While companies have marketing executives whose sole responsibility is to manage the image of the company in the public -- including earned media and paid advertisement -- a CEO should also be prepared to get involved in this aspect of the company's success.
Successful companies like Apple and Tesla have CEOs who are very apt in taking charge of their companies' PR strategy.
No one knows your company better than you do. This is why Elon Musk doesn't let the dust settle before he chips in on any incorrect press statements regarding any of his companies or products.
As a CEO, how do you ensure that your PR strategy is effective, and doesn't cause unwarranted catastrophe for your company? The following are ways CEOs can help their companies maintain an effective PR strategy.
1. Be involved in the process.
One mistake many CEOs make when it comes to executing PR for their company is going MIA in the critical stages of their company's PR strategy. Being involved in the very early stages can help ensure that the framework on which your company's PR strategy is formed reflects your company as an industry leader.
Aside from dedicating a competent person to take charge of your PR strategy, getting involved will ensure your strategy is effective and wins you good publicity. As the CEO, you can be active in your company's PR by reviewing the template your marketing executive has designed to help your company get the right attention. Noting the areas you think there can be improvements will ensure that the right attention is drawn to your company in the press.
While a hands-off approach gives the marketing executive a sense of control over their role in the business, the presence of the CEO in the planning stages will stimulate a successful campaign.
2. Let your voice be heard.
Establishing yourself as an authority in the industry is a must for every CEO. An effective PR strategy will always take care of this. Your strategy should be designed so that any media attention your company gets enables the CEO to demonstrate their thought-leadership.
As a digital PR professional myself, I encourage my clients to always let their expertise show through contributions and sources when we manage their digital PR. CEOs should also learn to become familiar voices in their industry.
When I work with companies to create digital PR, I design campaigns that allow the top executive(s) of the company to be the first point of discussion. This is very important. This ensures that not only is the company being projected positively, but the CEO is also building a strong reputation as well.
3. Create your media.
Owned media is a powerful PR asset. Relying on earned media or PR to demonstrate your thought-leadership is not 100 percent foolproof. Apart from the fact that earning media attention takes a lot of hard-work and will often cost you a lot, owned media is the only way to truly project your company the way you want it to be perceived.
An important role owned media -- such as your company blog -- can play in helping you drive effective PR campaign is to create more awareness about your internal operations. Media representatives and PR companies can rely on your company's blog or website to better understand what your company is all about. This is especially important for startups that need to direct the focus of their audience.
4. Involve experienced professionals.
When your company is in the early stages, getting the attention of the media can be tough. Hiring a PR agency can be costly, but you might be left with no other option at this stage. Letting an experienced professional PR company handle your PR when your budget cannot accommodate an in-house team will take a lot of weight off your shoulders.
Most PR agencies already have existing connections with the press and can leverage this relationship to help your company gain more publicity. This will eventually pay for the cost involved in using their services.