Sarah Mawji is CEO and founder of Final Edit Media and PR (soon to be Venture Strategies).
Spreadsheets, presentations, and meetings are great, but that’s not what keeps clients. Results do.
In 2023, I put into motion an action plan thatremoved noise – the things clients didn’t really care about — from my to-do list. It was a gamble, but the disappearance of these things contributed heavily to client happiness and gave me time to grow my agency’s client base.
This year, I plan to keep this action plan alive across a now-larger client roster.
Implementing this action plan may help you, too. Here are some of the changes I made:
Scale down meetings to increase coverage
Trust is important. And to instill trust, what do we often do? Set meetings. Weekly, bi-weekly, as needed. But just like in any new relationship, the beginning is when communication is heightened and this can be an issue. Instead of one call a week, you could end up having three, in addition to responding to emails or client WhatsApp messages (depending on your boundaries).
The first 30 to 90 days are a vital period of time to show your clients that you can do what you said you were going to. We, as PR pros, know we need a period of time to build the vital infrastructure that fuels quality outreach and media relations, and despite communicating this to our clients, they only see what we bring in.
Knowing this, we need to get serious, immediately, and focus on the prize, which comes in the form of a solidly built strategic plan, with coverage as the ultimate win.
By scaling down meetings and, in fact, limiting all communications, in 2023, I was able to generate results like never before. My form of communication looked like an update every time a media opportunity was secured or a piece of coverage had gone live. It was then that I would share how to leverage the piece of coverage across platforms, what the coverage meant for the client, and how it benefitted them. I also let them know what was in the pipeline. This communication style kept my clients happy, and over time, they knew if they didn’t hear from me, it was only because there was a lot happening behind the scenes.
Stopped making clients do work by using limited information
With many of my former clients, collecting information was an issue. Everyone has a lot on their plate, and sometimes you are not the priority. So last year, I told myself, “work with you have.”
And guess what? I was able to secure 30 pieces of high-quality coverage over the course of just three months. In hindsight, having less information gave me the freedom to get creative and align my client’s business with the media cycle.
I’ll give you an example.
With a corporate deck and key messaging from a company website, I had enough information to identify key points, verticals, beats, pitch subject lines and areas of importance.
Once I built my repository with this information, it was time to fill in the blanks, so I looked to the media cycle and external sources for statistics and facts that validated the work of my client. This process saved me from being inundated with loads of information and not knowing where to start.
In almost every case, less is more, and while there are times you do desperately need your client to give you information like internal data, most times you can get going without it.
Harnessed the power of the evergreen story
In addition to using a limited amount of information to get started, I sent a ton of highly targeted introductory source pitches out at the start of each new client relationship. I followed best practices to custom curate every single source pitch while also ensuring I did not miss a single publication. As most of us know, this is a great way to get results, but they don’t always come 24 hours or even 30 days later.
In fact, most of those introductory pitches came in handy six months down the road.
If you are currently in the middle of onboarding new clients, this quarter is a great time to capitalize on the source pitch because reporters are most definitely looking for new sources or starting out with new publications.
Scale down to scale up
Scaling down your client-facing to-do lists is a great way to scale up.
This year, get intentional and understand what each and every client wants to see from you. Not all clients are the same and for those that prefer consistent communication, be sure to provide them with that. But, don’t be scared to try out a new course of action that could end up greatly benefitting you and your client in the end.