List of women’s networking groups for 2013

Business group looking downFor business women networking is a great way to meet likeminded people, make new connections in your industry and learn something new from the people you meet.

Making new connections may even help you to gain new clients or customers, promote your business or help someone else to achieve their goals.

To help you get started here is a list of Australian women’s networking groups you may wish to join.

Amnesty NSW Women’s Network www.amnesty.org.au/nsw/group/12614/
Australian Businesswomen’s Network www.abn.org.au
Australian Local Government Women’s Association www.algwa.net.au
Australian Women in Agriculture (AWiA) www.awia.org.au
Australian Women Lawyers www.australianwomenlawyers.com.au
Australian Women’s Health Network www.awhn.org.au
Babes in Business www.babesinbusiness.com/index.php
BPW Australia www.bpw.com.au
Business Chicks www.businesschicks.com.au
Business in Heels www.businessinheels.net
Business Women Connect www.businesswomenconnect.com.au
Chamber of Women in Business www.cwb.org.au
Chief Executive Women www.cew.org.au
Connected Women www.connectedwomen.net.au
Country Women’s Association of Australia www.cwaa.org.au
Dell Women Powering Business www.dell.com/learn/au/en/aucorp1/women-powering-business
Early Risers www.earlyrisers.com.au/about-us.php
Executive Women Australia www.executivewomenaustralia.com.au
Females in IT and Telecommunications www.fitt.org.au
National Foundation for Australian Women www.nfaw.org
Australian National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) www.nawic.com.au/app
Network Central www.networkcentral.com.au
Older Women’s Network Australia www.ownaustralia.org.au
RRR Women’s Network of Western Australia www.rrr.wa.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx
Ruby Connection www.rubyconnection.com.au
She Business Australia www.shebusiness.com
She Inspires www.sheinspires.com.au
Successful Women’s Network http://sydneywomensnetwork.com.au
Success Women’s Network www.successwomensnetwork.com.au
The Little Black Dress Group www.littleblackdressgroup.com.au
The Women in Business Network www.womeninbusiness.org.au
The Women’s Investment Club http://www.thewomensinvestmentclub.com.au/
Women as Entrepreneurs www.womenasentrepreneurs.com.au/
Women Chiefs of Enterprises International www.wcei.com.au
Women Donors www.womendonors.org.au
Women in Banking and Finance www.wibf.org.au/
Women in Business www.womeninbusiness.com.au
Women in Engineering www.engineersaustralia.org.au/women-engineering
Women in Finance Queensland www.womeninfinance.com.au
Women in Focus www.womeninfocus.com.au/welcome
Women in Information and Communication www.wic.org.au
Women in Information Technology www.wit.org.au
Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ) www.womeninminingqueensland.com
Women in Mining and Resources WA (WIMWA) www.womeninmining.com/
Women in Mortgage Business Network www.mfaa.com.au/default.asp?artID=2365
Women Lawyers NSW www.womenlawyersnsw.org.au
Women with Altitude www.womenwithaltitude.com.au
Women’s Network Australia www.womensnetwork.com.au/index.cfm

Please let us know if there are any groups we have missed.

Entry level skills for PR graduates

Business group looking downFinding a job first out of finishing your university degree or diploma is not always easy.  Preparation and having the right skills can be vital when searching for that perfect first placement.

In the past 15 years the world of PR has changed dramatically, with more graduates in the field; the market has become greatly more competitive and at times, it can be bloodthirsty. Therefore standing out from the pack is crucial.

Journalistics has provided some skills on what most employers are looking for in public relations assistance today.

Writing Skills

The ability to write in the world of PR is essential. Whether you studied Communications, Journalism or Public Relations, there are primarily four things that will likely be asked of you by your future employer to deliver: sample articles you wrote throughout your degree or diploma, a variety of writing samples such as press releases or a blog post, new media writing samples, and long form writing such as a research report.

These writing tools are likely to be requested by an employer so they can gain an understanding of your work and capabilities. It is important to be aware that a writing task may be part of the first or second interview, so having examples prepared is a good idea so you don’t feel so on the spot.

Internship Experience

Showing you have previous work experience can be the difference of what gets your foot in the door. A clear demonstration of places you may have pitched ideas or gained experience working on clients can assist an employer and will make a stronger impression. This is particularly the case if you can use a case study as an example. The results generated should be the focal point rather than the press releases you wrote.

Social Media Experience

If throughout your university experience you developed a presence in social media, for example through a following on Facebook or Pinterest, this may help with securing your first role. Employers are looking for employees who can manage their brands across a range of different outlets. Being able to use and understand these tools is more fundamental than the content you have shared in the past. The ability to show you understand how to gain greater traffic to sites such as using analytical tools is also a bonus.

