Most public relations firms that have been in business for a while have established relationships with long-term clients. That’s no accident. Lasting client/PR firm relationships are built on mutual trust and respect. The client knows that the PR firm has its best interests at heart, will keep confidential information confidential, and can design and communicate strategic messages effectively. The PR firm appreciates being part of the team – respected for its contribution to the organization.
How that relationship begins is the key to its success. Every PR firm has a responsibility upfront to explain their process for coming up with a strategy and implementing it, especially for a business or nonprofit organization that has never worked with a PR firm before. Successful PR-client relationships begin with an understanding of what PR can do and how it can achieve the organization’s goals.
The client also has some responsibility for making the relationship a mutually beneficial one. Here are three tips for clients who want to establish a positive, long-term relationship with their PR firm:
- Let them show what they can do. Bring the PR firm in at the beginning of the relationship to inform them of your business goals so they can develop an effective communication strategy to achieve them. Expecting a PR firm to handle a series of communication tactics – news releases, brochures, ads – without allowing them to design the strategy behind them rarely works out well. An outside PR counselor is trained to look for the “WIIFM” factor – the news significance or marketing message that you may not see as an insider.
- Communicate. It may take some time to develop trust with a new PR firm, but if a firm has been in business for several years and has a good reputation and established long-term client relationships, that firm is probably trustworthy. So share as much information as possible about your business, its successes and its failures. PR firms specialize in finding solutions to problems. Give them a chance to do so.
- Be responsive. Too many great PR plans have been thrown off track by a client’s delayed response to a PR firm. Timeliness in response to events, news, or a media interview request can mean the difference between gaining positive attention for your organization and missing out on a really great opportunity.
Posted by Margot Dimond.