The Twin Traits of PR and GR

Of the myriad learnings I’ve absorbed over the last two years (home schooling = bad, virtual vinos = good), one of my biggest takeaways is how much public relations and government relations work best when they are together. In fact, neither one performs at its best alone. Here’s why, writes Collette Betts, MYOB corporate affairs manager Australia.

The pandemic created a seismic shift in every aspect of our lives and only now are we finding a pause to reflect on the changes it brought.

For many, this “new normal” we find ourselves in doesn’t feel very normal yet. We are still tweaking and defining the small details in our lives – and the way our society operates continues to evolve as well.

Working to navigate what constitutes our new normal naturally leads to an important conversation about the ways our communities can be better supported. Both PR and GR are important implements for exactly this. But they are at their most powerful when they work together to achieve the same goal.

If you’re pushing for change, doing it in a consistent, unified way with the decisionmakers and the media is the approach that’s most likely to get results.

The tools of these two trades really aren’t that different. Relationships are critical in both fields.

Just as PR taps into trends, so should GR. By addressing current issues facing the communities you operate in, your stories are stronger, but so are your arguments for change.

Tapping into the similarities between PR and GR can deliver great gains. Here are some tips for joint PR and GR strategy success.

Knowledge is power

Research is a tried and trusted element of PR story creation no matter the sector. But stats are powerful insight for policy makers too.

The most compelling argument you can make is to demonstrate a need – and by highlighting pain points through cold, hard facts, your argument will undoubtedly be better received.

Tailoring the pitch

Taking a relationships-first approach to your government engagement means you are focused on the drivers of that individual and what they and their department are trying to achieve.

As much as you convert your pitch to suit the type of journalist you’re talking to, you should do the same for your government contacts too.

Advocate directly

People in comms all know the importance of a good cascade strategy. This is equally important when you’re addressing policy matters in the media.

Making sure you’ve had this conversation directly with the policy makers first is crucial in ensuring your PR supports your advocacy conversations, rather than scuppers them.

Making sure your government relations team has engaged on an issue first, that you know the outcome of those conversations and the next steps, is crucial before taking an issue to the media.

Having this insight may change your mind on whether you take it to the media at all. As with anything, news is always better received if you hear it directly, rather than second hand.

Offer a solution

Offering a solution in both your PR and GR outreach demonstrates you’ve given the policy problem the thought it deserves.

Vitally, it must solve for the pain points you’ve uncovered in your data, in a way that works within the confines of the legislative environment.

Working together as a PR and GR team to crack a smart, simple solve will make sure your proposal is given proper consideration, and when it comes to talking about it in the media, you can confidently provoke for your new and different idea.

If the two work in tandem, PR and GR can make a real difference for your business and the communities you work in.

You will have really earned that virtual vino – where you can talk about the joys of never having to home school ever again.

Collette Betts, MYOB corporate affairs manager Australia


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.