What you need to know about taking your PR in-house
Make productivity your word of the day and learn how to build a PR team that runs smoothly, effectively and covers all bases!
Take a peek into any PR agency and you’ll see a well-oiled machine. In between the racks of samples and boxes of goodies there’s a team of experienced professionals, where every individual knows their role and gets. things. done.
As anyone who’s opted for in-house PR can tell you, getting your team to the same levels of efficiency and productivity as an agency can take some time and effort. Establishing a team from scratch means everyone’s entering the unknown and it’s only normal that everything will take some time to get settled.
Whether you’ve already gone in-house or are thinking of making the switch, we’ve done the hard work for you. This guide brings together all the very best tips and tricks of trade, covering what your in-house team should be doing, how to get them to do it and the top ways to keep your team ahead of the rest!
JOBS THAT NEED TO BE DONE
Before we delve into the specifics of PR jobs, it’s important to keep in mind that every team is different. Smaller businesses may only have one or two people, while bigger companies can afford a whole team. More hands on deck means your PR strategy and day-to-day plan will be a little different to a small scale group. Be realistic about what you can achieve and what you should expect from your team.
With this in mind, here’s our round-up of the jobs your team should be doing:
BLOG – Blogs are the hands-down best way to keep your content cycles up. You’ll give readers new content, keep hitting SEO targets and maintain an appearance of news (even if you have none!). Having a killer blog can also lead to media coverage and position you as an expert in your field.
BRAND MENTIONS – As with any agency, you want your in-house team to get your name circling and grow your presence. Whether you’re working the media or sending samples out to influencers, keeping your name in the papers is the key to success.
SOCIAL MEDIA – If you don’t have a dedicated social media team keeping your channels fresh and your followers growing, get your PR team onto the task. They’ll be more than up to the job and can bring some new insights into the complex matrix of social media.
CRISIS MANAGEMENT – Hopefully this one isn’t a permanent position… but when things go belly up, your PR team should be on hand to batten the hatches and turn storm clouds into blue skies. If you have a smaller team you might want to consider outsourcing to an agency for particularly tricky situations.
REPORTING/MEASUREMENT – PR isn’t all fun and games and measuring and reporting are essential ingredients to keeping your team focused and result-driven. Ask for weekly reports so you’re across mentions, engagement and brand growth.
HOW TO ALLOCATE TASKS
Knowing what should be done and actually getting people to do it are two entirely different things. As Blair Waldorf shows us, assigning and monitoring tasks can be a tricky business. You need to manage the workload while keeping your staff’s abilities, experience and wellbeing in mind. Tip the scales too far and you might find yourself with a Nelly Yuki situation on your hands! Here’s the top things to keep in mind:
PRIORITISE – Work should always be allocated in order of importance. The nature of PR means that deadlines are endless and random jobs are forever cropping up. It’s easy to get bogged down and lose track of the important things. Keep your team focused and working cohesively by being clear about what’s important and what should be completed first.
SKILLS – Better results will generally come from people who know what they’re doing. If one team member knows PR reporting inside out, you might find that they struggle with organising a media event. However, changing things up helps your team to learn and also allows new perspectives and fresh ideas to get thrown into the mix. Part of building your PR team is knowing when to stick to the status quo and when to take a gamble.
AVAILABILITY – This one goes without saying… don’t overload one person with all the work. They might be the best in the business but you’ll find better results come when people don’t feel like they’re climbing Everest.
PASSION – If a person expresses interest in a particular project or campaign, it could be a good idea to exploit this. People will always perform better at tasks they’re interested in, bringing new ideas and a strong commitment from start to finish.
STAYING ON TOP OF IT ALL
Now you’ve got your team working to their full potential, you need to keep it that way. Francis Thomas (Head of Corporate Affairs for London Midland) tells us that:
“… human beings keep inventing new ways to communicate, but we don’t drop the old ones. Video did not kill off the radio star… We’ve got video, we’ve got the internet, we’ve got social media. We keep adding and adding to the number of channels.”
And he’s right. The advent of social media doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten about magazines and newspapers, nor does the rise of influencers render celebrities and journalists redundant. What it does mean is that our horizons are perpetually expanding, and our skills and teams need to expand with it. Keep this process simple by fostering a learning environment. Stay on the lookout for new resources, conferences and workshops and listen to fresh ideas your staff may float by you. It’s also a good idea to encourage inter-department corporation so your team can pick up transferable skills and advise other members of your business. Finally, try to keep turnover to a minimum to encourage a stable work environment.
You can also check out this guide on modernising your PR workflow.
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Images: Team, Karen Inderbitzen-Waller and Delphine Avril Planqueel (banner); how to allocate tasks, Olympia Le-Tan; how to stay on top of it all, unknown via pinterest