How to get the most out of your PR firm | Lynn I. Nelson
I’ve been on both sides of the PR fence during my career in strategic communications. When I was much younger, I was head of a PR department for a Fortune 100 company. For the past 20 years, I’ve owned LIN PR. I could have gotten much better results from the agency my former employer paid $200,000 per year if I’d known then what I know now about managing PR agency people.
- Do a plan – jumping into a PR program without a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, and how you’re going to measure it is fool-hardy, and I guarantee you won’t save money. It doesn’t have to be long – just specific.
- Give your PR team what they need to get the job done: current info, regular feedback and good visual materials to share. A PR firm is your megaphone. With the right stuff, we can magnify your message. Without it, we’re just making noise.
- Make sure you have the capacity to engage in a PR program before you hire a firm. Your PR team will need regular meetings to stay on track, fast feedback, and your ability to turn on a dime to meet the demands of unpredictable media requests.
- Praise us when we do well and goose us if you aren’t seeing activity leading to good results. We definitely pay more attention to clients who are paying attention to us.
- Make sure your social media, PR and advertising are working in tandem. We do different things, but we should all be moving in the same direction. And that’s impossible if we don’t have access to each other or each other’s plans – at least on a quarterly basis.
- Give us access to upper management when we need it. Reputations must be driven from the top. Communication is much more authentic when it comes straight from “the horse’s mouth”.
- Stick to the plan. Good communication requires staying on course, despite distractions. Adding new dimensions and second-guessing mid-stream (unless absolutely necessary, due to new developments) is counter-productive.
- Pay your PR peeps promptly. Quick payers – as in any industry – get better service. Often by the time a client receives a bill, the work is done. Delaying payments can lead to a slowdown in future services. And fairly paid PR people are the most productive.
Getting great PR results requires a team effort between the agency and its clients. If the partnership isn’t strong, the results won’t be either.