If you’re reading this article, you’re probably interested in performing PR functions yourself, or in hiring team members to do so (or both). It will help you find the right people to execute the PR sales role in your organization, and secure free publicity for your company.Even though this falls under the category of public relations, what you’re really hiring for is a person who likes to do telephone sales. You’re looking for someone who loves to pitch people, and is technically savvy enough to compile resources online and monitor the media response to your campaign. The first rule -
Don’t hire anyone with a PR background. People with traditional backgrounds in PR will want to write newswires and press releases all day. Typically people in PR are writers (or they wanted to be), and there’s nothing wrong with that, but what you want—and need—is someone who can deliver a persuasive sales pitch, and follow-up with everyone they contact. It seems simple, but it’s not. That’s why I’ve included the list below.
Here’s what skills and characteristics you’ll want your team members to have:
- They must love to sell. Candidates will need to the ability to “get past the gatekeeper” in order to pitch. They should be able to raise and handle objections, track their own sales leads, and love to sell.
- They can handle rejection. Do they realize that every “no” is one step closer to a “yes”?
- They’re enthusiastic junior players. I like junior sales people, around their mid-twenties and enthusiastic. Remember, you’re not looking for people who can sell to VPs or CEOs.
- They need to be able to listen. The ability to understand what the writer wants to write about is crucial. It’s the only way to know why an approach isn’t working, and how to change it.
- They’re “glass-half-full” people. Find someone optimistic so their excitement and energy transfers to everyone they talk to, especially the writers over the phone.
- They’ve got a great “phone voice.” A great phone voice is important so writers can understand them. They may be pitching you to writers in different regions too, so hire people with accents that match your market, or have voices that are clear enough to people throughout North America.
- They need to know how to write. Your PR people won’t be writing press releases, but they will be doing tons of follow up via email. They’ll have to be able to create excitement and get their point across succinctly.
- They’ll have to be tech savvy. This role will require the use of a computer and the Internet constantly, since most their resources will be online.
- They need to be smart. The fact that this is last doesn’t make it any less important than the others. The people you hire to do this work need to be information agregators, and intelligent enough to draw connections within the vast expanse of information they collect. Their research must be accurate, appropriate, and timely. They should love reading blogs, know how to use RSS, and gather info from Twitter. Information like this is crucial so they can stay current on trends, and include them in pitches to writers.
For more information on this topic, check out: Generating Free PR.