The Right Team Member Is More Valuable Than An Entire PR Firm

More than one year ago, I wrote that Matt Cutts is representative of next generation PR.  So it was great to see Aaron Wall at SEO Book write a post on the top 10 SEOs and included this bit about Matt:

Matt Cutts is better at public relations than 99% of public relations experts are. He is able to constantly promote Google products and engage in issue shaping while rarely being called out for it. And he rarely makes *any* mistakes on the public relations front…

The fact that Aaron makes this statement proves my point from last year exactly.  As a leading voice in the SEO industry it’s clear to Aaron that Matt is better at public relations than nearly all PR professionals.  But it goes further than that, and as someone who is in the PR industry I’ll just say it:  Matt Cutts is a stronger force for Google’s PR than an entire PR firm could be.  And it’s not just possible for Google, it’s possible for your company.

How?

Your PR firm needs to activate its client’s team members

I know I said above an internal individual at a company can be more valuable than your PR firm.  That’s true.  But that isn’t to say the right PR firm couldn’t activate these individuals.  It merely shifts your PR firm’s role.  If your firm is merely pushing outbound PR and not acting as a true strategy consultant in 2010, you need a better firm.  They should be creating inbound strategies and embracing pull PR.

Your internal communications manager/director needs to shift their thinking

Client-side communications pros need to stop pushing for more clips and media placements (merely a KPI) by having their firm badger media and leverage connections.  Instead they should tap their consultants to embrace the web in an organic way to position their brand as a leader and lead to increasing PR returns.  A part of this can certainly  involve tapping the right team members to act as advocates.

Your team members have new responsibilities

I don’t care that your team members are busy.  That’s no excuse – we’re all busy.  Find those passionate enough about the industry to be a part of shaping your company’s influence, authority and trust.  Maybe that’s not for everyone, but the question is this:  when competitors are doing it and you aren’t, what does that say to the industry/world/constituents about your brand?  Exactly.

PR pros worth their salt now realize that the right individuals – empowered and activated – can play into devastatingly effective strategies.  Instead of seeing this as a threat, true strategists put these people to work as part of their arsenal.