How do we bring PR in house?
We hired a PR agency for the first time four months ago to manage our business-to-business PR needs. After an initial burst of activity they achieved very little, we are now terminating their contract and plan to hire someone in-house to do the same job. What kind of calibre of person should we be looking for and what resources should we anticipate when we bring this person on board?
A. Mark Mason of Mason Zimbler writes:
This is not uncommon and it is really down to expectations. Many PR agencies are great at winning business but poor at developing the relationship with the client. A good agency will work closely with the client writing articles, sending out press releases and arranging speaker opportunities. However on the whole this requires as much effort from the client as it does from the agency, and this aspect can surprise many who expect a ‘hands-off’ relationship. First of all they will need to have a thorough understanding of your business. Knowledge of industry journalists as well as personal contacts with editors would also be helpful. They will need to sign up to certain PR subscriptions and online databases for feature lists, editorial calendars and contacts. Put together a PR plan, set priorities, establish a PR strategy and a number of tactical activities, and then work closely with the individual to make sure these objectives are met. PR success lies as much with the CEO as it does with the PR executive.