How do I harness PR and media for my social enterprise?

tumblr_inline_nif274BfcD1ramrejThis blog was written by the MD of Social Kitchen CIC, Kye Lockwood, about his experiences with PR and what changed after he attended a PR and Media workshop arc facilitated in 2014.

“Social Kitchen CIC is an award winning social enterprise that specialises in food training and enterprise projects, bringing together individuals and communities. We love cooking, eating and people and we combine the three to give our service users the skills, knowledge and confidence to make informed choices around food, as well as how to achieve their personal goals.

As the Managing Director it is my job to develop the business, sell it to new customers and ensure that we continue to grow. Up until very recently Social Kitchen relied on good old-fashioned word of mouth recommendations, face-to-face meetings, targetedproposals and building upon our local reputation as a first-rate service provider.

PR and Media, however, were subjects that I knew were important for business development but often relegated down the ever-expanding ‘things to do’ list.

So I decided to improve my communication skills and signed up to attend arc’s eye-opening ‘Harnessing PR and Media Skills’ workshop from Economic Change CIC, delivered by Paula Gardner. It was only then that I realised just how far behind the times we’d slipped. Don’t get me wrong we were not dispatching carrier pigeons or traversing the streets with placards but we certainly had a lot to learn.

The workshop was divided into morning and afternoon sessions covering traditional PR first and then the role of social media and PR.

So what is PR? Well we learnt its multi-faceted covering:

  • Advertising: where you say it’s great
  • Marketing: where it’s still you saying how great you are
  • PR: someone else saying how great you are be that through journalists and/or social media

Now, whilst we do use twitter, facebook, pintrest and Instagram, this has primarily been to keep in touch with people we’ve trained and promote new Social Kitchen courses. Having attended the workshop it has become apparent that there is so much more on offer and we need to harness social media to raise awareness of our work and draw traffic to our website.

The day was a great introduction to the subject and it was fascinating to listen to the differing approaches taken by other social enterprises. As a trainer Paula covered a number of topics, had a very approachable style and managed to answer all the questions that arose from the small group work and presentations.

Since attending the workshop we’ve started a blog about our flagship project Mamas to Market and will be writing a press release shortly – watch this space!”

Follow Social Kitchen CIC on twitter and you can follow BITC arc on twitter as well!

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