One of the widest differentials between marketing and public relations teams is messaging. Marketing launches campaigns with seriously involved step-by-step initiatives that involve a framework for branding, value proposition, and so much more. When complete, a company has a sense of its clothes, so to speak – what will we wear today to present ourselves in public? (Please weigh in marketers!)
In public relations, when launching a new relationship, service, product, or program strategy, we do messaging right up front as step one much like marketing. When conducting integrated marketing communications, the need for messaging by both marketing and public relations duels for attention. When public relations can’t get an opportunity to do its thing in re messaging, practitioners are left to dangle.
Messaging by PR is the voice of the company to its tiered audiences. Used to be message maps were created for media relations only. Now, I use a message map to help gather, hone and develop approved messages usually collected from the executive team in a facilitated meeting.
No one would believe executives answer questions about the company differently. One would think all company leaders are on the same page about the what, who, why, how much, and when. Not really. That’s the number-one reason messaging is important – disagreement among a company’s senior echelon and how to position external messaging.
Prior to launching program strategy, consider these suggestions to secure content for external messaging:
1. Get the senior team in a room and garner consensus about the 5 Ws + how.
2. Lacking the ability to corral the senior team, then the senior public relations team needs to draft suggested messages for delivering up the chain for approval. Sometimes seeing wording in print will get needed attention.
3. Tier two messages ought to complement a larger corporate message map – the approved song sheet for all spokespeople. When there’s a turn-key program being launched, ensure messaging is one of the foundational tactics executed.
4. Share the approved messaging with marketing teams; they will thank you as copywriters always need public relations driven content to tap.
5. Get in the habit early and often to ask “what shall we say, why does this matter, who are we speaking to, how much does it cost, when will it launch?”
No message is set in stone; adjust as you go, but never launch a program without some messaging guidelines to work with.