The rallying cry for success in public relations means making yourself available
Welcome to our essential business guide into the inner workings of a PR agency. In this post we explore the crucial role you – the client – play in the entire process.
IT’S ALL about you. The headlines, the blog posts, the success stories.
Yep, when a public relations campaign comes together, it’s can be very nice to sit back and bask in the glow of all that positive coverage and feedback for your business.
But here’s a gentle wee reminder: it’s all about you. That means you should be closely involved in the process – and that without vital input from you a PR campaign is most likely to fail.
The boring business term for this is “client engagement” and believe us, it is absolutely essential to PR success.
We can’t dig out the best stories without access to the key people in your business. Even the best creative ideas will die a slow death if nobody gets round to approving them. And nothing guarantees a missed deadline more certainly than the client who is never available.
By reading on you’ll enjoy our quick guide to some of the basics involved in ‘client engagement’ for businesses which become clients of Holyrood PR:
One of the most important first areas of client engagement is likely to be a PR audit or workshop.
That’s where we meet with your people and review previous PR and marketing activity while get your opinion on what has and hasn’t worked. We’ll also look at your rivals, as well as threat and opportunities in your market and the main pain points you face, where communications can make a difference.
This is a crucial first step, because it is a chance for us to meet with your senior team and start the familiarisation process of how this whole PR thing works – and to set the standards and expectations for all future contact.
This is also the point where we hope to agree those all important sign-off procedures, more of which later.
PR KEY MESSAGES
The next step is to agree a suite of Key Messages (KMs) for your PR campaign.
These will be three to five short, sharp messages which encapsulate the most important information you want potential customers to remember.
Why are these so important? Because they will underpin everything we produce on your behalf – briefing documents, media releases, pitches, blog posts, social media updates. The lot. We’ll even use them during telephone calls to journalists or other stakeholders.
Even more importantly, we’ll measure how widely those messages are used in the media or repeated on social media as part of evaluating the success of your PR campaign.
PR CLIENT MEETINGS
Sounds obvious, right? Well, anything this important can’t be overstated – even if does seem like a case of repeating the glaringly obvious.
Regular monthly or fortnightly meetings with clients are the key to the entire PR relationship.
These are the sessions where we’ll encourage you to brain dump as many story ideas as possible – no matter how unlikely they may seem.
It’s also the forum for us to report on the successes we’ve achieved, the barriers we have encountered and the feedback from media and bloggers.
Likewise, the regular meetings are the place for you to pass on your feedback – whether that is delight with the results, or concerns over aspects of the working relationship.
Above all else, we hope these meeting will be rewarding and enjoyable – a difference from the normal day-to-day grind with people who are genuinely fascinated by the job you do. We can even bring cake!
This is another way of saying “approval” and this provides you and us with a big safety net.
Basically, we’ll never issue anything on your behalf until it has been through a very clear sign off process – so that means there will be no campaign malfunctions or unpleasant surprises.
No two businesses have the same process. Sometimes it can be very simple, but where there are multiple people involved, including clients, customers, suppliers or other third parties, it can be a tortuous and labyrinthine exercise.
Either way the most important thing is that the right person at your end is available to play their part.
We have all been there … at the end of a phone line that is constantly ringing out or sending an endless thread of nagging emails in a desperate attempt to get in contact with someone.
That ‘radio silence’ isn’t just extremely frustrating – it is an absolute success killer. No blogger or journalist will burst a deadline for a story. And if your company has left them with a last minute hole to fill, your chances of future goodwill are slim.
So there you have a snapshot of the main areas of client engagement where your input and involvement is vital. The more we can engage with you the better we can help you engage with your target audience. That’s our bottom line.
Don’t miss any of the posts in our Through the Keyhole guide to the inner workings of a PR agency
Find out how our Scottish public relations agency can help you
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