So the questions is, how do you nurture the relationship with your new PR agency for stellar results? How do you get the biggest bang for your promotional buck?
One of the reasons we believe we build long-lasting relationships with our clients is that we become an important part of their company’s team. We embody their DNA. We position ourselves as much more than support, but as a part of their daily operations. We make sure they know that we care and we are going to work just as hard as they do.
You can have the same type of relationship with your agency by getting to know everyone on your account, their work habits and by building a ring of trust. Everyone that is promoting you and your brand should be in your cell phone from the moment you sign that agreement. If you are the company spokesperson, than your agency should know how to reach you when they need you. And if you don’t have the time for them, then assign a company liaison/Marketing Manager to keep the relationship fresh and proactive.
Here are a few important tips for building the best relationship you can have with your PR agency, so that you set the relationship up for success right from the start.
DEFINE AND MEASURE SUCCESS
1. Define what “success” looks like so your expectations are managed and your agency isn’t set up to fail. Yes, you think Ellen would just love your new product and you want it written into her script. If your agency tells you that isn’t quite possible and it’s just not happening and recommends an alternative targeted media outlet, than respect them and listen.
SHARE IT ALL
2. Be transparent. Tell them everything they need to know to properly manage your brand reputation, media relations and converse with your customers. Was there a crisis at one of your retail locations? An unhappy customer? Don’t let it show up on Facebook without informing your public relations agency. Call them the moment it happens so that the agency can help you nurture and correct the problem immediately.
MAKE TIME FOR FACE TIME
3. Visit your agency, press liaison or account executive team in person, at least once every quarter, if not more often. Face time adds a new dimension and it’s important that your agency understand your hopes, dreams and aspirations and all the tactical stuff that you and your company must face to make them come true.
HOLD PR UPDATE CALLS
4. Schedule weekly phone or video chat meetings. Even 20-minute briefs will keep everyone on the same page and focused on the goal. Create an agenda and stick to it. This is not the time to go over the weekly media report, line by line. You can read that on the train ride home. Think of the questions you need to ask them and set an agenda.
STICK TO THE PLAN
5. Stick to the plan and the campaign. Sure you want to do a million things to promote your company, but understand that if you are pulling your agency all over the place and switching up the plate every other week, it’s really hard to reach goals and produce results, especially when it comes the editorial placement you expect.
LISTEN TO THE EXPERTS YOU HIRED
6. Listen to their advice. If they tell you that your product/service upgrade just isn’t national news, than you have to understand, they are telling you the truth. It’s not that they don’t have the contacts or “connections”, it’s that they respect those media relationships and don’t want to jeopardize them with trivial “press releases” about launches that aren’t breakthrough.
DON’T WAIT TO COMPLAIN
7. Let your agency know if you are unhappy with the results or if you were “expecting” more. And let them know early in the game. Don’t wait. Perhaps it’s time for an “adjustment” to the pitch or to the targeted media or audience. Discuss it and get into solution so you can aim for success.