What is a PR Chair Supposed To Do?

by Matt Mattson

We recently published a report that showed one painfully glaring reality. There are 12,000 fraternity/sorority PR chairs around North America serving chapters and councils this year, and most of them have never been trained how to do their job!

We’re hoping to fix that.

Let’s start with a job description.

Tell a story.  
Build Relationships. 
Earn Trust.
Drive Leads.

That’s it. Oh, and one more thing.

When something bad happens, say you’re sorry commit to fixing the problem and call for help.

Let’s dive in a little more deeply.

Tell a story. Your organization (council or chapter) should have a single compelling story it is trying to communicate. Every marketing tactic, every tweet, every post, every print item, every table, every conversation… should all reflect the essence of that single core marketing story. Do you know what story you’re trying to tell?

Build Relationships. Fraternity and sorority is in the relationship business. The only way we change people’s minds about us is through real life relationships. All our marketing, advertising, and public relations work should be focused on creating positive opportunities for face-to-face relationship building, or reinforcing the positive emotional experience/story that someone gets when they do have a personal interaction with your members. Everything should lead to more meaningful personal interactions. Make your list of the Top 10 lunches you should have with people in your community that can influence your organization’s reputation.

Earn Trust. The PR Chair deals in social currency, and the currency of fraternity/sorority is TRUST. Nobody will join your organization without trust. Nobody will advocate for your organization without trust. Nobody will support your organization or partner with your organization or even like your organization without trust. And the bad news is that fraternity/sorority starts with a deficit in the trust department. Our reputation precedes us, and we have to do everything we can to fill our bucket with the social currency of other people trusting us if we want to be good at our job. Who do you need to trust you? How can you demonstrate that you deserve their trust?

Drive Leads. Now, I know this sounds like it is the “recruitment” team’s job. It is. But here’s where you can work together. Great marketing and advertising by fraternities and sororities is aimed at the right audience of prospective members (and the people who influence them), and tries to get one thing to happen — it tries to get high quality prospects to share their name, contact information, and ideally a time to meet up in person. Marketing done by the PR team can be the red carpet that is rolled out onto campus (or into high schools) that invites prospective members to connect with members.

And finally, when something bad happens say you’re sorry commit to fixing the problem and call for help. We’ve been historically TERRIBLE at this as an industry. We mostly try to cover our ass. Don’t. Just say you’re sorry. Admit you screwed up. Find a way to fix it. Seriously. Call your HQ, Greek Advisor, or your council support system (i.e. NIC, NPC, NPHC, NAPA, MGC, etc.) — they are there to help you.