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How Well Does Your PR Team Know Your Utility?

image credit: ID 130678073 © Fizkes | Dreamstime.com

The members of your public relations team can probably cite all the relevant details about your utility in their sleep.

That’s good -- and important – but how well do they really know your utility?

Of course, there’s no way someone can know everything there is to know about the utility, nor can they have details on all your employees.

But as PR practitioner, it’s part of your job to know as many people in the company as possible.

That’s because it’s important to really know your utility to get a true feel for the company

And one way to do that is to allow the other employees to be your eyes and ears.

If you’ve ever watched a TV program or movie involving journalists, you’ve probably heard some crusty editor grumble to employees that there’s no news in the newsroom and to get out of the office and find some stories.

The same principle applies here.

Get out of the public relations office and go talk to people. You don’t have to -- and probably shouldn’t -- stick to company business. Find out your coworkers’ stories and what makes them tick.

Much of what you hear will be irrelevant, but you never know what might get mentioned that could be worth pitching to a journalist.

Maybe you find out that a relatively low-level employee is related to the guy who founded the utility in 1911. Or perhaps one of your linemen was a top major league baseball prospect before suffering an arm injury – and his father played for the New York Yankees.  Or maybe an accountant has a prize-winning springer spaniel competing at the National Dog Show.

These are all good human interest stories that might warrant media attention. While they don’t advance company messaging, they do get the utility’s name in the news for positive reasons, which also is important.

When you speak to employees, you can also ask them about their jobs. Sometimes, they can tell you interesting tidbits that might also be newsworthy. For example, maybe a company engineer developed a repair technique being adopted by utilities across the country.

As always, one major goal of public relations job is to draw as much positive attention as possible. Human interest stories are just as important -- and often better read – than the relatively mundane stories your C-suite is pushing.

And, as a side benefit, you might make a few new friends and get to stretch your legs all at the same time.

Andy Gotlieb's picture

Thank Andy for the Post!

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