different set-ups, and different companies within different industries may do something entirely different from what’s expected anyway. For a large company, the specifics of team culture may vary from department to department – so it’s always worth keeping in mind that there’s not necessarily a single directive to be spread company-wide.

But for each particular group of employees, it’s important to figure out what gets the people within it fired up. Are they independent workers who prefer to stick to their own guns and work through a project by themselves? Or are they all-hands-on-deck types who thrive in a deeply interconnected team environment?

And beyond the way people behave in the office, is there a particular direction you want to propose for employees when the clock hits 5? Do people tend to stick around until their work is done, or head for the door as soon as it’s an acceptable time to do so? Are staff encouraged to hang out socially outside of the workplace, or do people tend to stick to their own circles? Again, there’s no one way to work, but having a collective understanding about the way things tend to work means that people will be less likely to leap into a role… and then feel like a square peg in a round hole.

death_to_stock_photography_weekend_work-1-of-10The beauty in variety

Conveying a company culture doesn’t mean creating a cookie cutter team of people who all parrot off the same opinions and express themselves in the same way. But it’s a way to create an environment in which people can thrive. Uniformity isn’t the goal – satisfaction is. A team that combines different personality types in a way that sparks fresh thinking and innovation is going to be one that makes magic happen. No company should be stagnant – so create an environment in which your employers can react positively with one another and the result should be something unique to your business.

Putting it into practise

So you’ve established your values, interpreted your culture, create a team that’s aligned to your collective direction. How do you collectively live and breathe that culture?

There are many ways to let your culture seep into your decision-making processes. It’s as easy as adding one little question to every strategy session: does this align with our values? If there are some values that people adapt to more easily than others, share the focus aroun by picking a value of the month, or week. Talk about that value at meetings – articulate why it’s so integral to your workplace. Put up posters. Start discussions across the whole body of staff.

If your workplace culture doesn’t seem to be organically presenting itself, it may be worth appointing someone who is specifically tasked with developing workplace culture. This may mean that they do some further groundwork, having some in-depth conversations with people across the company to get a better feel for the temperature of your organisation. From there, changes – even if they’re just minor tweaks – can be put in place to start developing an underlying current of connection.

There’s a whole lot of literature out there on the topic of company culture – why it’s important, how it can transform your workplace, all that jazz. If you feel like your company culture could do with a kickstart, the time to make a change is now. And of course, if you’re struggling to communicate your company culture, you can always talk to the Intelligent Ink team – and we’ll see what we can do to help.

So you’re throwing an event…

November 4, 2016

book with lightbulb popping outMaybe you’re in the middle of planning an awesome event and you want to get more people involved or coming along. Or perhaps you’ve got something going on in one part of town (or the country) that you want to leverage to raise awareness across other areas. You might even be looking to raise funds as a result of your event.

PR can help you get the message further and wider – but there are things that you can do to ensure optimised results.

Be clear on your intended outcome

Creating end goals

As with any marketing activity, start with your end goal in mind. When you’re putting together your press release or starting to engage with journalists and influencers, be very clear on what it is that you want people to think, feel or do as a result of your communication or event.

Are you looking to sell tickets? Raise money for a particular cause? Drive people to sign a petition? Or get them involved in some other way?

Channeling content

All of your activity needs to not only come back to your central aim, but each and every piece of content you create (regardless of the channel it’s intended for) should be geared towards a clear ‘call to action’.

Make it obvious what you want people who would like to support you – or are interested in what you’re doing – to do and include all the information that people need. For example, you can include a link to where they can buy tickets or to a donation page.

YMCA campaign

When YMCA Auckland ran their campaign to send a group of young people from a low decile school to an incredible leadership camp, they wanted to mobilise people throughout the Auckland community to vote for their school. They armed the schools involved with content that they could use to encourage people to vote, and included a link to the Facebook poll on every press release, enewsletter and social post about the competition.

Because voters had to ‘like’ YMCA Auckland’s page to be able to cast a vote, the organisation’s following went from less than 100 likes to over 5,000 in the course of just the three-week campaign. With some help from us as their communications agency, they have created content for that page since that has retained the majority of this audience, demonstrating that the campaign was a great success.

Considering alignment

Creating passion through engagement

Next, you need to consider whether the event or campaign you are wanting to do aligns with your purpose, and whether this will appeal to the intended audience. Often the choice of what you’re doing for the event itself can be a strong part of the messaging. At Intelligent Ink, we are all about telling a story, so we particularly love working on event campaigns like this.

