As a corporate PR pro, I often work in my own little world. Sure, I frequently collaborate with co-workers from my team and others, but for the most part, PR is its own entity. We have a very specific function, and I think it’s safe to say that some marketers still don’t fully understand the role of their PR counterparts.
Be that as it may, marketers could learn a thing or two from their colleagues in PR. Although PR pros must have a specific skillset, there are a few core PR competencies every marketer should know. After all, we’re all in the business of communications.
1. Everyone needs an elevator pitch. Whether you’re a PR spokesperson, the CEO or any other employee, you need to be able to quickly tell someone what your company does and what you do for it – in language they’ll understand. Keep your spiel to 5-10 seconds or 2-3 sentences and be ready to give it any time you’re talking about you or your company.
2. Diversify your knowledge. Learn a little bit about a lot. Even if you’re specialized in one area of your business, you should have at least a general knowledge of all other areas. Know enough to speak intelligently, but you should also know when to hand over a question or request. Learn who the experts are on each topic or line of business so you can confidently refer them.
3. Effectively and tactfully toot your own horn. Doing this without coming off as egotistical or condescending is an art. Company and personal successes should be shared, and as an inside person, you’re in the best position to do so. Just be careful not to come off as boastful or arrogant.
4. Be prepared. If you do your job well, people will begin to seek out more information. Anticipate the needs of your audience – whether it’s reporters, customers or prospects – and have your response ready. If you can’t predict the outcome, have a reactive plan in place, and have the necessary people queued up to respond to potential requests.
5. Communicate effectively. Whether we like it or not, many people judge a book by its cover. If you’re selling something, whether it’s yourself, a product or service, be sure to dot your I’s and cross your T’s. You don’t have to rule with an iron grammar fist, but you should carefully proofread all your outgoing communications to assure careless mistakes don’t reflect poorly on you. It’s hard to be taken seriously when you use phrases like “a mute point” or “for all intensive purposes.”
Could you or other marketers you know benefit from following some of these suggestions? What skills can marketers share with other business functions?