Today’s guest post comes from Rachel Thexton at Dunn PR north of the border in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her topic? How to work best with your PR agency–let’s hear what she has to say…
Your goal is to grow your business by telling your company’s stories and you’ve engaged a PR agency to help you reach your target audiences. Too often, I come across cases where a company has brought a PR group on board but failed to work together with their agency to get the desired results.
Here are a few tips to ensure your spend is well worth it:
Keep your agency close. PR practitioners jump to the pump if they know you are interested and engaged. If we don’t hear from you, we lack the information needed to be effective— and our results will probably reflect your lack of engagement. For example, if your employees are heading out into the community to help with a local cause, we want to know about it. Media and bloggers love stories about businesses giving back and your initiative may gain coverage (but only if we know about it in advance).
Keep your agency looped in. PR pros monitor what’s happening in the news and communicate daily with media and bloggers. If you keep us informed about your business and activities, it helps us identify potential news stories that we can pitch to media and bloggers. If a reporter comes to us looking for a source on green tech and you are working on a new sustainable product, we can suggest you for the profile.
Keep talking. Most PR consultants are keen to know more about your business strategy and how PR can fit with your plans and goals. The more we know, the more we can help.
Keep connecting. Connecting us with your partners and suppliers will help us see the whole picture, and come up with creative ideas to build buzz about your brand.
Keep asking questions. Like everyone else, PR people love to talk about what they know. By asking questions, you’ll learn what makes a media story, and you’ll soon understand the potential stories that exist in your organization.
Keep it coming. It takes more than a budget to feed the PR machine. It also takes energy and mutually-creative ideas to keep the stories flowing.
Stay active and involved in your social media strategy. We can advise and help implement to online platforms, but it’s important that your company’s principals are involved on a regular basis if you want to be seen as authentic and offer the best quality content and engagement to your online communities.
Keep it real. News is based on what’s new, authentic and interesting, and your PR consultant can help frame your stories to make them suitable for media and bloggers. When possible, share key stats with your agency. Media love seeing numbers that illustrate a trend and if you open up, this can help your agency develop news stories.
Pushing out a stale story doesn’t help enhance your coverage, or your credibility. Rely on your consultant’s expertise here.
Keep on track. The best profile arrives from a well-crafted marketing and communications strategy, well executed. Involve your PR agency in crafting the strategy, as we may think of profile opportunities that haven’t occurred to your advertising and marketing agencies. What may be a creative marketing campaign does not necessarily have the ingredients to interest media and bloggers.
Keep on trucking! Straight-ahead advertising will buy you guaranteed space — for a price. Earning free editorial coverage takes effort and patience. Not all your company’s stories will stick, so don’t give up on your PR agency if their news releases and pitch ideas don’t get you coverage immediately. The best PR pros love what they do, have fun working through a strategy to build buzz, and are as thrilled as you to see results. Keep us informed and, as a team, we can help spread your messages to your target audiences.
Effective agency-client relationships are a product of partnership. I encourage you to see the PR agency as an extension of your team. Collaborate with them early and often to achieve the best possible results.
Rachel Thexton enjoys coming up with fresh ideas and creative approaches to storytelling and media relations. Increasingly, Rachel incorporates digital strategy into communications plans and excels at generating coverage for clients in both mainstream media outlets and on the most frequented blogs.