It’s usually assumed that the CEO or owner of the company is also the public face and spokesperson of the business – and for good reason. After all, no one knows your product, service or industry better than you, right?
Except when it’s not. Sometimes, the press will be working on a story with a specific angle or topic that might be related to your business but beyond your area of expertise. Rather than pass on an otherwise great PR opportunity, why not give one of your superstar employees a chance to be in the media spotlight?
Of course, you shouldn’t just throw any employee out there. It goes without saying that these folks must be able to communicate confidently and succinctly, and (if giving an interview or presentation), need to be comfortable talking in front of other people. Basic media training is strongly recommended, too.
Here are three ways to leverage your employees’ expertise and land some PR coverage for your company:
Got people on your team who enjoy writing? Give them the opportunity to let those skills shine. Websites and blogs in nearly every industry are itching for original content these days. Your employees will get public recognition for their knowledge, and because they work at your company, your business will benefit from being positioned as a leader. (Not to mention, you’ll get a nice search engine optimization boost if those articles have links to your company’s website!)
Just be sure to review any articles before they get published – at least in the beginning.
Our CEO, Janine Popick, is a knowledgeable resource on anything related to small biz marketing, leading teams and entrepreneurship. But every so often, we’ll come across a PR opportunity that’s uber explicit. For example, awhile back a journalist wanted to talk to someone at VerticalResponse about recent changes made by a popular email client, and how those changes might affect email delivery to inboxes. While Janine can definitely talk about it at a high level, we also have a great email delivery team who lives and breathes this stuff behind the scenes. I connected the reporter to the head of that team and we landed a great article out of it.
If an employee is being interviewed, try to get some of the questions from the reporter in advance. I do this with all interview requests, whether for our CEO or another team member. It’ll help you understand what exactly the reporter is looking for and the direction he or she is taking. Some journalists won’t agree to this, but many will if you simply ask. Having the questions (and answers) in advance also will do wonders at calming any nerves and helping the interviewee feel more prepared.
You might be surprised at how willing your employees might be to speak at an event or trade show. Again, this is a great opportunity for them to establish their expertise, especially if the subject is something you’re not intimately familiar with. And it’s great public speaking practice.
Here at VerticalResponse, we often send members of our marketing team to speak on panels or give presentations related to marketing.
If it’s a presentation, review it well in advance so you can make sure it’s going in the direction you want and that it isn’t missing anything.
It’s also helpful to provide a “cheat sheet” with two or three key messages that you want your employee to get across during the presentation. Although it’s impossible to expect him or her to repeat them word for word, having these statements in hand will help focus the discussion.
Got any other tips on how employees can help boost your PR efforts? Share them with us below!