Amanda Trainor is RAA Senior Manager Corporate Communications and Content. She has worked in communications for about 13 years, across a number of industries both in Adelaide and the UK, including not for profit, state government, local government, financial services, the private sector and now RAA.
She tells us: “I’ve been at RAA for seven years. My role has evolved and I currently lead a team of brilliant communications and content professionals. In a nutshell, our team is responsible for media management, internal communication, social media, community sponsorship and grants, corporate events, samotor magazine, and all of the graphic design and video production work for the organisation.” Read more from Amanda below …
Can you describe the roles which make up the RAA comms team? How do you all work together – including working with your many spokespeople?
At RAA we’re a combined Corporate Communications and Content team. We have two Communication Account Managers, a Communications Coordinator, a Social Media Manager, Content Manager, two Content Specialists, a Design & Production Manager, four Graphic Designers and one Video Specialist.
The Communication Account Managers are responsible for supporting different parts of the business. One focusses on motoring, road safety and advocacy, and the other focuses on Insurance, Security and Travel. This means that all parts of the business receive the communications support they need. The Communication Account Managers then work with the Social Media Manager, Content Manger and Designers/videographer to make sure our campaigns and messages are not only communicated in the media, but also on social media, in samotor magazine, EDMs, and other relevant channels.
We often receive a considerable amount of media interest
within seconds of tweeting about the latest fuel price spike.
RAA has quite a robust advertising program. Does your role have any input into the advertising strategy?
Not really. RAA has a very talented Marketing team who work with some of SA’s best agencies to produce the strategy behind our advertising campaigns. Corporate Communications then support these advertising campaigns through editorial and social media.
We also get involved in other ways. RAA likes to use staff as talent in our advertising campaigns, so we do have an opportunity to get in front of the camera for our TV ads, take part in photo shoots, or even sing jingles in our Christmas radio ads.
For a few years now, there’s been talk that “the media release is dead”. What is the RAA’s experience? Are short pitches better?
I think it really depends on the issue. We often receive a considerable amount of media interest within seconds of tweeting about the latest fuel price spike. If the issue is more complex, we’ll generally send out a media release, or contact a journalist directly – particularly if we’ve worked with them on a similar story before. We still get great results from issuing media releases, and have no plans to scale them back.
Can you tell us about a RAA campaign or project you’ve enjoyed working on?
Our 2014 State Election campaign was really fun to work on. We wanted to create a campaign that would cut through the negativity that can often come with election campaigns.
We decided on a social media campaign to secure funding for some regional roads that wouldn’t normally be considered for funding. We teamed up with Tim Slade (V8 driver), a caravan, a truck, cardboard kangaroos, and a remote control tortoise to get the message across. [See the campaign via the YouTube clips below]
We spent two days filming in pretty extreme heat (it got so hot that our commercial video camera equipment started to melt!) but the support from the local community and our members was fantastic. The good news is that now, as a result of the campaign, the Bute to Kulpara Road and the Todd Highway received much needed funding for repairs and upgrades, and are much safer roads for our members to drive on. That’s what made this campaign so rewarding.
What are some of the major changes you’ve seen in communications since you began your career – and how do you keep your own skills and knowledge up to date?
Digitisation is probably the biggest change, and has created a lot opportunities for communications professionals. We now have so many more platforms and channels to communicate directly with our audiences. Campaigns are more data driven and a lot more measurable.
Digitisation has also played a part in the shrinking newsroom, changing the way communicators need to operate to maximise coverage of their stories.
I love keeping up with the latest trends and spend a lot of time reading industry news or case studies and taking part in webinars. I’m lucky enough to work in an organisation where I have the freedom and support to try and test new ways of doing things, even if they don’t always work out as planned.
What advice would you give a third-year university student who’s keen to work in PR?
Get as much experience as possible. Volunteer, intern, tap into your networks (friends of friends, friends of your parents, friends of your neighbours) and create opportunities for yourself. Nothing beats enthusiasm and experience!
Time for a fun question: have you ever had to call RAA for roadside assistance?
I have! And the service was excellent 🙂 The friendly patrol managed to replace my car battery really quickly and I made it to work on time – bonus!
I am dreading the day I have to call for Road Service from the RAA staff carpark …