New Year’s Resolutions: Motivate Your PR Agency, Part 1
While the start of a New Year means detoxing from our food comas and sugar crashes, it also presents an opportunity for companies of all sizes to take a hard look at past successes and failures. A New Year is a popular time to bring in a new PR agency, or increase current efforts, to meet steeper sales and marketing goals, or launch a new offering.
Whether you’re in a new PR partnership, or looking for ways to amplify your current one, here are the top ways to motivate your PR agency right from the get-go and set the partnership up to be successful:
- Make the agency part of your inner circle. Consider your PR agency an extension of your marketing team, rather than an outside vendor, and get the rest of the company on board upfront. Your success means the agency’s success and vice versa, so it’s important to treat them as you would any other marketing team member.
Despite the technology advances in virtual communications and conferencing, don’t underestimate the value of facetime. If your agency is local, schedule monthly or quarterly in-person meetings. Invite the account team to company kick offs, major conferences, customer events, department brainstorms and parties to ensure they hear the most important information from the top executives. Not only will this help the agency understand all aspects of the company, but will most likely lead to promotional opportunities you might not have otherwise considered.
- Share the good, the bad and the ugly. What we learned in kindergarten is still true– honesty is always the best policy, both at the start of a new relationship and throughout. Your PR team cannot make an informed decision or recommendation without knowing the ins and outs of the company, products, team, as well as your challenges. At Karbo Com we ask our clients to let us know when they hire a new executive or when someone leaves the company, when they’re ahead of or behind their sales goals, when they’re planning their next customer conference, what their product challenges are, how they’re unique and where they’re playing catch up, etc. Even the smallest bit of information can be valuable, especially in today’s digital world. The more your PR team is prepared, the more successful your PR and marketing efforts will be.
- Give direct access. A good PR firm will request to dive deep into your company’s business objectives, technology, products and market. While you may be able to offer some of this information yourself, it’s important to give the agency direct access to other stakeholders. Connect them with the CEO, CTO, V.P. of Sales, tech founders or inventors, so they can hear each executive’s perspective and fully understand the company’s origin, evolution and potential. Give the team direct access to customers and partners (when appropriate), so they can learn first-hand how users are leveraging your products/ technology to solve real problems. At Karbo Com, we’ve found that companies will often disclose things to an outside agency that they wouldn’t share with the vendor (positive and/or negative), which is incredibly valuable to know ahead of any joint PR programs.
- Agree on what success looks like. From the start of the relationship it’s imperative to mutually agree on your PR objectives and how you will measure them. Additionally, your PR team should be honest with what the requirements are for specific metrics, so you can ensure you’re being realistic in what your company can achieve. For example, if you’re looking to secure awards or company features, but don’t yet have any customer references, you may want to adjust your focus to programs that don’t require customer endorsements while you build your reference customer portfolio. At Karbo Com we tell our clients that goals and metrics typically adjust throughout the year, so when we pass our Q1 goal by the second month, we’ll reevaluate and set a higher goal for the remainder of the quarter.
Your PR team can also make recommendations on the best tools, format and cadence to report on your program’s progress.
Stay tuned for Part 2 on how to continue to motivate your PR agency after you’re past the “honeymoon stage.”
Anything you’d add to this list? If so, tweet me at: @KarboCo @CameronSmead