Too many times I see company’s that want and need PR, hire an agency and then proceed to do nothing. An agreement with a PR agency should not be a relationship where the company hires the agency and expects the results to just magically appear.
The most effective approach is to view your relationship with an agency as a partnership.
Here are six steps to ensure that you’re PR relationship is a true partnership:
- Know what you want to accomplish: Your PR team can help manage expectations and help guide you on how to accomplish your objectives, but it’s critical that you know what your overall business goals are and what you want to accomplish both short and long-term. In one example, an international company came to me wanting local press coverage. This company is known and respected all over the world for the service they provide but residents of the state where they are headquartered had little recognition or knowledge the company was there. The company was looking to hire significant numbers for a variety of positions, including high paying and executive level jobs and was struggling to get applications from the state in which they are headquartered. Their goal was simple, securing local media coverage to drive job applications in their home state. With that in mind we developed a strategy to create awareness and in four months were able to increase applications in the company’s home state by 10 percent.
- Commit to PR success: Just like any other goal, whether it’s weight loss or a personal best in a running race, you have to commit to, be dedicated to and be driven to accomplish the goal. Spend time thinking about these goals and work with your PR team to accomplish them. Track progress and strategize with your PR team to reevaluate and make changes and adjustments as you go. If you think you want PR, hire a PR agency and then do nothing with it you’ll never enjoy the successes and joys that come with accomplishing your PR goals.
- Meet regularly: Your business probably does things and certainly knows things related to your industry that can be beneficial to a PR team and their efforts to secure interviews, drive media coverage and establish you as a thought leader and a go to source for the media. Usually these items are things you may not consider valuable or newsworthy because you deal with them on a regular basis and they just don’t seem that novel or relevant. By meeting regularly and discussing issues and company initiatives your PR team will know and be able to recommend what topics and issues are relevant and can be used to pitch the media and help accomplish your goals and objectives.
- Be available: The media is always on deadline. Sometimes they work several months in advance, but quite often due to the digital world we now live in, the media can’t or won’t give a lot of notice when they want to interview you for a story they’re working on. In either case, be available to talk to the media. I’ve had clients where we’ve set the strategy and in the process of delivering on the strategy will not make themselves available to talk to the press. If you have to constantly rearrange interview times or can’t meet the media’s deadlines you’re unable to build trust with the media and be a resource to them. By being available you earn their trust and they’ll come back to you for future opportunities.
- Take advantage of opportunities: Similar to the point above, when your PR team creates an opportunity for you, take it. I once had a client that wanted a specific opportunity with a very well known and respected national business magazine. We secured the opportunity and this client was very excited about it. However, once it came time to deliver on the opportunity and provide the expertise that the magazine had been promised, he faltered and wasn’t able to follow through on his commitment. If a reporter or media outlet agrees to interview you, write about your company or allow you to contribute in some way, there’s a reason for it. They are interested in what you and/or your company is doing and think it will help them while providing something interesting to their readers. When these opportunities present themselves, you must take advantage of them.
- Share your expertise: Often you have knowledge about your industry that many don’t but it’s interesting and useful to the media. I encourage you to follow industry trends, understand what the market is doing and be prepared and willing to share that information with the media and your PR team. If your PR team knows these things and understands that you posses a level of expertise that differentiates you from others in the industry they can leverage that to secure interviews, brand you as a thought leader and make you a valuable resource for the media moving forward.
Working in partnership with your PR agency will yield far superior results than simply sitting back and watching. A good PR agency will guide and direct you and be able to educate you on best practices, but to maximize results and get the best return on your investment you need to be involved and engaged with your agency.
In sports great athletes can only carry a team so far. Michael Jordan, considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all time could only carry his Chicago Bulls so far. It wasn’t until he had a complete team and strong role players around him that he was able to win his first of six championships.
In business, a good leader can only create so much success. I worked with Mitt Romney on the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic Winter Games of 2002 and as great as he was, he was always the first to acknowledge that he couldn’t do what he did without the team he had built.
In both of these examples, with a strong team around them the success rate of the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan and Mitt Romney and the Olympic Committee increased dramatically. You’ll find that by working with your PR agency your success will also increase dramatically.
Jeremy Kartchner is a Partner at Snapp Conner PR and has more than 15 years experience in both technology and sports PR. In addition to his responsibilities with Snapp Conner PR, Kartchner also works with the Utah Jazz as a member of its Game Night public relations staff where he is responsible for tracking and providing game time statistics for local, national and international media and conducting pre and post game player and coach interviews. He’s a sports fan, golfer, father of three, husband to one hottie, partially bionic, cavity free, Olympics junkie and wanna be blogger.
Author: Jeremy Kartchner | Google+