How to Do PR Management with a Remote Team
In the latest #PRChat, we got to pick the brain of Zach Cutler, CEO, Co-Founder and Chairman of Propel PRM.
As a former agency owner with both remote and in-person employees, and a current CEO of a global PR SaaS company, Cutler was an interesting guest to discuss remote team management with.
With lingering conditions from the COVID-19 pandemic, more employees are working online than ever before. And it’s becoming a hugely important task for executive boards to figure out how to keep track of employees from afar. Especially within the #PublicRelations industry, as most comms teams remain remote.
What is the importance of measuring team performance in the age of hybrid and remote work?
Let’s find out…
How is the #PR industry handling remote and hybrid work as restrictions begin to lift?
According to market research company Ipsos, more than 1/3 of office workers say they'll quit if they are forced to go back to the office full-time (2021).
This means, remote work is here to stay, at least in some capacity. What this means for PR management roles: Establishing an effective management strategy that cooperates with distance!
“The pandemic has forever changed work dynamics,” Cutler said. “It will never be how it was in 2019. Work from home will stay as a growing phenomenon and eventually, most companies won’t have offices anymore. For PR, this can be tricky.”
A major challenge that arises, especially for a PR team, is decentralization of both resources and communication, Cutler added.
“[It] can cause major disruptions to productivity, relationships with journalists and influencers, and coordination between team members. Double pitching can increase exponentially, and reporting for clients or execs can become a nightmare…”
Luckily, we have answers, PR people! See Zach’s solution to PR management from afar:
“...But also unlocks tremendous insights that allow you to improve relationships with journalists, allow you to up your reporting game (which clients and execs love) and allow you to measure productivity and performance across all campaigns and initiatives!”
- David Fraser’s article in PRWeek about remote conditions proving isolating to people and PR agencies.
- Sara Collinge and John Brown of comms consultancy Don’t Cry Wolf recently opened a satellite office to increase access to remote talent.
- PR Network, a remote-by-design virtual PR agency, makes a smooth transition to pandemic-induced conditions.
Agency Founder Paul Stollery elaborates on why it is highly unlikely that PR agencies will return to full-time, in-person work:
What are the pitfalls of a remote or hybrid team? The benefits?
“The pitfalls of any remote team are potential communication gaps,” Cutler said. “However, this certainly does not need to be a pitfall anymore, with the plethora of amazing software and tools to keep distributed teams working very closely.”
He suggests using tools like monday.com, Zoom, etc. to allow remote teams the chance to operate even better, and more closely than in-office teams!
Cutler also reminded us of some of the great pleasures of remote work, including new freedoms, time management, no commute, and more control of quality of life, overall...
Sparey added the benefit of a huge new access to talent.
“With a sensible and thoughtfully-managed remote policy,” Sparey said, “your talent pool is suddenly global, rather than those who live within a 45-minute commute of the office.”
Are brands and agencies monitoring productivity effectively? Why or why not?
Tom Basgil, a lead generation and social media consultant for B2B brands, thinks that generally, everyone could do a much better job of monitoring productivity.
“I like to say that productivity ≠ efficiency,” Basgil said. Getting more done doesn't mean you're getting closer to your goals.That's why I like how @PropelPRM helps you discover which actions are most effective.”
How can managers help their direct reports be more productive and efficient?
The short answer: Set your team up for success.
“Give them technology tools!” Cutler said. “Whether that is @PropelPRM or other tools, technology truly changes the game when it comes to productivity in PR, especially when working remotely. Being able to understand your “batting averages“ for each PR campaign is crucial. Meaning:
- Open Rate
- Response Rate
- Publish Rate
Other invaluable resources that certain PR tools offer, according to Cutler:
- Centralized pitching history
- Automated Direct Attribution Reports
- Automated General Correlation Reports
- Shareable Business Outcomes Dashboards
- Productivity Tracking
Communications Consultant Claire Simpson, gives great advice on PR management for those who are relatively new to communications: “Build a personal tool stack AND understanding that what works for you, but won't work for everyone is key.”
This way, you can develop a personalized tool bank that works best for your personal style, and fill any gaps with the tools that your job provides…
“I'm a huge fan of time logging,” Basgil added. “You can do it on your own, and you don't have to show anyone. Every 3 or 4 months, I log every 15 minutes of an average day, from waking up to going to bed. It helps me see where I'm spending time on things I don't value.”
How does a tool like Propel enable transparency for managers and supervisors?
"Propel PRM, for example, helps supervisors see which team members are getting the best results,” Basgil, a Propel customer said. “They can leverage those team members: find out what they're doing that's working so well, and roll that process out to the rest of the organization.”
To learn more about Propel PRM and its PR management functions, book a demo with our team below!