With the plethora of awards taking place in every industry, we were thinking about what would make a great new award for PR or – most notably – clients in PR.
Surely it should be about rewarding our best and most favoured clients. So what does it take to be a great client – and does this relate to getting the best out of your agency?
In our view it’s all about mutual appreciation. For organisations, it’s a time consuming job (usually) to select a new agency. How do you get the right skills, experience and – frankly – chemistry to ensure it’s going to be a great campaign, delivered with passion and commitment, and one which delivers results? For agencies, winning a new client is really time-consuming and often expensive. So all round, everyone wants it to work.
So what are the key factors that will make you – our potential client – a great client? And how will this ensure you get the best out of our skills?
Here are the top 10 things to consider if you want to get the best ROI out of your PR investment:
- Make the time for regular meetings and brainstorms – only you know what’s happening in your business and it’s easy to forget to tell your agency. It’s often in those informal chats at the start and end of meetings that some of the golden nuggets are revealed; those that make the best stories and the platform for compelling content
- Make sure you have a streamlined approval process to sign off content quickly – this will ensure stories are released in a timely manner, the PR team doesn’t miss the news opportunity and it saves time all round. Do you really want to waste your PR team’s time in chasing for approval – it’s tedious for everyone involved and isn’t good for motivating anyone
- Respond quickly to PR emails – even if it’s just a simple ‘thank you’ or sorry, ‘I’m busy today – I will get back to you tomorrow unless it’s more urgent?’ There is little more demotivating for PR teams when they send through a piece of coverage that they have spent time and effort in securing, that they are really proud of, to receive no response. It’s amazing what a little praise can do to keep us PR people motivated and happy to go the extra mile to convince another journalist or blogger to write about you.
- Invest in great photography and (increasingly) video content – this can make a story, it helps the media fill their pages and it increases engagement. Your PR team will be able to secure better coverage as a result and provide you with briefs as to what makes a great image, making your life easy
- Make yourself available for interviews – otherwise that media interest in your story may just get lost, wasting your PR investment and once again, leaving your PR team wondering if all that effort is worthwhile
- Consider how communications is increasingly 24/7 – take the time to establish engagement rules for out-of-hours communications. Who is the early bird in your PR team and happy (+ available) to respond to early mails? We know which clients are happy to receive early/late/weekend mails when necessary and we appreciate those clients who are equally knowledgeable about our individual working practices
- Be clear about what you want PR to deliver – work with your PR team to ensure there is clarity as to how PR aligns to your business objectives, how it can be measured and what evidence in reports you need to report back to the business
- Be open to changing your mind – by its very nature, PR often works at the most senior level within an organisation, where strategy and priorities are decided. PR teams can bring an objective opinion and a fresh perspective. Clients willing to listen to our advice and who are open to changing decisions is a significant recognition of the value that PR can deliver to a business
- Open, frank and honest communication is key – the best relationships are honest and open and based on mutual respect enabling the team to be able to deal with problems as they occur and then moving on as issues get resolved promptly
- Finally – treat us as an extension to your team – which includes having some fun – we all want to enjoy what we do after all!
PR people are usually very easy to please! In our experience clients that let us get under the skin of their businesses, are honest and open about their challenges and priorities and let us engage at a senior level certainly get the extra mile from us – we like intellectually stimulating work. With that insight and close relationship, we are able to turn that knowledge into strategic advice, engaging content and ideas for media coverage, topics for events and social media engagement.
And a great team spirit between agency and client works wonders – it certainly goes a long way to making sure we’ll be flexible, quick to respond and get those additional results simply to demonstrate extra ROI.
Director of Firework PR
Follow Firework PR on Twitter @fireworkpr