When we onboard a new client at Smart Connections PR, we typically have an orientation call or two or three… to discuss client expectations, needed collateral, executive engagement and more. Communication is especially important at this juncture as a successful kick off to a PR engagement sets the tone for the work relationship. It’s important that a client be clear about what they expect from a PR campaign, and it is important for the agency to let the client know what it needs in order to make the PR campaign a success.
Successful public relations requires both the client and the agency to understand that each has a specific role to play. The PR agency focuses on researching and pitching the best opportunities and looks to the client to contribute thought leadership and expertise in creating meaningful responses. Cooperation is key.
There are several actions that a client can take to ensure they are working in the most optimized way with an agency in order to bring in the coverage. This is especially true when focusing on newsjacking and informed commentary opportunities which are very important in building visibility.
Here are some tips:
Respond as quickly as you can. When the agency identifies an informed comment opportunity and presents it to you, the first thing to do is decide if it is something to which you wish to respond. If so, note the deadline and attempt to respond as soon as possible.
The deadline is there to let the client know when the opportunity closes, but you increase your chances of inclusion in an article if you are one of the first to respond to an opportunity. A journalist may wrap a story before deadline if they receive enough interesting and insightful responses early out. One of the best things you can do to increase coverage is get back to us promptly. Make sure to respond to a presented opportunity as soon as you can to optimize your potential inclusion in an article.
You’ve got to pay your dues. Each time you respond to a presented opportunity won’t equate to coverage every time. Sometimes it has to do with timing, or your response is not what the journalist was looking for, or you offered too much commentary or not enough. There are so many reasons why you might contribute to an opportunity but not be included in an article. Don’t let that dissuade you from contributing as much as possible to every opportunity. Sometimes getting coverage is a numbers game and as in every area of business, relationship building is critical. By responding regularly to reporter’s needs, you will help develop long-lasting relationships.
And, it should go without saying, but we’re here to help our clients respond in a relevant way to opportunities. We are always available to craft responses and maximize the benefit of an opportunity for our clients.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. We get it. Sometimes we want the perfect response. But if seeking perfection is holding up the response process, it is better to just be… less than perfect. Try creating a response that says what you want and then simply sending it off to the PR team to present to the journalist. Remember the adage – perfection is the enemy of good.
Be a thought leader. Sometimes our clients ask us the question – “What exactly is thought leadership?” Thought leadership is when a client provides innovative, forward-looking, critical insight into major trends or topics. Often this is focused toward the industry sector they work in but can also pertain to business topics and other subjects that the executive is passionate about. Many business publications now are looking for thought leaders that can really showcase value to a story at a high-level, but are not out to promote their company or product.
View us as an extension of your marketing team. If you’re our client, you know we say this all of the time. We’re here for our clients. Do you need help crafting a response? We can get you moving in the right direction. Do you have a question about an opportunity or need some clarification on what’s expected? Let us help you.
If you have any specific questions about how we can make PR work for you, just reach out and ask. We’ll be happy to help!