If your business has signed with a PR firm, of course you want to get the most value for your investment. As the client, there are several ways you can contribute to the success of the PR partnership and maximize your results.
1. Get management involved.
Have a senior-level manager involved in the PR process. Don’t delegate the role exclusively to lower-level management. It’s crucial for your PR agency to have access to leadership and decision-makers – not just for approval, but for insight into the direction, vision and values of the company and its leadership.
2. Be realistic about implementation.
Give the PR agency time to get to know your company and industry by making yourself available for interviews and offering input as often as possible. Don’t expect instantaneous results and don’t expect results without investing your time and money into PR.
3. Set goals and parameters.
Take time to fully understand the PR firm’s process and goals. Communicate the plan internally, ensuring that everyone in your company understands the program and cooperates.
4. Stay connected and contribute.
Give your PR firm access to your team. Maintain a collaborative approach. Attend meetings prepared and on time.
5. Be patient.
Allow a learning curve for the PR agency to become knowledgeable about your company and your industry. Help these pros understand how you make money, how you measure success and insights into your business issues such as seasonality and timing. The more they understand about your business, the better they can help you succeed.
6. Have reasonable expectations.
Some news isn’t headline-worthy. Be realistic about which company announcements warrant attention and trust your PR firm to make those decisions. Building a reputable brand takes time and smart strategy. Not everything is interesting outside your company walls; not everything is worth promoting.
7. Be a champion of the PR strategy.
Speaking of strategy, you should promote the PR agency’s strategy throughout your company. Be sure all employees are on board and that they see the PR results as they occur.
8. Keep an open mind.
You might not agree with your PR firm every time, but think it through before you reject an idea. Be receptive to suggestions and stay approachable throughout the process.
9. Pay promptly.
Set an agreeable timetable for payment of invoices and stick to it. You want your PR firm to stay profitable and available. Slow payments and low profits means the PR firm can’t give you its best work. Instead, it will have to address cash flow issues and cut resources – the same resources that you need to help your success.
10. Show gratitude.
When they nail it, tell your PR team. Acknowledge and appreciate its efforts. Send an email to an agency principal when you’re happy with your representation. Sending flowers, gift cards and other tokens of gratitude are another appreciated option. I’ve found it helpful when clients include us in company events, celebrations, dinners, outings, conferences and parties; we always learn more about the brand and connect with contacts within the organization.
To receive the best results from your PR firm, it’s important to remember – as the original article explains – that a public relations campaign is a two-way street. As the client, consider how you can contribute to the partnership by investing your time and resources and by remaining accessible to the PR agency. In turn, you should expect the same from your PR firm. If you’re looking for a better PR firm, let’s talk. If you want to learn more, check out our e-books on maximizing your PR ROI and how to fire your PR firm.
– Jason Mudd, APR, is CEO of Axia Public Relations. He is an Emmy Award-winning accredited public relations practitioner, speaker, author and entrepreneur. His public relations portfolio includes work for established national and emerging brands such as American Airlines, Budweiser, Dave & Buster’s, Brightway, Florida Blue, H&R Block, Hilton, HP, Miller Lite, New York Life, Pizza Hut, Ray Charles, Southern Comfort, Verizon and more. Connect with Jason on Twitter at@jasonmudd9 and Axia Public Relations at@axiapr. Be sure to tweet and share your thoughts below. We’ll read and respond to each of them.
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