Whether your CEO is a first-time founder or an experienced executive, chances are better than even that she didn’t rise to her position by way of the PR department. If your chief executive’s background is in product development, sales, engineering, finance or some other specialty, you might find yourself having to sell her on the value of PR in order to meet your marketing goals, support your sales department and help move your whole company forward.
PR can move the company toward its strategic business goals. You can’t create an effective PR strategy without understanding your company’s primary goals, and you can’t convince a skeptical CEO of PR’s value unless you know what she cares about most. Is the strategic goal of the business and the CEO to acquire new customers? Create alliances that help sell the product? Attract the interest of investors? Find out, and then explain the PR programs you have in mind and how each will nurture leads, supports sales, generate demand or build shareholder value.
PR is measurable. You can give your CEO a summary of highlights every month, including outputs (such as coverage, social media activity and speaking engagements) and outcomes (such as change in sentiment or behavior). Tools like Google Analytics, HubSpot, Nuvi and many others can indicate which PR activities are driving audiences to your website, whether those visitors enter the sales funnel and convert, how social influencers regard your company, and more.
Executive visibility is a potent tool for sales and growth. Whether your CEO stays up at night worrying most about connecting with customers, partners or investors – or all three – raising her profile through integrated media relations, content marketing and social media programs can go a long way toward securing those connections. These target audiences are human. They are far more likely to connect to other humans than to faceless organizations – especially if those humans have something compelling to say and the authority to back it up. Show your CEO how PR can raise her profile to help the company stand out from the competition.
Whether your company opts into the industry conversation or not, that conversation is happening. Where are your competitors? Are they getting quoted in respected business publications? Are they engaging with influencers on Twitter and Facebook? Are they publishing thought-leadership articles on their company blogs or LinkedIn pages to capture the attention of their networks and beyond? Are they contributing articles to top-tier trade outlets? Your CEO needs to know where the competition is shaping the industry conversation – and where your company is absent.
The best media sources didn’t get great overnight. If your CEO is reluctant to put herself in the limelight, it might be time for some training. Becoming the face of the company is a learnable skill – one you can help her acquire.