Why Internal Relationships Are Key to Good PR

It’s a no brainer—any successful PR/comms person will tell you that relationships with the media are key to their success.  However, I think the most underrated relationships in PR are internal.

As a PR person, often times, you aren’t creating the content that you are pitching or telling a story about.  Much of the content you need in order to be successful comes from other parts of the organization who aren’t always thinking “oh this is something we should bring PR in on.”  This is why internal relationships are huge.

I used to work at an agency, and much of my time was spent communicating with clients through email and the occasional conference call.  Some of the marketing folks we worked with were great and understood PR and wanted to give us everything we needed to succeed.  However, some treated communicating with the agency as a burden and didn’t make sharing information a priority.  Often times we had to say “I noticed you guys are presenting at XYZ conference in two weeks.  Can you send over some more information around it? I think we might be able to help” or “I saw in your document that you guys are working on a new research report.  Can you send us a copy?” Long story short, we practically had to beg the product and marketing people for information.

Now, I work in-house.  The product marketing people sit in the same area as me.  I see them in the kitchen. I see them in the parking lot.  We talk about the Red Sox.  We go out and grab beers after work.  It’s no coincidence that information flows freely and our PR team is always in the loop on things here now.  We’ve built great internal relationships, and it has made a difference.

Internal relationships are just as important as relationships with the media.  Whether you work at an agency or work in-house, make it a priority to build relationships with leaders on all of the key teams within the organization.  It will have a huge impact on your success.

Outside of media relationships, what do you think is needed to be successful? Do you think it matters if you are external or in-house? Can great internal relationships can be built at an agency?

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