Internal Communications Manager
What is the most gratifying part of your public relations position?
“The most gratifying part would probably be seeing work come to life. I like taking things from their inception to the final product. I like being a part of that and getting to shape the ways things look, sound and how they’re presented. We redesigned our internal website towards the end of 2014. Normally that process takes about one or two years. Our CEO wanted a faster turnaround. We were tasked with getting the site up and running in 2 months. It was a challenge, but we did it! Thankfully, I had done tons of research beforehand, so we had everything we needed to move forward with that. Getting to be there through the whole process and getting to see it being born and see people using it is really cool. We just won an award for the new website in February.”
How does internal communications differ from doing PR for audiences outside of your organization?
“As an internal communications manager I work a lot with our HR department to kind of market and promote their initiatives, make sure that employees understand the objectives and goals of the programs that they’re putting together. I personally do a lot of other work in addition to my internal comms duties, which is a nice mix for me. For example, I manage our social media campaign for a big communicator’s conference we do in May.
I don’t think that internal communications is too different from PR – it’s just a matter of changing your perception. When you’re trying to speak to an external audience you’re trying to get them to understand your brand. We’re kind of doing the same thing here. We’re trying to create brand ambassadors for our organization inside the building. We want people to go out into the world and be excited to tell people they work for NRECA and to be able to speak to our mission and our vision.”
Give me your own definition of public relations?
“I guess it would be taking your message and synthesizing it so it’s as powerful as it possibly can be. Make sure you do that in a way that is true to who you are as an individual and true to your organization’s message and vision.”
What has surprised you the most about working in PR?
“For me personally, all of the different areas I’m working in and all of the expertise you need surprised me. I don’t particularly need to be skilled in programs in the Adobe Designer Suite, but it’s super helpful to know the InDesign and Illustrator programs. It helps to have that skill at your disposal. It helps to turn things around more quickly. It helps to be able to do technical writing – it’s something that’s critical in PR. The depth and breadth of knowledge that you have to have in order to put something together that makes sense for your audience is something that surprised me. To stop writing academically and start writing technically was a little bit of a challenge for me, but I made it through.”
What’s the first thing you do when you learn about a new campaign?
“Recently, I’ve started putting together a creative brief for each project. Having all these different areas I have to be focused on, I decided it’s time to put together some kind of a document that I can put all the information I need my colleagues to know before we move forward with a project. The first thing that I do is put a creative brief together and let the folks I’m working with know what my vision is, so that they can go in and say, ‘Okay, this aligns with my vision. This doesn’t. But let’s tweak this or that.’ We come together with a nice document that we can work off of for however long the campaign is going to last. I never feel like I’m running into, ‘Well, we never really talked about that.’ Everyone’s ideas are out on the table and it makes it a lot easier because you know the expectations of the person on the other side.”