3 Creative Ways To Boost Your Internal PR Strategy
As public relations professionals, we often hear about top methods for external press strategies. Articles like 5 Media Pitching Essentials and Why Research is Key to Your Media Relations Strategy hammer home the importance of key messaging, your pitch and relationships with press. While these rightfully deserve our time and are helpful, what about internal PR?
Oftentimes, companies emphasize external communication and client satisfaction, while inadvertently letting internal communication fall to the wayside. However, it’s just as crucial to execute an internal PR strategy within your organization. When employees are inspired by a common sense of purpose and identity, they are more likely to remain loyal to your company, embrace your brand and, in turn, become brand ambassadors themselves.
Internal PR has always been a part of the discussion, but as our workplaces evolve into the digital sphere and teams begin to work remotely and communicate through multiple channels, it’s more critical now than ever before. Effective internal PR benefits brand identity, boosts employee retention and paves the way for a connected culture where teams are focused on common collaborative goals.
In my experience, creating a forward-thinking internal strategy requires consistent and open two-way communication that is fueled by team cohesion and recognition. At Jive PR + Digital, we take abstract ideas and concretely incorporate them in a way that evokes creativity and a personable sense of teamwork. Whether we operate in large or small pods based on client needs, we can all adopt methods to improve our internal PR strategy and achieve desired results.
With that said, this list explores three creative ways to boost your internal PR strategy in the face of industry evolution.
We know our work environments thrive when team members are motivated and committed. Only when barriers are broken, managers merge into mentors, and teamwork is emphasized can employees then take ownership of their work. Ultimately this means placing trust in your team to do the right thing. The concept of open belongs to all, even our clients, and with this mindset, ideas can come from everywhere.
- Attend an outing with your employees. Team-oriented activities like Bubble Soccer or TheatreSports will visibly spark collaboration and cohesiveness in the office and leave your team feeling refreshed. Relationships grow deeper outside of the work place as people let down their guards. New ideas are always prompted at off-site events.
- Start a hashtag over multiple channels that reflects your office culture and encourage each team member to participate. Jive PR + Digital celebrates #humblebrags, collaborates on #bizdev prospects, and notes our out-of-office days in the #teamcalendar.
- Once a month, close the office an hour early and have "Beer Fridays" with the whole team. It boosts company spirit and is a nice way to celebrate a hard work week.
Consistent Two-Way Communication
Consistency goes hand in hand with prioritization and improves employee morale. At Jive, we encourage questions and open discussions on best practices and solutions, and have found consistency to be a doorway for collective innovation and individual responsibility.
- Publicize internal PR by taking advantage of current channels or by creating new ones. Use Slack to create a CEO’s corner channel where all employees receive notifications about current projects, new clients and business announcements. It gives the team an opportunity to chime in and voice their excitement while providing them with a sense of ownership that stems from receiving important details before the public.
- Hold scheduled weekly meetings with all employees in one place to ensure lines of communication are open about running projects or soon-to-launch projects. It creates a feedback loop and non-verbally prioritizes unity. Utilize Zoom so your full team – regardless of location – can all be present on the video call.
- Give higher-level insight into new employee hirings, business decisions, holiday news and more during weekly manager meetings.
Team members respond positively to recognition of their work because it confirms their impact on the bottom line. By voicing to your team members that their work contributes to the greater good, they will be more inclined to produce results and positively impact the client experience.
- Internal awards go beyond simply recognizing employees' efforts to celebrating it. Take time to reward your team through informal or formal awards; it can be as quick as giving your colleague a shout-out during a company-wide meeting.
- At Jive, we hold innovation challenges and divide the company into two halves, encouraging both teams to bring new innovative ideas to our business practices. Some of our best internal technology tools have come out this idea. There is a quarterly prize for the team with the most innovations.
- Focus on client wins as much as you do with client struggles. It helps the team brainstorm new ideas together, and can even turn a struggle into a win.
Internal PR is no longer the little brother of an external strategy; rather, it is a key function that drives and aligns your entire organization. Consistent communication and an open culture create an environment that thrives on employee engagement and employee productivity, leading to higher revenues in the digital age.
Lindsay's article was originally published at Forbes.com