Trusting an outside PR agency to help turn your PR campaign and marketing goals into reality is a massive leap for many brands. Finding the right team of people to convey your company’s values and needs is a daunting task. Bringing a public relations agency up to speed with relevant information regarding your brand’s mission, products, or even sensitivities takes time and thoughtful effort.
The process is expedited with planning and organization, so we’ve assembled several tips to consider during the endeavor. These will ensure you’re getting the best results from the agency you’ve hired to add horsepower to your marketing efforts.
- Assets and more assets — Here’s your starting point. Beyond logos and brand books, make sure your agency has access to as many assets as possible so their team can develop a solid understanding of your brand. These assets should include current bios on your team’s executives, images of your products, and background on brand ambassadors. Providing these assets to your agency is the key to getting them up to speed quickly.
- Be Honest About How Your Brand Is Perceived — To help your agency truly grasp your market position, you must share the positives and negatives of how your customers perceive your brand. Your team needs to understand the touchpoints right away to avoid any pitfalls and also understand key messaging to focus on when pitching campaigns and beyond.
- Gauging Success — Reporting is everything to a successful relationship; so is understanding those reports, especially if you’re using data provided by your agency to report back to an executive team or board. Ensure they’re providing you valuable and digestible metrics, not just a bunch of made-up numbers based on a formula. Your agency should share both positives and negatives, along with where the partnership can improve, whether the current objective is a PR campaign, social media strategy, or ad campaign.
- Clearly Define What A Win Looks Like — Do you want your products or brand to be covered by a specific outlet? Or is the key to have your product reviewed by an influential YouTuber? Do you want to drive traffic to your website? All of these examples are crucial when kicking off any launch or campaign. Understanding what you want to accomplish is vital, but so is being realistic. Your agency shouldn’t tell you they can get you on the cover of every major outlet or that a PR hit will give you an exact outcome as they can’t guarantee those things will occur. What they must do, however, is set clear expectations of the process and help you understand how to frame your story to give it the best chance for success.
- Set Expectations for Communication — The most challenging situations between a client and its agency often stem from communication, or the lack thereof. Organize scheduled weekly or bi-weekly meetings/calls to keep both parties accountable and focused on delivering results. To achieve the goals you set for the partnership, responding to emails and calls from your agency must be a priority for your internal team. They will often reach out for several reasons — to get project approval or feedback or seek confirmation of time commitments for interviews or other opportunities. Time is ALWAYS of the essence in public relations. Make sure you take advantage of these opportunities when they arise. It is wise to have a point person internally at your company that tasked with managing agency needs for your PR campaigns.
- Don’t Believe Your Own PR — We see this common pitfall in many industries. You may have the best product in the market, or you may not. The key is understanding your shortcomings or the highlights of your product in a realistic way. For example, if a journalist reviews your product and has an opinion about their experience, your agency can’t always fix it unless it’s a factual error. Not every review will be overwhelmingly positive, but your goal is to make each experience with your product or interview as positive as possible. If you want everything to be 100-percent positive and glowing, buy an ad.
Ultimately, the agency/client relationship’s success comes down to the level of effort both parties invest in the partnership, and that’s precisely how you should view the relations between your staff and your agency’s staff. If both parties devote their PR campaign efforts to collaboration, idea generation, and measuring the results of these strategies, the future will be bright and filled with success on all fronts.