By Solveig Raftery, The Firm Public Relations & Marketing
It’s a turning point many companies and organizations eventually reach: After establishing a promising product or service, you decide to hire a PR agency to promote your valuable efforts. You conduct due diligence, research PR companies, and find one that offers the services you seek and that understands your vision and goals. You sign a contract.
Hiring a PR agency is a significant investment, and of course you want to ensure this investment is effective. Fortunately, when an organization and a PR firm collaborate well, they can reap very satisfying results.
Listed below are simple tips to help maximize this relationship.
- Conduct Thorough Planning
The first step toward a successful PR campaign is preparation. This involves an in-depth planning process, including compiling a strategic schedule for PR efforts such as media outreach, grassroots work and event planning. It also often includes setting benchmarks to measure success, and preparing a crisis communications plan in case of PR emergencies. Keep in mind that the professionals at your PR firm have conducted this planning process many times before, and they are experts in what they do. Convey your needs clearly, and let them do the work.
- Maintain Constant Communication
Is there an innovative new program your organization is developing? Did one of your executives just receive recognition for an accomplishment? Your PR agency wants to know it all. You will never bother PR professionals by providing too much information; the more they know about your organization, the better they can get the word out about the many great things you do. Be sure to maintain regular communication with your PR agency, and provide updates on anything new and exciting.
- Be Available
You and your PR firm have the same goal: To raise awareness of your organization. The agency will apply its relationships in the media to secure interview opportunities, and it’s key to establish one or multiple spokespeople who can be available for these. If the agency lands an immediate interview, but the opportunity falls through because you’re out of the country and didn’t provide that information, no one wins. You lose out on an important opportunity, and the agency’s relationship with a media outlet suffers. Be sure to notify your agency in advance of timeframes when no spokespeople will be available.
- Treat Your PR Agency As an Extension of Your Organization
If your PR agency can fully absorb your organization’s culture and brand, it will be armed with a versatile understanding of how to best promote your efforts among your target audience. Involve your agency with your organization regularly and maintain a close relationship.
5. Work With Your Agency to Set Goals and Expectations
The professionals at your PR agency work regularly with the media, so they have a good idea of what will capture press attention and what won’t. You might be convinced an event or a topic is worthy of front-page coverage, but this might not be a realistic goal. It’s helpful to discuss your media coverage ambitions with your PR agency and ask for input on what kind of coverage will be the most effective and attainable.