All businesses have some form of public relations strategy to get their name into the marketplace and raise awareness of their brand. Whether it's through volunteer work, community organizations, or regular appearances at town events, companies work hard to get their name out there in a positive light. One portion of this endeavor business owners sometimes overlook, though, is their employees. Employees are the first line of public relations because they can give a first-person account of what your business is like. This is why it's important to include them in your PR strategy and remember how integral they can be to creating a positive company image.
Why is PR Important?
Public relations is so important because it gives your business a face and a message. It's a space where you can define your sales culture for the market. People will remember your logo, your mascot, or your spokesperson much easier than your storefront. Attaching your brand to something catchy makes it much easier for people to find you and think of your business when they need it. Public relations also gives you a space to showcase your newest items and developments, as well as brag on your charitable actions. You can show off ways you're adapting to changing times and new products you offer to draw in more customers. You can even spend time talking about the charities you work with or donate to and your volunteer activity in the community to show your company is more than just a business. This helps customers see they're shopping with a trustworthy business and makes them feel good about their purchases.
Engage Your Employees
Getting your brand out there doesn't have to be an entirely executive endeavor. In fact, involving your employees in PR efforts is a great way to motivate them and help them to feel valued. One great way to involve them in a campaign is to ask them to write an article for a local or online publication describing their experience at your company. They can share details about their job duties, company culture, the inner-workings of the business, and any other details they feel worth mentioning. This is a great way to give customers and job candidates an inside look at what it's like to work for you. Another option is to allow your employees to be interviewed for features or news stories. If a reporter requests to speak with someone, you can send them to your PR specialist, but also make employees available to share their opinions. They are the people your customers will trust most, so having positive reviews can greatly help your image.
For a more in-house approach to involving employees, think about doing a team building day where you gather insights from everyone in your company or in a certain department. Team building is a great way to strengthen the bond and improve communication between department members, which can contribute to your overall productivity. It also makes employees feel valued and shows them you're willing to invest in their success. During these meetings, get information about what they feel should be improved, is working, and is no longer needed within the company. You might learn something you'd never even considered!
Focus on Internal PR
Just like you pitch your brand to external sources, you also have to pitch your company to the internal staff. When you interview new candidates for open positions, they're interviewing you as well. They're looking to learn about the company, what its values are, what the facility is like, and if the other employees are satisfied in their jobs. For this reason, focusing on internal PR can be a strong business move. One of the first ways you can do this is simply by creating an appealing office. Add a splash of color where you can and plants if you need and try to allow windows for natural light if the building allows. Creating a fun, open work environment helps employees feel happy, which can make them more productive. Additionally, having a visually appealing office makes it easier to showcase in photos, videos, and to prospective customers.
You can also encourage activities and policies that benefit the overall employee wellbeing. For example, being the champion of health and wellness programs within the office will show you care about your employees' overall wellbeing and want them to focus on being healthy. The same goes for safety inspections and seminars to ensure everyone is on the same page of safety protocols so no one gets hurt on the job. You can even establish regular leadership training for anyone interested, offer job-shadowing for people interested in other positions, and favor in-office advancements over outside hires for management roles. Investing in your employees can lead to them further investing in your business, so don't forget to show them your brand too.
Boost Company Culture
You might be wondering how all of this will possibly help your company. The answer is by improving your culture! Employees are the heartbeat of a business, so when they feel engaged and valued, they're more likely to be more productive and bring innovative ideas to the table. This boost in attitude also brings a boost to overall office happiness. Utilizing PR strategies to engage employees can also help you to improve on your organizational structure. A low-level employee might notice a problem with your workflow that you never saw from your vantage point. Fixing it could save you time or money or both! Finally, it improves your overall reputation. You can push advertising and spin news stories to show everything you do right, but having it from the employees' mouths most likely means more to your customers than any ad you could pay for. The transparency gained through adding your employees to your PR strategy can be invaluable to gaining new business!
Having an effective means of public relations is necessary for any business, but engaging your employees in the process can take you to the next level.