The long process of finding and securing a PR agency is over. You gel with the team, you love their creative thinking and you’ve agreed on a PR strategy to implement over the coming months. Do you just hand it over to them, sit back and await the results? Obviously not – they don’t want you to do that either. Like any successful relationship, it needs to be maintained consistently with regular activity, planning and feedback sessions.
Here are five simple methods to get the best from your PR agency to ensure the relationship blossoms.
1. It takes two to make a dream come true. You need to let your PR agency get the best from you and give them what they need to do their job. View them as a trusted extension of your marketing team and ensure your colleagues understand that too.
On appointment, invite your agency to come to your office for the day to meet the team and explain to non-PR colleagues what they will be doing. Allow them to meet with the most senior heads of department so they can understand who the key players are and their areas of expertise, as well as the short- and long-term plans of the company.
2. From Day 1, get a regular update meeting/call in the diary. You will need to decide between you whether you need to speak once a week, bi-weekly or monthly.
You may opt to speak bi-weekly and then meet once a quarter. Face-to-face meetings are always productive and encourage more creative and lateral thinking; they often lead to quality, roundtable discussions and result in a greater understanding of what you want to achieve.
3. Give them information. In your calls, ensure you update them on activity in other areas of the business, not just Marketing and PR. Your PR agency will be attuned to spotting good PR opportunities which you may not have yet realised yourself.
Involve your agency in meetings with other partner agencies and about product launches or event plans. You may not see the initial need for them to be present, but they will have prior experience of what you are planning and the more information they have, the better they can leverage opportunities for you.
4. How does PR make a difference to your business? Share your expectations and work out how the PR agency will be able to prove its ROI. This will keep them focused, engaged and also fulfilled. Remember, PR professionals do what they do in order to make a difference to your business, so show them how that happens or work with them to ensure they can prove their worth by sharing analytics or sales trends.
5. Positive feedback drives better results. Your PR team will want to do an amazing job for you – that is what fuels their passion for PR. You may get a pat on the back from the CEO for being interviewed by The Sunday Times, but do touch base with your agency to give your feedback on the coverage, how the interview went or a press release they wrote at short notice.