As I gaze around the PR digital ecosphere, one thing stumps me about the subject of PR advice: Why isn’t more written about effective internal PR as the foundation for external strategies?
It seems logical that if you can’t get a grasp on internal PR, external campaigns would be a lot more difficult to execute.
Regardless of the PR environment you operate in, we can all benefit from keeping in mind some internal PR tenets as the foundation of our external efforts.
Here are five tips for strengthening your internal PR strategy to achieve improved results:
1. Hold regularly scheduled PR meetings. Scheduling meetings or portions of meetings focusing solely on public relations helps keep the lines of communication open with you and your frontline staff (usually customer service and sales) on what PR projects are running or are soon to launch.
Bonus tip: Use these departments as internal focus groups to test your new ideas: Briefly brainstorm about resources you may have overlooked, or see if they have any ideas worth pursuing.
2. Internally post new PR materials immediately after they are released. There has been a lot of talk about breaking down silos and improving internal communications, abandoning the old mentality of operating in a vacuum to increase transparency companywide.
How much more effective is a news release if you aren’t the only one in your business touting the message? Given that most employees (especially sales reps) are permitted to own and operate social media channels, you should encourage these colleagues to amplify your message by sharing PR content with their communities. Use the power of many when broadcasting your PR messages, and make it easy for staff to access and spread the word through their channels.
Bonus tip: Tag your content links using Google’s URL Builder to track internal company shares and how much traffic it sends to your site. Analyze these results regularly to see what content resonates with customers and prospects and make the necessary adjustments to your strategy.
3. Include internal staff in PR content. Empower your colleagues to share a message by including them in the content you create. For example, if you are shooting a video promoting a product or one that demonstrates training on how to use your product or service, recruit staffers as cast members and work with them on developing a compelling message. Harness the enthusiasm of your co-workers because it often translates into higher-quality content; plus, it encourages them to share with others.
Bonus tip: Develop an editorial content calendar that maps out your plans, and list staffers you plan to include to get the creative juices flowing early and give them a source of motivation. Motivation breeds productive employees.
4. Encourage management to develop a social media policy. Surprisingly, an infographic reported that 40 percent of companies have no training or governance of social media. If your company doesn’t have a policy or has one that doesn’t include guidelines of how to share company content and why it’s important, encourage management to ensure your social media policy includes this information. Once it’s in writing, hold a meeting and train employees about how to use social media channels and how to drive traffic and sales with their efforts.
Bonus tip: Use analytics or industry case studies to make your point. The Internet is chock full of examples to support your objectives.
5. Publicize internal PR results. Use a whiteboard, bulletin board, intranet, or other communication platform to keep employees abreast of project results. No one wants to think their efforts disappear into a black hole and aren’t helping the bottom line. Prove to yourself, your colleagues, and management that cooperation and teamwork pay much bigger dividends than you or your department acting alone. Plus, it provides you a little kick in the pants to stay on top of your internal PR outreach and make the necessary adjustments to improve results.
Bonus tip: Increased leads, higher sales, and an engaged community spell a win/win for you and your company. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes with your internal PR efforts along the way as long as you fail forward.