Signing on with a PR agency is an exciting step in a business’s journey to building brand awareness, reaching larger and new audiences, and earning third-party validation. As with any service, PR is a financial and time commitment. Naturally, you want to make the most of the investment. Here are some tips for getting the most out of a PR agency:
Designate an Internal PR Coordinator
The best way to capitalize on a PR engagement is — engaging! PR is not a “set it and forget it” type of thing. It requires active, ongoing participation from your internal team to keep ascending the mountain. To effectively keep up with media opportunities and interviews, requests for content reviews, weekly or monthly meetings, etc. It is important to designate someone on your internal team to be responsible for coordinating and communicating with the PR team. This is typically a person who works within the marketing team and has easy access to company spokespeople to help swiftly meet media and other PR deadlines.
Expect Requests Needing Quick Turnarounds
A well-established PR agency will have deeply-rooted media relationships with reporters who will reach out with urgent requests for comments on a particular topic. In these instances, your agency will look to either draw from any comments previously provided by your spokesperson to craft an appropriate response that can be approved by your team. However, if relevant comments aren’t already on hand, or this particular request requires technical insight from the spokesperson, the PR account team will reach out for input. These inquiries require a rapid turnaround, and the faster you participate, the higher your chances of earning coverage.
Treat the PR Agency as an Extension of Your Internal Team
Operating with a mentality that the PR agency is an extension of your team, as opposed to a detached vendor, will ensure relevant company news is communicated as early as possible. Whether an exciting new executive hire is being finalized or you are closing a $30M Series B round, the sooner your PR account team knows, the better. Early notification enables plenty of time to brainstorm creative ways to communicate the news and pitch it under embargo before its official release.
Provide Ongoing Feedback
Don’t be afraid to share feedback with your PR agency on a regular basis. You’re paying for a service and it should meet your needs and expectations. For example, if you prefer sharing documents via DropBox instead of Google Drive, tell them. Maybe you typically receive a status report on Tuesdays, but Thursdays would be preferable, tell them. Perhaps the media publications targeted to date have been mainly industry-oriented and you want to start going after local press, tell them. The sooner you speak up, the sooner the PR agency can pivot and provide your desired outcomes.
Ask for Media Training (or Refreshers)
Your PR agency will be responsible for tee-ing up your thought leaders for interviews with media publications, but then it’s up to the spokesperson to talk the talk and walk the walk. Whether your selected thought leaders are new to interacting with the media or could use a refresher, don’t hesitate to ask your PR team for a media training session. Media training covers best practices for everything from speaker posture to how to address sensitive topics.
Think Outside the Box
There is not a one-size-fits-all PR engagement, and frankly, you don’t want there to be. Each brand is entitled to, and requires, a different formula of media and analyst relations, content development, pursuit of awards and speaking opportunities, etc. to achieve the goals and metrics defined as most important on the quest for brand awareness and credibility. While you may have a vision for your brand’s success, your PR team has traveled many different roads on a quest for the same. Consider their input and trust their instincts.
Interested in PR for your company? Get in touch with our team for an introduction call!