Your company recently conquered the challenge of choosing the best PR firm to fit its needs. Picking a good agency is important, yet now your company needs to make the most out of this new relationship. How will your company ensure value from its new PR firm?
As mentioned in my previous PRWeek article, your reason for hiring a PR agency may be to increase social media exposure, connect to a new audience, or get more visibility and ultimately sales.
Reasons for using a PR firm may differ, but the key to getting results is always the same: A strong agency/client relationship. From day one, you need to work with the PR agency to create a foundation for a long term partnership. The following tips will guide your company toward a strong results-oriented relationship with your PR firm:
- Establish the building blocks for a healthy relationship. The best agency relationships are built on transparency and trust.
- Write out specific, measurable objectives and review with the agency.
- Communicate frequently. Use email, Skype and IM but importantly pick up the phone and meet face-to-face whenever possible.
- Work with the entire agency team and make the most of their individual skills.
- Give the team access to key executives/thought leaders in your company.
- Enable the agency to get underneath the skin of your company. Don’t hide your faults.
- Set expectations. Ask for short term and long term plans.
- Keep your agency on their toes and ask questions often. Put processes in place early. Have weekly trackers and calls and use Google Docs for collaboration.
The last thing you want is to hire a PR agency that promises you cake and then leaves you with crumbs. A strong relationship will enable your company to continually get the results it deserves.
Hi Cheryl, I just found this article as I was doing some research for an upcoming blog post and I have to say you are dead on.
Too many companies think that selecting the correct agency is where the work ends, but that is far from the truth. As you say, working together is a process and it needs to be a (growing)relationship.
To further your point a bit – many companies rely so much on the agency / consultants to drive the program that when the relationship ends the(often unprepared)client is left with little idea of how to continue the ongoing program. Good clients learn from the agency / consultants.
Thanks for taking the time to comment Paul. You are right. It’s a two way street and in a partnership the parties should all learn from each other.
I would add that a client needs to determine realistic expectations up front.
Beware of an agency that promises the earth and get them to show examples of previous work for a company in your sector.
Thanks, Nadine – great advice!