3 Questions CEOs Always Ask About PR

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When there's a disconnect between the C-suite's concerns and your PR efforts, you're asking for trouble. It's a road you don't want to go down. So what can you do to make sure what you're doing actually matters to the people you're working for?

Sharon Reis, partner at GYMR Public Relations, told those in attendance at PR News' March 14 Business Leadership Boot Camp that every member of a communications team should be ready to answer the most common questions CEOs have about PR's role in their organization. Obviously, this will come in handy if they actually need to explain their role to somebody, but also it's helpful as a way to set up an internal mental dialogue that keeps your eye on the prize.

1. How is PR helping to further business goals outlined in the strategic plan?

For corporations, this could mean projecting the right image, broadening their reach, demonstrating leadership and innovation not only to the consumer but also within the industry.

2. Where does your budget come from?

Take associations, for instance: How much of the budget comes from membership, publishing, meetings, etc.? How does PR make those revenue drivers more influential? How are you contributing to the bottom line? Be able to show numbers.

Members help drive strategy, but you need to manage CEOs' expectations. Seeing the name of the organization, their own name and their colleagues quoted in an article can make a big impression.

3. How does your issue connect to the broader vision and mission?

Say you're working with foundations: Grant money may be something you're tempted to crow about, but highlighting that isn't a good long-term strategy. Instead, focus on the mission and organizational reputation.

When it comes to actually interacting with organizational leaders, Reis adds, there are three additional questions to prepare for that will help you focus the above information to the particular occasion:

  • Why are we meeting?
  • What will this do for the organization?
  • What do you need from me?

Follow Ian James Wright: @ianwright0101

Follow GYMR: @GYMRPR