Speaking about PR to Chamber U - Dooley PR
The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce's Wendy Stephenson was my cheerful host for my presentation on PR.
The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce’s Wendy Stephenson was my cheerful host for my presentation on PR for small and medium-sized businesses.

How do you raise the profile of your business? Public relations is one tried and tested way.

As the President of Dooley Communications, I spoke to a Chamber U event yesterday, a bi-monthly professional development series hosted by the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.

Most businesses should be using public relations strategies in concert with their regular marketing and advertising. PR is about more than just issuing news releases, it’s about building strong relationships and understandings with your target audiences. Those audiences can include your employees, customers, vendors and other stakeholder groups.

Of course, media relations is an important part of what we do as a public relations agency. That means understanding what the media is looking for (hint: advertisements aren’t news) and also recognizing that the media universe in Winnipeg has changed just as it has everywhere else in Canada.

On the one hand, newsrooms are shrinking, leaving fewer journalists at each one to gather the news. On the other hand, with the rise of blogs, industry newsletters, trade publications and others, there are more outlets than ever before.

The traditional media still rule the roost in terms of audience size. A single story that hits a wide spread of daily papers, radio and television will typically reach far more people than one that reaches blogs alone. And that exposure can be amplified when shared over social media. In any case, before you reach out to a media outlet (and I do count blogs as media outlets), do your research. Know what kind of stories they like to cover, who their audience is and what kind of pitch might interest them.

One of the tips I shared with the Chamber U luncheon was to develop local news hooks. If you can demonstrate how your business has had an interesting or compelling impact on the local community, you’re well on your way to earning some positive publicity. I shared some of our success stories from projects in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC, as well as one media relations project that earned media attention in industry trades across North America for one of our clients.

Feel free to contact me if you’d like to hear more tips about how public relations can help your company share its story in the news.

Thanks to the Chamber U sponsor, the Human Resources Management Association of Manitoba, for its support of the luncheon series.


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