Be mindful, employers these days are likely to look you up on social media before finalising their decision. So therefore you should ensure your profiles are up to date, and when looking for a role in PR, it wouldn’t hurt to be on Linked In or Twitter.

Multimedia Experience

Multimedia experience is a real bonus however hard to come by when just out of university. These are unique skills and most employers will not expect these from a recent graduate. However, if you have during your years studying gained skills such as managing a blog, using Photoshop, how to shoot, edit and post videos on social media platforms such as You Tube, or how to code, these skills would be extremely hard to pass up by an employer.

What skills do you look for when hiring a recent graduate? Are there any must-have essentials?

Read the full article here.

2012 PR disasters

Every year at least one business or individual causes a major PR disaster which is widely reported in the media.

PR mistakes can cause irreparable damage to a business’ or individual’s reputation if they are not managed correctly.

This year we have seen a few PR mistakes such as public figures saying inappropriate comments as well as businesses misusing social media.

PR disasters.com has listed some of these PR mistakes in 2012.

  • Vodaphone Facebook comments. A Vodaphone staff member, who describes himself as a ‘social media expert,’ was abusing customers and other employees on his Twitter and Facebook accounts. His comments were racist and offensive as he called customers ‘mentally retarded’ and said they would ‘cop a pimp slap backhand.’ Vodaphone responded to this PR disaster by suspending the employee and apologising for anyone who was offended by the comments.
  • CEO of Energy Watch, Ben Polis racist comments. Ben Polis posted sexist, racist and offensive comments on his Facebook page causing the company to lose millions of dollars worth of sponsorship deals. He was then sacked from his position as CEO following a major public backlash. An Energy Watch spokesperson responded by stating the company’s views were at ‘diametric odds’ to Mr Polis’.
  • Tony Abbot’s insensitive comment. Tony Abbot made an inappropriate comment about asylum seekers following the sinking of the Italian cruise ship, Costa Concordia. During a radio interview a journalist asked Mr Abbott, “The captain from the Costa Concordia wants to know if you need any help with your boat policy?” Mr Abbott then replied, “Well that was one boat that did get stopped, wasn’t it.” This was a tasteless comment considering 11 people were killed and many others were injured in the accident. Mr Abbot then went into damage control and apologised for the comment. However this left some people wondering if he was fit for the role of Prime Minister.
  • Alan Jones inappropriate comment. 2GB radio shock jock, Alan Jones, said Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s father ‘died of shame’. Mr Jones made these comments during Sydney University’s Liberal Club President’s Dinner however he didn’t realise there was a journalist in the audience. His comments were met with public outrage with many people urging advertisers to boycott the show. This led companies such as Freedom Furniture, Woolworths and Mercedes Benz to pull their advertising from the radio program. Mr Jones held a press conference to apologise for his remarks, however many people felt the apology was not good enough.
  • 2Day FM prank phone. Radio station 2Day FM made a prank phone call to the London hospital where Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton was admitted. Following this phone call the reception nurse at the hospital took her own life. This horrible situation caused a worldwide PR disaster and public backlash for 2Day FM and their media company Austereo. Austereo has since lost thousands of dollars in advertising revenue and responded by banning prank phone calls and suspending the DJs involved. However many people are still unhappy with the way the company responded to the situation. 

Hopefully every business can learn a few lessons from these PR disasters and with only a few weeks left of 2012 we hope there will be no more to report.

What other PR disaster occurred this year?

Read the full articles here.

How to communicate with journalists on LinkedIn

Building relationships with journalists is a crucial part of a PR professional’s role.

When you have a good relationship it’s easier to pitch stories to a journalist and communicate with them. Journalists are very busy and are often more likely to look at your email or answer your phone call if they know who you are. You will also gain a better understanding of their work schedule and what they are interested in, which will help you pitch the best stories at the right time.

With so many journalists now on social media it provides a great communication tool to help you build a relationship with journalists. 

Arketi Web Watch Media survey has revealed 92 percent of journalists are on LinkedIn making it the most-used social network by journalists.

In light of these findings PR News has provided some great tips for communicating to journalists via LinkedIn.

Don’t connect with everyone: Don’t just connect with every journalist you can find. Try and connect with journalists you have previously worked with and journalists you regularly deal with. When connecting with a journalist who doesn’t know you, consider offering them a compelling reason to accept you. Tell them why you want to connect with them and why you would make a good connection.

