Five Keys to a Successful
A healthy and productive relationship between a company and its PR agency doesn’t just happen. It’s the result of a committed effort by both parties.
If your company is thinking of hiring a PR firm or is looking to improve its relationship with its current one, make sure you’re doing the five things outlined below. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the elements of a high-functioning partnership but taking these steps will put your relationship with your PR firm on a solid foundation.
1) Communicate early and often. Start your engagement with a “deep dive” meeting or call with your agency in which you extensively detail your business goals, products, challenges in the marketplace and desired PR outcomes. This is absolutely critical information that your agency will need in order to craft the right PR strategy and campaigns.
These meetings are time-consuming, and it can be tempting to put them off or not have them at all, but they are essential to a successful partnership. Without them, a PR relationship is likely doomed from the start.
And as the engagement goes on, regular status calls are a must. These calls help ensure both parties are up to date on completed tasks, in-progress projects and key performance indicators. They’re also great opportunities for a client to inform its agency of new developments – like a new hire or expansion into a new market – that should be promoted.
2) Don’t be a bottleneck. Agencies understand: their clients are super busy, and there are only so many hours in a day. But a client still has to carve out some time to review and provide timely feedback on the material its agency has sent over for review, whether that’s a press release, blog or something else.
So, if your agency is still waiting to hear back about something they sent you in November, stop reading this and review that content right now.
3) Be realistic. Results don’t happen overnight. It can sometimes take an agency a couple of months of promoting your company in different ways before media coverage and speaking engagements start to happen. Clients understandably often want results sooner than that, but that’s often just not realistic.
4) Remember the scope of work. PR agencies certainly understand that unexpected things come up and that a client may from time to time need some help with a project that’s not covered in the contract. However, consistently asking an agency to do more than what was initially agreed upon can – in the case of a monthly retainer – mean the agency is being underpaid, and it can harm an agency’s ability to serve its other clients.
If a company needs its PR agency to do more work, it will hopefully be open to discussing an expanded scope of work and adjusting the contract accordingly.
5) This is a relationship business. Strong relationships are key to any partnership, so when things go wrong, make sure to put the relationship first. Maybe there’s an error in an initial draft of a press release submitted to a client for review, or maybe a newspaper misstates a fact about the client in a published article. In situations like this, a client understandably can get angry.
But being unprofessional at an agency employee or reporter is not a great way to handle the situation. It may sound simple, but it’s so important: addressing frustrations with your agency in a calm and professional manner goes such a long way in creating a healthy and productive PR relationship.