As a PR agency, we are always thinking about what we can do for our clients. But there are things that clients can do for their PR agency – not only to build a great relationship but to give them the best opportunity to deliver the best results.
If you are hiring an agency, you are agreeing to a relationship. This means not just dating at the beginning but consistent communication, trust and respect.
So, here’s our top tips on building the best relationship.
Deliver A Full Brief: If the agency does not know your objectives, or does not have all the information, it is very difficult for them to deliver. Include an overview, outline of the problem, objectives, target audience etc. And if you have a budget, include it. This will save valuable time on both sides to come up with a strategy that is achievable. If it will help, ask for a briefing template to give you pointers of what to include.
Know What PR Is: It is amazing how many brands hire a PR agency but do not really know what they do. If PR is just something you feel you should have but you don’t know why, it does not make for the best, or easiest, relationship. Don’t be afraid to ask what your agency is doing and why. The more you understand what your PR agency is doing, the more aligned your businesses will be.
Be Accessible: There is nothing worse than getting a great media opportunity over the line and not being able to get hold of a client to set up the interview. Or you have a great byline article that is on deadline, but it has been sat with a client for approval for a week. Media move quickly and they do not appreciate waiting. Opportunities can be lost and relationships damaged.
Communicate: Try to have one main point of contact for the agency. This minimises risk of mis-communication and both the agency and the contact will get to know who each other work to make for a more effective and enjoyable relationship. Also, don’t hold things back. If there is something you want to say, say it. Nobody is a mind reader.
Don’t Leave PR As An Afterthought: PR usually has longer lead times than advertising in marketing, yet it is often left as the last agency to brief in. If you want to be in a monthly publication it needs to be pitched in up to five months earlier, and that is not allowing for the prep time you need to be ready to pitch. So, if you are briefing in an advertising or marketing agency, get your PR agency in to discuss the project in the earlier stages.
Say More Than You Need Too: You may not want to bother your agency with a small piece of information but it is amazing how many times we have been in a meeting and we find out a gold nugget of information that we could have found out weeks earlier. Not only does it make the job harder as you have a shorter lead time to get the information to media or, worse still, the opportunity may be lost as it is no longer newsworthy. Keep your agency up to date with developments. Too much information is far better than too little. Your agency should be happy to discuss things with you and be open on what they feel is worth pitching or creating a campaign for and what is unlikely to deliver results.
Let Them Know What Is Good: Be open with what good results look like to you. When this is openly discussed at the beginning of a campaign, it really helps to manage expectations on both sides.
Pay On Time: No one wants to ask for money owed to them and chasing outstanding invoices takes valuable time away from working on campaigns. Make it clear at the start of the contract what the payment terms will be and if, for any reason, you will not be able to pay on time, communicate. It comes down to mutual respect.
Celebrate The Wins: Not every month will deliver the same results as others but make sure both you, and the agency, take the time to appreciate the results achieved.