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This is how PR works, according to Nelisa Ngqulana

There’s a lot of behind the scenes production that goes into what make the brands what we see them to be. To get insight of what the process and journey is like, we sought out an expert in PR,  Nelisa Ngqulana, who is the founder and Managing Director of PR Trends ZA. She chatted to us about her agency, what works and what doesn’t as well as tips on how to get the ground running and make success of your brand.

What got you into the communications, media and PR industry?

I really got into the industry by accident. I had a part time job after university at a small, boutique PR agency as a Junior Writer and PR Exec. And the bug bit. I’ve always loved writing though but I’d never thought of it as a viable career option.

Now with over 14 years of experience in it. What are the most valuable lessons that you’ve learnt in these years?

Some of the lessons I’ve learnt:

    • Relationships are very important.
    • Writing and creativity are intensely personal, it is important to engage in projects that resonate with me.
    • It is perfectly okay to say no to a project that is not in line with my values.
    • There’s enough space for all of us, give back or pay it forward when I get a chance.
    • When my passion and my talents are nurtured, I am at my most fulfilled.
    • It pays off to face fears and take risks.
    • It is possible to start over again.

What is it that PR Trends ZA do exactly?

PR Trends ZA is a PR and Communications agency with a focus on reputation management and a fierce passion for PR’ing Africa. Our service offering is strategy consulting, PR campaigns management, content production and events.

As a Managing Director of this business, can you describe what your role entails?

My role is about driving the business’ strategy, getting in new clients, positioning the business and working on building a solid foundation for the team. I am also responsible for our strategic partnerships and make decisions on collaborations that grow our business,

What skills does one need in order to be successful in PR?

Strong writing skills: at the heart of PR is storytelling, creativity, networking skills [as] PR consultants spend a lot of time building relationships and we bring the value of these.

Let’s talk a bit about social media. Entrepreneurs, small business owners, corporate brands and influencers alike know how important this is for the growth of their brands but are not sure how to go about doing it right. What key things do they need to look out for or be cognisant of when trying to build their brands on social media?

What I usually advise small is to be aware that any interaction with their different publics is PR. Therefore, they must decide on what their objective is for using social media, what they are trying to achieve and who they are speaking to – craft those messages and have a plan in place to deal with any negative feedback or backlash.

It really is just about being aware that being on social media an extension and the face of their business. Can’t be taken lightly.

Speaking of influencers, how effective is this model? And what do brands look out for apart from the numbers of followers or subscribers? Do those numbers translate to the amount of sales made or desired profit?

My opinion is that the influencer model is yet another avenue or tactic that we can now add to our list for PR. It should be considered within a broader strategy of what a brand is trying to do.

The value of an influencer is their engagement and trust they enjoy from their followers. And that is also where brands can get value and more intimate access to sections of their target markets through an influencer. Of course, the marriage between brand and influencer needs to be carefully considered to make sure it is mutually beneficial.

Every journalist has a story about a PR that pitched a story that is completely irrelevant to their brand, what would you say is the reason behind this error? And in your opinion how can the PR and Journalist relationship work better?

Ideally, the relationship between PR professionals and journalists should be one of give and take. Journalists needs stories and PR Pros have them.

From the PR Pro’s perspective, we should make sure we understand what a journalist needs what they and how our story fits in their space. When that is the case, that error shouldn’t occur.

Glamour International