So You’ve Hired a Communications Team – Now What?
You’ve taken the plunge and hired an outside firm — to promote a special project or a big event or to plan and lead communications on an ongoing basis. But with all that you do, how do you communicate with the communicators and build a successful partnership? How do you make sure your investment pays off?
Share and overshare. Your communications team is your partner, and partners function best when there are no secrets. Make sure they understand your challenges as well as the opportunities the project presents. Keep the lines of communication open as a project evolves so that strategies can shift and opportunities are not missed.
Know what success looks like. Having a clear goal is catnip to a good communications team. Are you looking for regional media coverage that will drive ticket sales or attendance at an exhibition? Or do you have a less tangible goal of raising your profile or positioning your organization among a new set of peers? Different goals require different strategies and tactics – make sure you share your goal with the communications team so they can focus their efforts appropriately.
Plan for regular communication. Yes, you hired the communications firm to take things off your overfilled plate – but they still need to make sure they’re on track and delivering what you need to achieve your goals. You have insider information they need to succeed, so schedule check-in calls and meetings throughout the project to keep things moving forward.
Offer them a seat at the table. Business leader Richard Branson was recently quoted as saying, “The head of PR is perhaps one of the most important people in a company and a good chairman will have them by their side.” Find ways to incorporate your outside consultants with your existing team and supporters – invite them to a few staff or board meetings, make sure they know about community meetings, a rehearsal or a workshop – and then ask for their feedback on your programs.
Remember why you hired them. You chose your communications firm for a reason – that reason should be that they have expertise in solving a problem that you couldn’t solve in-house. Like a good marriage, a communications firm’s strengths should complement yours and add to your store of knowledge.
What other tips would you add?
Not quite there yet? Then read our post Five Signs It’s Time to Hire a Communications Firm.
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