I’m not a lawyer, or a shopping center owner, or an estate agent. I don’t manufacture printers or low-carbon vehicles, and I’m not a small-business owner.
Yet I have been involved in successful PR and marketing activity for all of these sectors.
Because the clients in question, and the people within their business, were engaged, focused, and had a clear view on what they wanted to achieve from their PR campaign.
On top of this, they wanted a PR agency that worked as an extension to their own team. They viewed us as a consultant; they trusted our opinion, and gave us what we needed to understand their business and get the best results.
There are many things that a PR agency or practitioner needs to do to make your campaign a success, but there are also things we need from you.
This is perhaps the most important thing that we need from you, and one of the hardest for you to give. We understand that your time is precious—and PR and marketing is just one of the hats that you wear on a daily basis. But regular and ongoing communication between client and agency is vital for success; we aren’t mind readers, and we need you to tell us what’s happening within your business. The farther in advance we know of events, appointments, news, etc., the more mileage we can get out of them. We also need you to be available for quick approvals and urgent press requests.
Your expertise and opinions
Just because we do the PR for a lion tamer, that doesn’t mean we know how to tame lions. We need you to tell us the story. What are your views, your opinions? What effect will this have on your industry? The longer we work with you the more of your expertise we glean, but you will always be the expert. Our job is to take your experience and knowledge and turn it into a newsworthy story that will capture the attention of journalists and audiences, and integrate it into an ongoing campaign.
We need you to be honest with us about everything: How do you like to work? Are we positioning your company how you want it to be positioned? Are the results what you expected? Let us know what you think and we can adapt as we go along. Of course, a successful relationship is a two-way street, and we will be honest with you if we’re not getting what we need.
We know what journalists want, and we know how to communicate with people. There may be times when you have a story you want to push or an angle you’d like to exploit that we don’t believe will work. We talk to journalists on a daily basis and know what they’re after, and we can talk from experience about what can and should be said. If we advise you that a change in approach is necessary, listen to our reasons and have trust in what we say.
It takes time and consistent effort to get results and build a strong reputation for a brand (especially when it comes to social media, which is increasingly part of the PR mix). But it also takes time to build a relationship with you, and get to know your business and your way of working. Have patience, and the results will be worth it in the end.
Brooke Nolan is an account manager in the U.K. To read more from Brooke—including her tips for accumulating more Twitter followers—visit her blog PRtips, where a version of this story first appeared.