New Year’s Resolution: Motivating Your PR Agency, Part 2

Consider that working with a PR team is like purchasing a new car—it’s exciting when it’s brand new and running great, but it won’t continue to run well unless you change the oil, rotate the tires and schedule regular tune-ups. At this stage in the New Year, let’s say you’ve kicked off with your PR firm and have begun executing your 2017 marketing plans. How can you ensure that your car, and PR partnership, will continue to run great throughout the year?

Check out these three important tips on how to best motivate your agency throughout your partnership:

  • Be an internal advocate. In Part 1 of this blog post, I mentioned it’s important to treat your agency as an extension of your marketing team. A crucial element of this is being an internal advocate for the agency. Publicize the PR team’s great results to the company at large, including investors and board members. Additionally, communicate your collective challenges or roadblocks to increase awareness of how you’re working toward a solution. Good employees want to feel supported. The same goes for a PR team. Their job is to help you succeed in achieving your business goals, and the more you advocate for what they need to do this, the faster it will happen. It’s win-win.
  • Let them help you. You did your due diligence in ensuring you hired a PR team that is smart, understands your market and has what it takes to secure greater awareness and market leadership. Now it’s time to trust their experience. Here are just a few of the ways they can help you:
    • Media train your spokespeople to stay on message,
    • Speak at your annual sales meeting about getting customer references to boost sales, and
    • Determine how you can best leverage employee social media accounts.

Communicate with your PR agency team what you’re working on and what your executive suite is concerned about. A good PR agency will work with you to determine how they can best help. 

  • Be responsive. Being responsive is a two-way street. It’s important that your company responds quickly to opportunistic press opportunities when your PR team alerts you about these. Your PR team is typically scouring the news daily and will flag trends they recommend your company executives respond to. To execute this kind of time-sensitive program effectively, they will need a subject matter expert to respond right away. Our experience shows us it is often the executive who responds first who gets quoted in a reporter’s story.

Additionally, while a strong PR team staffed with experienced individuals won’t need hand-holding, they depend on timely responses to everyday projects as well. This could include final approval on a press release, timing for a product launch, or signing off on budget for an event. To avoid becoming a gatekeeper, set a precedent with your PR team by giving them direct access when appropriate.  It’s typically not a good use of your time when you’re the middle man. The PR agency should be responsive to your time-sensitive requests, too. When you say “by end of day,” do they understand that means 5 p.m. your time?

Hiring a PR agency is an important decision, and one not taken lightly. Once you get into a productive partnership with your agency, your company will reap the benefits. The more successful the partnership is, the better for everyone.

At Karbo Com we’ve found that the longer we work with a client, the more successful the PR program is because our knowledge deepens and the relationships we establish on behalf of the client with reporters, analysts, event organizers and industry influencers shift.  Influencers begin to come to us with opportunities for our clients.

How else have you seen PR agency teams productively motivated? Tweet me at @KarboCo @CameronSmead and let me know! In the meantime, if you keep your new car running smoothly with regular tune-ups, you’ll get more mileage out of it.