Successful partnerships are rooted in good communication, an understanding of respective roles/limitations, and clearly defined expectations. Working with a PR Agency is no exception. Remembering these eight rules will help you stay in sync with your agency.
- Constant fire drills hurt results! First and foremost, we can do “last minute.” However, developing optimal strategies, messaging, and infusing it with sound creativity takes time. By making everything a fire drill, you risk short-circuiting the creativity and potentially reducing effectiveness. Provide ample time for planning and preparation. This way if a fire drill does occur, you are better positioned to mitigate its impact. It’s better to delay a launch to ensure proper preparation than hastily throw tactics together on short notice.
- We’re well connected communicators, not the EIC. Sure we’ve got great contacts at the publications you covet, but no PR agency can guarantee coverage. We’ll get their attention and make the pitch, but the decision to cover your product or company is entirely up to them. Timing, competitive products, editorial calendar, and good old fashioned personal opinions all come into play. It can take multiple attempts to score the hit, so exercising patience is key if persistence is to pay off.
- Realistic expectations & goals are a crucial to success. The importance of knowing where your product/company fits into the grand scheme of things is critically important. What’s your value proposition? What’s the competitive landscape? Knowing where ‘your lane’ is allows us to collaboratively set attainable goals and create an integrated PR campaign that resonates with the media and consumers.
- Effective PR is a well-planned marathon, not a sprint. Many companies hire an agency for a quick push at product launch and then shut things down.Sure getting that big blast of coverage can be worthwhile in certain circumstances, but truly building a brand and creating a lasting footprint with the media takes a consistent, integrated effort so that your tactics work in concert with each other and not as ineffective “one-offs.”
- Impossible to Bat 1000%. There are thousands of journalists out there and it’s impossible to know what every one of them is doing at all times. A freelance journalist might do a product round-up or a ‘best of’ story and we might not be aware of it. This happens. A good agency will minimize this occurrence by reaching out to the journalist afterwards to make sure you are on their radar for the next opportunity, or even better – your own story!
- We cannot control review scores. But oh how we wish we did! Journalists get paid to write their opinions, and it’s important to respect them. Unless something is factually wrong, it’s generally considered bad form to request edits or to debate their opinions/scores. Much like how you and your friends don’t always agree on movies or songs, neither will all the media feel the same way about your product. Monitor it with a thick skin. The long-term relationship is much more valuable than a single review.
- New business “hurry up and wait”. Producing quality new business proposals takes a great deal of time and energy. So it can be frustrating when a prospective client urgently demands a proposal only to sit on it for weeks without explanation or feedback. We know things can get bogged down going up the decision tree or through development delays, so good communication goes a long ways towards staying in sync.
- Budget dictates campaign reach. In PR, like most service businesses, the time component of completing a project will dictate its ultimate cost. So ensuring your campaign expectations match your budget parameters are important parts of working together. Carefully selecting the most influential media targets and high impact tactics to reach your goals will keep things fair for your agency and maximize your ROI.