Today, the BNR team is talking about team building. How do you pull together the right communications team for your business? What do you do in-house? When should you bring in outside expertise? How do you know a PR consultant or writer is the right fit for your team?

Here are some key take-outs:

• The media and PR landscape has changed completely, so you need to think carefully about what communications skills you need to bring into your team. It’s not a “one size fits all” and you don’t necessarily need “all”.
• Ask yourself what you’re trying to achieve. If you still have an old-fashioned structure, there might well be a smarter way of doing it now.
• To be cost-effective, it’s quite often better to bring in external skills by hiring a consultant or a freelancer than it is to bring on a person who won’t be as busy as you want them to be.
• Set goals and targets for what you need to achieve, no matter who you’re bringing in — whether it’s a staff member or a consultant.
• Ask a lot of questions before bringing someone on board. Make sure they have the skills you need. Ask them how they could do the job better than anyone else.
• Sarah believes having people on your team who are excellent writers is the key to success here. If your team can’t write, send them on a writing course. If you have writing skills, you’ll be a valuable member of any team.
• Nic said the ability to pick up the phone and actually talk to someone, and build relationships, is also vital.
• James said to look for someone who is prepared to be experimental because you can never be sure what is going to work, and sometimes the unexpected ideas are the ones that come off.
• Most businesses have internal and external service providers. They have to be able to work well together. Deadlines are an important way to ensure that happens.
• Outsiders — consultants you bring in — are often able to see things clearly in a way those too close to a business can’t. So it can be very worthwhile.

On My Desk

• Nic recommended the Nigel Collin book, Game of Inches.
• James’s recommendation is Bernadette Jiwa’s book, Difference.
• Sarah’s recommendation was the New York Times “What We’re Reading” newsletter.

Have you heard the one about…

Recently James, Sarah and Nic were joined by Sandra Brewer for a discussion about managing messaging for multiple brands.

And here’s a discussion about media intelligence — what is it, and why is it important?

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