How to Use PR to Build Partnerships

Lauren Helm working at her desk and typing on a laptop.

When I’m meeting with a potential Client, a question that often comes up is centered around how to build strategic partnerships for reaching objectives and future growth. My answer is simple: authenticity and consistency.

Think of when you were in school and had to complete a class project. There is nothing worse than being stuck with group partners who don’t pull their weight and expect to share the same grade you were given. Hopefully, you weren’t that person.

The same could be said for developing a partnership and totally dropping the ball. That’s where authenticity and consistency really matter. As the public relations industry develops marketing strategies, there has been a much welcomed shift away from focusing on quantity (how many people can we reach?) and is running toward quality (who are the right people to reach, and how can we build brand loyalty?). Clients are beginning to come to me to help engage their audience.

As companies develop marketing strategies, virtually all industries are seeing a welcomed shift away from quantity and toward quality. This means businesses are no longer focusing solely on how many people they can reach but instead are strategically learning who are the right people to reach, and how can they build a consistent, long-term relationship with them. Businesses are adopting the idea to focus on engagement in an authentic way with key decision makers who could turn into brand ambassadors, influencers, prospective customers, partners or employees. The good news is PR is extremely well equipped to help businesses do exactly that, especially by creating value. After all, “relations” is right there in our name for a reason.

Here are five ways to build relationships that last:

  1. Understand your audience.
    It’s normal to want to go straight to the C-Suite for developing a partnership, but is that really the right place you should start? Depending on your objective, it may be worthwhile to spend your resources in reaching out and starting to build relationships through casual conversations with HR or operations. Often these produce meaningful conversations with decision-makers along the company’s hierarchy that can provide support when it’s time for the C-Suite to weigh in.
  2. Provide value, always.
    Remember the group project? Don’t be that person. Find ways to offer value in your relationships to share that you’re being authentic in wanting that connection. Maybe its sharing your expertise by providing actionable advice (like this blog post) or sharing industry trends. And if it’s something that only you can provide, even better!
  3. Diversify your tactics.
    When you’re looking on where to start your engagement efforts, don’t focus on just one avenue of communication like email. Your audience likely reads publications, are contributing on LinkedIn, or are attending industry events. Find ways to diversify your engagement tactics so that your audience is continually seeing your brand.
  4. Leveraging your network.
    Now, I am a master at leveraging a network. That’s how I’ve built this business and why you’re reading this blog post most likely. Leaning on the relationships you’ve already built to provide introductions to others or to connect you with other networks as well can have a big return. However, refer to Tip #2 if you’re going this route so you’re not that person.
  5. Consistency is key.
    Ever been ghosted by someone? It’s frustrating. Being consistent in your content delivery helps build and strengthen a relationship. This is where trusted partners like your PR agency can really lend a hand, especially for busy business people like yourself. We can craft strategies and deploy content so that those relationships foster trust and authenticity.

However you decide to approach building relationships, you have to focus on adding value without asking for anything in return. That’s where consistency and authenticity will start to deepen those relationships, and build trust, for those you wish to connect with the most.