Part-way through a year’s placement with the PR team at Mobas, Sheffield Hallam student Lucie shares her thoughts so far.
What makes a great PR team?
As a PR student, I have learnt about the industry in the confines of a lecture theatre but I have not been able to put all this learning and knowledge to the test – until now! A topic that has been a discussion point at university is what actually makes a good PR team? Before working in Public Relations, I had little to no idea what an agency PR team looked like, let alone what made them successful. It’s difficult to define exactly what works but after being a part of my team here at Mobas I have identified five key principles I believe really make a difference:
Having clear objectives, strategies and tactics
So, what have I learnt so far? Well, it’s important that in a successful PR team everyone knows what they are working towards and how they are planning to get there. The best way to do this is to identify clear objectives for the team to work towards and to communicate the strategy and tactics that are needed to meet these. The work objectives need to be measurable so success can be identified but also realistic: there is no point in setting your team a goal that you know cannot be met.
Strong leadership and vision
It’s also become clear to me how important it is to have a focused leader with a clear vision – which we are lucky enough to have! They need to be able to identify what is most important and determine what needs to be done to add maximum value to the team, clients and organisation. They also have to be approachable and helpful, someone you can look up to and learn from throughout your time in PR.
Make use of all technology available
In a fast-moving industry, you need to keep up. Whether it’s monitoring Facebook, scheduling weekday tweets at optimum times to drive customers to clients’ websites, or creating an efficient reporting platform, it’s all important and necessary for success. There are hundreds of tools available for social media and reporting KPIs, or – as we have done here – the possibility to make your own bespoke templates. No matter what methods you use, I’ve learnt that transparent reporting is key to building good relations with clients.
Taking on a journalist
I have been taught at university that, although we have to work together, PR and journalism are two fields that do not traditionally get on. However, I’ve discovered there are increasing numbers of journalists moving to the so-called ‘dark side’. Having our very own ex-journalist on the team here means that she has invaluable skills to bring to the team. She is able to stick to strict deadlines and understand news, having worked in fast-paced newsrooms. This experience allows her to identify what hooks stories need to sell in. Most importantly, she knows what other journalists are looking for in a press release and can tailor her writing accordingly – avoiding spending hours on a story that is headed straight for the bin!
Building resilience and having an overall positive attitude
In the end, all clients want to pick an agency with a positive ‘can do’ attitude. In PR you are often faced with crisis situations or may end up spending time on stories that may not be as successful as you hoped they would be for a whole host of reasons. Building resilience in PR is key and the ability to pick yourself up when things go wrong – and having strategies in place for this will help you to recover quickly, and positively.
Overall, a good PR team comes down to the people in it and their positive attitudes towards the career they have chosen. I feel very lucky to be learning and gaining experience from everyone here at Mobas.