Six easy ways to be an effective PR partner

By Guest Blogger Carissa Newton

I have managed public relations in a wide range of capacities over the years.  As part of a large corporation, I've seen PR used conservatively to send out announcements and manage any crisis that would arise.  As I moved into smaller, more entrepreneurial organizations, I partnered with a number of PR firms.  Now as a Clarus Communications partner, I have seen our efforts gaining traction and producing real results.

As a result, I’m becoming a better partner to our PR firm.  I can see that my participation in the process impacts the results of our ongoing activities. 
Here are six tips I would give to any organization looking to leverage their public relations efforts:

  1. Become ONE with your messaging:  This may seem simple, but once our company’s messaging was ingrained in my vocabulary, it became simple to bring the story back to who we are, what we do and why we are different.  It's also amazing to me how everyone in a company begins to speak the same language once you have a solid messaging platform.  A top-notch public relations firm will make messaging one of your first activities upon engagement.
  2. The early bird gets the worm:  I have always worked to be the first in a lot of areas….maybe it has something to do with being first-born.  Either way, this concept is key to harnessing the power of your PR efforts.  Be the first to talk about trends, be the first to respond to a reporter’s inquiry, be the first to put your opinion out, and be ready to jump at a moment’s notice for your PR firm.  They can secure exclusive opportunities if you are ready and willing.
  3. Share even the most mundane things:  When you work in a business day in and day out, it’s surprising how jaded you can become as to what is interesting or worthy of media coverage.  Communicate often with your PR partner to ensure that you are sharing even some of the day-to-day  occurrences, because that is often where the golden nuggets lie. What’s happening with your customers?  Are you getting asked the same question often?  Are you observing something in the industry you have an opinion about?  No matter how tired you may be of talking about a subject, others are interested and might learn from it.
  4. Become a storyteller:  Not fiction-based of course, but learn to capture your customer's stories and put in place a method to gain their approval to tell that story.  The best marketing can be telling the story of how someone else uses your product or service.  Get that story, and you will get media placements and create credibility with your audience.
  5. Repeat, repost and repurpose:  This can be tough for us marketers because we value creativity and something new.  However, your audiences get their information from different places, so make sure you blanket the same information in different channels.  Don't be afraid to share and repost content from media placements and other sources where your ideas, products, best practices or customer stories are featured.  
  6. Measure and monitor every step:  The whole purpose behind public relations is to build your brand, create awareness and drive business.  Do you know if you are effectively reaching those goals?  Are you monitoring your inbound traffic generated by PR?  If not, make it a habit to do so and you will begin to see trends and learn what works most effectively with the audiences you are trying to reach.

Carissa Newton is director of marketing at Delivra, one of the original email service providers.

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