You might need a communications coach, not a PR Consultant


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Written by Stephanie A. Smith, APR, Founder SASC

As a business owner, you have an unparalleled dedication to your brand and the experience it delivers. You’ve worked weekends, too many late nights and early mornings to count, in order to bring your vision to life.

And you agree with all the business advice out there that encourages you to take some of that time back by hiring partners, agencies and vendors to help with everything from finances to HR to marketing.

From a communications perspective, you might be feeling the pressure to hire that fancy (read: expensive) agency, but have either been burned before or aren’t quite sure you have the capacity for one more thing added to your very full plate.

Here’s a secret: just like building a business, success with, marketing and PR success also requires consistency. And you’ve already done that – it’s how you’ve gotten to where you are today.

Another secret:

Consistency is really just another form of communication – with yourself, with others, and with those ideal customers for your company..

Sure, you could hire that fancy agency or consultant, sign a 12-month retainer and hope for the best. But that might not be your best next step.

You might want to hire a Communications Coach instead.

What’s the difference?

PR Agency: Business hire PR agencies to develop and implement strategy as a full extension of your team. Like an outsourced PR department. They manage everything and only pull you in your input or to respond to a media request.

PR Consultant:  A consultant works short-term within your organization as a team of one to provide advice and strategy. They may or may not actually implement that advice for you. Consultants often come in and assess the situation, and then recommend other people to execute, with the consultant providing oversight and occasionally project and team management.

PR Coach: Similarly, a PR coach works closely within your organization, typically directly with the business owner, typically for an accelerated period of time and with reduced frequency.

The coach is there to make recommendations on strategy, and then provide support and accountability with the intention that you do the implementation. For example, you may get strategic insight into how to best approach social media and publicity, while also developing your own communication-based leadership. To meaningfully advocate and communicate on behalf of your company, and to refine that communication at each step of the customer experience.

Hiring a coach when you actually need a full team to execute a multi-pronged communications plan, or paying a consultant for a roadmap you’re not ready act upon will only result in frustration.

The good news is that there is a ton of expert help available to you at every stage of your business, in all sorts of different formats and levels of investment.

About Stephanie

PR Couture Council member Stephanie A. Smith is the strategic communication expert and coach you never knew you needed but can’t live without. She has a Ph.D. in Communication and her Accreditation in Public Relations from the Public Relations Society of America.

She leverages her teaching and communication expertise to help brands learn more compelling and effective storytelling strategies that they can implement themselves while avoiding wasting time, unnecessary expenses, and overwhelm. Learn more at SASC.