Public Relations Tactics

Going Beyond Good Work With Internal Marketing

August 4, 2017


The independent practitioner couldn’t believe her ears. Here she was, finishing a project in which she had delivered a steady stream of media opportunities and placements — and yet a senior member of the client firm was lecturing her on “lack of results.”

Didn’t this person know of her performance? Maybe not.

Letting strong work speak for itself is often not enough. Sometimes we have to do internal marketing to make sure the right people are continually aware of the value we’re delivering.

Gather results and conduct an analysis

Margaret J. Arnold of Margaret J. Arnold Public Relations in Kimball, Minn., likes to begin her post-program or post-project work by conducting an analysis for herself.

“Since the plans are strategy-driven, it is helpful to first make notes in the plan, cross off the to-dos or highlight or strike out the tactics that were either put on hold or removed from the plan during implementation,” says Arnold, who has a master’s in business communication. Post-program analyses are also “my opportunity to gather data from team members. I often summarize results as I go along, so at the end of the project it’s easy for me to complete one last project-summary email to my client and other stakeholders.”

After a project, she holds scheduled debriefings to discuss results and next steps. The meetings might include a celebratory lunch or treats that she brings in for the team.

As appropriate, we also discuss whether the project should be entered into an industry awards competition, she says.
Todd Nelson of TNTpr in Oakland, Calif., says, “The job of a PR practitioner isn’t done until results are gathered and a report is generated, just like laundry isn’t done until the shirts are hung and socks are folded.”

His reporting tools vary.

“If it is a wide release through a wire service, I provide detailed reports of media coverage, social media placement, geographic reach and other measurable outcomes during the first 30 days after the release,” Nelson says.  “With targeted-release campaigns, my standard tool for reporting is media-placement statistics, which include digital and print-publication subscriptions and reach, and social media analytics such as ‘likes’ and ‘shares.’ Key stats may also include revenue increases, new customer acquisitions, media mentions, website registrations and event attendance.”

Highlight critical information

Robert Beadle of Northeast PR, Inc., in Central Falls, R.I., believes that if you wait until the end of a project to start talking to the “right people,” it’s usually too late.

“I make sure to ask my client before the project begins for the names of those who have a stake in the marketing program,” he says. “Then I reach out to them to make sure they know the project is happening and they have a voice.”

Ericka Lozano-Buhl of Mixto Communications in Portland, Ore., says, “No matter your field, I believe you should always be striving to be better.”

In this spirit, she says, “Debriefings aren’t just a way to share successes with clients.” Instead, they are a way “to analyze how to do my work more effectively.”

As part of her reporting, she uses the analytics tools on Facebook and Twitter whenever possible, in addition to her favorite measurement platform, Google Analytics.

“Clients are paying for good work and they want to know whether they have results to show for it,” Lozano-Buhl adds. “It’s important to understand how to highlight critical information and share it clearly.” 

Tim O'Brien, APR

Tim O’Brien, APR, owns O’Brien Communications, an independent corporate communications practice in Pittsburgh. Email: Twitter: @OBrienPR.


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