A prime example is Neighbours Day, an annual event that we’ve been involved with for the last few years that encourages people – the country over – to get to know their neighbours on a particular weekend, while highlighting the benefits of neighbourliness and a sense of community. The stories that come from the regional events are gorgeous.

The Lifewise Big Sleepout

Another example where the event itself carries a very strong message is Lifewise’s Big Sleepout. In order to draw attention to the growing problem of homelessness – and raise funds to help Kiwis into housing – Lifewise invite around 100 business and community leaders to experience life on the streets and gain an insight to what it means to sleep rough. It’s a fairly eye-opening experience for people, which really connects them to the issue at hand and, in this way, the organisation has won loyal advocates who stay involved year after year and devote themselves to being part of the solution, as much as possible.

As the Big Sleepout suggests, it can be okay to push the envelope a wee bit. Be unafraid to be a bit confronting if you need to get a reaction out of people, especially where difficult topics are involved. While not a campaign that we designed, we were fortunate enough recently to attend ‘Dark Secret: Dinner with a Difference’, in association with Destiny Rescue. Supported by our friends over at Hunch, Dark Secret was a pop-up dining experience to draw awareness to the millions of young girls trapped in sex trafficking in South-East Asia, and raise funds for Destiny Rescue in the process.

On our tables as we arrived was a menu, created to show us the harsh reality that children are effectively being ordered ‘off the menu’ for sex. The content within was disturbing, but the aim was to expose the reality in order to engender some action, which was made clear by the inclusion of a pledge card for donations. Throughout the event the menus were referenced several times and it was explained that they were for our eyes only, and not for general consumption by others who hadn’t attended the dinner. In this way, it was understood that their content was considered sensitive and OK for us alone because we had been exposed to the context of the rest of the evening.

Engage influencers

Find your advocates

Lastly, when it comes to event-based PR, or virtually any PR nowadays, it pays to have advocates. Getting your message out through the mass media is part of the picture, but don’t overlook how many eyeballs are engaging with social media too. Although deep down we know that not all content on there is organic, and some is quite clearly commercially-backed, the reality currently is that social posts still have sway.

Consider celebrities or high-profile people with large social media followings that can give further reach to what you are doing. If you have a brand ambassador already, the choice will be easy and you can involve this person in your planning from the outset, however, if you don’t, it’s time to go courting. You may know someone who has a personal connection to your cause or you could consider who is connected to, or holds influence with, the audience that you want to engage with. Chances are if what you’re doing would be relevant to their audience, it could be interesting for them too and they may very well be able to get behind your messaging.

Background research

A key piece of advice here is to do your research before you engage. Have a look at what other things that person has posted about or been involved with. This provides a clue as to the sorts of things they value. Does what you are doing tie in or complement those in anyway? That could provide your hook.

Be careful not to propose anything that is counter to that person’s public persona, as they will be conscious of the ‘brand’ that they have been building too. For example, if they are a well-known fitness or healthy lifestyle blogger, asking them to partake in an ‘all-you-can-eat’ pie competition is probably not going to go down well. Not only will you not be likely to get them on board for your campaign, you could damage your chances of engaging them further on other things, as you appear not to have given any thought to what they’re about.

The research is also important from the point of view of your brand too. You’ve worked hard over time to build positive associations with your business or organisation in the hearts and minds of your audience, so be sure you’re not going to jeopardise that with who you choose to align a specific event to.

 

Tying a well-thought-through PR campaign to your event is an excellent way to extend your reach and really leverage what you are doing to tell an important story. If you need guidance on how best to achieve the goals that you’re striving towards, talk to the Inkers – we’re happy to help sort you out. Flick us an email at info@intelligentink.co.nz or call us on 09 629 4213.

How to repurpose content without being penalised

October 28, 2016

Who really wants to read the same story over and over? When writing a press release or an article about yourself or your business it can be easy to fall into a trap where the same issue is continuously addressed. Not only does it make the story very one dimensional, but it can also switch your audience off and, if online, can sometimes have an effect on your SEO (search engine optimisation).

There is the idea that all stories stem from the same seven plots. But that doesn’t mean that they are overdone. Instead, it means that writers have to be more creative, create better narratives and more intricate lifelines for their characters in order to have a lasting impact on the reader. As a result, the same goes for stories about people and businesses. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel; you just need to be able to use it in different ways. So how do you repurpose content?

Is the story worth repurposing?

Some stories have the timeliness and/or quality that deems them worthy of repurposing. Others are a one-hit wonder. Before going through the effort of repurposing a piece, make sure that it’s already been published in the best place possible. If it is and there is more to say, or more attention needed, then go about repurposing it by following the suggestions below.

recycle logo mosaicWho is your audience?

