One of the problems with “shiny new object syndrome” is it can be overwhelming. I experience a little of it every time I buy a new tech tool, online solution or piece of software. The helpful tutorial videos and call center staffers can do much to make the new thing easier to use and more embraceable, but I know the whole time I’m probably not using the tool to its fullest potential.
Like most, I buy it for an immediate need, and once I master my ability to meet that need, my curiosity over its potential diminishes. In the course of any one day, I don’t have the bandwidth to learn everything about everything, so I have to pick my spots.
As for learning more about a new tool, I tend to be like most and pick it up as I go, listening to others tell me how they use it, or perhaps seeking an answer to a question on Google or YouTube and then realizing I had the solution in my pocket or on my desk all along.
It’s with this in mind that I’ve realized of late that the way people use public relations is much the same. I’ve seen it with clients and others. They tend to see PR as that one thing they use first or most often, like publicity or media relations. Or, they may see PR as nothing more than an extension of their marketing and advertising programs, not fully realizing what more public relations can be doing for them.
As social media has come to dominate the communications landscape, more and more organizations see public relations as nothing more than maintaining a day-to-day schedule of blog posts, Facebook posts, tweets, and LinkedIn posts.
To be sure, the practice of public relations can be all of these thigs, but it truly is more than the sum of its parts.
To get PR to work for you, to optimize it, it’s good to have a full understanding of your organization’s larger public relations strategy, which encompasses social, marketing communications, corporate and investor communications, employee communications and executive positioning. Sometimes this also includes wellness and benefits communications. And tied into any one of these areas, crisis communications and issues management can come to play.
If you sense that you may be leaving some of the power of PR on the table, one way to begin to tap its fullest advantages is to step back and go through a thoughtful planning process.
Conduct research – original and secondary – to assess your brand or reputation. Conduct communications audits to see what’s most effective and what is not, not only in terms of tactics, but perhaps more importantly, in terms of content and message, and delivery system.
Identify and Prioritize Key Stakeholders
Think about what they want to hear, need to hear and the best means to connect with them. You may find that what you’ve been doing could use some tweaking.
Think of the process for optimizing your public relations program in the same way you use those software wizards to guide you through all of the capabilities of a valuable tool. It may take some extra time up front, but in the long run, it’s time well spent. I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions about a more holistic approach to public relations. Just let me know.