Get to know the journalist: Before communicating with a journalist it’s a great idea to look at their LinkedIn profile and get to know them better. Find out their interests, what publication they write for, what topics they cover and who else they know. This information can help you communicate with the journalist by talking about shared interests or offering them useful information on the topics they write about.

Follow a publication: By connecting with a publication you can stay up to date on their latest updates and look out for media opportunities. Sometimes journalists will post interview call outs which you can monitor and offer your clients as sources.

Be an active member of a group: If you notice a few key journalists are part of a LinkedIn group you should also join this group. By participating in the group’s discussions and providing expert advice the journalists may notice you as a great source to interview. By joining a group you can also direct message other members of the group even if you’re not connected. This is a great way to introduce yourself to a journalist without being too assertive.

Answer questions: Journalists have been known to use the ‘answers’ section on LinkedIn to find out more information about a story they are covering or to look for people to interview. Look for questions in this section you or your client could answer. By providing expert advice you can position yourself as an expert in your field and hopefully get noticed by a journalist looking for sources. You can even answer questions posted by journalists and be as helpful as possible.

Often it may not be appropriate to pitch a story to a journalist via LinkedIn, especially if you don’t know them. However these tips can help you get noticed by a journalist on LinkedIn and enable you to start a relationship with them. You can then build this relationship so the next time you pitch them a story via email they will know who you are.

Read the full article here.

 

 

What is social TV and how is it changing the way we communicate?

Ever sat on the couch and facebooked your way through The Voice? Or shared a tweet about ABC1s Q&A?

If you have, then you are participating in a new trend called Social TV. This is the process of enhancing a viewer’s social experience of watching TV by connecting them with other viewers in real time.

Social TV enables viewers to increase their interaction with TV programs by using different channels of communication to share the content that they’re watching.

Social media has provided a new way of connecting people using Social TV, even when they are not in the same location. Programs such as The Voice on Channel 9 are a great example of Social TV.

If you live under a rock (or don’t watch TV!), The Voice is a reality TV show that is holding a competition to find the singer with the ‘best’ voice in Australia.

The Voice has been able to use social media effectively to attract a large audience of fans to the program. Viewers of the show are able to vote for their favourite singer by sending an SMS, voting on Facebook, over the phone or buying one of their songs on iTunes (which counts for two votes).

The show broadcasts live tweets posted by viewers using the hashtag #TheVoiceAU. This is a great strategy because many people are eager to see their comments on TV. It also uses the viewer’s Twitter network to publicise the show to a larger audience. This may even attract new viewers to the show who want to participate in the conversation on Twitter. 

The Voice is maximising their interaction with viewers by posting bios of the singers and behind the scenes footage of the show on their website and social media channels. This is not a new concept for reality TV with many other TV shows interacting with their viewers via social media. However, The Voice has been able to achieve a new level of success.

The Voice hashtag is frequently trending on Twitter and many of the contestant’s songs have appeared in the Top 5 on the iTunes chart.

The Voice has successfully connected viewers into a wider conversation about the program and created a community around the show. This is a great marketing tool to enhance viewer loyalty to the program and attract new viewers.

So what does this mean for the future of communication and TV?

The way that we interact with TV is shifting towards multi-channel forms of communication. No longer are we just watching a program but we are becoming part of a community and sharing experiences with other viewers all over the world. Instead of being passive viewers we are actively taking part in what we watch with the ability to influence how the program unfolds.

This shift towards Social TV encourages a greater interaction between consumers and producers. Businesses can learn a lesson from this shift by thinking about how they can engage their customers using multi-channel forms of communication.

How to gain more re-tweets and increase your engagement on Twitter

Increasing your engagement on Twitter is important for any business because it creates a valuable relationship between you and your followers.

When your followers trust you and see that you are providing them with valuable information they are more likely to re-tweet you.

Gaining more re-tweets is a great way to reach a wider audience, gain new followers and increase your brand awareness.

Here are some tips to help you get more re-tweets and increase your engagement on Twitter.

Increase your engagement
Being an active participant in online conversations will not only help build your online profile, but will strengthen the relationships between you and your online community. Re-tweet generously, respond to mentions where relevant, thank your followers when they re-tweet you, and when you’re in need of some instant exposure, ask your followers to re-tweet you – if you’ve treated them well in the past, they’re more than likely to return the favour.

Stick to what you know
Whether you tweet for yourself or your business, identify the topics you specialise in and stick to them. By tweeting on a particular issue, you are positioning yourself as a thought leader in that field and building upon your credibility among the online community. Just as one would get quoted in a newspaper or magazine, the more people trust what you say and believe in your expertise, the more likely you are to get re-tweeted.

