- Celebrate wins beyond the latest media hit. Too often, PR experts are defined by their ability to secure a piece of media coverage. But in today’s evolving industry landscape, PR pros are doing so much more than media outreach. They create content - everything from award and speaking submissions to infographics, videos, photos, bylines and white papers - as well as train executives on speaking and presentation skills, assist HR with creative ad copy, manage crisis situations and even manage social media channels for brands and executives. PR is much more than media, so make sure you show appreciation for the other results as well.
- Invest in PR tech. In the past, PR teams took on a lot of manual work when it came to media outreach and research, measurement and analytics, content creation and more. Today, with the martech landscape so vast, there are a myriad of tools to help make teams more productive, and allow them to focus on what they do best - getting results. Invest a bit of your PR budget into tools such as CRM, measurement and analytics (natch) and quality media databases (new vendors offer more insights including social handles, latest updates and more). The upfront investment might take from your budget today, but the long term return will make it worth it.
- Stop asking for so many meetings. And reports. PR is all about time - time to make phone calls, develop content, conduct outreach, send emails. When clients or teams are constantly asking PR for meetings, it’s tough to get to the actual work. Try to be strategic about the meetings you are requesting, and don’t invite too many people. Too often everyone on staff thinks they know PR and wants a hand in driving the strategy. You hired your PR team for a reason, trust them to handle the strategy and report on the execution accordingly. Asking for a report more than once a week is way overkill. If you want insights into performance on demand, invest in an analytics solution that allows you to log in and see progress as it’s happening, rather than tasking your PR team with yet another report.
- Give them a seat at the table. PR executives are tasked with supporting the overall business and its growth goals. Too often, they are left out of strategic meetings concerning the business and key developments, only to be pulled in at the last minute to “turn it around quickly,” or when a crisis happens. You should trust your PR counsel explicitly to provide strategic insights and guidance to positioning business developments. They can do a much better job at this when they are involved early on, and can work the promotion - or deflection - of such developments on a strategic timeline.
- Align your expectations with reality. Like expecting a hairdresser to make you look like a celebrity, expecting PR to deliver results without resources is asking for a miracle. PR pros can pitch some media, engage on social and write some pretty creative content, but at the end of the day you’ve got to give them some fodder to work with as well. Unless you’re creating something extremely unique, don’t ask again about being in The Wall Street Journal when you’ve got only a handful of customers, no funding and no news, or ask to be a TED speaker when you’ve done no other thought leadership. PR is a process. You’ve got to build up to the big “wins,” and that takes resources and time. Listen to what your PR team is telling you they need: stats and data, customers to speak to, trained spokespersons (or let them provide you with media training), etc. While most PR teams can do pretty well without all of these things at one time, you’ve got to align your expectations accordingly.
At the end of the day, PR is one of the most stressful jobs listed every year - this year it’s still in the top 10, according to CareerCast. Providing your team with consistent positive reinforcement, understanding of their needs to do the job, and recognition of their wider business impact can go a long way in keeping them at the top of their game, so you can be at the top of yours.