I have answered some FAQs below, to give you more understanding of how I operate as a PR and Communications Consultant.
What makes you an expert in PR & Communications?
I analyse language – spoken and written, and one of the labels that I have considered in depth over many years is that of ‘expert’ and what this word really means. It is a label that we tend to identify with somebody who has reached the top of their field of work to a point where no further studying and practise is required… if this is the definition, then I do not consider myself to be an expert, but as an individual with a strong academic background and working experience that allows me to help others in an advisory position, sharing my expertise in a relevant way according to each person’s needs, be it as a guide, coach, teacher, mentor or healer.
I believe that it is important to continue studying and learning about our subject areas, as well as other subjects too. And, in order to be an expert in an area, I believe we must have experience of what the opposite to being an expert is, either through ignorance or failure, because it is the learning and the getting up and trying again through re-learning that we can truly be of help to others and to teach in a way that is authentic.
My job isn’t about saying I am the best at something, or even telling the world that my clients are the best at what they do, it is about me helping others by using my skills, so that they can help others by using their skills, and so on… Whether I’m working with groups or individuals, sole traders, SMEs or departments of larger corporations; I am
good great at extracting that passion from others, and reigniting the enthusiasm that people need to succeed.
Are you perfect in relationships?
The term ‘perfect’ is a label I take lightly, just like the term ‘expert’. I do have vast experience with personal and professional relationships, and I’ve found that successful relationships are built up from a foundation of mutual respect and clear communication.
Being a good communicator starts with a basic understanding that we humans work best with sincere, clear and positive exchanges.
Personal and business connections with other people are paramount in life as a whole. Not everybody has had experience of clear communication, but with practise it can change lives… And that goes with communicating to ourselves as well as with others.
From the moment that I was born (Hackney, London in the Summer of 1980), I had to figure out how to build beneficial relationships – with my siblings, and I had to learn to communicate in a busy household… I quickly realised that crying and shouting do not get any message across accurately or effectively… but I didn’t master the not-doing either of these until further into adulthood.
I moved around a lot as a child and observed others’ friendships, and managed to connect with a variety of different characters, perhaps as a coping mechanism for being ‘the new girl’ again at school. I have always valued the relationships I have developed, and when I recognise that one person I know can help another, or that they’d get along, I introduce them – this goes with working relationships and personal ones too.
There are times when we need to communicate with people that we may not naturally connect with, so I’ve acted like a human emulsifier of sorts; allowing for amicable ‘mixing’.
I support others in mastering tools that can improve their relationships with themselves, as this is paramount as a foundation for building beneficial good-natured relationships with others.
I have been so very fortunate to have maintained quality relationships with a quantity of creative and expert contacts, including people I went to high school with, university with, from my time working in production at Channel 5 Broadcasting, along with my years modelling/performing, and my teaching experience.
As well as maintaining established relationships, I also have the natural ability to connect with people from all walks of life and to effectively initiate new contact.
It is these positive relationships that are paramount to success in life, and in business; and I am personally grateful for each one of my connections.
I help my clients to develop skills that enable them to connect with relevant brands and audiences both within the B2B and B2C arena. I introduce them to likeminded individuals, so they can ensure that their brand messages are delivered in an effective, positive way via the correct channels.
What is the most common question potential clients ask you?
In some way or another, the most common question I have been asked is, ‘I know I need PR, but what exactly is PR?’
It is amazing how many people have asked me this question over the years, and back in my early twenties when I was working for Channel 5 TV and liaising with PR companies, I’m not entirely certain that I fully understood what PR was either… I received a lot of freebies accompanied with press packs and press releases (all printed and posted – old school style) in return for media coverage targeted at a specific audience… And, I remember lots of invites to launches and parties, as well as what at the time I considered to be unnecessary phone calls. I learned quite a bit about using clear communication and persuasive writing in order to gain exposure of a brand or product to target audiences, with the aim of raising sales, creating verbal hype and providing overall positive awareness.
So, what exactly is PR?
My definition of PR is on the main blurb of the PR & Communication page of this website, but here is a little more info too…
PR is an abbreviation for Public Relations, and is all about ensuring that the reputation of you and your business is respectable and in-keeping with industry ethics, as well as delivering the correct message using channels and styles that suit your brand.
PR could be the making of any service or product… it is one thing having a brilliant and innovative idea or business model, but as soon as you decide that you want to make money from the idea or service, then you need to communicate and relate to your audiences… And PR basically facilitates this.
PR uses tools such as press releases, and it can involve publicity stunts, some of which may attract negative attention or misleading press. And, often PR is put into place to protect someone’s ‘name’, for example of a politician or celebrity.
Many people get confused about the term PR, often mistaking it for advertising or marketing, or even social-media, some confuse it with the term PA (Personal Assistant)… Public Relations does go hand-in-hand with other areas of business, however it is something quite separate. Every business – small or large, requires some level of Public Relations, and this can be outsourced to an agency or an individual, or it can be covered by an in-house department.
Some people believe that as long as someone is talking about their brand, it doesn’t matter what they are saying – good or bad! I personally do not operate under this ethos, but there also needs to be room for subjectivity, in that somebody may be doing something positive and they may receive a negative critique… for example, a successful YouTuber broadcasting tutorials with high-quality positive content, will still get negative comments and a number of dislikes… this is a reminder that everyone differs in opinion, and that we can only control our own responses to such situations.
Reputation and others’ opinions of you and your brand dictate the success of your business… If you have a positive reputation, and the media, your customers, stakeholders, employees, suppliers and even competitors respect your business, then this leads to more business. It is a simple equation.
Ironically, Public Relations doesn’t always have the best reputation, but like any profession, if you remain sincere and work with people that are likeminded with positive shared goals then PR is an element of a business that can really add value and contribute to your overall success.
How did you get into PR & Communications?
After I had my first child, I decided I wanted to set up a business so that I could raise my son and work from home. I assessed my experience and qualifications and everything I’d ever done had involved me having to do my own public relations and communications, and I’d also worked directly with PR agencies since I was a teenager, and I had relevant professional writing and research experience…
It must be ridiculous to read, but I literally thought about a name and it stuck in my head, I had to hit the ground running if I wanted Portal PR to be a success, and it really has been. I believe my success is not just a result of my entrepreneurial nature and my skillset, but largely down to the relationships I have nurtured over the years.
Is Communications the same as Public Relations?
Communications can be used interchangeably with the term Public Relations; however, I consider Communications as the means and tools used for establishing and nurturing relationships, and Public Relations about maintaining the relationships and the reputation on all levels, for example through events, collaborations, and ongoing relevant and positive exposure to target audiences.
As a Communications Consultant, I assess the brand image and/or deal with rebranding, I analyse the company documents to ensure the correct message is being portrayed to all relevant audiences, internally and externally. I can suggest potential marketing and advertising activity; however, these strategies are implemented by separate departments and according to allocated budgets. I assess if there is anything that the business can be doing to improve the impact of their message and brand as a whole, as well as ensure internal communication is clear and respectful.
Do you sign Non-Disclosure Forms?
I do not require anyone I work with to sign a NDF. I am happy to sign a NDF, and often larger corporations request this as part of their policy. I do not disclose information that belongs to other people or businesses, if for whatever reason I do not agree with the practice of others, I do not work with them, however, I respect their privacy and keep their information confidential. I am trustworthy, diplomatic, have integrity and sincerity in life, and I’ve carried these traits through to my work, and it is how I continue to operate.