Start the relationship on the right foot for your company’s success and profitability
What it takes for businesses to excite customers and attract top-quality talent has changed a lot in recent years. As a result, many companies have turned to public relations firms to help meet these needs. Indeed, hiring a PR firm for your company can deliver amazing outcomes, but only when you work together effectively.
Unfortunately, many companies take the wrong approach when it comes to public relations, often with detrimental results. If you have just hired a PR agency, recently fired your previous firm or are thinking about either option, these steps can help make the relationship more successful.
1. Provide a clear and concise overview of your company. To be truly effective, your PR agency needs as much information about your company and industry as possible. Think of it this way: When creating your buyer personas or choosing a new location for your business, information is essential; and the more you have, the better decisions you can make. The same is true in working with a PR firm.
2. Give the PR firm time to organize and carry out its plans. You can’t expect a miracle overnight. Developing a great, strategic communication plan for your company takes time. Real PR work, that ties into your overall business goals and builds your brand, should not be rushed. It can take six months or more to see a return on your investment. Just be sure you are measuring and evaluating to make certain you and your PR agency are both on the same page and the right path.
3. Make sure your leadership team and spokespersons are available to your PR firm early and often. Some companies make the mistake of hiring a PR agency ‒ and then turning their backs. In order to help you, your PR agency needs … you. When they have your complete involvement, everything moves faster. Having to search for information, wait for phone calls to be returned and bounce around from person to person for answers wastes valuable time (that you are paying for).
4. Always tell the truth (the good, bad and the ugly). Hiding information helps no one. Be honest about your expectations, strengths and challenges. To do otherwise forces your PR firm to work in the dark, never knowing when or where the next opportunity or crisis will arise. Your PR partners will need access to your business plan, metrics and plans for the future.
5. Be open to the PR agency’s ideas and insights. Don’t say you want new, inventive concepts and then get cold feet when they are actually presented. You hired a PR firm to create bold campaigns and content management plans that are unique, innovative and serve to make your company a leader in your industry – so let them.
6. Don't discount something because you've tried it before without success. Each PR agency is unique. Often, a breath of fresh air and a new way of thinking can make all the difference. For example, you may have previously attempted a social media campaign to increase brand awareness that did not work. Your new PR agency may be able to figure out what went wrong (ineffective measurement tools, undefined goals, not using the best social media platforms for your target audience, etc.) and put the right metrics and personnel in place to make your next campaign a winner.
7. Read Axia Public Relations’ blog article, “How to Hire a PR Firm.” Great PR work can help you improve your company’s reputation, attract positive media coverage, build your brand and ultimately, increase sales. To do all this, it’s vital to find the right PR firm for you.
Axia provides clients with the strategic thinking, communication expertise and relationship-building skills needed to move a business ahead of the competition. To learn more about what we can do for your company, contact us today or download our e-book, Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment.
Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has been with Axia since December 2013. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.