Written by Sophie Chant, Account Manager at Rhetoric PR.
If you’ve stumbled across this post I assume you’re either:
a) Looking to hire a PR agency to help raise your profile or boost sales
b) Have already hired an agency and feel you are not getting the best from them
Maintaining a strong relationship between client and agency is extremely important, and what we live and breathe at Rhetoric PR. So, we’ve taken a little time out of our busy schedules to give you the run down on how to get the most out of your PR agency.
TELL US EVERYTHING!
When onboarding a client we spend a lot of time face to face, or via Skype getting to know them and everything about their business. During this time, brief your agency thoroughly and introduce them to key players in the business. Let them into the inner circle and show them trust. The more that we know, the more effectively we can find stories, build your profile and get you in front of the right audiences.
Be sure to keep your agency up to date with any new exciting news with plenty of notice, if possible, so that we can turn into pure gold for a slice slot on national TV or a leading news outlet.
SET UP DROPBOX FILES
A fantastic way for us to be efficient, and not have to do unnecessary back and forth communication for content, is to have access to all of your relevant files via Dropbox or other cloud-based systems. Make a free account, and share it with your PR Agency. This is a fantastic platform for you to upload all high res headshots, product shots, branding and logos, articles, biographies, videos, etc.
These will end up becoming your ‘digital press packs’ as we start to create content and campaigns.
INVEST IN MEDIA TRAINING
If you haven’t delved into PR before, media training will be a very useful tool as you start being interviewed by the press. From how to manage media interviews to getting your key messages across, media training is a fantastic way for you to learn what the most newsworthy parts of your business are, what journalists will ask you, and how you should be answering their sometimes tough or probing questions.
In a world that’s constantly churning news stories, knowing what a journo really means when they say “off the record” and the tricks of the trade on deflecting, bridging and deftly answering questions will stand you in good stead for media interview….and life in general!! Our go to partner in all things media training is the lovely Christine Heard from Heard Communication, who has 20 years of journalistic experience under her belt.
HAVE REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS
Be aware that PR is a long-term investment and takes time to build brand presence, build media relationships and profile. Be wary of anyone who says that they will have you on television next month from having no media presence at all! While it’s not impossible and we have certainly delivered on this (hehe), at Rhetoric PR we know the importance of lead time, and know which publications work in advance, which need news now and the nuances of how to pitch a story. Don’t be disheartened if you aren’t seeing your beautiful headshot popping up online and in mags as soon as you hire a PR agency, be excited knowing that we are on the ground putting in the hard yards, getting the strategy sorted and getting the messaging right so that you can reap the rewards, and down the track can announce your opinion pieces and features to targets and clients in SMH, CEO mag or The AFR!!
If a journalist wants to chat with you drop everything, if we’ve said we need some answers to some questions by a certain date that’s when we need it. The fast moving media waits for no man so if you don’t meet deadlines the opportunity is often lost.
As a PR Agency remember that the media are also our clients – any opportunity that comes our way, we need to pounce and make sure we are delivering content, setting up interviews and getting that piece confirmed ASAP, before you essentially become “old news”. The media doesn’t wait, so please don’t make us either.
When working with a PR agency, it is important that the lines of communication are always open. At Rhetoric HQ, we always meet with our clients face-to-face or via Skype once a month to review activities, discuss upcoming activities and the month ahead, but be prepared to be in email or phone contact almost every day for approvals, information and media opportunities. You need to ensure that you are keeping us up to date with ANY information constantly, and addressing any problems that you may have.
RESPECT AGENCY TIME
While communication is vital in an agency and client relationship, and we do our very best to be there whenever you need us we need to spend time creating awesome content for you, putting the strategy together, coming up with genius ideas and talking to the media.
We’re building media relationships on your behalf so often the more time we’re talking to you, the less time we’re talking to the media for you, so if we don’t answer your call or email straight away, please don’t assume we don’t value you. Chances are we are half through putting together an amazing pitch or lining up an interview for you with your favourite outlet… so do have patience!
GIVE CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK
It’s absolutely crucial to give feedback to your PR agency. If something isn’t going how you would like, or if the messaging isn’t in line with your company’s values and vision, don’t be afraid to speak up. We want to know what makes you guys tick so that we can be 100 per cent effective. Public relations is well known to be in the top 10 most stressful jobs, we’re tough cookies and want to do the best job possible in partnership with you.
LISTEN TO OUR ADVICE
Our clients are pretty good at doing this to be honest. If you trust your agency can get your coverage, you’ve seen their back catalogue then do the photoshoot they suggest, accept a push back on some amends on a media release and put your faith in us PRs, we’ve got your back and we want to get you those opportunities to help you shine. You just need to let us.
PR Agencies rule! We have our colleagues’ backs and we love our industry. We’d love to hear your comments so comment below if you’d like to ask a question or feel like you can add anything.