Do you have multiple types of people you are looking to target? What are they interested in? If you have a story already written, think about whether it will appeal to the different audiences you want to talk to. From there, pick an angle most relevant to the audience and see if you can expand on it.

For example, if you’re launching a new product and you want to tell your customers about it, are there specific features that different customer segments would be interested in? Some may just be interested in the features themselves, while others may be more interested in the technology and the processes behind making this product. This is one of the easiest ways to repurpose a story without sounding repetitive.

What are people looking for?

Reframing the question this way, it may direct you to a simpler way to tell a story. Some people will be more facts oriented, while others will want to know the who and why behind these facts. Every story has different angles, play to what people want.

Can the story be simplified?

If the story is complex, is there a way to break it down and create a three-part story. Think of it as if you’re teaching your parents or grandparents how to use a new form of technology when they’re the opposite of tech savvy.

Create a visual

Infographics, presentations and videos can be a great way to repurpose content. These are a great way to engage more people, especially those too ‘time-poor’ to read an article. It can also be a really effective way of emphasising certain points in a story. These are especially good for ‘how to’ and fact focussed pieces.

What are the consequences?

SEO

We have already mentioned that it could impact your SEO if the stories are published online. This can be both a positive and negative consequence of repurposing content.  Repurposing content effectively can generate additional opportunities to target a desired keyword and opportunities to create quality backlinks to your website. If content is repurposed without much consideration, so it looks like a replica of information, it can have a negative impact on SEO as it looks like spam.

Stale

Is news really news if it’s already been read before? There is only so much a reader can take in, and when all the stories say the same thing or take the same angle on an issue – is it actually news? This is why when there is a big crisis, such as the war on Syria, the media are continuously looking for a new angle that will have an emotional connection with the reader. After all, for many people their emotions carry a lot of weight in their overall perception of the world.
All in all, repurposing content can save time as you are not having to look for new information and can be a great way to get you and your business out in the market place as a thought leader in your industry. It just has to be done with a bit of thought and attention.

Diving Into The Deep End

October 20, 2016

 

Those of you who have followed our blog for a while will know that we get each of our fabulous interns to write us a blog post about what they’ve learned while working with us. Charlotte Guy wrapped up her 12 weeks yesterday – and she’s shared a little bit about her own journey. From pitching to relationship to the Inker approach to what ‘public relations’ actually means, here’s what she had to say!

I finished my degree in Politics and Media Studies at the end of 2016, and unlike many graduates, I was certain of what I wanted to do – political communications. The only problem was that, although I could tell you anything you wanted to know about Mary Wollstonecraft’s political philosophy or the Sainte-Laguë electoral formula, I had no idea how to do anything that an actual job would require.

charlotte-guyI knew that I needed practical experience, so I enrolled in the Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies majoring in Public Relations at AUT, a one-year hands-on crash course in how to be a public relations professional.

I also started looking for internships. My friend Sam had told me about his wonderful experience interning at a place called Intelligent Ink, with exposed brick walls, fairy lights, and an incredible team of young women. I was caught up on this place and felt certain that they were the only agency for me. Too shy to email out of the blue, I stalked their social media pages all year, and sent in my CV right away when they finally tweeted a call for interns in June. It all worked out, and I have spent two days a week as an Inker for the past three months. This is what I’ve learned:

It’s all about the story

At the beginning of my university course, we spent weeks exploring different ideas about what public relations is, and never reached a clear answer. But during my time at Intelligent Ink, I finally found a definition I like. To me, public relations is all about helping people tell their stories. Writing, reading, and storytelling have always been a big part of my life, so with this realisation I am now confident that I’ve found the right field.

I feel very lucky to have interned at an organisation that takes such a creative and story-focused approach to public relations – an approach that I know I will carry with me for the rest of my career.

You’re more capable than you think you are

On my very first day at Intelligent Ink, I was asked to pick up the phone and start pitching to journalists. I wasn’t expecting to be dropped in the deep end quite so quickly, and definitely doubted my own ability. But it turned out I had nothing to worry about. When my phone calls turned into real, printed stories, it was exciting proof that I am capable of pitching. In the three months that that followed, I learnt that I am also capable of interviewing, writing a wide range of content, and successfully balancing an internship with two jobs and full-time postgraduate study.

