So, you’ve decided to engage in active PR outreach with a public relations firm (awesome). Now, it’s time to figure out which organizational model will make the program most successful. One of the biggest factors in determining whether your campaign will accomplish its goals: finding the best internal team members to work in collaboration with the PR team.
Before determining the right person from your team to be the PR contact, remember that the PR team will need your help to move things through the approval process. Whether it’s scheduling interviews, approving contributed content, or engaging in the constructive brainstorming process, guidance from your internal team is crucial to success. Open lines of communication keep everyone aligned on goals and keep the media coverage rolling in.
Who is the best person within your company to fulfill this role? Here are a few considerations:
The CEO: It’s great to have a hands-on CEO who wants to help craft messaging. I’ve worked directly with CEOs who provide valuable guidance, but the biggest drawback to this solution is time. It’s hard for a CEO to focus on big-picture company growth along with all the nuances, scheduling, and deadlines within PR. If, as CEO, you want to manage the PR, make sure you’re prepared to respond to the team day-to-day and offer prompt approval.
The CMO or VP of Marketing: For most companies, this is the ideal person to work on the PR campaign. To maximize success, it’s ideal to have someone at the table with the authority to sign off and provide strategic direction. If they have assistance, that’s even better. Bonus: They have visibility into the entire marketing program to see where PR fits into the company’s overall goals.
The Marketing or PR Manager: A smart choice to work with your PR team, the Marketing Manager often has direct PR experience and acts as a traffic director within the company. However, it’s still helpful to have a monthly call with an executive to confirm or adjust current strategy.
The Intern: Honestly, this is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen in my PR career. Marketing teams are strapped for time, I get it. (This is often a key reason to bring in a PR firm in the first place.) But, an internship is about learning. Interns rarely have the experience or authority to green light PR opportunities. We end up playing telephone with those able to approve interviews and content, which negatively impacts the effectiveness of the PR campaign.
Ultimately, finding the right person in your company to work with your PR team helps ensure PR success. With a combination of strategic direction, communication, and organization, the relationship will be fruitful.
If you have any questions about how to work best with your team, don’t hesitate to ask. But no matter who heads up the PR efforts, clear and open channels of communication are key to success.