How To Get The Best Results When Working With A PR Agency
It’s not a rare story when a business owner hires a public relations agency or a consultant and, after a while of working together, becomes disappointed in PR as a whole. As the founder and CEO of a PR firm, I’ve found this often happens because of inadequate expectations. Some entrepreneurs believe that PR must drive sales directly; others don’t accept that it’s impossible to get them on a major magazine cover right away.
Actually, PR can do a lot for a business if used wisely. PR has the power to present a startup founder as an expert and increase their chances of having a company funded. Brand awareness and reputation built by PR can also attract partners and employees, which could ultimately make growth easier. I’ve seen that PR can influence sales in a positive way as well, even if it can’t always be as precisely measured as digital marketing.
Here are five tips on how to get the best results from working with a PR agency.
1. Choose the right one.
All PR agencies are different, so you need to find the one that’s right for your business. First of all, pay attention to see if the agency you are considering has expertise in your field. A clothing brand, for example, should be looking for an agency that has experience with lifestyle media and fashion magazines.
You should also be looking for particular soft and hard skills in the PR team with that you are going to work. From my perspective, PR specialists have to be able to get on well with people and be jovial because their job requires them to be in touch with both the business they are working for and the journalists they are approaching. Creativity, leadership, eagerness to learn, the ability to express thoughts clearly both in writing and speaking, and curiosity are also necessary.
2. Define your objectives.
Your work with a PR agency should start with setting accurate key performance indicators. Think carefully, and be honest about what it is that you want to achieve with PR. Whom are you targeting? What for? How are you going to measure success? Share thoughts with your PR firm, and collaborate with them to set goals. Don’t hesitate to ask what you can expect from them in terms of results and timings because, sometimes, business owners have unclear and misguided expectations from PR that will lead them to disappointment in the future.
3. Treat it as a partnership.
A relationship between a business and a PR agency works well only if they both understand it as a partnership. You and your PR firm should become a tandem in which both sides invest time and effort. Respect and trust your PR partner; they’ve got expertise and experience and have your best interests at heart because your wins are their wins, too.
4. Be straightforward, and provide information.
Provide as much information about your company as possible. Your PR agency needs it to understand your business deeply. It’s the only way they can come up with better ideas on how to approach the goals that you both have set. Be transparent and trust them, even with the information about your weaknesses. If your PR agency works in the dark, they are more likely to make mistakes, some of which may be crucial.
5. Be responsive.
It’s very unlikely that a PR agency is able to carry out its duties to the maximum without involvement from its client. Today, everything moves fast, including communication and media. You should be ready to respond to emails, texts and messages from your PR team quickly because it could be a journalist on a deadline who is seeking to talk to you or get some information. Your PR agency works to provide you with opportunities, but these opportunities won’t become publications without you. Introduce all the key spokespersons in your company to the PR team, and make sure they, too, understand the importance of being responsive.
PR helps business owners build a reputation for their brands, products, companies, teams and themselves. Miracles don’t happen overnight, but you can achieve impressive outcomes if you work with your PR agency effectively and wisely.
The article was published in Forbes