5 Tips for Incorporating PR into Your Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy

By Pam Anderson
Pam is a media junkie who believes there is no such thing as too many Google Alerts. She loves a good brainstorming session and enjoys collaborating with clients and reporters to achieve the perfect placement.
 

You love that your company has volunteer hours and helps local nonprofits – giving back to your community is so important. But, did you realize reporters may also be intrigued by these efforts? Corporate social responsibility (CSR) can make for a great media story that sets you apart from competitors.

CSR is a broad phrase used to describe a company’s efforts to improve society and, as we call it at SSPR, #dogood. It can be enacted in different ways including donating to nonprofits and practicing environmentally sound policies. CSR says a lot about your company’s values and is a powerful differentiating factor. Here are 5 tips to help you implement PR into your CSR strategy:

1. PR Comes After Corporate Social Responsibility

First, it’s important you’re doing CSR for the right reasons. You shouldn’t implement CSR for the sole reason of gaining publicity – reporters and consumers will see right through that.

PR comes after CSR and is best executed once a program has gained traction and made an impact. Your media outreach should serve as a way inspire others and amplify your company voice.

2. Focus on The Cause, Not Your Company

While it’s tempting to tell a story with all the amazing work your company is doing front and center, it’s time to take a step back. Media outreach should be focused on promoting the effort and cause, not your company.

Try highlighting your involvement in more subtle ways: insert quotes from spokespeople, include group images and emphasize the measurable impact through numbers and stats. Just be sure the overarching message is inspirational and not promotional.

3. Craft a Strategy

Your corporate social responsibility efforts are purposeful, and your PR approach should be, too. While you may be targeting key buyers with your current media outreach, CSR stories offer a chance to reach brand new audiences. It’s time to expand your media list into new arenas.

For example, it’s no secret that millennials prefer to work for companies with a CSR program. Try strategically targeting media outlets aimed at millennials as a recruitment tactic.

4. Take It to Social

Just as reporters and journalists are interested in your company giving back, so are your clients and other stakeholders. Social media is a powerful tool for promoting CSR and is an easy way to provide publicity for the organization you’re supporting.

Not to mention, CSR stories can be beautifully communicated through photos and visuals, which we all know increase performance on social media. When posting online, be sure to tag the nonprofit, highlight the overall impact and include relevant hashtags for the most impact.

5. Be Authentic

Whatever CSR your company is doing, it’s important that it’s authentic and can withstand any potential criticism before you take it to the media. If you’re claiming to champion the environment, make sure your policies and practices support this (don’t end up like Volkswagen).

Take time to evaluate your CSR efforts and ensure they’re tied to your overall company culture. This way, you’re prepared for any tough reporter questions that may come up.

CSR and PR can work together in an authentic and strategic way. The next time your company makes an impact, consider these tips and hopefully you can spread that inspiration even further.

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