Public relations professionals are responsible for positively positioning clients and their organizations in the eyes of their target audiences as well as getting the media interested in subscribing to their point-view. Many people see this as an exciting profession and it is. Leaders get to represent clients that fit their personal beliefs and passions while helping shape entire companies or even industries from the ground up—all exciting stuff.

But with all these significant aspects, many things come with running a public relations agency. Looking back at our experience over the past eight years of running NRPR, here’s what we’ve learned about running a solid PR organization:

Communicate the Vision and Goals

Anyone running a good PR agency will tell you about the importance of not only having a good vision but also being able to translate it. That means communicating your vision and goals to your team so that everyone understands what the marching orders are, not only on a yearly, but also on a monthly, weekly, and even daily basis. Without knowing where you are headed, many short-term (and long-term) challenges will keep popping up that will prevent your agency from growing.

Motivating your team around that vision involves communicating it while encouraging them to do their best. This can take the shape of a vision statement that grounds and unifies everyone around a shared direction. 

A wide-ranging vision shouldn’t try to communicate all the road map details, nor every single step. Instead, the vision encapsulates the company’s dream in a simple, general idea. Then, to make it implementable, you can set small attainable goals that align with the bigger strategy. 

To this end, it is highly recommended that you communicate with your team daily through early morning meetings so team members can generally know what’s going on with all the accounts, not just their own. Another valuable component involves requiring your team members to turn in daily to-do lists so you can be aware of what they are working on and adjust according to the week’s or month’s strategy.

NRPR recognizes that the PR environment can be stressful, perhaps more so than many industries. However, building a successful team in this environment involves positive engagement. It also consists in motivating your employees to work as a team. 

Taking the time to urge your employees to be on the same page, remaining encouraged and motivated, as well as staying team-oriented will help your company attain its goals.

Learn to Delegate

As with many entrepreneurs, PR agency owners can put too much on their plate and get stressed out from too much work while not having enough time. This is why it’s necessary to establish a clear team structure so that you could know how to delegate across the teams based on job function and roles.  Of course, this means clearly delineating the job roles.

On the other hand, many fall into the trap of just delegating without taking the time to learn more about the functionality of their team and what they can take on so that the delegating can be more effective.

Also, it would help if you impress upon your team members that they are not entirely confined to their assigned roles or job titles. While each one may have specific responsibilities, there can be flexibility in what assignments they might take on, again, depending on their unique set of skills and interests.

While delegating may sound great on paper, it can be challenging for many leaders in practice. They may say things like, “It’s just going to take too long to show someone how to do it, so I’ll do it myself. Besides, I can do it better.” But, as mentioned, this strategy is not sustainable — you risk burning yourself out while preventing the development of your teams’ capabilities. 

Even though resisting the temptation of “taking it all on” is key, a leader should also distinguish between a teachable moment vs. a critical moment. A critical moment is when one of your team members does something wrong in a “life or death” situation involving the client, and you have to jump in, intervene, and move on as quickly as possible. 

Have Systems In Place To Implement

High pressure, deadlines, and incomplete information is the reality of any PR agency owner. Under these circumstances, good decision-making skills are crucial as your business can’t afford to get it wrong. Developing these skills involves cultivating emotional intelligence while thinking about how your decision will impact your team and clients.

Another critical aspect of implementation is putting together guidelines or best practices that employees can follow. These can be compiled into an Excel file, organized by topic, and be made accessible for everyone to study, adhere to, and problem-solve with. 

Best practices are especially crucial in a grueling agency environment where you don’t have time to coach everybody. In this case, you need to have resources in place that your employees can reference quickly and easily. This will help reinforce training to make them more effective while fostering the growth of your company.

Finally, part of moving your organization forward involves handling your information flow. A leader can quickly get hundreds of emails per day. To manage the flow of information, it is necessary to adhere to a system. At NRPR, we recommend starting with the oldest emails received, and properly filing according to a specific topic. Work with your team for a way to best classify your emails. Then, ensure that you can answer those that need responses right away. 

Delegation also works here, so make sure you pass emails to the proper subject matter expert. Usually, they are more involved in working on that specific issue or client. The goal should be to make this time as compact as possible. Organization is critical here.

Hopefully, the blueprint shared in this post will help you build a solid organization that considers your two most important assets: your clients and your team. Though these tips are not easy to implement, provided you are ready to invest the needed time and effort, you can set yourself up for growth and tackle more significant challenges ahead.