PR clients often gripe about their PR agencies not being proactive enough. And in many cases it’s justified. But in truth the best PR is usually the result of a close partnership in which the client and the agency both have to play their part. There’s a whole host of things clients can do to help sustain this partnership. Here are a few that we think are important:
1 Tell them about important news early
If you don’t tell your PR agency about forthcoming news stories until they’ve almost happened, they’ll do a rush job and you’ll be unhappy with the results. PR takes planning – trust your PR people enough to tell them about potential news stories as early as possible.
2 Listen to their advice
Your PR agency will never understand your business better than you – the client. But they do know PR. So if they say that a certain news story or initiative won’t work or is not a good use of your budget, then do give them the time of day. After all, you’re paying for their expertise.
3 Help them meet media deadlines
The media is a deadline driven business. Try to work with your PR when they say you need to get information (eg copy, images, a response to a media request) to a journalist by a certain time.
4 Give them access to your executives
Don’t bar your PR agency team from building relationships with people within your company – especially your spokes people . The more information they can ‘suck up’ , including the hot buttons of various spokespeople, the better the quantity and quality of opportunities they’ll generate.
5 Turn up for media interviews and phone calls
A PR person’s credibility with the media depends on their clients delivering what they promise to the media. So if you (the client) don’t turn up (or are late) for phone or face to face media interviews, it can hit the PR (and ultimately you ) hard.
6 Tell them if you’ve spoken to the media directly
If anyone in your organisation has taken a direct media call or responded to a media request, make sure your agencyt knows about it. They might be able to add value and maximise the opportunity for you (or help limit the damage if it was a negative issue).
7 Be open about when they are not meeting expectations
Sometimes clients can be too patient…or maybe just too polite. If your PRs are not meeting expectations, then they need to be told…now. Any partnership will work best if both sides are clear about what’s working and what isn’t.
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