PR needs a global outlook, even if you’re selling nationally

Simon Corbett

Disruption, emerging markets, technology and political influences are changing the way in which the world does business. Closely tied international markets are wary of change, and debate and discussion is often siloed in global rather than national verticals. The result, when something unexpected happens, the whole world feels it.

For marketers, audiences are becoming more global. Technology innovations have meant workforces are based in multiple countries. The marketing challenge is how to get a brand in front of an audience that is becoming more disparate and difficult to find. The PR industry is facing similar tests as readers, journalists and publishers become global entities. Generating positive impactful press coverage for clients is more complex, and in my view highlights a need to take a global view to communications.

As business becomes more international so does the global network of journalists. Even for our UK team, a significant proportion of press contacts are based internationally. Like in business, for journalists there is little need for entire teams to be based in the same location. The ease of international communication means publications can hire industry experts to write stories, irrespective of where they are based.

At the same time, media themselves are becoming more international. If we take TechWorld, a UK publication that covers digital disruption in UK business, SimilarWeb shows us that the majority of its readers are in fact US based. It’s a trend we’re seeing in a number of publications. Entrepreneur Magazine for example, one of the biggest American publications for aspiring business leaders, has just 35 percent of its readers based in North America.

As a PR agency this growing trend means we need to take more of a global outlook with all of our client campaigns than ever before. Five years ago, companies would hire multiple PR agencies to target different territories. However in a more global market, this is approach is likely to cause conflict between agencies over what constitutes their targets.

Brands looking to cement a stake in their market must therefore look to take a global approach to PR and communications. Your entire business and operations might be focused nationally, but if your target customers are reading international press then you should be targeting these publications.

Taking a global approach to PR also provides a number of clear benefits to marketing efforts. At its most basic, businesses looking globally will immediately open themselves up to an even bigger market than before, providing new opportunities. Credibility can also be increased within local territories. A UK customer for example, will be more impressed if you’ve been able to generate coverage of a product in national press on both sides of the Atlantic.

Looking at PR in this way is of course never without challenges, quality messaging that resonates with global markets and a strategy to best manage an international reputation is critical. However, if done correctly by a quality agency with the right knowledge and expertise, the impact on reputation and resulting press coverage can be noticeable in the bottom line.

In an age where business is more global than ever before, ambitious marketers should look to go international with their PR. Communication strategies should have an international outlook, using consistent corporate messaging tailored and localised to different markets. The result will be better press coverage, more impressions and ultimately more chances to make a sale.