Provide valuable content to your followers
Before you start sending messages out to your community of Twitter followers, ask yourself why are they following you. Do they know you personally? Are they looking for advice? Do they read your blog, or are they a fan of your Facebook page? Once you understand what they are looking for, shape your Twitter content to meet their expectations and demonstrate that you are dedicated to building a relationship and providing value.

Time your tweets
Depending on the nature of your followers, certain times of the day and week will have higher Twitter traffic than others. It is important to gain an understanding of the Twitter habits of your followers. Consider whether they can tweet during work hours, or whether the majority of them are overseas in different time-zones. Then you can schedule your tweets to match their routines.

And finally, remember to keep your tweets shorter than 140 characters so that your followers are able to re-tweet them.

How to increase your YouTube subscribers

A subscriber is someone who follows your YouTube channel and wants to stay informed of any new content you post.

Increasing your subscribers on YouTube is important because it will increase the popularity and exposure of your channel. Your subscribers will often share your videos, which may even result in your videos going viral.

Social Media Examiner has provided some great tips for getting more subscribers to your YouTube channel.

Prompt people to become subscribers: You can ask people to subscribe to your YouTube channel by asking them to click the ‘subscribe’ button above your video. You can write a sentence on your YouTube channel telling people how to subscribe, where to find the button and why they should subscribe.

Include an annotation: Annotations are colourful messages that you can stick on your videos. You should add an annotation just under your subscribe button and ask people to subscribe. Only add one or two annotations because they are often overused and can become distracting.

Put your video on your website: A great way to increase your subscribers is to exposure your video to a wider audience. You can imbed your videos on your website, blog, Facebook or other social media pages to attract more people to your YouTube channel.

Interact with your subscribers: People will be more likely to subscribe to your channel when they see that you are constantly updating it and providing new content. YouTube is a community and you need to maintain a constant interaction in this community. Comment on other people’s videos and they may be more likely to watch your videos and comment back. If you create a relationship with other YouTube users you can increase your subscribers.

Set a goal: Set a goal of how many subscribers you want to achieve and post this goal on your YouTube channel. People will be more willing to become subscribers to help you reach your goal. Make sure you provide people with an incentive to become a subscriber, such as when you reach your goal you will do something fun or unique that they would be interested in.

Once you have increased your subscribers you need to keep them interested in your channel. Make sure you post content consistently and interact with others on YouTube. You also need to provide content that is interesting and of value to your subscribers.

Read the full article here.

Tips to grow your LinkedIn network

LinkedIn is a great social media platform, which allows you to connect with other business professionals and people in your industry.

To gain the best results from LinkedIn it’s important to grow your LinkedIn network by connecting with new people.

Social Media Examiner has provided some great tips on how to build your LinkedIn network.

  1. Look for new connection opportunities: You should constantly be looking for new people on LinkedIn that you can connect with. Check the ‘people you may know’ section to see new people on LinkedIn that you might know. You can then send them an invitation to connect with you. You can also use the ‘Alumni’ search feature to find people you may know from the school or University you attended. 
  2. Be active on LinkedIn: You can grow your LinkedIn network when other people see that you are an active member on the social media platform. By constantly updating your status you will increase your visibility to others by regularly appearing in the LinkedIn newsfeed. Other people will then see you as a familiar face and may be more likely to connect with you on LinkedIn. You can increase your activity on LinkedIn by updating your status three times a day, commenting on other status updates, answering questions or commenting on other people’s profiles.
  3. Use LinkedIn at the best time of the day: The best time to be active on LinkedIn is in the afternoon or evening because most people use LinkedIn at this time. This means you can post your status updates at the best time for people to see and engage with them.
  4. Join LinkedIn groups: You can join a LinkedIn group to find new connections and increase your visibility on the social media platform. To maximise the benefits of a LinkedIn group you need to actively participate and contribute to the conversation. Post helpful comments, ask for advice and respond to other people’s posts.
  5. Post useful and interesting content: The information you post on LinkedIn must be relevant, interesting and useful to your connections. By posting great content other people will see you as an authority in your industry and as a valuable member on LinkedIn. Other people might then share your content with their connections.

When you grow your LinkedIn network you are creating relationships with other business professionals and people in your industry. This could then lead to new business or job opportunities.

Read the full article here.

Creating a social media strategy

A social media strategy is essential for any business using social media. A social media strategy will help you to make the most of your time on social media and maximise your success. 

A strategy will help you to define your use of social media such as deciding who will monitor it, who will create content, who will post content and how often it will be posted. 

