Public relations is a multifaceted profession that often demands extensive collaboration for its practitioners. Teamwork in the field allows PR professionals to develop strategies and execute plans in an environment open to different viewpoints and contrasting ideas. A lack of teamwork can leave public relations pros missing opportunities for their clients or struggling to manage their responsibilities.
In an agency or organization, more than one public relations representative frequently works on a single account or area of focus. In an agency, for instance, the account manager may serve as the chief point of contact for a client, but the account manager also works with other members of the firm to execute communications plans that match the client's needs. The success of the arrangement depends on the account manager and other public relations professionals on the account to be unified on a strategy.
Public relations teams band together to pursue the media placement their clients desire. Public relations specialists and managers collaborate to monitor media coverage and to use that knowledge to target media outlets and journalists who may be a good fit for the client. In this type of project, public relations specialists can share their knowledge about journalists from previous experiences. They also can brainstorm ideas for the best ways to package a pitch to a journalist in a way that stays true to the client's message.
Teamwork frequently plays a role in the creation of communications products, such as print items, videos, photos and websites. For instance, a press release will not be distributed to the media with only the input of the release's writer. Instead, colleagues ensure that the release is grammatically accurate, meets organizational style guidelines and fits desired messaging. Team members look for miscues as small as a typo and as large as an inaccurate fact. Some communications, such as a newsletter or annual report, feature the work of a team of specialists, such as writers, graphic designers, photographers and editors.
Teamwork is perhaps most essential in public relations during a crisis for a client. When an organization faces a crisis, such as a tragedy or scandal, its public relations team cooperates to manage the organization's communications response. In this event, public relations professionals drop personal projects and assume different roles on the team to ensure the organization is meeting its communication goals. Team members work to find and identify accurate information, develop messaging and relay information to the public, including media. They also collaborate to monitor media reports, including social media activity related to the organization.
Tom Gresham is a freelance writer and public relations specialist who has been writing professionally since 1999. His articles have appeared in "The Washington Post," "Virginia Magazine," "Vermont Magazine," "Adirondack Life" and the "Southern Arts Journal," among other publications. He graduated from the University of Virginia.