Do you REALLY need a PR Manager?
I am amazed at how BIG so many SMALL companies can act. A company that's operating at under $50M does not need to spend $50 - 75K on a salaried "PR Manager." Not if they have a good PR firm to "do the driving."
We have many clients in this revenue range, and I can tell you that the best PR programs involve a tight partnership between the VP of Marketing and the Agency team.
We meet by phone 1 - 2X per week (more often during big campaigns), for 1+ hours, and in these meetings the priorities are set, the reports are delivered and discussed, the latest strategies are brainstormed, and, we're off to the races.
"Talk to you next week. Wait'll you see all the INK we're gonna get!"
When small-medium size companies have a VP-Marketing and a PR Manager and a good PR team at the agency, invariably the PR manager is either frustrated & underappreciated or, they tend to micro-manage the program because they literally have no other job but to manage the PR firm.
There are exceptions to the rule, of course. I've met some kick-ass PR managers who add value through their intimate and strategic knowledge of the industry/product/company; or who take on some program elements such as "Awards" to allow the firm to focus on media & analyst relations, and/or (best of all) who spend a lot of time massaging customers (and the Sales Dept.) for those invaluable media references. These types of PR managers are worth their weight in press clippings.
So, what am I trying to say? That if you are a VP-Marketing at a mid-sized company, you might try a direct relationship with the Agency vs. hiring an internal resource to handle the relationship. Really, what's more important than your company's reputation? According to a recent SHIFT survey, your rep is of critical importance to your Sales efforts. And anyway, honest, we PR types aren't that hard to deal with - scout's honor!
But maybe you couldn't hear what I'm trying to say, since I am gagging on shoe leather?