Ever wondered why some companies seem to get fantastic value from their PR consultancy, while others don’t get the same warm feeling about their PR investment? In my experience, the quality of the relationship you build with your PR team can have a huge impact on the results that they deliver. If you want to get more value from your agency, then the five tips below are worth reading:
1. Be clear what you want to achieve
In the vast majority of cases, you are buying time from your PR consultancy, so while it may sound obvious, it really is worth spending time clarifying what you want your PR investment to achieve. Of course media coverage is probably going to be a key objective, but what messages do you want to communicate? Who are the decision makers you would really like to secure meetings with? Is online visibility important to you? Are you looking to change perceptions or generate sales?
A good PR agency should be able to suggest a raft of PR tactics to help you achieve your objectives. These may include content generation, social media engagement and even stunts that will draw attention to the problem your technology solves. Today’s PR landscape offers endless opportunities for innovation, but too many campaigns focus on traditional PR processes that are not always relevant to today’s 24/7 media environment.
2. Agree success criteria from the start
Another obvious point, but it’s vital to agree what success looks like from day one. A good agency will help you to understand what level of PR investment – or new strategic approach – is really required to help you achieve your goals. They will also ensure your expectations are realistic and push back if they are not. Of course, a conversation on that level requires a high level of trust between both parties, which brings me to my next point.
3. Invest in the relationship with your PR consultancy
Like a good marriage, the best client / agency relationships are based upon trust, mutual respect and open communication. Give feedback to your team, both good and bad. It’s amazing how positive feedback can spur a team on to deliver outstanding results. And if you don’t like something, take the time to explain why to your team. We PR people are eager to please and respond well to constructive feedback. And if you still have concerns, talk to the senior management team who really ought to value direct and honest feedback from a valued client.
4. Listen to your PR team’s advice
A good PR agency will offer you valuable counsel. If they tell you a press release is not newsworthy, it’s probably worth listening to their concerns. Don’t let them off the hook entirely though; ask them to suggest a solution to your communications challenges. Invest the time in helping them understand your business and build a constructive dialogue. Again this point comes back to trust – choose PR people to work with whose opinion you value and look out for strategic capability and PR savvy when choosing a new PR partner.
5. Be willing to experiment
We are talking about your brand reputation here, so I am not suggesting that you do anything totally crazy, but some of the best PR campaigns begin with a hunch, or a brainstorm idea and a willingness to try something new. In the digital age there are so many opportunities to break new ground, you will be missing a trick if you don’t innovate. Be willing to consider new ideas from your PR team and, you never know, you may just hit on an award-winning campaign idea.