How to use your greatest PR asset: 6 ways to communicate your strategy effectively with your team
If you’ve followed my mini blog series, you’ll be well on your way to creating a PR strategy and using it to help smash your business goals. But there is one last thing I’d like to share with you to ensure you’re set up for success…
To maximise the reach of a brilliant comms plan and PR strategy, you need to ensure that you’re using your biggest PR asset: your employees.
I see so many busy business owners take the time out to create strategies that have the potential to raise profiles and boost sales, but either leave it in their drawer gathering dust. Or they miss endless opportunities by not keeping their staff informed of their plans and messages.
Why your employees are your biggest asset
Think about it: how do you make a decision when you’re about to buy something? (And I’m not talking about essential purchases like which brand of coffee.) If we really care about something or see it as an investment, we often ask the people we know and trust the most such as our family and friends, or we seek out a review online. So if you have employees who can shout about how your great brand is, are speaking to your customers every day, and you’re not using them to spread your key messages far and wide as ‘trusted sources’, you really need to reconsider your approach.
To help you with this, here are my top six tips for ensuring buy-in from your staff to help your business survive and thrive.
- Share your ‘why’ and core beliefs
Are you confident that your employees know your core beliefs and the ‘why’ behind why your company was set up in the first place? Have you shared your story about how you saw a gap in the market or overcame a particular struggle and now help others? Whatever your ‘why’ is, it should be at the core of your communications.
Keep it simple and inspiring. This will help your employees relate to your brand and act as ambassadors for it. If you have a strategy specific messages or a vision for the company, make sure employees understand how it relates to their role to create a stronger emotional connection with them.
- Bring your business strategy to life through stories
A great way to bring a PR strategy to life is to share your facts and stats about buying behaviours with your employees. But an even better way to help communicate your messages is to share the stories behind your brand and how your products/services impact people’s lives. A story captures someone’s attention like nothing else and will stay with them longer than any fact or statistic.
- Prioritise your messages
With the best will in the world, your employees won’t remember everything you share with them. This is why it helps to prioritise your messages based on their purpose and timeliness. A great way to do this creating an ‘Inspire/Educate/Reinforce’ framework to help you decide when and how you’re to share these messages. For example, perhaps the run-up to Christmas is a busy time for your business. If this is the case, consider warming up your employees about your sales strategy in September. You can then repeat your key and inspirational core messages throughout the autumn/winter months to keep your teams productive and on track with your targets.
- Be authentic. Be accessible.
To really be effective in communicating your strategy, you need to be seen as a real person. Ditch the buzz words and corporate-speak, and opt for language that your employees understand. Your authentic voice, whether in written or spoken form, is what your employees want to hear and will help them appreciate the challenges and opportunities ahead. It will also help them feel part of the company’s journey. Ensure there is something in place to allow for two-way conversations – people like to feel part of the conversation.
- Think outside the box
The delivery of your messages is something that’s often overlooked. The key here is to:
- Think about how your audience would genuinely like to receive your messages and,
- What would make them sit up and listen to what you have to say?
Emailing a 20-page pdf presentation to all and sundry is assuming that people will open it and have the time to read it. Consider ways to compel people to read your communications, like designing a quiz, writing a blog, or sending a message to their mobile phones. And if you’re not sure how your teams would like to receive information, you could always ask them!
If you decide to go down the toolkit or presentation route, it’s a good idea to share these with your managers first so they can help deliver the messages with confidence and relay any feedback from their team. This feedback can provide you with new ideas for your business and hopefully form a happier, more productive workplace in the process.
- Invest in your internal comms
Whether we like to admit this or not, our employees often have the greatest influence over what your customers (and potential) think of your brand. A great piece I read recently in the Harvard Business Review asked business owners to consider this one question when it comes to investing in internal comms:
“What am I willing to invest per employee to help them internalize our strategy and based on that understanding, determine what they need to do to create a differentiated market experience for our customers? Do the math and set your hoped-for ROI high whether it is financial performance or positive shifts in behaviour and culture. If you choose not to invest be certain of the risk. If you don’t win over employees first, you certainly won’t succeed in winning with customers, as they ultimately hold that relationship in their hands.”
That really does sum it for me and the importance of including internal in your budget, and not as an add on.
If you think your business could benefit from a PR strategy or support in implementing internal comms, please do book a free discovery call.
Other articles in this series include: