PR once again sits at the heart of good strategic communications.

 
 

The art of storytelling

So you’ve decided to “do some PR” and tell your story – but what does that mean nowadays? We often hear that PR is dead or that in the age of Twitter and blogging, anyone can do it.
 
Yes, anyone can do it, but not everyone can do it well, and doing it badly is more harmful now than in the pre-digital age.

Our instinct as storytellers is always to dig deeper, to look below the surface and to find out what’s really going on. That’s how we approach every client we work with: getting under the skin of their organisation, understanding what they’re aiming to achieve and what really makes their business tick.
 
That strategic understanding, combined with storytelling expertise, enables us to strategically advise on what to say, to whom and via which channels to achieve your goals, bringing in branding, video, SEO and web partners to deliver grown up, thought-through, integrated communications support.
 
With the fast-growing digital environment and the “birth” of content generation such as videos and blogging, we're moving into an era where the lines between traditional PR and search engine optimisation are blurring but, in reality, this plays straight into the story crafting abilities that come so naturally to PR professionals. In our view, things have come full circle and PR once again sits at the heart of good strategic communications.
 
Content generation isn’t new. We’ve been generating content for 25 years. But the content we generate is backed by sound strategic thinking. We help clients develop a clear strategy that aligns with their business goals; identify the people who matter to their organisation and the messages that will most effectively engage those people; and then we select and use the most appropriate channels of communication to reach them.

Lots of agencies offer tactical content and communications support. A good agency will only ever offer tactical support once they’ve taken the time to get to know your organisation inside out and understand what’s really important to you.
 
So how does PR look today?
  1. Focus on strategy, not tactics - tactics might help you get your message heard or build brand visibility temporarily, but without strategy your efforts aren’t going to stick with the right people.
  1. Consider all the available tools and channels - this doesn’t mean you should use all the tools all of the time. Instead you should develop a strategy that establishes a clear message and target audience. Then, choose the tools and channels of communication that are best suited to reach those audiences and that are most complementary to the message.
  1. Think before you speak - just because you have the ability to self-publish – on a blog, website or social network – without a third party moderating, editing or censoring it doesn’t give you carte blanche to say anything you like. Think before you speak, and ensure the messages reflect the bigger picture. Ill thought through communication can irrevocably damage your business or brand.
  1. Integrate and innovate - more than ever, the lines of marketing and public relations are becoming blurred. This doesn’t mean that one or the other will cease to exist. Instead, it provides the opportunity to identify different messages or audiences, to reach audiences in a more creative or more effective way or just become more efficient in how content is created and word-of-mouth power is harnessed.
  1. Embrace the real-time change – understand and embrace our 24/7 society to best reach your PR goals, so for example, don’t embark on a Facebook or Twitter campaign and expect to only have to respond and engage during office hours.
  1. Deliver more listening points than talking points - in the past, public relations professionals created talking points, both for spokespeople and within media kits and news releases for reporters and editors. These days, instead of doing all the talking - it’s more effective to listen first and then engage.
  1. Consistency is key - stay true to your brand and use PR to build your business on trust and relationships.
 
    
 
The Partners Group

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