You know all there is to know about you; now your agency needs to know all of that too. The more information you can give your agency the better, they need to know who you are, where you came from, what makes you tick, your story, your audience, your tone of voice, your likes and dislikes. It’s like starting a new relationship and staying up ‘til 3am swapping life stories – you need to do that with your new agency. And in the same way you’d bare your soul and tell your worst secrets to your new beau, you need to tell your new agency the bad bits too so they have the best chance of managing any future issues that might rear their ugly head. Once your agency knows you inside out and back to front then they can truly be an extension of you and your brand.
Meeting the Family
If there’s more to your company than just you then your agency needs to get to know them too, give them access to your company’s thought leaders. At Sunny Bird PR, we speak to the movers and shakers at your company, the product managers, marketers, customer service representatives, case studies, ambassadors, you name it, anyone that can give valuable insight or a juicy story to get your brand into press.
Plan for the Future
Together, you and your PR agency should agree on a strategy including timings and KPIs. This should be a document that you’re both happy with that you can each refer back to week by week, month by month so you know where you are and what’s happening. Life does get in the way of the best laid plans and agencies are flexible enough to work around your changing business needs so don’t feel that your timing strategy is set in stone. If you need to change your focuses or tactics just let them know and they will accommodate you and your needs.
Expect the Best
You can ask and expect creative ideas from your new PR agency, share yours, get their input and see where your fledging relationship goes from there. A PR agency should be open to your input and also not afraid to guide and advise you on how they can tweak your ideas to achieve more coverage, followers or engagement – or even break the news to you that your brilliant idea is not quite as brilliant as you thought. An agency will be built on a team of experts so always remember that you’re investing in the team’s creativity and industry knowledge – a bunch of heads are better than one!
Communication is Key
This really is a two way street, you need to keep your agency fully up to speed with all developments your end, you might not think something is press worthy but your agency might know the journalist who’s looking for that angle. Your agency should also be in regular contact with you so you know what they are working on each week. This goes back to being flexible, a weekly email gives you the perfect prompt to change your agency’s focus for that week. Communication also keeps goals on track as agencies will communicate with you at the end of each week to let you know how they’ve spent your hours and what they’ve achieved with them.
PR agencies don’t just stop at writing media releases and meeting journalists for you. Most offer a wide array of services, including creative campaigns, press trips, social media management, blogger campaigns, case study management, event management, internal communications, videography and photography services, design, web content creation and award applications. So next time you’re faced with a challenge, don’t overlook your PR agency, chances are they can help.
This needs to happen from the word go and is key in establishing a successful, long-term relationship with your PR agency. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is PR, the most realistic expectation is that the process takes time. The best news is that PR usually offers the best ROI from the marketing mix, it often makes up the smallest part of the marketing budget whilst delivering the best results.
PR works best when it is supported by other marketing disciplines but remember PR is different to advertising. An agency doesn’t pay the publications or TV channels for the media exposure it secures, hard work and relationship cultivation does. It’s that third-party endorsement that gives PR its power and credibility.
Work with your agency to set short term and long term objectives, these need to be reviewed regularly (monthly/ quarterly/ six monthly). Status meetings at agreed intervals with you and your agency can make sure that these objectives are on track and reflecting your focuses.
Who’s Doing What
In an ideal world there should be just one person from your end that is responsible for managing the agency. Too many people working with the agency at once or having to gain approval or input into written materials will slow the process down and limit the results your agency can achieve. Equally, you should have one point of contact at your agency so there’s no risk of mixed messages or instructions.
Do Your Bit
One of the most frustrating stumbling blocks for PR agencies is sending out a press release to journalists only to discover that your company spokesperson isn’t available for interview. It’s up to you to ensure a spokesperson is on hand and available for interviews on the day the story is pitched to journalists. This can be tricky with work commitments and meetings, but if you want to get the most out of your PR agency, you need to be able to provide a spokesperson who is actually available for interview. Journalists are notoriously short on time so if they have to chase, follow up, wait or hassle someone to get their story the likelihood is they’ll move onto the next message in their inbox that does offer all assets at their fingertips.
Honesty is the Best Policy
If you don’t like something your agency has done or the way they have handled something, don’t bottle it up – tell them. There’s no way issues can get ironed out without airing them. A good PR agency will want to address this issue and remedy it immediately by finding a solution that everyone’s happy with.
If your relationship with your PR agency doesn't read like this then get in touch with us and we'll give you the Sunny Bird PR treatment!
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 01202 293095