Issue: The media's growing interest in HR and workplace issues.
Benefit: By gaining publicity for your organization, you can aid recruitment efforts and earn kudos from top brass.
Action: No PR team? No problem. Win positive media attention by following the guidelines below.
Tired of watching industry competitors stage-manage the local press and enhance their organization's image? You don't need a PR department to use the media to your advantage. Do it yourself.
With increased positive media attention on your business, its execs and even your HR department, your star will shine brighter in the organization and the community.
The key to success: Align your media-outreach goals with the goals of your senior. "If you do, you can win more support and credibility for your department and more room at the executive table," says Kathy Cripps, president of the Council of Public Relations Firms (www.prfirms.org).
Here are four steps to reaching that goal:
1. Know management's goals. Find out if media coverage is important to your senior execs and why. Some CEOs embrace publicity, some don't like it and others are indifferent.
2. Define your audiences. Where do you want to target your message: the local business community, the general public, government officials, current or potential employees?
3. Define your message. Don't take a scattershot approach, i.e., suggesting anything to the media about your organization that you think it will find interesting. Instead, position your organization as experts on certain business or industry changes. Local reporters can use your insight to write "trend" articles. Ask senior management for suggestions.
If your CEO is an expert on an industry topic, help him identify speeches to trade and business groups or write letters to the editor in local newspapers.
Your HR department has expertise in workplace issues, so promote your department as a source for local media on job-related issues. Send press releases on topics like "10 Ways to Improve Your RÈsumÈ," citing the top mistakes you see.
4. Target employees. Use memos, bulletin boards or Intranets to tell employees about published articles or scheduled broadcasts that mention the organization. That builds pride among employees. Also, show such clips to applicants.
Finally, consider a one-time investment in media training. "That's where you will learn to craft the messages that will communicate your point of view for years," says Cripps.