Interview: Alice Clements

The head of public relations at the healthcare charity Sue Ryder tells Annette Rawstrone that doing away with jargon is crucial in communications

Alice Clements
Alice Clements

- How do you get Sue Ryder to stand out against other healthcare charities?

It's all about communicating who we are and what we do in a compelling and tailored way. We have developed a tone of voice so that we communicate directly about the challenges in clear language without jargon and with authenticity. It is important that we communicate in a way that can be understood by healthcare professionals and people outside the industry.

- Which stories are most successful for getting media coverage?

We find emotive stories from people who have been touched by the charity are popular, as well as stories from our volunteers. We are constantly developing our bank of 'Sue Ryder voices'. Stories about people get the most coverage because people relate to people. But the media want increasingly sensational stories, so it is a challenge to find the middle ground. We owe a duty of care to our case studies.

- Do you use celebrities to promote your cause?

At the moment we are using celebrities on a low level, but this is an area we could develop. We are taking the time to develop our bank of local and national celebrity supporters.

- How does working for a charity compare to your previous B2B work?

I find the charity sector to be collaborative, supportive and close-knit. For example, the director of communications at Macmillan recently shared his experiences with us and we work with other charities to get issues into the media. There is a feeling of camaraderie. The main difference is feeling that the work makes a difference to people's lives.

- What do you feel you gained from your Chartered Institute of Public Relations diploma?

It gave a foundation to the skills I have learned day to day, as well as a sound knowledge of the research behind what we do. It assisted with strategic planning, and I still draw on my notes.

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