There seems to be a misconception about the Public Relations industry. When telling some friends and family that my job involves Public Relations, I’m often met with, “Ohh! PR… that’s pretty glam!”I see their eyes glaze over, envisioning my life as a montage of lavish launch parties, Instagram opportunities with international celebrities, an endless supply of expensive products and samples.
Further, they seem to be surprised when I tell them that effective Public Relations doesn’t necessarily mean having every media release appear on the front page of The Age. Nor does success necessarily mean having all our stories appear on the nightly news. While it can (and often does) involve these things, equally important is our work with smaller, local media outlets.
Many of our clients recognise the value of a strong, local media presence within their respective communities. A front-page story in a local newspaper highlighting the success of a well-known local face or brand, can have more impact than being mentioned in one of the major publications.
Federation Training is a regionally based vocational training provider located in Gippsland. It employs local teachers and staff, and educates local students. It connects graduates – from fields across business, trades, general education and health – with local industries. Spanning across nine campuses throughout Gippsland, Federation Training ensures locals are able to train close to home, in industries that are relevant to Gippsland.
Working with Federation Training means connecting their stories with their local community. For us, it has meant dealing with local media outlets, from smaller weekly publications that are specific to an area within Gippsland, to larger publications that span across the entire region.
From a public relations perspective, this means opportunities to chat with locals – students, teachers, employers and community members. It means understanding issues and stories as they relate to Federation Training, through a local lens.
It means that when Federation Training announce that they plan to open Victoria’s only Aviation Academy – a plan that aims to address a state-wide skills shortage and simultaneously benefit the local economy – local media cares. It means than when the organisation is praised by auditors, local publications are interested in this success. It means that the art work of local Koorie students is celebrated.
Obviously, relating well to the public is not unique to Federation Training. Organisations, people and brands all have stories worth telling, stories that their local community are interested in. For an organisation like Federation Training – and many others – working closely with local people and publications goes a long way in helping create a strong presence within their community.