How to get the best work from your agency

Balance

Getting the best work from your agency and promotional efforts requires trust and time. Both sides need to communicate needs and goals and understand the give and take that is required to make a business partnership thrive. It’s a bit of a tightrope act — much like Nik Wallenda’s this past weekend — but successful public relations campaigns depend on it.

Here are some tips to help you get great work from your agency consistently:

  1. Discuss expectations openly and honestly. There are rarely any guarantees in public relations, because agencies rely heavily on the editorial decisions of journalists, editors and their staffs. Earned media coverage is a continuous process, where sometimes you win coverage and other times, you learn lessons for the next round of execution. Let your agency know what your goals are and what you would consider to be a successful outcome for each project. At that point, have an open conversation about whether or not it can be done in the allotted time and if you could measure success in a different way.
  1. Set realistic goals. Whether you’re planning an event or pitching a story, it’s important to remember that other news may push your story to the back burner. Was there a big election in town? Did the weather affect a large festival? Things that are outside your control may take the spotlight. When this happens, keep your eye on the big picture. Some campaigns will do better than others, but your long-term promotional efforts will pay off.
  1. Stay in the know. You may not have worked with an agency before and don’t know what happens behind the scenes. Go over the plan step by step to better understand when to expect calls from editors and understand how long the pitching process can take. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. A great way to stay informed is to ask for weekly progress reports. Ask your agency for a detailed accounting of their activities and responses from journalists and editors. The more you communicate your brand to prospects and clients, the better your chances of success. With so many moving parts, it’s important to stay informed so that you can learn from past experiences and prepare for future successes.

How do you define a successful PR campaign? Let us know in the comments below.

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