The industry revolves around relationships

One of the biggest PR clichés is that it’s all about who you know. I don’t think this is always true, but the world is a pretty small place and the communications industry in Auckland is even smaller. This was proven when a previous intern guided me to Intelligent Ink, and when we all realised that I went to school with one of the Briars, and Pony Club with the other one! Nothing is more important and helpful than your relationships with other people, so you need to value everyone you meet. You never know when they are going to pop up again as a potential mentor, colleague, or friend.

If you are looking for a public relations internship, I would highly recommend getting in touch with Intelligent Ink. I haven’t been sent on a single coffee run – instead, I have spent my days writing, pitching, and learning. I’m now off travelling for a few months before starting my first ‘real’ job in February.

I know that the experience I gained at Intelligent Ink gave me the edge required to land the job, and the skills required to be completely confident when I head into my first day. I am so grateful to the girls for all the mentoring sessions, feedback, and coffee – and I look forward to catching up with them all to hear about the exciting places Intelligent Ink is going next!

Oh, dash it! A wordsmith’s guide to hyperbolically great grammar

October 6, 2016

A deep and abiding appreciation (dare I say, perhaps even love?) for grammar is a trait that not a huge number of people possess. But when you’re in the business of all things wordy, grammar has its own kind of glamour.

It should be noted that English is a constantly evolving language – and we’re definitely fans of linguistic evolution. We grew up in an era of gr8 and omg, and we work in communications, meaning constant absorption of newly coined portmanteaus, techspeak and all kinds of industry jargon depending on the client in question. Language is not stagnant, nor should it be.
But we’re perfectionists and rampant proofreaders too. So while the rules of the game may evolve with time, we are still dedicated to a by-the-book approach to writing and editing. Our Wordsmith & Content Marketing Queen (and resident trained editor and book guru) Briar L has rounded up a few of the particular things that she reckons we should be more aware of – some that you may just need a gentle reminder of, and others that may be completely new information.

So dive on in and have a splash in the welcoming waters of the inaugural collection of Intelligent Ink Grammar Tips – today’s focus is on the (more interesting than you’d think) world of hyphens and dashes. The trickiest little lines in the business.

 

what-the-heck-is-an-em-dash-630x485Dashes

A little line can cause a whole lot of trouble. While to the outside viewer – and – and — may all look like slight variations on a theme, there’s actually a surprising amount of difference between each. Welcome to the world of the hyphen, en-dash and em-dash.

Most people operate under the assumption that a hyphen (i.e.‘ – ’) and an en-dash (i.e. ‘ – ’)  are the same thing and do the same thing. And on the rare occasion that they see an em-dash in use (i.e. ‘ — ’), there’s probably a feeling that someone decided to do something fancy with the fonts. But if you really want to impress with your written material, differentiating between the three is an easy way to look super slick. So here’s Hyphen vs. Dash 101!

A hyphen is used to connect words. That’s it. That may mean connecting two names for a double barrelled surname, or creating a compound modifier (like well-prepared students, or twenty-page essays), or splitting a multi-syllable word across two lines when style requires it.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to divide up a sentence without using commas – like this – you’re going to want to throw your hyphens out the window. You’re probably actually already familiar with the en-dash – many word processors will haphazardly autocorrect spaced hyphens to spaced en-dashes. The en-dash is also referred as n-dash – and it gets its name from the fact that in whatever font you’re using, the dash will be the width as the letter ‘n’.

Em-dashes fall into the same space – but as a general rule, rather than being spaced (as an en-dash will be), they are squished in between the words—like so. Using en-dashes vs. em-dashes is a stylistic decision – when in doubt, en-dashes are your best bet. Just don’t mix the two – this paragraph is the exception rather than the rule.

 

So that’s today’s dipping in to grammar world – stay tuned for further installments in the world of semi-colons, subjunctives and the curious case of the I before E mnemonic. How wild are we?

Upgrade your communications potential through goal setting

September 28, 2016

We all know that we’re meant to set goals. It’s drilled into us from an early age, when we do goal setting at school – but oftentimes, it’s only when we hit the working world that the real value of goals become apparent.

Goals give us something to work towards – and something by which we can measure how successful we’ve been. They keep us accountable and ensure that we actually do what we are trying to do!

office plant stock imageYet for some reason, when it comes to telling our stories through PR, blogs, social media and other channels, we fail to set goals. Instead, businesses often try a spray and pray approach, trying anything and everything on the recommendations of others. Rather than leave it to chance, why not set some clear goals for your communications in order to get more out of them?

