Our treasure trove of resources, tips and tricks
Posted on 27 February 2023 by Ceris Burns
A public relations campaign can be the perfect choice for businesses that want to stand out from the crowd, create lasting brand awareness, build trust, and tell powerful stories. By appointing a PR agency, you recognise the huge value that regular publicity and media coverage offers, but it’s vital there is a strong, positive client-agency relationship to ensure you get the best results.
Working successfully together needn’t be complicated. Here are five practical steps to building a strong client-agency relationship:
1. Set clear goals and expectations together from the start
Goal setting is essential for any campaign. Both parties should take part in this process, to make sure that each knows what’s expected of the other. If you don’t take time to work out what you’re trying to achieve and how you plan to achieve it, it will be impossible to know whether your campaign is a success.
Whilst plans can be adapted overtime, don’t expect your agency to suddenly change everything, such as focusing on a new event or a different social media platform. This development may not fit in with your overarching strategy. Giving something more priority or taking a different step may also mean that the agreed level of campaign deliverables has been exceeded, meaning other planned activities may need to be postponed or adapted.
Don’t expect your PR agency to say yes to everything. Remember you’ve hired an agency because they are experts in their field. A good PR agency will be a trusted advisor who will tell you if they think something won’t work and provide an alternative solution.
2. Break down the process of working together
An agency should explain how they work generally and how they will work for you specifically.
Businesses rightly expect agencies to deliver when they say they will, but equally, if clients don’t give timely feedback then editorial deadlines could easily be missed, journalist relationships damaged and future opportunities lost. Agencies should be clear what’s required from the client. When is their input and feedback required?
It’s important for clients to be kept in the loop of what’s going on with their campaigns. While clients should be able to reach their agency on short notice in an emergency, they must also understand what is an acceptable level of contact. If you’re constantly on the phone, holding unnecessary lengthy meetings or expecting an immediate response to non-urgent emails, your PR agency won’t have time to actually implement the plans.
3. Communicate openly
The best PR agencies don’t require spoon-feeding and will take time to understand your business and create interesting content. However, letting them know key information such as major contract wins, satisfied clients, or important upcoming changes to your business and where it is heading, will ensure you have a successful and relevant campaign.
So don’t stay quiet, let your agency know about it. Even if you think it’s insignificant, they should be able to use the information in some way, be it on social media, your website, as a press release, or as content for a blog.
4. Work together as partners
Whilst PR professionals are experts in communication, it’s your business that is being promoted and you need to feel confident and excited about the campaign being implemented. Agencies should involve clients in the process, for instance involving them in brainstorms to craft ideas together. Regular catch ups are important, and your agency should ask smart questions about what’s current in your industry, and the biggest headaches you are trying to solve. The more your agency understands what matters to you, the better the service they can provide.
5. Report progress
Clear, regular reporting from your agency shows they value you and also shows you how significant their progress has been.
When you have a meeting together, have a set agenda for what to discuss. This might include measured results and the work that your agency has completed since the last meeting, as well as a general discussion of how things are going, what’s working particularly well, and how you can both make improvements to your working relationship.
A brighter future together
Any relationship requires a level of understanding, commitment from both sides and clear communication. Establishing a genuine connection will ensure that your future goals and plans can be successfully achieved. To find out more about working in partnership with us, please get in touch.