Are your PR efforts not meeting your objectives or are you getting red-faced over your closest rival constantly getting better media coverage? Before you start blaming and flaming, consider the following 3 questions:
Did You Truly Empower Your PR Team To Do More?
PR is a two-way street. They need to collaborate with you, but at the same time, you need to collaborate with them as well.
Many mistakenly hire a PR agency in order to solve a business need, which is often to promote and gain the media’s attention. Once the agreement is inked, they feel that they are entitled to receive better coverage overnight.
Yes, a good PR agency or person can leverage their past relationships to give you the coverage you seek. However, it is more important for that PR individual to understand your business strategy, come up with a sound PR plan and then start executing with clearly established and yet realistic KPIs.
It is not about getting big coverage in Wired or the New York Times. Rather, it is about becoming a thought leader in your own field and being constantly mentioned in trade publications that your target customers read.
In the end, you should be asking your PR agency or person to build the right relationships that offer a strong brand equity. Like a long-term marriage, it needs investment, time and constant effort.
Were You Thinking That Size (of a PR firm) is All That Matters?
So you splashed some serious dough on a serious PR power firm. But hiring the biggest PR firm on the block is not going to solve anything.
If the PR account person sucks, so will your PR. There is a valid reason why there are so many freelance PR professionals and smaller PR firms that tout domain expertise and vital relationships with the media that you can leverage.
Bigger firms are often suited for cross-domain expertise or international reach. If you have a need to expand across a few industries or countries quickly, or are an organization that is global and need global PR caring, then they can offer specific PR solutions to address those needs. Their valuable connections, relationships and viewpoints–especially what works and what does not in different locations and industries–can help you to gain worldwide attention.
But no matter the size of the PR firm, in the end it is all about your relationship with the individual account team or manager. After all, they are going to be the face and voice of your company–literally, in print. Wouldn’t it be prudent to first understand the capabilities of your account manager?
Were You Prepared To Go Through Thick and Thin – Especially Thin?
Like a marriage, PR works best when you achieve something AND when something negative occurs.
In fact, when something awry occurs and you feel like you need to be walking on eggshells, PR professionals can step in and offer expert advice. It’s a time when perception counts; a third-party viewpoint often becomes invaluable.
For some, it is also the best time to evaluate the effectiveness of their PR hire. The lessons and skills needed to maneuver a company out of a PR crisis are especially crucial in today’s competitive marketplace when simple rumors can tarnish well-established reputations in mere seconds at any given moment.
PR is no walk in the park. It requires a deep understanding of the psychology of a market, what makes it tick and which areas your company can leverage.
It is a marriage that needs both parties to invest in and work together with. When this partnership is working as it should, it can shape markets and balance sheets in extremely positive ways.