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What Are the Goals of Your Utility’s Public Relations Program?

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The question posed in the headline at first seems like an easy one: You want lots of media coverage that makes your utility look good.

Fair enough, but for the best results, you probably need to fine-tune things a bit.

Do you want to look like an engaged part of your local community? An innovator in the power business? A consumer-friendly utility? A worthy place to invest (if you’re publicly traded)? A pioneer in green energy? Something else?

Or all of the above? (It’s certainly a reasonable goal, although it’s pretty ambitious). It’s also reasonable to try to accomplish all those things while putting extra emphasis on one thing.

Whatever you choose, the key is to have a consistent, unwavering and persistent message in all of your outreach efforts. Use every channel available to you — social media, website, blogs, promotions, press releases, media kits, op-eds, advertorials and general outreach, among other things.

Too often, I see businesses of all stripes with inconsistent messaging that lacks a clear commitment. One minute they’re touting something, the next it’s something else. Or an initiative is announced to great fanfare only to be seemingly forgotten a couple weeks later.

You want to think like Coke and Pepsi. Everyone knows their products, but they keep hammering home their messages, so they remain top of mind.

That’s harder to do for a utility, which may seem ubiquitous, but has a much lower profile and lacks the ability to have consumer sizzle. Still, you have to try.

As you begin focusing on 2020, now is the time to plan your goals and your public relations program. Remember that public relations is not rocket science.

Often, it’s more of a slog than anything as you look for any opportunity you can and forget about the low success rate you’ll have when pitching. The best PR people are akin to the best salespeople because they never take rejection personally and instead focus on the next opportunity.

Andy Gotlieb's picture

Thank Andy for the Post!

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