Leveraging internal comms, online newsrooms, and more

How do I leverage internal communications to maximize my external PR efforts?

Internal comms
How do I leverage internal communications to maximize my external PR efforts?

“Educated employees will promote key messages, actively monitor for media/partnership opportunities, and generally deliver on the brand promise,” says Christine Barney, CEO of rbb Public Relations.

PR-savvy employees are critical in today's new media landscape, where anyone with a recording device can create a permanent record of employee statements or actions and post it for all to find.

Just as external efforts put brands in the hands of consumers through two-way communication tools, so too should internal programs. A best practices approach to internal communication means talking with employees, rather than at employees, she emphasizes.

“If you keep employees actively engaged, they'll become effective brand ambassadors,” Barney says.

Executive media training
With social networks' popularity as communications tools, is executive media training losing its relevancy?

Whether you're readying your clients for a Twitter exchange, blog dialogue, or a YouTube video, message development with media training is invaluable, says Andrew MacLellan, VP at Porter Novelli.

“Training provides an opportunity to vet client communications to eliminate... overly promotional language,” which doesn't meet the standards of transparency for today's online world, he notes.

Preparation forces clients to be interesting for outside audiences. It's one thing to hone messaging in a corporate “war room,” but it's another to use vibrant language to create a narrative arc that media will find compelling.

“Many companies have a tin ear when it comes to developing storylines that will resonate with a broader public,” MacLellan says. “Often there are just too many competing agendas. Media training can help.”

Managing online newsrooms
I previously had Web support, but after some layoffs I'm tasked with building and managing an online newsroom on my own. Do you have any suggestions?

This economic environment has led many companies to consider renting software rather than buying or building it, says Dee Rambeau, product specialist at PR Newswire. Off-the-shelf “software as a service,” such as for online newsrooms, often have a toolset that allows non-technical users to manage a rich and functional online newsroom for the media.

“Features include content management control, [SEO] tools, social media tags, advanced search capabilities, archiving of all relevant media assets, and notifications via e-mail and RSS feeds,” he says.

Most of these solutions are hosted by the provider and include a payment plan, training, and support.

“With many companies facing cuts in IT, the value proposition of these services becomes even more relevant,” Rambeau adds.

Send your questions to: toolbox@prweek.com. Please contact Beth Krietsch if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.

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