Every growing company will get to a point in their business model where an important issue arises - Do you need to outsource?
It gets increasingly hard to cover all bases in a growing business, and companies often can’t afford to hire an employee for every niche. Public Relations Consultants are essential for a business and are a successfully outsourced profession. They cover a broad range of tasks, yet some people are still unsure of what exactly Public Relations people do. Whether it is internal communication, crisis management, brand management, press releases or social media... good companies need good PR.
Hiring a consultant to control the public relations and communications aspects of your business can be hugely beneficial - if executed correctly. Here are the best ways to get the most out of your PR consultant…
1. Choosing your consultant - Be a detective
There is a famous quote that states – ‘If I was down to my last two dollars, I’d spend one of them on PR.’
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and find a PR consultant. You will need to interview these people and ensure they are the right fit for your company.
You are the only one who knows your business direction and the values you hold most important. Make sure you focus the questions you ask your potential consultants around these important points. You have to be your own detective. You could ask them a thousand different questions, just make sure this is one of them - How will they really benefit your business?
PR consultants all claim to be experts in their fields, which is exactly what you are hiring them for, so they need to be able to convince you that they will bring a point of value to your business. Make sure they can tell you something you don’t already know.
2. So you've now engaged the help of a consultant - Lay down the agreement
To ensure you are both clear on the expectations of the agreement, lay it all out on the table. Be clear about exactly what you want to achieve in your brief, talk about timing, budget and your targets, and ensure the consultant provides a comprehensive action plan outlining how they will meet your requirements, before any work commences.
A very important point to discuss with your consultant before entering into an agreement is the scope of the work, and whether they will be open to taking on additional work if required, to ensure any arguments down the track are avoided.
3. Keep up your end of the deal
So you now have someone doing your PR for you? Great!
While it is very easy to think ’Great, that’s done’ and leave all thoughts about social media and press releases right there - that’s not going to get you the best possible outcome. The PR professional you have hired is just that, a professional, but it makes promoting a business a whole lot easier if they are kept up to date with what is actually happening behind the doors.
Schedule a weekly or monthly catch up to ensure everyone involved in the agreement continues to be on the same page, and be proactive in informing them of any changes, updates or market trends - then you can let them work their magic.
4. Above all - It's about a relationship
Outsourcing help is still essentially employing someone, so be sure to treat them as an employee. Understand what they are doing, assist them where possible and have regular evaluations.
One of the keys to success is maintaining open communication, if you feel that targets are not being met to your satisfaction or to that of the agreement, bring this issue to the table and resolve the problem. It is critical to maintain a healthy and trustworthy relationship with your PR consultant.
A great partnership using outsourced talent can bring huge benefits for your business, and increase the time avaliable to focus on areas that you specialise in. A functional, trusting relationship is the key to getting the most out of your PR consultant, and thus being of the greatest possible value to the business.