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Walker Sands is looking for a strategic, results-driven public relations director to join our growing Chicago PR team.
An organization that emphasizes constant learning, Walker Sands strives to go above and beyond in developing innovative and strategic programs for our clients. Our client portfolio contains an impressive list of Fortune 500 corporations, startups, fast-growing high-tech companies, professional services firms and business associations.
In the PR Director role, you will lead PR strategy and execution for large, high-value PR clients, including many of the agency’s integrated accounts, with a focus on generating impactful results that build awareness, enhance credibility and grow reputation. Ideal candidates will excel at setting PR strategy that tracks to clients’ overall business and marketing objectives and working directly with clients’ internal teams to plan, execute and showcase our great work. You will also have the opportunity to interface with and learn from client marketing and communications leaders as well as company executives and spokespeople, often leading conversations around program recommendations, strategy and results.
The PR Director will have full oversight of the media relations strategy and its results. Ideal candidates have strong media relationships in business and technology media, as well as a solid understanding of the media landscape and the best existing and emerging channels — print, digital, broadcast, podcast, etc. — to reach a client’s key audiences. This includes experience building compelling speaking and awards programs for clients and a strong understanding of complementary tactics like content marketing, analyst relations, influencer relations and social media marketing.
Along with managing your own portfolio of B2B technology clients, you’ll manage and oversee the professional development and growth of a team of driven, passionate PR pros. Within this leadership role at Walker Sands, you’ll have the opportunity to make a real impact during a time of rapid growth at a top B2B PR and digital marketing agency.
- PR Strategy and Execution: You will build a strong understanding of the client’s industry, business and audiences, with a focus on developing strong subject matter expertise within industry verticals and working alongside our Client Services team to ensure the PR strategy aligns to client needs. You’ll create and execute a strong PR strategy, planning and conducting media outreach, securing and coordinating media opportunities, and writing and reviewing press materials with an eye towards news value. You’ll understand and proactively recommend adjustments to scope and strategy as client objectives shift.
- PR Results and Measurement: You’ll focus on generating results that meet clients’ PR goals and bring a sophisticated understanding of various metrics that can clearly demonstrate the impact of the PR program. You’ll also lead discussions with clients to set PR goals and manage expectations. You’ll proactively facilitate conversations with clients about adjusting goals and KPIs as the strategy, expectations, scope and business objectives evolve.
- Team Management: You will manage a team of professionals that includes PR Managers and Media Relations Specialists and foster a culture of collaboration, expertise and growth and help our agency build the next generation of great PR pros.You’ll set clear and measurable expectations for your team, build an understanding of their individual goals, strengths and interests and shape future directors by focusing coaching on strategy development, team management, practice area expertise and sales.
- Processes and Best Practices: You’ll maintain a pulse on the changing media landscape with an eye towards keeping Walker Sands ahead of the curve, proactively recommending new investments and opportunities to clients and to agency leadership. You’ll identify best practices as well as champion new tools, systems and processes.
- Sales: You’ll serve as a trusted advisor throughout the sales process. You’ll work closely with business development & client services team members to develop, lay out and present PR strategy in presentations or written proposals, as well as identify opportunities to enhance Walker Sands’ value with existing clients.You’ll maintain a basic understanding of our core offerings outside of PR (branding/strategy, web, creative, demand generation) and how to engage services leads in the sales process.
- Agency Development: You’ll serve as an ambassador to Walker Sands by supporting efforts to position the company as a top B2B PR and digital marketing agency. You’ll support case study development, industry award submissions and other marketing campaigns.
- Minimum of 5 years leading client accounts in a PR agency.
- Experience working on a PR services team, with some level of exposure to aspects of digital marketing.
- Experience working with cross-disciplinary teams in a matrix account team structure.
- Experience directly managing junior team members with a specific focus on client work, professional development and prioritization/time management.
- Demonstrated ability to build trusting relationships with executive-level and C-level client contacts.
- Excellent listening, negotiation and presentation skills.
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
- Experience leading PR programs for the B2B and/or technology spaces.
- Experience leading PR programs for financial technology, manufacturing and/or security companies.
- Experience supporting the new business process, including proposal and scope development.
- Ability to plan and manage team resources, with a demonstrated track record of running programs profitability and successfully making staffing recommendations.