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How to deliver devotion without veering into Fatal Attraction territory

by Alicia Simpson

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Can’t Smile Without You: How to Keep Clients Happy In Every Situation

Glenn close played a dangerously obsessed character in Fatal AttractionIT’S ALL about you. You’re the centre of our world, the focus of our attention and the reason for our being.

Just in case that sounds a bit too much like Glenn Close’s crazily obsessed character in the legendary movie, Fatal Attraction, let us explain further – because we’re not about to start boiling your pet rabbits. Honest.

Quite simply, in public relations, there is nothing more important than the client. It’s the first thing new recruits learn when they start a PR career.

The key to prolonging the warm fuzzy feeling of a successful partnership is to keep delivering positive results and most of the time that involves boring stuff like careful planning and workflow scheduling.

But it’s a changeable world and business life doesn’t always follow neat, pre-arranged paths. When something crops up in your business at short notice you don’t want to hear your PR agency say they’re busy with something else, the timing is inconvenient or that there’s nobody available to help.

Make sure you get TLC on tap from your PR partners

TLC on tap - a barman pours a pint of TLC

TLC on tap

We all know the analogy of the serene swan which appears to glide effortlessly across the water. While the reality is that beneath the surface the bird’s feet are paddling furiously.

That’s the real key to happy clients. You want to know that your PR agency is there exactly when you need them, that they can provide TLC on tap whenever required and that they can turn on a sixpence to meet your needs. And you definitely *don’t* need to hear about what hardships that involves behind the scenes.

Our Scottish PR team have just shown exactly how to perfect this crucial balancing act by managing our usual client work, while also delivering three major events, at short notice. Over just 10 days, we:

  • Assisted with an innovative event to better the lives of those with disabilities
  • Invited, managed and mingled with key press at a glitzy relaunch party for a hotel, bar and restaurant
  • Aided a parliamentary reception concerning the future of on-shore wind in Scotland

Unflappable? Us? Why thank you! But we do have to confess we may have lost our cool just a tad when the impressive results rolled in.

Joking aside, keeping the client scales evenly weighted is no easy feat, but we love a challenge – so just how do we do it? Here’s some useful tips for business that may help you get the most from your PR.

When Clients Are Too Busy

Blurred figures hard at work in the busy pr office of Scottish public relations agency Holyrood PRWhen there is an important event on the horizon and the pressure begins to mount, typically all hands are on deck as the deadline approaches. No matter how much careful pre-planning is involved, inevitably some unforeseen circumstance will throw up cause for panic.

At those times the PR process may be the last thing on your mind. Ironically it is exactly at this time you want your PR to be right.

From long experience we know that at such times, getting hold of the right person in a client’s business can be nigh on impossible, whether to approve a media release, sign off an image or answer blogger/journalist questions.

Our success at these times is down to being both patient and flexible to find no fuss solutions and workarounds. For example, that can be something as simple (yet so often elusive) as finding the person within the client’s business who is not quite so preoccupied – then convincing them to help.

It’s not only cool heads which are needed from PR people at such times. You’ll be grateful for working with a PR agency that is effective in time management. The type of practitioners who prioritise well, so that the most pressing tasks are at the top of your to do list. Or who see any slight lull in activity as an opportunity to progress the next item on the TO DO list.

Even if we grab 15 minutes of a client’s time, we will squeeze every last ounce of usefulness out of it, to chase a release or send an email, grab a quote or otherwise keep things progressing.

When Clients Are Too Quiet

QuietMany clients don’t think they have any stories to tell or anything interesting to say – and when the workload is more intense that worsens to the point where they simply totally hush up.

Again, this is where the real PR skills of a dedicated agency will kick in. We’ve already shown we’re adept at making the most of even the most limited time, so that no matter what the obstacles, we keep the positive coverage flowing in.

However, beyond that, our PR team are experts at finding the story lines and nuggets that others can’t see immediately; even if these stories are buried deep, we will dig and dig until we find them. In fact, some of our most memorable work has been helping tell the stories of businesses that were convinced they had nothing to share.

Beyond having a great nose for a story, we also keep a watchful eye on the news agenda, spotting opportunities as they break which could let us piggy back on with clients providing expert comment or insights.

Likewise, if you’ve hit a bit of a wall, we will organise a session to tease out material – no matter how unlikely – then show exactly how it can be worked into interesting content and campaigns.


Maybe you are brimming with stories but just can’t find the right platform on which to tell them. Perhaps you know you have something to say but aren’t quite sure how to say it.

Or it might be you simply don’t see your brand as edgy or glamorous enough to shout about, we are experts in helping businesses to get their stories in front of the right audience.

We’d love to chat with you about what’s possible for your business. You can get in touch with us on 0131 561 2238 or complete the simple form below and we’ll get straight back to you.


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    Private: Alicia Simpson

    The profile and biography of public relations professional Alicia Simpson, a junior account executive with award-winning Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh.

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