Good PR comes from a PR agent. Great PR comes from being able to work shoulder-to-shoulder with your chosen agent. Find out why.
Some forms of marketing are best left solely to the professionals, but public relations (PR) is an aspect of marketing where the best agent-client relationships are based on partnership, not a straight service-for-hire arrangement.
This is an important distinction because you need to feel comfortable with giving the PR agent a large say in the fate of your brand and reputation.
The ability to collaborate – working together for common goals and sharing information – helps result in great PR.
So how can you build a fruitful agent-client partnership that maximises your PR chances?
Start with strategy
Strategy is the first step to achieving results in PR; if the right process is in place, you increase the likelihood of success ten-fold. The right process should factor in possible challenges and include Plan B, C and D to ensure the sought outcome is achievable.
A client should always be heavily involved in the PR strategy. No one knows your business like you do and building the PR partnership at this stage will set the tone for the remainder of the relationship. A clear understanding of the strategy will help you manage your expectations and allow you to plan your involvement.
What you see in print is the tip of the PR iceberg
There’s a big misconception about how easy PR is. You helped provide information for the press release that your PR agent wrote yesterday, your PR agent sent a quick email blast today and the story will be published tomorrow.
Easy, right? Not by half.
A lot of research goes on behind the scenes in the world of PR. If you and/or your business are to be represented in the media as an expert or a voice of authority, your PR agent needs to understand everything about your industry—fast. That takes skill and a whole bunch of research. The agency will then work with you to develop a strategy before doing the work to execute that strategy.
Great contacts, good timing, approaching the right media in the right way: achieving these is not the result of magic or pot-luck but the hallmarks of a well-honed PR strategy followed through. PR professionals know who to contact, how and when.
Of course there are variables that cannot be predicted. For example, an unforeseen news announcement that comes out just before you planned to make your own announcement. But the role of a PR agency is to dedicate their time to knowing journalists and their preferences, knowing what is newsworthy at that time, knowing when to approach different media and so on.
Therefore, the quality of those relationships is what will get the results.
When it comes to preparing written materials, a lot of effort goes into perfecting every sentence. Additionally, to preserve good relationships with the media, an agent need to be sure they offer the right advice and information to the right journalists. A lot of time goes into preparing emails, meetings and even phone calls with journalists. So in a world where everything needs to be 100% correct and media-ready, nothing is quick and easy—but that’s why you hire a PR agent.
Great PR is a team effort
Having a PR agent does not mean you drop the task entirely. Not only do you need to be available for interviews and by-lined articles, it also helps if you are actively engaged with the strategic direction of your PR activities.
You’ll need to contribute to ongoing PR activity. This includes providing updates and new developments, or information to build case studies to help give your agent newsworthy material.
The bottom line is the PR agent draws on your knowledge and passion as well as industry skill just as much as you draw on theirs.
Far from an easy, autonomous fluke, good PR is about a conscious effort on your part to engage in PR activity by contributing to a strategy and having the right people with the right skills and contacts to execute it.
Collaboration is the key to making the most out of your work with a PR agent. The more you work in partnership, the better the results- and the better the chance you’ll enjoy the PR process!