We hear a lot about best practices for external PR these days. Articles, blog posts, podcasts, books and a host of other references all have articles with endless tips.
These are all excellent references for us to read and digest. They identify meaningful advice and observations we can practice to become more effective PR practitioners.
As I gaze around the digital PR ecosphere, there is one thing that always stumps me about PR advice. Why don’t people write more 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 could be a lot more difficult to execute.
Here are five tips to strengthen your internal PR strategy:
1. Hold regular PR meetings.
Scheduling PR meetings helps keep communication open between you and your front-line staff—usually customer service and sales—on what PR projects are currently running or will soon launch. Plus, team members can offer feedback on external projects or discuss results that may otherwise slip by you.
Tip: Use these meetings as internal focus groups to test new ideas or brainstorm about resources.
2. Share new PR materials with employees.
A news release has a much stronger impact if you aren’t the only one in your business who touts its message. Most companies allow employees to use their own social media channels. Encourage these colleagues to amplify the message and share PR content with their communities. Use the power of many to broadcast your PR messages and make it easy for staff to access and spread the word through their channels.
Tip: Tag your content links with Google’s URL Builder to track internal company shares and how much traffic they send back to your site. Analyze these results regularly to see which content resonates with customers, and make necessary adjustments to your strategy.
3. Include internal staff in PR content.
There is no better way to empower colleagues to share a message than if you include them in the content you create. For example, if you want to shoot a video to promote a product or demonstrate how to use it, recruit in-house staff to be on camera and work with them to develop a compelling message.
Harness the enthusiasm of your co-workers; it often translates into higher quality content. It also encourages them to share with others.
Tip: Develop an editorial content calendar that maps out a timeline of your plans and lists the staff members included in the project. This can get the creative juices flowing and give the staff a source of motivation. Motivation breeds productive employees.
4. Encourage management to develop a social media policy.
Surprisingly, a recent 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, encourage them to develop or amend a policy.
Once it’s in writing, hold a meeting and train employees on how to use social media channels and how they can help drive traffic and sales.
Tip: Use analytics or industry case studies to prove your point. The Internet is full of examples you can use to support your objectives.
5. Publicize internal PR results.
Use a white board, bulletin board, intranet or other communication platform to keep employees abreast of project results. No one wants to think his or her efforts don’t impact the bottom line.
Prove to yourself, your colleagues and management that cooperation and teamwork pay bigger dividends than if you and your department act alone. Plus, it gives you a kick in the pants to stay on top of internal PR outreach and make the necessary changes to improve results.
Tip: Increased leads, higher sales, and an engaged community are a win-win for you and your company. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes with your internal PR efforts—as long as you fail forward.