“Without doubt, the internet age has arrived. With it has arrived a revolution in public relations. This revolution not only involves the way we communicate, but the nature of communication itself.” – David Phillips
This exciting new venture, OurPR, desires to fill a gap in the market for two branches of customer. Small to medium enterprises and small to medium public relations (PR) professionals.
As someone studying PR that will soon be graduating, I’m always thinking about how I will hunt for business in the future. The annual State of the Industry Report (2013/1014) by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations told me that I am not the only one. Two in five professionals are spending more time searching for new business than they were last year, surely this means there is more business out there? This is great news!
I will emerge as a newbie into the industry, so where then can I source smaller and less high profile clients that will enable me to build up my profile and gain ever important experience?
Experienced, reputable and high profile PR professionals have built their client base and now they have done so – they don’t have to work so hard to find clients.
OurPR exists to help to build skills and relationships for those that are lacking in those areas or are just beginning in the industry.
OurPR is an online sourcing platform, not for permanent contracts or in-house PR jobs, but for small scale project briefs, campaigns and one-off activities with specific targets. Temporary collaborations with hard hitting and successful outcomes.
A peek at the industry and current problems: Small to medium enterprises struggle with their PR strategies due to affordability and time. I spoke to Thomas Aston at VIP Event Butler, a SME based in Shenstone, to talk about his company’s views on PR. OurPR exists to help tackle some of the obstacles that he discusses and provide a solution until they can afford to implement a full time strategy.
Examples of briefs that might be posted on OurPR:
- Increase in local press coverage for a lighting company that want to increase their local awareness and sales.
- Help with the end to end PR work for a big beauty event and campaign held by a beauty salon chain with branches across one region.
- Campaign pitch to help a local Alcoholics Anonymous service advertise the effects of alcohol to their area/region. Targeting the demographic known to drink most in their area.
OurPR will be a simplistic and easy to navigate website with portals for both SME’s and PR’s. Recruitment agency PR Futures has a great website, but is not a member based service – they source for clients (for a fee) but any PR professional can click apply and send their CV in. OurPR wants to create more of a community feel, by making sure our users feel belonging towards our service and become members, with ratings and feedback on the portal so people can see successes.
Also, media industry job platforms for students such as CreativePool do this very effectively, analysis of this website and practices of similar will be of huge benefit to OurPR.
Strengths of OurPR:
- The ability to make projects available to a wider online national PR practice base removes distance barriers and time barriers, making it cost effective communication.
- Making it realistic for graduates and smaller scale public relations to find achievable briefs for them and their clients.
- As OurPR is an online company – costs are lessened as no office space is needed and running of the company is kept simple. As well as maintenance being low scale.
- Technology developments – reflects the shift in public relations practice to the internet
- Easily promoted via pr networks, pr academia, SME networks and both PR and SME social media.
- More focused than overall job websites such as MediaArgh– sector specific work.
- Don’t charge cost for pr sourcing (whereas examples such as PR Futures recruitment do).
- First six months of membership and usage for free.
Weaknesses of OurPR:
- Already a large existing base of PR recruitment agencies.
- Already a number of reputable media and creative industry job advertising sites.
- May not attract older generation public relations professionals that are not to technology savvy. Professionals over 60 years of age are 24% of consultancy/agency PR and 29% of freelance PR professionals, CIPR survey).
- Membership fee after six months – might deter people if costs involved.
- Funds needed to set up initial website and run the admin.
The aim and next steps:
To make sure OurPR moves forward, the plan is to deepen the research and plan on how we will get the message to the right people, then competitor website analysis and the design of the strongest brand identity and messaging before the launch.
We will utilise the physical networks in the UK for SME’s and PR and build up databases of the target markets for our brand.
- Soon to be PR graduates
- Recent PR graduates
- Freelance PR consultants
- Small consultancy PR companies
- Unemployed PR professionals
- Freelance service providers and business owners
- Individual skills people
Finally – the aims are to create a long term business plan which includes the start of membership fees and the possibility of advertising revenue from other services that can be outsourced by SME’s such as printing services, business card companies, corporate film and business/product photography for example.
I hope you have enjoyed the OurPR idea, I welcome feedback and any suggestions that you might have to help to make this venture the best it can be!
Please contact me via: