We can (and sometimes do) spend hours explaining to current or prospective clients the myriad of ways that we can support their marketing, sales, and overall public relations goals. However, there are also a few opportunities that companies should seize in order to help their PR firm better help them.
Entrepreneur Magazine explains:
“Some people hire a publicist and expect their workload to be lightened, but that’s naïve thinking. You’ll need to be involved in your own PR, whether by tweeting, blogging or being available to speak with media on demand.”
While your firm is available to support and extend your communications and sales efforts, it’s important to review the ways in which you can make the relationship all the more successful by holding up your end of the partnership.
How many of the points below are you maximizing in your own relationship with your PR firm?
We know it’s obvious, but it cannot be overstated that establishing a clear channel of communication with your Communications team(s) is the most important way to ensure a successful relationship. This process can take many forms.
We’ve worked with teams that prefer periodic email communication, bi-weekly calls, or even monthly in-person meetings. Some like frequent check-ins while others prefer to be reached-out to only when we’re finalizing milestones in a campaign. Communicating about current initiatives, goals, expectations, reporting, issues, and victories plays a vital role in nearly all of the following points and we cannot stress the need for clear and responsive communication enough!
2: Media Availability
Your firm should be able to train key executives when speaking with the media, and of course they are responsible for working to create opportunities for these folks to speak with members of the press. But when these interviews arise, the window of opportunity often moves quickly. Having an arsenal of executives prepped and ready to talk about your company ensures that these opportunities aren’t missed.
Know who at your company can speak on what topics so that you can assign a voice to an inquiry as soon as it comes in the door.
3: Social Media
Sharing content is your friend. While this is one of the items most companies already do, it’s worth a reminder to be sure to incorporate press engagement into your social media strategy. Respond to posts featuring articles written about your company, follow the handles of some publications relevant to you, and share their content that applies (even if it’s not a direct mention of your company).
Supporting public relations through social media has been one of the fastest ways to measure audience engagement and puts your finger directly on the pulse of how your company and offerings are being received on the public stage.
4: Content Approval Process
One of the most common areas we work on with all of our clients is content development. This could be a press release, a bylined article, a blog post, or even a quote. The best way to help us keep these items in the pipeline is to set a content approval process unique to your own department and circumstances. Once it leaves your PR firm’s hands, we rely on you to finalize approval or pass along edits from whichever teams and individuals need to be involved.
Set this process early. It may evolve over time, but aligning approval processes will only help with the production of content that forms the base of PR.
5: Manage Expectations
While your Comms lead, a marketing VP, or other account manager is often the internal person managing the relationship with a PR firm, several other executives are inevitably invested in the results from PR. As such, it falls to you, the marketing manager, to align your department’s goals, your company’s overall expectations, and your externally produced PR initiatives.
6: Timely Responses
Finally, PR is an inevitable race against the clock. The timeliness of project completions, news announcements, reporter deadlines, submission dates, and more, mean that being aware of timeliness on your end only helps us. Let you firm know as soon as you have approvals for case study releases, quotes, final drafts, or other pieces of information.
Responding quickly to email inquiries or other requests can mean the difference between an influential mention and damaging a relationship with a reporter or publication.
As a PR firm, we make it our top priority to ease and extend the efforts of a marketing department to give you a wider reach in the marketplace and positive exposure to your target audiences. However, as was just outlined, there are numerous ways to maximize this relationship. By helping your firm help you, consistent results and successful outcomes will remain the name of your PR game.
Caroline Haley authors the column “Caroline’s Cloud” and is Vice President, Outreach & Operations for Milldam Public Relations.