Marshaling the troops and orchestrating the efforts

May 7, 2013
army marshal

Time was, PR agencies were on islands of their own. The client gave the assignment, and the agency was responsible for creating the message, strategy, tactics, and results. But lines are blurring, especially in the realm of social media, where collective effort and social shares play dramatic roles in amplifying the results of a program in order to fully leverage a campaign.

Never before has collaborative public relations played such a critical role in advancing the story. An effectively socialized story — one that is advanced by both agency and client alike — echoes farther, impacts more greatly, and ultimately reaches bigger audiences than a single tree falling. In fact, it often takes a forest of felled trees to be heard, which is exactly the result when a public relations agency marshals all of the clients and internal touch points, and educates them in how to radiate a story out into the market. Some fresh examples illustrate well:

ATTENNN-TION! Marshal your audiences
to share your story further
  • A major technology reseller has more than 1,000 sales agents in markets around the country. They need to constantly be communicating to stay fresh and relevant in their customers’ minds. To help the effort, their PR agency holds a series of orchestration seminars where industry topics are identified and prioritized. The topics flow into an editorial calendar that drives their various social streams and messages. The sales team is fully trained on how to leverage the streams and push them out through their own social channels.

The result is a message, which once might have solely appeared a few times in trade media, as well as on the clients’ blogs, Twitter streams, and LinkedIn pages, is now pushed directly to customers who end up sharing one recent message an astounding 3,200 times. Each share represents a point of interest for sales follow-up. By marshaling and orchestrating the campaign, visibility spikes, SEO jumps, and sales teams are provided the very fodder they crave in order to take dead aim at prospects

  • A commodity provider of business services needs to make an impact at an upcoming trade show. The only problem is it is among the smallest of fish in what is a vast sea of competitors with bigger and bolder booth and trade floor presences.

By working in advance with its public relations agency, the client is able to internally brainstorm the names of hundreds of influencers who will be attending the show. The names range from past and prospective customers, to editors at top trade journals, analysts, commentators, and even the show’s keynote speaker. Twitter handles are found and lists built. A library of fun and welcoming advance tweets gains hundreds of followers, who are converted to a specially designed app, developed hand-in-glove with the public relations agency to aggregate all social media commenting across various platforms. It’s a big hit that makes a dramatic impact. The little fish ends up swallowing some pretty enormous whales.

As the public relations universe continues to expand, it’s naïve to believe that agencies can continue to be the sole engine of external messaging. Neither they should be. With so many communications channels at our disposal, a campaign now needs to be a collective effort — one that’s driven by the agency but supported by a marshaled plan of orchestration that takes advantage of all available resources, whether they are unique to the agency or inherent to the client.

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