The ultimate goal of any business is to create a SaaS PR team that can adapt to potentially increasing fast-changing communication requirements. With an effective PR team, you can build more effective PR campaigns based on engaging narratives, thus generating a wider reach for your brand.
Every brand should have a narrative, and every customer should be able to tie the product or service you’re offering to that narrative. If you expect consumers to buy your product or service without developing any story to help them develop a connection to your brand, you will be sorely disappointed. Consumers who are left to buy on price or convenience can be won over by your competitors easily.
On the other hand, if you have an interesting story to tell, and you can develop a story that sticks with the target market in such a way that they can’t forget about it, you’ll have an easier time winning loyal customers over. However, in order to convey this story to the public in a way that draws people in, you need to put in place a team that is not only creative but also works together well. Building a specialized public relations (PR) team, either in-house or by outsourcing PR pros, is a wise step for brands that appreciate the value of a story and want to investigate it as a marketing or advertising alternative. Although the tasks and responsibilities of any given PR team may change from campaign to campaign or product to product, there are a few key rules that every successful PR team must follow.
Before we dive into how to improve PR workflow to stay up-to-date and create more value for clients in less time, let us look at what to look out for when building your PR team.
1) Applicable skills matter
Outstanding public relations teams have exceptional storytellers who know how to create intriguing and engaging content and copy. Journalists, copywriters, content writers, filmmakers, graphic artists, videographers, public speakers, and scriptwriters are examples of these people. The team should have a diversified background in a variety of businesses or media platforms. If all team members are from the same industry, there’s a risk of too much overlap or duplication of viewpoints and ideas.
2) Buy-in is essential
You can get the best of the best to be part of your team but if these people don’t understand your mission and vision or – worse still – haven’t fully signed on – this won’t mean anything. Without getting a commitment from your team members, your campaigns will be short-circuited, and activities that could otherwise be easy and seamless will be complicated due to competing perspectives and priorities.
3) Story is foundational
Once the team is in place, you should engage with key stakeholders and visionaries to develop a story that embodies the brand’s unique value proposition and resonates with the target audience. What is the purpose of your business and what motivates you? What distinguishes and intrigues your brand from its competitors? Capturing the unique aspects of your brand in a memorable story will help you to build your brand on a strong foundation. Keep in mind that a good story will play a role in your success in the future.
4) Curiosity is an ingredient of success
If the members of your team aren’t eager to contribute to a larger mission or they aren’t curious to find out more about what you do, then you should find a new PR team. That might sound callous, but you don’t want people who are half-hearted on your team. Rather, you want people who are driven and thirsty for any information they can leverage to develop a successful outreach campaign. Curiosity is actually a key component of a successful PR team, as the team members should be eager to learn about the company, its vision, and goals. Furthermore, the people on your team should be fascinated by what makes people in your target market tick. With this information, they can help you create a brand story that is sure to reel your target audience in.
5) PR should always be part of the business plan
Public relations should not be kept in a separate compartment from the rest of your brand’s everyday operations. For this reason, you should make sure you introduce your PR team to the other departments in your brand and create an environment that encourages teamwork and the exchanging of ideas. By involving members of the public relations team in research, development, sales, and distribution, you can improve all these processes. You might think a specific department is so far removed from PR. In reality, wherever you go, there’s usually a mountain of stories waiting to be mined. In other words, involving your PR team in different departments could help these people develop a more relatable narrative that contributes to a positive brand image.
6) Good PR teams know how to listen
What does the audience have to say? What exactly does their feedback imply? These aren’t usually the same thing, and making assumptions here leads to more confusion and miscommunication. Good public relations teams take feedback as it comes, raw and unedited, and engage with it directly, gaining insight rather than taking offense. Moreover, the best teams will follow up on whatever feedback they receive to ensure they have a clear understanding of the message.
How to increase workflow for your PR team
The PR and media spheres are rapidly evolving all over the world. For example, you might be reading this guide on a small screen, and you might have found your way here through a social media platform that didn’t exist only a few years ago. Meanwhile, in a Silicon Valley or Nairobi basement, some kids may be establishing yet another social network to keep up with.
