Almost all organizations come in contact with PR, one way or another, these days. But how can you profit on the opportunities that PR brings? To put it simply, you need a PR Manager. In this blog post, we’ll cover what the PR Manager does and why and when you’ll need to hire one for your business.
In smaller businesses, PR Managers are not very common, as PR (along with marketing to some extent) is looked upon as a luxury feature. There are often a lot of other skill sets that are seen as more important for companies, such as sales, HR and customer success. However, the importance of PR cannot be overstated. In today’s rapidly changing digital landscape, the need for adept PR professionals who can skillfully manage an organization’s online reputation, engage with diverse stakeholders through various platforms, and swiftly respond to crises in real- time is more important than ever.
Companies need a PR Manager to manage their public image and cultivate positive stakeholder relationships effectively. But this is not all. A PR Manager strategizes and executes communication plans that enhance brand visibility, handle crises, and mitigate potential damage to the company’s reputation.
They also bridge the company, media, and the public, ensuring a consistent and positive portrayal of the company’s mission, values, and achievements. This role is crucial in shaping public perception and trust, impacting customer decisions and, ultimately, the company’s success.
The role of the PR Manager
It is safe to say that the role of the PR Manager is multifaceted and varies based on the organization’s needs and industry, but also size, goals and competition. However, their primary responsibilities typically include:
- Developing a PR Strategy: PR Managers are often responsible for developing effective PR strategies that align with the goals of the company, but also the target audience. The strategy includes defining PR objectives, identifying key messages, and planning tactical execution – that is how they put the strategy into action.
- Media Relations: They must build strong relationships with journalists, influencers, and key industry players in order to get coverage for their news, press releases and other content. This involves pitching stories and coordinating interviews to secure positive media coverage.
- Crisis Management: As we discussed in previous content, crisis is the new normal. PR Managers are vital in managing the situation as they formulate response strategies, create public statements, and monitor the media landscape to protect the company’s reputation.
- Content Creation: PR Managers often create press releases, speeches, newsletters, corporate reports, and social media posts. This means that they have to be excellent writers and just as good storytellers. They ensure that all content aligns with the company’s messaging and caters to the needs of their audience.
- Brand Management: They should work to position the company positively in the public eye. This involves corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, and managing potential reputation risks.
- Event Planning: PR Managers can sometimes work with coordinating events like press conferences or product launches, where they ensure the events align with the company’s image and serve their PR objectives.
- Internal Communications: They also manage internal communication strategies to ensure employees are informed and aligned with the company’s values, objectives, and key developments. This can include updating the intranet or sending internal newsletters to employees.
- Evaluation and Analysis: PR Managers assess the effectiveness of PR campaigns, measuring them against set KPIs. They need to be able to use tools such as media monitoring softwares and social listening platforms to track coverage, analyze public sentiment, and adjust strategies as necessary.
- Stakeholder Engagement: PR Managers engage with various stakeholders, including customers, employees and investors, ensuring a consistent, positive company perception.
- Budget Management: PR Managers are also responsible for managing the public relations budget, ensuring efficient allocation of resources across various activities.
In essence, a PR Manager is the guardian of the company’s public image, working tirelessly behind the scenes to cultivate a positive perception of the brand and mitigate any potential risks to its reputation.
The skillset of a successful PR Manager
We have established that a PR Manager needs to possess a broad palette of skills, many of which are earned through practical experience in the field. For instance, the ability to articulate ideas clearly, verbally and in writing, is crucial. PR Managers must also craft engaging press releases, give persuasive presentations, and communicate effectively with various stakeholders. Nowadays, AI can help you write press releases. Crafting compelling stories, brainstorming campaign ideas, or finding unique angles to gain media attention requires much creativity.
The PR Manager also needs interpersonal skills, which means building and maintaining relationships with media professionals, influencers, clients, and team members.
A good understanding of different media platforms and how they operate is also essential. In our digital age, familiarity with social media platforms, content management systems, SEO principles, and digital analytics tools is essential. Thankfully, the need to manually schedule social media posts for platforms such as LinkedIn is no longer an issue.
Negotiation skills can come in handy, whether securing favorable media coverage, managing vendor contracts, or handling crises. People who have worked in sales can therefore have a huge benefit, due to their negotiation training.
Finally, overseeing PR campaigns from conception to completion requires good organizational and project management skills. PR Managers should be able to interpret media analytics, track campaign performance, and adjust strategies based on data. These skills, in combination with a keen understanding of public relations principles and practices, make a highly effective PR Manager.
When should you hire a PR Manager?
It can be hard to know when the time’s right to hire a PR Manager. If your business is expanding at a rapid pace, a PR Manager can become instrumental in managing this growth, promoting your successes, and mitigating potential challenges. The ability to shape public perception during considerable change is invaluable. Or, if your company is consistently in the public eye or has a high profile within your industry, it might be time to bring a PR Manager on board. The PR Manager can ensure that your company’s narrative remains positive and consistent.
Increased marketing and sales activities might also demand hiring a PR Manager. These initiatives often generate newsworthy stories, and a PR Manager can ensure these are communicated effectively to the right audience. Finally, suppose you’re simply spending too much time managing public relations tasks when you should be focusing on other aspects of your business. In that case, it’s a clear sign you need a dedicated PR Manager. They can take over these responsibilities and allow you to focus on what you do best – which is running your business.
How can you measure the success of the PR Manager?
Evaluating the performance of the PR Manager can be somewhat subjective, as it often involves analyzing both tangible and intangible factors. Overall, a good PR Manager should have a combination of strategic thinking, tactical skills, creativity, strong communication abilities, and good judgment. They should show that their work is contributing to the organization’s objectives and that they’re managing their resources effectively.
The most vital measures (and most relevant) are connected to how much coverage you get in the media and how your relationships with the media are being developed, but they should also be able to demonstrate measurable outcomes from their efforts. This could be increased brand awareness, more traffic to the website, improved public perception, or increased sales or donations.
PR Managers are crucial for organizations to manage their public image, cultivate positive stakeholder relationships, and handle crises, among other things. They are responsible for strategizing and executing communication plans, developing media relations, creating content, managing the brand, ensuring internal communications, evaluating campaigns, and handling PR budgets.
The role of a PR Manager varies based on the organization’s needs and industry, but their primary responsibilities are typically in line with these tasks. A successful PR Manager must possess various skills, including clear articulation of ideas, strategic planning, interpersonal skills, understanding of media platforms, negotiation skills, and project management skills.
Determining the right time to hire a PR Manager depends on factors such as business expansion, consistent public visibility, increased marketing activities, and significant time spent on managing public relations tasks. To measure a PR Manager’s success, consider media coverage, relationships with media, and measurable outcomes such as increased brand awareness, website traffic, public perception, and sales or donations.