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PR firms and the service level agreement

By Lisa Goldsberry

29063390_s.jpgWhat you need to know to get the greatest results from your PR efforts

For every business, the secret to continuous success is building relationships with clients and customers and providing excellent service. In many industries, companies accomplish this using an established list of deliverables called a service level agreement (SLA). Learn more about this vital document to ensure you are getting the best service from your PR firm.

Managing expectations is perhaps the hardest part of any company-client association. A PR service level agreement helps by putting everything in writing so you have hard-copy proof that your PR partners are meeting your mutual goals and objectives. Understanding the components of an SLA will help you work with your PR agency and get better results from PR initiatives.

Parts of a PR service level agreement

  • Purpose and mission of the agreement.
  • Outline of content the PR firm will deliver over a given timeframe.
  • A timeline of progress the PR firm is making on various programs and projects.
  • Schedule for various components of the relationship, such as how often you will communicate, who the point person for requests or changes is and what the priorities are.
  • Definition of procedures, levels of support and reporting structure.
  • A method to measure and adjust the document to reflect changing needs and meet desired results.

3 things to watch out for in inadequate service level agreements

  1. Lack of measurement capability.

Your PR agency should have the right tools, technology and metrics to track progress and determine success.

  1. Complex documents.

An SLA should be short and clear-cut. Anything longer than five pages is probably too much.

  1. No tie-in to management and other departments.

It’s important to realize that PR initiatives are broad and companywide. Therefore, if you don’t have support and agreement from C-suite executives and coordination across disciplines, any plan will likely fail.


Benefits of an SLA

  • Transparency between your company and your PR firm to increase trust.
  • A set of guidelines so that when dealing with multiple departments, layers of management, contractors and freelancers, you have a document that serves to keep everyone on track and informed.
  • Increased business outcomes from listing how each component fits into your company’s overall strategic plan.
  • Alignment of a PR agency’s performance with value.
  • Establishment of mutual expectations and accountability.
  • Demonstration that your PR firm understands your company, operations, needs and expectations.

No company has budget dollars to waste. Make full use of your service level agreement to get the most from your PR agency.


Axia Public Relations works to inspire and delight its clients at every level. To learn more about how Axia will use the right objectives, strategies, metrics, and principles to increase your company’s success, contact us now or download our e-book Maximizing Your Public Relations Investment.

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lisag-new.jpgLisa Goldsberry is a senior blogger for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has worked for Axia since December 2013. Learn more about Lisa Goldsberry. Connect with Axia on Twitter @axiapr or tell us what you think in the comments below.







Featured image credit: 123rf.com

Topics: public relations

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