These are exciting times for public relations.
With the rise of social media communications and the integration with digital marketing, PR is becoming more than before a strategic business function.
PR professionals are often required to demonstrate how PR adds value at board level.
Here are some key elements to consider to make PR more strategic.
Tactic vs Strategy
Public relations professionals are often seen as working tactically. However, tactic is focusing on short term opportunistic gains. To add true value, PR needs to focus on strategy as this is where organisational objectives, reputation and brand identity are.
Risks vs. Opportunities
Strategic PR shall not only highlight reputational risks but also, and more importantly, opportunities that may come from your target audience. This can include, for example, building relevant relationships for your leadership team.
As for any business function, PR can also be measured. This is easier today thanks to the increased use of social media and the adoption of digital platforms that provide easy ways to measure campaign effectiveness. Measurement for PR, however, shall include not only traditional press clippings, engagements, views and shares, but also the overall impact of communication activities to the business commercial objectives and stakeholders at large.
A strategic PR professional shall understand financial information of the organisation he or she is advising. This includes income statements, balance sheets and a long-term financial strategy. This will enable PR to be better aligned with the commercial objectives of the business.
Last but not least, professionalism is key to stay ahead of the curve. Training and professional development are quite important for PR practitioners wanting to step up to a strategic level. There are many courses available on the market as well as relevant publications offering good content for learning.
So, next time you are pitching to a board or advising senior executives, keep these key elements in mind to help position yourself as a strategic PR professional.