How to Love Your PR Agency
Time-Honored Agency/Client Partnership Techniques to Get the Most from Your PR Agency
Provide for Us
We don’t know your business (yet). You know your business. Provide us with your company’s vital statistics: key personnel, projects, philosophy, priorities, goals, competition, history and sales strategy. Tell us what makes you unique and special.
Tell us everything. Regularly update us on company news and information. Tell us about even mildly interesting events or activities. While you may not see its newsworthiness, we might find, know of, or develop an opportunity to use it on your behalf.
Partner with Us
Make yourself available for media interviews, meetings and informational and networking events. We’ll coordinate, consult, coach. We’ll plot, plan and pitch, but in the end, we’d like you to bask in the limelight yourself. Do, and you’ll get better results for the effort.
Inform us if the media contacts you. The call may result from our efforts, but they might call you direct, as well. In either case, your agency will help provide the right information, visuals, and/or insights to help you prepare your position or statements.
Appoint a Liaison
We know you’re busy, but, we can’t work in a vacuum. Assign a key employee to be our day-to-day contact. That way, we can spend more time on strategy and execution and less on chasing information. Expect to invest approximately 10 percent of company time in PR, because your responsiveness to us is vital. We use hard facts along with strategic ideas and angles to “sell” you, but you must always be in on the action.
Agree to Media Training
What you say and how you say it to the media and/or public takes skill and experience.
Give Us Time
Unless you’re dealing with breaking news, PR agencies generally need a few weeks (or months, for promotions or events) to develop effective PR strategies, media interest and results.
Too Many Cooks ……
Develop an efficient “approval” process, and give our liaison the power to approve simple issues. And please, no more than two or three of you on more complex issues.
Make Us Accountable
PR is not an exact science. In the event plans don’t produce the expected results, insist on knowing why. Agencies are often at the mercy of dwindling newsrooms, sloppy reporters, breaking news, a social media storm. Plans occasionally go awry. Understanding why a plan doesn’t work helps in redesigning it for success or taking an altogether different approach.
Respect Our Industry
Please don’t ask your agency to stretch or evade the truth. Don’t ask us to stonewall. Don’t scream when a story didn’t turn out exactly as it should have if YOU wrote it, that’s the value and the challenge behind PR. For the most part, we are depending on third-party testimonials to build your brand or tell your story. If you want direct promotion, buy an ad. Also, we won’t post a negative Yelp review about your competitor down the street; we won’t cross that line, don’t ask it of us.
(With props to Laura Walcher for her original article)