It can get challenging to keep up with all these changes. Capturing the attention of the fickle consumer is a goal for all communication teams. However, when you’re aiming to do this, you’ll find yourself up against not only other PR teams for budgets but also advertising, digital, and marketing departments. Everyone is vying for a slice of the cake.
Many PR teams are attempting to increase their capabilities to gain a larger piece of the pie. They’re adding owned media, paid media, and shared media to their standard earned media offerings.
PR professionals are well aware of the need to improve in order to stay competitive yet they often struggle to do so. For instance, the team at PR Academy, a prominent UK-based training company for public relations professionals, recently asked all of its students to select the talents they wanted to improve on. Measurement (53%) was cited as having the most skill gaps, followed by budget management (44%), crisis management (37%), and digital communications/social media (37%).
These skill disparities are essentially the same as when the study was conducted the last time. The PR industry is not adaptable enough to evolve at the right rate, which is risky in today’s fast-paced market. These issues will not be resolved during billable hours. You’ll need to set aside money and time for continuous improvement for everyone on your team. You’ll have to invest in change by making it a priority for your staff.
Why you need to improve PR workflow
If you have a poor workflow, your team will be crippled and unable to perform the tasks that you expect of them: everything will be less efficient, and team members will be frustrated. It means you’re delivering low quality work at a slower pace, you aren’t keeping clients or stakeholders as satisfied as they should be, and you’re losing money.
There are a variety of reasons why a PR workflow isn’t up to par.
New work necessitates new methods of operation. New team members may misread their predecessors’ workflows or establish new workflows that are incompatible with the rest of your organization. Additionally, your team may be employing antiquated procedures to address these new issues. The fact that communication teams have a high turnover rate makes matters worse since knowledge is lost every time an employee is replaced. In the United States, PR agency turnover rates reached 55% in 2014.
Your PR workflow is probably in need of an improvement, even if it isn’t obvious.
Are your PR efforts landing flat every time? If you know what to look for, you’ll find clues that your existing workflow may be contributing to the problem. What are some of these clues?
- Certain tasks take longer to complete than they did previously.
- Employees are dissatisfied with certain parts of their jobs.
- Clients or partners return work or complain about the quality of services they’re getting regularly.
Changing your PR workflow shouldn’t be a massive undertaking. When change becomes the new normal, your team must be ready to adjust quickly. Just as with work processes, workflow improvement efforts need to be broken down into digestible bits.
Steps for increasing workflow for your team
Begin by constructing a comprehensive understanding of your workflow. Once you have an eagle-eye view of the current workflow, you need to follow a few basic steps to ensure that the mapping process makes the most use of everyone’s time and produces meaningful outcomes.
1) Assemble a team from a diverse group
The bigger your company is, the more workflows and processes you will have. It makes sense that a big company would have multiple workflows and processes at different levels and in various departments.
In order to get effective results that take different perspectives into consideration, make sure your team is made of diverse members of your organization. Senior executives, accounting team members, younger executives, designers, and planners are all welcome. After all, the results are more fascinating when the group is diverse. What’s more, with a diverse team, you’ll have a chance to address needs and viewpoints that normally wouldn’t have occurred to you.
Senior managers, for example, will be able to communicate their understanding of macro workflows and how they work. Accounting colleagues will know where mistakes have been made and when clients are dissatisfied. In turn, junior executives will clearly understand the foundation required for any PR plan and what is aggravating and holding you back from success.
The size of your company should determine the size of your workflow innovation team. Management is frequently inclined to keep teams small and only invite senior representatives. Make sure you don’t make that mistake. Rather, you should cover ake sure you’ve covered every level of the business in question.
2) Make sure you inlcude the whole team in brainstorming sessions
Does your typical brainstorming session consist of a few boisterous individuals speaking, while others observe and listen? If this is the case, then you should know you’re frequently missing out on crucial contributions from the rest of the team.
