by Hope Silveira
With the global PR industry currently estimated to be worth $15.5bn, it is clear that forward-looking companies are striving to penetrate different international markets. After all, generating global media coverage can help businesses increase their visibility, reach new audiences and ultimately drive sales – even during a global pandemic such as the COVID-19 outbreak.
However, a company is unlikely to achieve its global PR goals if it has not set any or even done the initial research. Communicating a positive message to the media about any business offering in any country requires an informed and well-researched campaign and a culturally appropriate media plan.
Understanding different cultures
Every country is home to its own set of languages, customs, and ideologies. Yet, all too often media content and press releases fail to achieve journalist pick-up due to insufficient research about a specific market. PR teams should appreciate why it is important to have a more relaxed tone of voice in a certain country, for example, or when to use American English. They need to be trained to write for different media, ensuring the terminology is suitable to the audience and eliminating the chances of miscommunication. PR teams should anticipate any cultural barriers that they may come across.
Content is King
Being on top of industry news in a specific country is crucial if your content is to remain relevant – it’s also the key to newsjacking – releasing information about your client or product to coincide with the day’s existing news agenda – even if this means using a COVID-19 related hook, for example, about the impact on consumers and the retail sector. By getting to know a market’s dynamics and researching what types of content work well in one country, you might even find that you can repurpose material across different markets, amplifying messages around the world. However, if PR themes or priorities differ from region-to-region, campaigns will need to be made more flexible.
Understanding the press across different geographies
Taking the time to understand how global media houses and journalists operate will aid the entire media relations process. Contacting the right people and asking the right questions are the basic investigation skills you will need if you want to be most effective. PRs should prioritise learning how journalists like to be approached, understanding different newsworthiness criteria, and anticipating upcoming news stories. This level of relationship-building will not only give your agency/client a relevant public face, it will also build a bank of knowledge that can be shared across teams to create a wave of regular content.
Don’t forget social media
Connecting with journalists on LinkedIn and other social media networks is a great way to build a global network that will make it easier to land opportunities and focus resources effectively. Some journalists prefer to be contacted on Whatsapp or Twitter so make a note of this. Currently, journalists will be working from home, so glean their mobile number where possible.
The fast-paced and sometimes unpredictable nature of PR calls for a well-thought-out strategy behind every decision. Initially, tapping into the unknown of global PR can be daunting. However, anticipating core challenges as well as the finer detail needed is the backbone of any globally-coordinated, agile strategy. With meticulous preparation, a well-executed global media plan can work to get maximum exposure for brands and maximum results. On your marks.