The right public relations (PR) agency can help your business build a strong brand, increase sales, and connect with your target audience effectively. PR plays an invaluable role in promoting your business and can deliver exceptional return on investment. Gaining maximum value from your PR firm depends on strong relationships, effective collaboration, and clear communication.
PR is a specialised subset of marketing that focuses on media relations, reputation management, and stakeholder communications. Your in-house marketing team is unlikely to have the same resources as a PR agency when it comes to extensive media contacts and databases, a deep understanding of the operations behind relevant publications, and the ability to capitalise on pre-existing relationships with journalists. PR agencies add exponential value to your marketing activities and can act as a scalable extension of your team.
To get maximum value from your PR agency it’s important to consider the following:
1. Share what’s happening in the business and where it wants to go
When your agency team knows the full the story, they can plan more strategically and effectively. This lets your team move away from focusing purely on short-term wins, instead concentrating on the activities and initiatives that will help your business reach its goals, including hitting sales targets and increasing brand awareness.
2. Be upfront about the relationship and budgets
Your PR agency can likely deliver a strong campaign even for a limited budget, with the possibilities increasing as your budget grows. It’s important to be upfront about your budget and determine whether you’d prefer to work on a retainer or project basis so that your agency can develop a plan that maximises your value for money. Being clear about the budget will also help shape expectations and let your agency deliver within scope.
3. Be responsive
The most common reason companies fail to capitalise on PR opportunities is a lack of availability. A great PR firm can do most of the work required without excessive hand-holding but, when a media opportunity arises, the team will need to know you can provide an expert spokesperson in a timely manner. Internal processes should be cleared to let spokespeople respond to opportunities within minutes of being notified.
4. Consider professional counsel before making decisions
When you engage a PR agency, you’re getting a lot more than just arms and legs to promote your business. The combined experience and knowledge of your PR team is invaluable. Regardless of the situation you’re facing or the approach you want to take, your team has likely seen it all before, and has a good idea of whether your preferred approach will succeed. It’s important to listen to this expert counsel before locking in decisions; often, a different approach could save you money and deliver a stronger result.
5. Maintain regular communication
Communication is crucial to a strong and productive relationship. It’s important to schedule regular weekly communication and monthly meetings with the PR team and to require monthly reports that show progress against agreed deliverables. This helps ensure both teams are engaged and invested in the relationship. Communication should cover current and upcoming activities, proposed announcements, internal business changes, and external sources of change.
To get maximum value from your PR agency, it’s essential to collaborate and communicate, treating the agency as an extension of your team. Mutual trust and an open dialogue will help you see a strong return on investment. Giving your PR team access to subject matter experts and thought leaders within your business will empower the team to deliver even stronger results.