08 Aug Does networking count as PR?
By Katie Graves
I remember thinking to myself when I first started working at Ballyhoo PR, what would my favourite part about my new job role be?
Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and all the elements that go with it but I have to say that one of my favourite things to do is…network!
My first networking experience was actually on my first day. Back in September, when I first joined Ballyhoo PR, myself and Emma were invited to a Network Lunch Connect event in Kettering. I felt a bit lost in this world of networking as everyone seemed to know each other and I wasn’t really sure who everyone was.
Since that day, networking has become a regular event. I have attended the likes of the Northamptonshire Chamber networking events, Lunch and Learn and Northamptonshire Business Expo and, although most of these events involve food of some variety which isn’t great for the waistline, I absolutely love it! I have not only met business connections but friends along the way who I also socialise with outside of work.
Within my first month of working for Ballyhoo PR, myself and Emma sent out a press release about my new appointment at the company. I believe that by using a traditional press release alongside face to face networking and social media has really helped get my name out there as I have had a lot of people I don’t know approaching me at networking events, although it sometimes feels strange that people know who I am without having ever met them!
I’ve also worked with Emma on various events and launches including the Bell of Northampton extension launch and the Activate Your Business surgery for start-ups, which has been great when it comes to forming relationships with journalists and radio presenters.
I have also become part of the Corby Business Network team, which has been fantastic for boosting my confidence when it comes to speaking in public (something I find very nerve wracking). I also have been able to take my experience from a previous job role as an Event Manager by sourcing venues, speakers and organising bookings, which has given me some great contacts.
I have found networking a really great approach to meeting new and like-minded people who could be potential clients, suppliers and people I could recommend others to, which is why I 100% believe that networking should be classed as a PR activity. The relationships we forge at networking are an extension of the relationships we build online and in the press with the public. Whether people realise it or not, whenever they go out to a networking event the way they behave and what they say affects their reputation as much as – if not more than – a post on social media or media statement.
Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming since I started networking just under a year ago, that I have seen my LinkedIn connections increase by hundreds. I go home every night thinking how great my job is and that I am really lucky that I get to meet interesting people from a variety of businesses every day.