So, you’re hiring a PR agency - maybe this is your first venture into PR, or perhaps you’ve tried on a small scale and want a little extra firepower.
Whatever your reason, before hiring an agency, there’s a couple of things you should be prepared to do.
We’ve compiled a list of our top tips on how to get the most out of your new PR team, build a partnership that will last, and ultimately get the best results.
1. Be prepared to invest some time
The first few weeks and even months will take some investment. It’s arguably the most important part of your relationship together and will set the tone for all future activity.
During this onboarding period, time should be spent giving your agency all (and we mean all) the information you can about your business, and ensuring there is a clear structure and line of communication in place.
- Appoint a single person who manages contact with the PR agency. This person will funnel information between your business and their team, and will be the first port of call for the agency. A secondary point of contact is also useful so they know who to go to if you’re not around.
- Treat your agency like a sponge. Often, information that may seem menial to you is interesting to your agency. PR agencies are always looking for new angles or fresh voices to join in conversations, and you’ll likely have this hiding in plain sight.
- Introduce your agency to key stakeholders across the business. Signpost employees who are in senior positions or those with technical expertise and interesting backgrounds. In doing so, your agency will obtain a much broader perspective and insight into what goes on in the business. Having a larger bank of expert voices means individuals can be drawn on for interviews to give unique opinions or experiences that journalists will be looking for.
2. Consider your agency as a partner for the business
It’s really useful to remember that your PR agency isn't just the manpower that pulls off an amazing stunt in the middle of Trafalgar Square. PRs are trained experts that really know the media landscape. They’re storytellers that understand public and media opinion and sentiment. When implemented correctly across the business, this often offers a competitive advantage.
PR and comms work much more effectively when they are integrated into business decisions and processes, and often businesses are much more innovative when they work closely with their PR teams. Keep your agency in the loop when these important conversations are happening to avoid any missed opportunities or late briefing.
However, clients can (and should) also manage their PR agency’s expectations. If you promise to be able to deliver something in time frames that you know simply won’t happen, then this will likely cause problems.
3. Build an effective partnership by trusting their expertise
Managing expectations is a two way street when it comes to PR agencies and their clients.
Often, clients will want to secure coverage in well-known national titles simply because they’ve heard of them - is this really where your audience are?
For many, a piece in the Guardian might be a great ego-boost, but it could reach a very limited number of their customers. PR agencies have to manage their clients’ expectations on the types of media they expect to win coverage in, and considering they’re experts in this, you should trust their opinion
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