This was originally posted to the Sparkpr blog.
During my PR studies in the UK, I was fortunate enough to take part in multiple global PR projects, as part of Globcom where collaboration was the real key to success. Despite being young and full on enthusiasm our efforts often fell flat, mainly due to our disconnected approach to global communications. It’s with this in mind I wanted to present some compelling approaches to global collaboration for PR.
No matter what your geographic location or time zone, PR activities are centred on communication with your team and client. Thankfully, working in a global technology agency with some of the most forward thinking and exciting technology start-ups, it’s second nature to have the right tools for smooth collaboration.
If you are in PR, working remotely or not, you need to know the best tools implemented to stay connected and on point.
From pitching new biz to making a big global announcement, and even just staying in touch with your colleagues-in-crime the below recommendations should give you a head start over your peers in the world of global PR.
Pitching New Biz
The best pitches will be innovative, but digestible enough for the client to easily understand. Present your team as experts in the field with a sleek and compelling deck.
Prezi is a cloud-based slide presentation platform that is arguably more visually engaging than Power Point. Each presentation can be easily shared via a URL and can be accessed anywhere.
Top Tip: Prezi is perfect if you have a captivating, story-like narrative to your pitch. Take advantage of the cool slide transitions to illustrate your PR journey.
On the day of the pitch, it’s always best to have someone present in person, but sometimes budgets or timeframes can’t accommodate this. In these instances, have your team use a video conferencing platform like Vidyo (a cloud-based technology). Seeing your potential client’s faces is second best than actually being there, but way better than staring at a computer screen.
Top Tip: Make sure you test the Internet connection ahead of time. There’s nothing worse than having your carefully planned pitch turn to into baffling noises because of a lousy connection.
You’ve won the client—congrats! Now it’s time to deliver.
Getting ahead of a big announcement is crucial, and that means developing an arsenal of press materials. Make sure your team compiles everything seamlessly—from press releases to FAQs, executive bios to messaging documents, and even company vision statements. It’s not an easy task to undertake alone, that’s why communicating and collaborating efficiently with your team will make these assets more dynamic in the end.
Google Drive eliminates the cumbersome editing process with multiple versions of a document. Keep all your documents updated in real-time, map out timelines and strategies, and keep track of who is working on what.
Top Tip: Have you ever used the chat function? In the top right corner, use the “Comments” button to see who has made updates, inserted comments and leave notifications.
Aggregate all your assets in a Google Drive folder. You can set each document to be private or public, and editable only by users whom you select.
Top Tip: Make sure you backup your Google docs regularly in case a team member accidentally erases all your hard work.
Box is another brilliant cloud-based management tool that makes collaboration super easy if you have a large team working on an account. You can synch it to your computer so that updates are made in real time without having to upload and download version after version.
Collaboration on the Go
PR can have you working out of the office almost as much as you’re sitting in front of a computer. It’s very important to utilize the most efficient tools for collaboration on the go. Moxtra, for example, allows for great real-time collaboration on documents by organizing your work into handy binders. It’s a newcomer to the space and has a great app-interface that integrates between desktop, iPad and iPhone editions.
Top Tip: Not hands free whilst on-the-go? Leave a voice annotation with Moxtra on any document to give feedback to your team.
Whatsapp is another easy-to-use messaging app that is great for global collaboration. It allows you to message within the app and avoid pesky international charges. While it’s easy to use and reliable, it’s much more efficient for quick communication with your team.
Top Tip: Create individual chats for each project so you can manage the workflow in an organised fashion.
Making an Announcement
Imagine your announcement has shifted and you only have an hour before the embargo lifts to fully brief your target media! What do you do?
MailChimp has the answer. This easy to use platform tracks email newsletters and can even utilize your existing Google doc spreadsheets. By creating an email with Mail tags, you can make sure your approach is still personal without spending hours working on each individual email. Furthermore, your whole global team can login to double check and edit these newsletters, and we all know in PR its best to double-check and even triple check!
Top Tip: Make sure you sync up with your global team members ahead of an announcement going live to ensure the time of the news release works for all markets and media targets that have been pre-pitched.
Any PR professional knows that the media landscape is changing, but at the same time so is the technology available for our industry. These tools allow you to show potential employers and current teams that you know how to execute and manage on a global level.
Now, go forth and collaborate!
Joe Groves joined Spark as an intern in 2011 and has worked with a range of clients in consumer technology, ecommerce, B2B sectors as well as leading apps. Joe graduated from the University of Gloucestershire where he studied public relations and began his love affair with all things tech. You can find Joe tweeting at @joegroves.