Make sure you allow introverts to speak up in your brainstorming sessions. There are numerous methods for including all participants, but the Post-it approach is one of the most effective. This is a fantastic way to allow everyone to speak their thoughts without fear of being judged.
It’s simple: participants put down their thoughts on Post-it notes without discussing them. After a few minutes, everyone takes turns explaining their ideas and posting them on the wall. Following that, the participants group all comparable concepts into clusters and assign labels to each cluster.
A brainstorming session of this kind may last up to an hour. Since it is so intensive, you may want to take a break afterwards to allow the team to process the information.
A brainstorming session of this kind produces a visual representation of all of your team’s work. It also serves as a road map for all of your workflow optimization experiments. Put this overview in a prominent location in your office so that it can serve as a regular visual reminder of your workflow improvement efforts.
Try out this brainstorming process. It’s a high-energy, exciting manner of working that makes everyone on the team feel included. Furthermore, it’s an excellent way to get a collaborative change management project off to a good start.
3) Use models for structure
Introduce a model that helps participants organize their thinking to give them a head start.
The PESO model is an excellent model to use as a foundation for your analysis in a communication or PR team. It encompasses paid, earned, and owned media in addition to earned media. This approach considers the changing ways that public relations professionals are reaching out to their audiences.
The PESO model covers lots of ground. It is easy to go overboard by going into too much detail. Try to keep it at a high level by asking the team to only list big tasks. For example, “blogger outreach” is a high-level task, and “following a blogger on Twitter” isn’t.
Using the PESO model as a foundation will help your team understand all the work they do and reveal the work they could do to create value for your organization.
4) Track progress throughout
You can’t improve something you don’t track.
If you keep track of your workflow, it will be easier to spot faults and bottlenecks. This will show you what work is ready to begin, what work is in progress, and what has been completed.
5) Map customer value
Where do you start looking for improvements now that you have an overview of all the work your team conducts and are tracking the throughput?
You might want to start by distinguishing between work that adds value to clients and work that does not. This logic also applies to in-house public relations departments.
This dichotomy is thought of as two high-level forms of customer demands that enter your system in systems thinking theory: “value” and “failure” demands.
The work that clients pay corporations to accomplish is known as value demands. It is the reason behind the company’s existence.
Failure demands are “demands that arise as a result of a failure to perform something or do it correctly for the consumer.” Customers call back, show up again, or otherwise create additional demand, hence more work, when service businesses fail to satisfy consumer expectations.
6) Train the team
Are project teams sold on the benefits of a new workflow? How do you get credibility if you don’t have any? Begin by writing it down. Documented processes are easier to teach to new hires and make creating quality checklists easier.
It’s also critical to devote time to training team members on the new workflow.
Despite the fact that the importance of continuous learning has been extensively acknowledged, PR training is not provided frequently enough. According to respondents in recent research by the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA), more training is needed, particularly in digital and social media skills.
Expert blogs are the primary training source for both in-house and agency employees. While it’s encouraging that professionals take the need to upgrade their abilities seriously, companies should play a more prominent role.
Pressfarm is a PR agency that works with startups and companies of various sizes to create newsworthy content distributed to media professionals and on their own channels. From email pitches and press releases to guest posts and press kits, Pressfarm’s PR professionals work together to help our clients gain the media coverage they deserve,
Regardless of whether your PR team is in-house or outsourced, having one that understands the ins and outs of the industry is essential. It is always important to find the right people with valuable skill sets that can enhance the team rather than hinder it. Finally, it is not just about having the right people but also developing a team workflow that works like a well-oiled machine.
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In addition to creating this quality content for your brand, Pressfarm’s content distribution strategy is designed to help you put your news in front of the right eyes. By submitting your content to the right media outlets and startup directories, Pressfarm can boost your online visibility and ensure your brand features in relevant search results across different search engines. Additionally, Pressfarm’s media database of over 1 million contacts is designed to help you to keep doing media outreach for your brand for up to one year after you sign up.
If publicity is what you need for your brand, then Pressfarm is the right way to go.