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“PR… a wonderous woven magic…

People often ask me where I came up with the name, Tapestry Communications, for my consulting business.  And I must admit that the “threads” to that Carole King song, “a wondrous woven magic”, from that iconic album, “Tapestry”, was going through my mind.

I look at PR as a tapestry of many things – from branding to messaging, to tools, and of course the budget and time to be allocated.

Weaving a tapestry involves a coordination of effort, skill, materials, and a clear sense of desired outcome.  You have to have a plan to your approach. If you don’t, that rug you’re weaving might only be a scarf! Approaching a public relations or marketing need can be done in a similar way, and begins with asking quite a few questions before you have your answers and direction.

As you and your company begin this new decade, it’s a great time to ask those questions and begin to do things by plan, instead of happenstance.

First, what do you want your finished product to be? Are you going for a singular hit or a multi-purpose campaign?  What materials do you have available to you? How is your skill base in both human talent and technology areas? Have you identified a comfortable budget range? And a timeframe to stop and review.

Rather than rushing to create an ad or marketing campaign, take the time now to assess; to plan. This will give you your direction to begin creating a customized purposeful tapestry for you, your company, product, cause or need. 

Here are some of the threads in your tapestry:

Your look.  Branding.  What is your company name, and does it work for you? How does it look in print? Do your logo, slogan and colors define you and separate you from others? How are you set for photos/videos; are they effective? When people hear you and see you, are you set apart from your competition? These are your basic and strongest threads on which to build – your foundation.

Your public platforms.  These are your brightest fibers – the ones people will see first – your website, social marketing (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, more…). Each platform has its own language. Don’t think you can create a one and done and use it on all the channels – it’ll look like you cut corners and slopped it together as fast as you could. Do you use photos and other resources to make your posts ‘pop’? Are your messages outwardly centered (talking about others, not just about you and your staff)? Are you updating and is information current? Check all your links on a regular basis. Do you know how to establish yourself as an authority in your field? Who are your spokespeople – the experts? Are you set to be responsive to those who comment or ask questions – not in a week, but in less than 24 hours?

What is your community footprint?  How are you and your company involved in the community? What causes speak to you and how are you contributing back? Beyond donations, are you selecting affordable corporate sponsorships that match who you are? Where do you volunteer; are your employees encouraged to do so, too? Are you maximizing the benefits of your community footprint? This is the gold thread in your tapestry.

Advertising & MarketingWhen you reach out to attract others, how do you do this? Are you in the right venues, those matched as close to your intended audiences as is possible? Are you sure, or are you just guessing? It’s a changing media world, oversaturated with messages. Have you talked about placement – and value added opportunities? Are you showing your full tapestry of colors, while focusing on that special thread or two that is timely and important?

Your events. Do you bring people in? Open house, or host a networking group?  Or going to one and being visible at it as a sponsor, or with giveaways? What happens before an event, and what happens the next day, after you’ve met people and have a collection of business cards? It’s all in the follow-up. Plan what’ll you do before you even plan the event, itself.

News and media relations. Are you speaking with authority on your topic?  Or telling the good news about your company? Do you take photos of your attendance or speaking at community groups? Do you have a blog and are you engaged with others to talk about the work you do?

Weaving your message takes skill, caring and strength – it takes a plan, and a multifaceted approach. When done correctly, each project strengthens the one you did before, building on your solid messages, adding uniqueness. Next time you think you should “buy an ad” or “go on the radio”, stop for a moment.  Talk to a skilled public relations expert who can give you independent information and feedback. Pretty soon you’ll be weaving with a solid rhythmic sound, creating your own rich, magical tapestry. Towards an even greater success in 2020.

Nancy Thomas, Tapestry Communications, is a PR and marketing consultant. Services include public relations, media relations, advertising, promotion, full website services, social media management, graphic design, logos/branding, strategic marketing, writing, editing, photography, videography, nonprofit consultation, fundraising consultation, event planning and crisis communications. She is based in Cranston, RI, serving primarily Rhode Island and the region. For more info go to: http://www.tapestrycommunications.com