The virtual public relations firm is the trend. It refers to a pr firm without a bricks and mortar building. While this business model is not new, it is showing up in the pr world where more and more professionals are going independent.
This is the ideal:
The client hires a pr firm only when needed. He or she selects from a boutique menu of services that range from one press release to a full-service public and media relations campaign. On larger projects, such as building a website, the pr consultant forms in alliance with a web master, graphic designer, copy writer, business consultant - whatever is needed.
In theory, both the client and public relations firm save money: the client, by only purchasing what services the company needs at that time; the public relations firm by only hiring for services they need during the course of that project.
This is the reality.
The theory pans out in reality with one recurring and unspoken issue. No one is managing the project. Over the past two years, I have participated in various projects with various teams...because everyone is in charge of their area of expertise, no one is viewed as "in charge."
Here is something odd: You would think that this would produce disastrous results.........but it doesn't. The projects were successful overall; the client was happy and for some practitioners, that is enough. But as an individual with managerial skills, I note that it produces a frustrating and/or messy process. Glitches show up in the timing, the communications and simple snafus.
This issue in the virtual team process is easily remedied. Appoint one person to be the project manager.
The client should not be a candidate for this. The client's job is to give final approval on all phases, but he or she should not have to spend their professional time managing the project.
The public relations consultant should be the project manager as they generally have the overall picture and are often the spokesperson for the project. I find that rarely do the graphic designer or writer want to manage the project. The webmaster often has the managerial skills to do so and if they want to do it, that can work as well.
And studies show the virtual team does save money.....about 30% as client dollars go directly to the project as opposed to overhead.