A Good PR Team

- - Adam Kidan

The TV show Publizity might satirize PR teams, but a good PR team is nothing to joke about.

Everybody’s got a story to tell, without a doubt.  And every business, whether it’s a food truck or a bustling restaurant chain, has got a story to tell as well.  When a company is ready to tell its story to the world, it’s essential to have an exceptional PR team.  However, what is it that makes a good PR team?  I recently came across an article that discusses what it is that makes a good PR team, listing five “secret ingredients” to an exceptional PR team.

In order to build a good PR team, you need the right people.  This requires finding the perfect mix of subject experts.  One example of this is the home improvement network Porch, which has an in-house team where each member has a different specific talent.  They encourage everybody to leverage their specialties, but also coordinate and collaborate with one another.  If you’re looking to hire a PR agency, there are some slightly different rules, but mostly it’s the same deal.  You should look for people with an expertise in your field, have strong relationships and understand your business.  They need to clearly understand your objectives and the value your products will deliver to customers.  You’ll also want to find out if they work with any of your competitors, to ensure that there isn’t any conflict of interest.

A company’s personal story is what gets people to take notice, like a tagline, motto or mission statement.  It’s what makes your business unique, personal and endearing.  Of course, the right outcome for any business should be to create great products for its customers, but how did they get there?  Curiosity is important, and the more questions a PR team is asking about your business, the more interesting the story they spin will be.  Leaders encourage their PR team to ask questions.  However, as company leaders and contributors discover answers to hard questions that spring up during the day-to-day journey of a business, they should funnel them to their PR team.  The answers will frequently reflect the true “heart and soul” of the company, and if you can capture those moments, then you’re on your way towards creating an authentic story that will help and establish an emotional connection with your customers.

A good PR team is one that is woven into the fabric of the business from the beginning, to ensure that their product and business story are aligned.  PR leads should be spending a good amount of time with the engineering, design and development leads of the business, since some of the best stories will come from those who are closest to the product.  Every company has hidden treasures that are PR gold, and they need to be mined.  By talking to different people in different positions, the PR team can find new ways to tell the company’s story.  If a PR team seeks out colorful personalities, then the results of those interactions can be the start for unlocking unique stories.

When and where you choose to share your story is one of the most important decisions a PR team can make.  There is no such thing as a “sure thing”, but you should never just be throwing darts at a board.  An effective PR team does their homework and spends a good amount of time understanding the industry and its influencers.  Who is it that will be interested in what you have to say?  What trends are they interested in?  What kinds of questions will they ask?  What types of medium do they use?  Knowing such facts will help you better understand your story.

In a lot of instances, the PR team will be the first ones to receive customer feedback.  Make sure that you pay attention to this feedback.  The PR team should even encourage it, as it provides insight that can then be used back in the office to ensure that products are utilizing a customer-centric lens.