PR's Potential Cross-Functional Impact

February 1, 2018 Lacey Miller

In most organizations, the biggest opportunities to get better results lie in the improvement of cross-functional collaboration and information sharing. We are amazed by how often we talk to PR professionals who are almost entirely walled off from the rest of the organization. There may be coordination between PR and marketing (although sometimes not even that!), but PR mainly operates in a silo.

This is a tragic waste of potential. The data, content, and connections that PR creates have an enormous value that should be leveraged brand-wide.


PR and Marketing/Social Media

The most obvious areas of synergy are with marketing. Marketing and PR should operate under one unified strategy with messages and campaigns that are aligned and cohesive. Also, data generated by both groups can help improve the plan and hone in on what is working. Both PR teams and marketers need to know:

  • Which key messages are being pulled into earned media
  • What content is getting the most engagement and shares
  • Which marketing campaigns, advertisements, and earned media placements are driving website traffic
  • How the brand ranks for relevant keywords and which owned and earned media assets are supporting those words
  • Which content and campaigns are driving buyer behavior such as form fills and content subscriptions
  • How much revenue is being influenced by each marketing and PR campaign

This information typically resides in the marketing automation software, Google analytics, the CRM, and the PR analytics platform. Both teams should have easy access to all systems in order to get a complete view into the success of efforts across the board.

 

Data Driven PR Strategy


PR and Sales

Sales teams have a number of reasons to be huge fans of PR. People trust earned media far more than content that comes directly from brands, making 3rd party written articles excellent assets during the sales process.

More trusted than even journalists are friends and family, with more than eight-in-ten respondents (83%) telling Neilson that they trust these recommendations. Folks trust consumer opinions posted online as well to the tune of 66%.  When PR professionals are adept at getting customer quotes, crafting case studies, and encouraging positive online reviews, sales can be a primary beneficiary of this priceless content.


PR and Product Management (Product Marketing)

One of the primary responsibilities of PR professionals is monitoring the activities and results of the brand’s competitors. We do this to help inform our strategy by noting the messages, publications, and asset types that are performing well in the market. We may also counter competitor’s campaigns with our own and try to become part of the conversations.

While doing this, PR teams may also find information that would be immensely useful to the teams who are developing the product or service. What new features or products have the competitors launched? Do competitors offer capabilities that the public is excited about?

In addition to competitive intel, PR folks often speak directly with customers and prospects who may have product recommendations, complaints, or other feedback to share. PR and product should work hand in hand to understand and deliver what the market most values.


PR and HR

We often remind people that journalists and prospects aren’t the only audiences for public relations. Potential employees are every bit as likely to research your brand as customers. They are looking for different insight, however. They want a glimpse into the company culture. They want to feel good about the organization’s long-term prospects for success, and they want to know they will be working for a company with a stellar reputation and a positive social impact.

HR people can talk about all of this with potential candidates, but it is PR’s role to demonstrate it by supporting these messages during interviews with the press, creating content specific to the brand’s values and commitment to the community.

When there is a need to hire a large number of employees, PR campaigns can be used to get that message out to the public through earned, owned, and social channels. On the other hand, if there is a reduction in force, PR should be enlisted to help mitigate the impact on the brand’s public image and ensure that quality candidates still apply for the positions that remain.

Because PR drives an organization’s communication strategy, people often think of it as an outward, reactionary function. Smart brands, however, know that PR is also a function that generates useful data and insights that can inform the decisions and support the efforts of other departments and roles. We often say that PR needs a seat at the grown-ups table. This is one of the most compelling reasons why.

 

About the Author

Lacey Miller

Passionate about public relations and empowering practitioners, Lacey Miller found her dream job at TrendKite, where she carries the crown of 'word nerd'. With a background in public relations and technology, she's a great fit with her desire to innovate the industry! You can find her most days writing for PR Forward, PRSA, and other marketing trade publications.

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