Choosing to hire a public relations agency is a leap of faith for a business, you are trusting an external organisation to position you correctly in the public eye and liaise with the media on your behalf.
Not only are you trusting them with the profile of your business, each month you will receive an invoice from your agency, so how do you make the relationship worth your time and money?
Just like with everything else to do with business, communication and relationships are key. Once you hire an agency, you are part of their team; they can’t do their job without you.
Here are five top tips to making this relationship work:
Have the time available
The point of having a PR agency is to get you, or the businesses’, name in the media. While there are a number of ways to do this, being interviewed by a journalist is the main one. If you have agreed to be pitched to the media, ensure you have time to do the interview.
Most print interviews take about 20 minutes and are usually done via the phone, radio is also via phone but length will depend on whether the interview is live or pre-recorded and the type of program, whereas TV interviews will take a lot longer and may require you to travel to a studio, have your hair and make-up done, do the interview and then get back to the office.
This should all be factored in when deciding on which media opportunities you want to take part in.
Tell your agency if you’re going to be away
Are you going on holidays, or unable to be contacted for a period of time? Let your agency know ahead of time. Don’t wait until they are frantically trying to contact you with a fabulous PR opportunity, just to find out from your PA that you are in the depths of the Amazon and unable to be contacted.
Not being available could ruin your agencies relationship with a journalist, which in turn will ruin your companies’ relationship with the journalist as well.
Don’t let your agency be the last to know
Has something happened in your workplace? A new exciting award win or product development? Let your agency know. Knowledge is power and they can use this information to pitch to journalists for potential media opportunities.
Telling your agency a week after the fact is not going to help, PR is all about what is new and how that makes a story. Make sure your agency is treated like an employee and are kept up-to-date with what is happening at all times.
One suggestion is to put in your diary a time once a week to contact your agency and fill them in about what is happening.
Don’t expect them to be experts in your industry
Yes PR agencies usually have a certain type of client they work with, whether this is in a specific industry or they only work with B2B clients etc. But this does not mean they know everything about your business, products or services.
Great PR happens when your agency understands exactly what you do and why and how you do it. Take the time to send them materials and explain exactly what it is that makes your business stand out from others and what you offer your clients or customers. If a journalist asks, your agency should have enough information to be able to tell them exactly what it is you do.
The more your agency knows, the more media opportunities there will be.
Always adhere to deadlines
If your agency tells you a journalist has a deadline and needs to interview you by a certain time, or they need information before deadline and you tell your agency yes you can do it, don’t go back on your word (except in extenuating circumstances).
Journalists’ deadlines are tight, they are working to have the paper to print by a strict time, or to organise interviews to fill a radio time slot, and they don’t have the luxury to push deadlines back. Once the media opportunity is gone, it’s gone forever and potentially future media opportunities if you have let a journalist down.
These are simple tips, but small things can get lost in the bigger picture when working under pressure. Your PR agency understands you are busy, but if you want to make the most of hiring an agency to do your PR, make sure you stick to these tips above.
Sydney Public Relations Agency, CP Communications provides specialist media, traditional and online PR strategies that get amazing results. Contact us today. For more great tips visit our website www.cpcommunications.com.au.