This post was first published by Hanah Johnson on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.
For PR professionals, how-to articles on topics such as planning the perfect product launch, boosting social media campaigns or leveraging analyst relations programs, among others, are effective resources for learning ways to maximize PR’s value for our clients.
But what about the other side of the coin – what are the things clients can do to optimize the services that tech PR agencies offer? When firms and their clients establish a consistent and reliable working relationship, a lot can be accomplished.
Here are four tips for getting the most out of your PR agency:
1. Maintain Communications
As with any relationship, opening up communication to ensure a consistent flow of information is key to building a strong rapport with a PR agency. Staying in regular contact and keeping PR goals transparent helps the agency achieve them. Likewise, relevant company news can be leveraged more effectively if the firm is consistently updated with the latest developments, like upcoming product or company news.
The earlier businesses can bring up to speed on major announcements, the better the chances for generating successful results. Treat PR as an extension of your own internal team, as opposed to a third party vendor.
2. Be Aware of Time-Sensitivity
Reporters often work within extremely tight timeframes, particularly for breaking news features. Their deadlines could be just hours away, and PR agencies are often at their mercy. So, when high priority emails come through with “Immediate Media Opportunity” in the subject line, an accessible media spokesperson that can provide a timely response is crucial if clients want a chance to be featured in the piece.
This also applies to scheduling media and analyst interviews. Calendars can get booked out quickly, so working out a schedule with your PR firm as soon as possible will help clients get the most out of these opportunities.
Similarly, providing the agency with lead time ahead of a major news announcement can significantly boost the potential to secure results. Even just a few days’ notice will give your PR team enough time to target outreach and provide reporters with enough time and information to write a story.
3. Set Realistic Expectations
Like our clients, we share the same dream of achieving coverage in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, but consider the fact that these publications receive thousands of unsolicited submissions each day, publishing only a handful and primarily by well-known thought leaders. Putting your company in front of a more niche, targeted audience (even if that means it’s in a smaller publication) can be just as effective, especially since these publications will often permit longer-form feature stories, as opposed to a single small mention in a much larger business publication.
4. Explore the Agency’s Other Services
The practice of public relations has progressed way beyond drafting press releases and conducting media relations alone. From videos to eBooks, content marketing strategies to social media and market research, PR agencies have continued to adapt to the ever-changing media landscape to accommodate next-gen communication channels and technologies.
Most firms offer a wide array of services that are just as effective traditional PR (if not more) – unfortunately, they often go unused. For instance, video is playing an increasingly crucial role in effective content marketing, so consulting your PR agency about these types of services could prove extremely valuable.
Public relations is a business where seamless working relationships are a centerpiece for success, and active participation – both on the agency and client side – will be a significant driver in making the most of your PR investment.