A spokesman in the company - necessity or a whim?

Service Business

Have you recently established a company and you are wondering whether it is worth creating a position for a press spokesman in it? On the one hand, you meet with voices that it is a whim and an additional expense, and on the other - that it is almost a necessity if you want to take care of the good image of your company? We will try to answer the question whether the company's spokesperson is really a "must have" and whether it can be replaced in some way. Thanks to us, you will also learn what qualities and skills a person who will be in this position should have.

When is a company spokesperson a must?

It is obvious that proper contact with the media plays a huge role in building the company's image outside. Public relations activities are an important part of all image-building activities and therefore it is important that someone really competent deals with them. Such a person is undoubtedly a press spokesman, but the spectrum of his tasks extends far beyond contacts with journalists. It is a man-institution that organizes both external and internal communication of the company.

While for medium and large companies that focus heavily on promoting their image in the media, the position of a press spokesman is obvious, smaller companies often resign from his presence. There are usually two reasons - the first is related to the costs of maintaining such a position, which in a small company can be a significant burden on the budget, the second - the belief that a small, local company does not need to build an image in the media on too large a scale. The first reason is quite real, and the second is a misconception - even a small start-up company should care about local media relations if it wants to be noticed and associated by clients.

Is a press officer in a small, beginner company necessary? No, however, a person who will be responsible for contact with the media should be appointed from among the current employees. Ideally, it is an employee knowledgeable in public relations activities, with a lot of knowledge about both the company and the industry in which it operates. Another solution is also outsourcing media relations tasks to an external company / agency - we are talking about the so-called virtual press office. For small businesses, this is a cheaper solution than appointing a separate press spokesman. It has one more advantage - activities are carried out by high-class specialists, and your employees can focus on their current activities without being additionally involved in media relations.

Press spokesman in the company - specificity of the position

It is worth considering what specific tasks are assigned to the press spokesman in the company, because quite significant changes have occurred in them over the years. Today, the work of an ombudsman is much more than just external communication with representatives of the press. These are also duties related to the organization of events and organizing internal communication. It should also be mentioned that the company's spokesman works in practice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - this is not a position where tasks end at 4 p.m. when you leave the office. The spokesperson should be constantly at the disposal of journalists, answering their inquiries on an ongoing basis, especially in crisis situations for the company or in connection with current events in which the topic with your company is present.

A spokesman in the company - tasks

We will now indicate the most important tasks facing the company's spokesman. Some of them will be related to classic media relations activities, but they will be complemented by tasks related to other fields.

  1. Contact with the media. First of all, a press spokesman should answer journalists' inquiries related to the company. Responses should be competent, comprehensive, and encourage journalists to continue contact with your company.If he is unable to answer a specific question, he may refer the journalist to another person employed in the company who is more competent in a given field. It is also important for the spokesperson to appear in front of journalists as an expert or to present the company in such a light - it may result in the media contacting him also regarding comments or opinions on industry topics. Of course, contacts with the media can take various forms - both direct, during briefings or press conferences, and by phone, e-mail or via social media.

  2. Editing press materials. A spokesman in the company is also responsible for the preparation of press materials about the company. These can be, for example, news from the company's life, information about planned innovations, information about industry events organized by the company, etc. Companies often send journalists such press materials with the hope of using them - they are often enriched with various types of multimedia, e.g. photos, graphics , films, sound recordings. The spokesman is also responsible for creating an information press packet to be handed out to journalists at press conferences or briefings.

  3. Organization of press events. The press spokesman is responsible, in particular in smaller companies, for organizing press conferences, briefings or other media events and for informing the media about them. It is important that such meetings are refined and fully professionally handled.

  4. Public speaking. It is the company's spokesman who is on the front line - he, as a representative of the company, must speak up on crisis issues, as well as present the company's success to the media. Whenever there are questions about the company, the spokesperson first answers them publicly. He is responsible for conveying a position on a given matter.

  5. Preparation of scenarios for action in crisis situations. When a company has a crisis, and journalists are curious about how it will try to counteract it and how the situation will develop, the press spokesman must cool down emotions and spread knowledge. He should have a prepared action plan in such a situation and calmly, not succumbing to pressures from journalists, inform about what is happening in the company. However, he must know that giving too much information about the current situation, especially when it is not the best, can only be a detriment.

  6. Managing internal communication and the flow of information between company departments. As a communication specialist, a press officer should also supervise and improve communication within the company - thanks to this, work efficiency and its efficiency will significantly improve. It will also be useful for external communication - efficient information flow between departments will allow for easy acquisition of up-to-date data. Well-organized internal communication may also lead to closer relations between employees or between them and the management. If a company plans to issue internal newsletters, their editing and concept should be the responsibility of a press spokesman.

  7. Updating content on company websites. In some, especially smaller, companies, the press spokesman is obliged to run corporate websites in social media and update the company's website. However, if the spokesperson has many other duties, it is worth entrusting this task to another person - employed as an employee of the press office. It is not worth entrusting this type of tasks to outsiders - it may have a negative impact on the consistency of the company's image.

Features and competences of the press spokesman in the company

The spokesperson in the company is burdened with many tasks and their efficient performance requires considerable skills and appropriate character traits. However, everyone is different and finding a person who will manage the company's external communication at a high level is not easy. We present several features and competences that a good spokesperson in a company should have.

  • good manners,

  • resistance to stress, ability to work under time pressure,

  • availability,

  • communicativeness, ease of establishing contacts,

  • appropriate presence,

  • the ability to organize your own work well,

  • knowledge of press law and intellectual property law,

  • extensive knowledge about the company and the industry in which it operates,

  • extensive knowledge of media communication, knowledge of the specificity of specific media,

  • the ability to analyze the collected information and formulate conclusions,

  • the ease of expressing your thoughts - both orally and in writing.

The spokesperson in the company has a huge impact on creating the company's image outside - you should think about creating such a position if you want to reach the widest possible group of customers with your company. However, this is associated with costs - depending on the size of the company and the scope of duties, the ombudsman's earnings start from PLN 3,000-4,000 and reach even PLN 10,000. If your company cannot yet afford this position, try assigning similar tasks, but to a lesser extent, to a competent employee, preferably from the marketing or advertising department.