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Learn how to create an enduring, valuable PR alliance

By Lisa Goldsberry

179322763If you’re not seeing measurable results, you might need a new PR agency

If you had an employee who started turning in shoddy work, didn’t communicate well and caused you to lose trust in his abilities, you would fire him. So, why would you accept such behavior from your PR agency?

The relationship between a company and its PR agency should be like a good friendship. This means you talk often, have something in common and challenge each other to be your best. If your PR agency is not doing these things, it’s probably not a good fit and it may be time to find a new one.

Common causes for being unhappy with your PR agency:

  • The agency is not proactive.

  • Its level of creativity does not match your expectations.

  • The PR firms strategy or thinking doesn’t complement your own.

  • Your PR team no longer challenges you by asking the right questions and offering outside-of-the-box ideas.

  • You are not receiving the same amount of commitment and value that the firm led you to expect at the beginning of the relationship.

Factors that can derail your relationship with your PR agency

Due to cutbacks, consolidations and streamlining of operations, many businesses are finding themselves needing to do more with fewer people and less funding. In turn, they put extra pressure on their PR agencies, which can strain the relationship and lead to bad decisions. Some of the troublesome behavior that companies exhibit includes:

  • Ambiguous goal setting not being clear about exactly what they want

  • Unreasonable expectations

  • Lack of information sharing: In order to truly help, you need to trust your PR agency and provide helpful data.

  • Not seeing any value in the PR agency’s contributions toward meeting strategic goals – it can do more for your company and profitability than just cranking out press releases.

  • Insisting on measuring the wrong things

Ways to ensure a good working relationship with your PR agency

Just like any kind of relationship or association, to keep the connection fresh between your company and your PR agency, you must work at it. Some tips include:

Stay in the dating or honeymoon stage. The actions you take to build a good relationship must continue throughout.

Regular communication

Give your PR pros a seat at the planning table and dont make them play catch-up after the fact. You should request their input and collaboration from the beginning. This will make it less likely for procrastination to set in and will remove fear from the relationship.

Qualities to look for in a new PR agency:

  • PR representatives should come to the first meeting with an understanding about your business and smart questions.

  • The PR agency should present its expertise in a way that is relevant to your business, not just discuss past case studies and hope you will find some sort of connection.

  • It is important that the PR agency can easily articulate why it’s a good fit for your company.

Some will tell you that companies and clients today are more demanding than they used to be. At Axia, we believe that, thanks to new technologies and companies seeking more transparency in their relationships with customers, businesses are simply more focused and sophisticated. We are prepared to take on this challenge with smart, ethical, inventive tactics and measurable objectives that bring exceptional results. If you’re not happy with your current agency or are simply looking for a fresh perspective, download our e-book How to Fire Your PR Firm, then give Axia a call.

Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.

Photo credit: ThinkStockPhotos.com

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Topics: public relations

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