September 30, 2010
While a good PR agency will take the ball and run with it and should not need a lot of hand holding from you or your company, the most effective PR relationships involve true partnerships between the client and the agency. To get the most out of your public relations efforts, your company should not only seek to work with a PR agency that is able to leverage the best touch points to address your needs and to interact with customers, but also be able to interact well with your company. A good PR agency should act as an extension of your executive team and take the lead in pointing out and evaluating opportunities to help you to reach your corporate goals. Your agency should always stay a step ahead in seeking out ideas and opportunities, and addressing potential pitfalls.
Following are tips on how to best partner with your agency:
- Determine objectives – Before bringing on an agency, make sure you have a clear understanding of the business goals and objectives and the areas that PR can really help. First, determine the common need and opportunity shared by the company and the stakeholders. This will lead to the company’s rightful role, which allows your company to have the greatest impact and return for both the company and stakeholders. After answering this important question, a good agency can best help you to determine all options for maximizing a campaign: traditional and online methods including press releases, contributed articles, blogger outreach, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Twitter, etc.
- Share information – Confide in a good agency as much as possible and allow them to understand all of the strengths and weaknesses of your company. Alert your agency to upcoming announcements as far in advance as possible. Keep them updated with new information and dynamic forces affecting your company so they are aligned with your vision and can properly communicate with your key stakeholders to get better results.
- Look for opportunities to be a thought leader – Think and act creatively with your PR plan. A good agency will proactively do this with you. But it is also advantageous for you to understand, and take part in, this process, since you are the closest to your business and industry. Make a list of current trends, things that are happening in the industry, and look for ways to juxtapose yourself into the conversation and position yourself as an expert. Make your company accessible. Be on the lookout for opportunities to open or engage in a conversation. Sometimes the best opportunities, like talking with the New York Times, Wired or others, require a short window to comment.
- Measure your successes – Another important area not to forget is evaluation. While your PR agency should provide you with reports and metrics, your contacts there will also need your help with quantifying the value (in new business, customer appreciation, etc.) that you are obtaining. Figure out what’s working and what’s not by measuring media hits obtained and ROI, taking into consideration the quality and scope of each hit, as well as the SEO value and other metrics depending on your goals. Identify your company’s own KPIs and important metrics (web analytics, referrals, etc.) so you can measure and determine what is getting the most traction.
- Focus on what is working – Make sure to keep ROI in mind for every tactic employed. Make sure your time and resources are targeting the right people and outlets that will truly generate a reaction to message. Challenge the status quo and think ahead of your competition by finding key influencers in the places where they are most engaged and active – that is the secret to a truly successful campaign that will take your startup to the next level.
Sarah Hardwick is president & CEO of Zenzi Communications and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Zenzi Communications bridges the gap between traditional media-focused and digital agencies with an integrated approach that delivers bottom line results. If your goal is to increase exposure and market share, break into new industries, find investors or generate qualified leads, Zenzi can help you BE KNOWN and BE FOUND. For more information: www.zenzi.com or follow them on Twitter @ZenziBEknown.
Disclosure: In accordance to the FTC Guidelines and WOMMA Code of Ethics, we are disclosing that TECH cocktail is a client of Zenzi and they are one of our preferred partners.
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