Be worldly: A guide to global public relations

by | Oct 21, 2015 | Public Relations

Your company doesn’t need to be a Fortune 500 corporation to have an international customer base. But the smaller your organization is, the more you need to be scrappy with your global public relations strategy. If your company’s offering reaches beyond the borders of your own country, then you can’t apply a one-size-fits all approach to public relations.

Global public relations takes nuance and research. It takes avoiding the assumption that every country views your brand the same way. And, most of all, it takes strategy.

Here are a few tips to help your communications succeed on the international stage:

Understand socio-cultural variables

In The Global Public Relations Handbook: Theory, Research, and Practice, the authors discuss the concept of socio-cultural variables that should influence how public relations practitioners approach different countries. For the PR professional, the main things to consider in other countries are their political systems, level of activism, freedom of press, economy, and unique cultural qualities. Intimately knowing all these variables will significantly boost your communication efforts on a global level.

chadreidinsertKnow how the press works in your target countries

Consider this: what might be considered bribing a journalist in your home country could be an accepted, if not expected, norm in other cultures. For instance, according to Global Media Ethics: Problems and Perspectives, “some culturally accepted journalistic practices in the Middle East would be considered egregiously unethical in the West.” The rather strict journalistic code of ethics in the U.S. prohibits accepting gifts—even as small as a cup of coffee—from a source. But this is far from the case in other parts of the world. Knowing ahead of time how the press works will make your job easier, and perhaps save some embarrassment.

Use Twitter to develop international relationships with reporters

You can email until you’re blue in the face to reporters around the world, but it’s never going to be as effective as building a relationship on social media. Reporters who are active on Twitter (most of the big ones are) are going to give you an idea of what their personal and journalistic interests are right on their profiles. Take this opportunity to casually introduce yourself, share insightful stories relevant to their country and culture, and genuinely get to know them. Twitter is a relationship building tool on a micro and macro level; use it wisely.

Stay current on different countries’ current events, and holiday calendars

Your marketing and PR efforts will benefit greatly by even vaguely staying up to date on what’s happening in the different countries that make up your target audiences. Use pitch angles like local holidays, major economic and political announcements; and follow the influencers that make an impact as well. Your ability to talk the talk in your major markets can give you a big leg up in your quest to make a global presence.

The great thing is that the rules above apply to just about any industry or company size. The trick is knowing how other countries operate like the back of your hand before launching major PR initiatives.

Do you agree with the lessons above? Does your company have audiences in other countries? What was your strategy? Let us know!

Guest contributor Chad Reid is the Director of Communications for JotForm, an online form building tool. He loves all things related to cats and considers himself a professional-level rock skipper. He’s currently receiving his master’s in strategic communication from Purdue University. Read the original story on Bulldog Reporter.

Chad Reid