Most importantly a strategy enables you to define your target audience and determine the best way to reach them with your message or brand.

Marketing Profs has provided the top three strategies to include in a comprehensive social media strategy:

  1. Content strategy: Creating a content strategy will help you reach your target audience. When you know what your target audience is interested in then you can tailor your message to suit their needs.
    You need to consider what message you want to convey to your target audience and how you will create content to deliver this message. Your business has a better chance of creating a relationship with customers if your message targets and engages them.
  2. Social media site strategy: Once you have created your content you need to consider the best social media sites to display it on. There is no point using a social media site that your target audience does not use.
    You need to research what sites your target audience uses, when they use it and how they use it. Once you have a clear picture of their social media use then you can place your messages on the best sites at the right time. This will help you to maximise the success of your messages.
  3. Engagement strategy: Organise the information you have gathered about your target audience. You can then consider the best way to engage with them on social media. Develop a strategy about how to create a relationship with your customers and how to get them communicating with you on a regular basis.
    One example of an engagement strategy is to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. You can post helpful articles on social media sites, provide professional advice or respond to user’s questions. You will then be seen as the ‘go to’ professional on your particular topic and your target audience will engage with you.

A social media strategy is essential for your business to maximise your use of social media and reach your target audience. 

Read the full article here.

Build your profile with events

We all know that industry events are a great way to build your brand. But there are so many ways you can incorporate events into your PR and marketing strategy.

It’s time to be creative in the way you approach events. Don’t just attend conferences: look for relevant networking groups. You could be a seasoned veteran of attending events – but have you thought about public speaking? You might even consider organising your own event.

Attending events
Broadly speaking, there are two main types of events: small networking groups and large conferences. They can be used in different ways to build your brand. Small events are a great way to build a network of contacts and practise your networking skills, including your elevator pitch. Don’t be promotional – you’ll bore people. Instead, be authentic, listen to people and make interesting conversation. After the event, keep in contact with people you met and genuinely liked to build relationships.

Large events will improve your business knowledge from expert speakers, and also meet potential clients. After attending networking groups, you’ll have perfected your elevator pitch and be ready to meet other industry professionals and be the face of your brand. When choosing a conference to attend, think about your PR objectives. If your goal is to meet potential clients, think about where they will be.

Exhibitions (expos) also provide PR opportunities. They’re more hands on than a conference. You can attend industry exhibitions either as an exhibitor or a guest. As an exhibitor you will showcase your brand to potential clients alongside your competitors, so you could really be missing out by not being present. As a guest, you can improve your business by learning about current practices and trends in the field, build contacts and establish your brand name alongside those of your competitors.

Organising events
Think about the type of events your target market would like to attend, and what your business’ specialised knowledge area is. Then think outside the box: if there’s a niche that hasn’t been filled, why not organise your own event? It could be a small networking group with a specific focus or purpose, or a conference exploring issues that no one else is covering.

Planning is vital. If you want to start a networking group, it has to be a long-term commitment. Weigh up the costs and benefits, and don’t underestimate the time it will take to organise.

Hosting an event has many benefits. You will build a network of contacts through the people who speak at or sponsor your event, and through the people who attend. Hosting an event is a lot of work, but it can really pay off in terms of establishing yourself as an industry expert.

Promoting the event
One of the main reasons for organising an event is to get your brand name out there, so don’t get so caught up in organising the event that you forget about the media! Write media releases and distribute them to relevant outlets like industry magazines, bloggers, newspapers and event listings.

After the event, continue to pitch – the event might be over, but you can still use it to build your brand. Great stories come out of events, which can generate media coverage. If you’ve decided to organise an event, make sure you put in the effort to promote it. Look for stories in the speakers, the attendees and the topics covered.

Speaking at events
Once you have attended many events, you might realise that you’d like to present your own expert knowledge to an audience. Speaking at events is an ideal way to convey your brand messages directly to an audience, rather than through a journalist.

Of course, you can’t deliver a promotional speech about your products or services. Think about what you know that others would be interested in learning and develop your area of expertise into an interesting public speaking topic. Always keep your target market in mind – you want to speak on something that they are interested in, so that they listen to your speech.

Public speaking is daunting for many, so start small and work towards larger events as you gain experience. Most often you won’t be paid for public speaking, but remember that the value is in the opportunity to position yourself as an expert, which builds your brand and attracts customers and media coverage.

Industry events are a way to reach industry professionals and potential clients directly and should be included in your PR strategy. You can spend as little or as much money as you like on events, and still reap great benefits.

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