A coordinated public relations attack can be a thing of beauty. When all the pistons are firing, and the planets align, PR can pour down like rain in a drought-stricken area. But the key to a coordinated PR attack is coordinating the people behind it.
In order to obtain this magical PR harmony, we have three PR teams: the in-house team (House), the outside-team (Outside) and the branding team (Branding). Each must have a specific role. If not, why have three different PR teams working for the same company?
The first thing we have to do is coordinate their roles. The House role is going to be dealing with corporate and regulatory issues. This means if a reporter calls up and asks about the company’s finances, workforce, legal problems, regulatory thoughts, etc., the House team will deal with it.
The Outside team is your business pitch team. They’re actively trying to drum up press hyping new partnerships, the company’s role in the overall industry, its technology and its story. They handle the big picture, “we’re an interesting business” pitch, but when there are inbound inquiries (i.e., “Hi, I’d like to set-up an interview with the CEO” or “I heard you’re being acquired”), they pass the info on to the House team and leave it in their hands. The Outside team’s job is to get press, not to respond to questions that may end up as “no comment.”
Lastly, we have the Branding team. Their role is strictly consumer focused. They want the company’s product featured as cool technology and they want stories about the benefits of such technology. They do not answer any difficult questions. They merely want to get the company’s brand in front of consumer eyeballs.
So now we’ve laid down the roles of each team, which can be done in one simple meeting. The next thing to do is to figure out how to deal with the media.
Each team should have a list of media outlets and contacts. These lists should be merged into one big list and then the contacts should be parsed out. For example, if journalists ends up on all three media lists for a company, but they’ve dealt solely with the House team in the past, there’s no reason that they should be getting calls from the Outside or Branding team. If they have questions that can better be answered by someone other than the House team, they will be directed to the appropriate person on another team.
It’s really very simple: the teams need to tell each other who their contacts are so they don’t stumble over each other. If there are existing relationships with certain media outlets or writers, let the other team know that you have an “in” and it may be best for you to deal with them. It may be a little onerous at times, but that’s the kind of coordination that shows people that your company has its collective PR heads on straight.
So now everyone knows their roles and knows who their media targets are. If everyone on the teams acts like they are supposed to, everything should be gravy. The teams will keep each other in the proverbial loop, letting each other know who they pitched to, what they pitched, and the result. Press clips would be shared across the teams so they know what is being written about the company as well as who is writing about the company. Conference calls, online chats, meetings or emails would let everyone know progress is being made.
The funny thing is that PR is all about communication. But when PR teams don’t communicate with each other, how do they expect to communicate their message to the media and the public? A little coordination goes a long way.
This article, written by Ben Silverman, originally appeared in PR Fuel (http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel), a free weekly newsletter from eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit: http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/subscribe/.