Start small


Many SMEs find telling their story scary because they don’t know where to start. We’re constantly bombarded with advice (okay, yes, we’re guilty of giving that advice too!) and many business owners just try to do everything at once. Instead of overwhelming yourself, set small, manageable goals to start with – for example, to post one blog post every fortnight until the end of the year.

Think about who you’re trying to reach, and how you’ll reach them


It’s a simple fact of life that not everyone will want or need our product or service. That’s why it’s so important to identify the kind of customers that you want to be working with, and creating goals that will help you get in front of them. Think about which publications, they’re reading, how they’re consuming media or how they’re making purchasing decisions. Then create goals that focus on getting into those places or helping solve those customers’ problems.

Measure for measure


How will you know if you’re achieving your goals if you’re not measuring them? From blogs to websites to social media, virtually every app and website has fantastic insight tools that enable you to know what’s working and what’s not. By checking in every week or fortnight on where you’re at with your goals, you’ll be able to see what’s working well, what needs to be adjusted for you to achieve them, and identify any issues that might prevent you from achieving them in advance. Measuring results also gives you insights into what your next goals should be.

death_to_stock_kashmir_big_cartel_5Don’t be afraid to change them up

Your goals don’t need to stay the same each month – the great thing about measuring is that you’ll see what is and isn’t working. Sometimes one channel of communication may just not be right for you! So if you’re consistently adjusting and not getting any better results, don’t be afraid to change your goals up and focus on achieving something different.

Above all though…

Link your communications to your business goals


Marketing or comms shouldn’t be a silo that exists outside of the main part of the business; it should be an essential tool to help achieve business objectives. So if your business goal is to increase your brand awareness, then your communications goal should focus on generating as much PR as possible. Or if your strategic objective is to develop a certain sector of the market, then your communications goals should focus on that sector.

Whatever the case, make sure your communications goals complement and help you achieve your business goals – and check that they’re always SMART (Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic, and Time Bound). With those two things in mind, you’ll find your communications goals are more than just “nice-to-haves” – they’ll be concrete things that you actually achieve.

Specialised storytelling skills getting spectacular results for Alzheimers Auckland

September 23, 2016

What excites us as Inkers is telling stories. Whether that’s telling tales of our weekend shenanigans on a Monday morning, or writing compelling stories for our clients, when we are storytelling, we are in our element.

However, the true icing on the cake for us is when the tale is disseminated in such a way that lots of eyes see our hard work – in magazines, on TV, in newspapers, and on social media platforms.

Image of Walk for DementiaRecently Alzheimers Auckland, one of our not-for-profit clients, hosted their annual fundraising initiative, Walk for Dementia. This is a cause close to our hearts, as we truly believe in the effort that Alzheimers Auckland puts into bettering the lives of people with dementia and their supporters.

We kicked off our PR campaign by having a chat to Sir William (Bill) Birch, who became a patron for Alzheimers Auckland earlier this year, and would lead the walk, in honour of his late wife Rosa. Rosa had Alzheimer’s Disease, and Bill told us the story of their journey together with dementia, and how much Alzheimers Auckland had helped. 

We then created a heart-warming press release about Bill, and why it was so important to him to be involved with Alzheimers Auckland. We chose New Zealand Women’s Weekly as the best outlet to share this story with, which has a circulation of 53,000, and a substantial PR dollar value.

The editor was only too happy to feature Bill, and a reporter interviewed him and wrote a beautiful story about Rosa and Bill, and Bill’s dedication to the fundraiser. It was such a thrill when we saw it printed – the photos were lovely, and the story encouraged people to attend the walk, which is exactly what we wanted.

We also secured publicity in local newspapers, Happyzine, social media platforms, Voxy, and on online event websites. We were really pleased with the results our publicity campaign achieved – even the dreary, drizzly weather on the day of the walk couldn’t dampen our spirits!

Image of Walk for Dementia kidThis fabulous campaign was straight off the back of our successful publicity campaign achieved for the Alzheimers Auckland’s Annual Symposium, an educational fundraising event.

It was our goal to encourage people to attend the event, so we focussed on the riveting professionals who were booked in to speak about their field of expertise. We constructed press releases and pitched to various media outlets that we believed would be the most beneficial. They were snapped up by the media and gained nationwide coverage. We reckon achieving 10 quality articles, as well as publicity on event websites was a fantastic result – especially while we were beginning to implement the Walk for Dementia campaign as well!

We now have the Alzheimers Auckland Quiz Night to look forward to (on October 20), as well our continued work to recruit runners to fundraise for Alzheimers Auckland while taking part in the Auckland Marathon on October 30. We can’t wait to keep producing great results for this amazing organisation – we will keep you updated!