We work with a lot of different clients: some have deep experience working with public relations agencies — they know what they want and how they want it done — and others who’ve never hired an agency. When working with a PR agency, there are a few common concerns that every organization faces. By addressing these matters at the beginning of your engagement, it could save you a lot of heartache. Let’s dive in.
Communication is Key When Working with a PR Agency
For good reason, clients would like updates on the work their agencies are doing for them. How (and how often) will your agency deliver updates to you on their work? Our clients who agree to email updates sometimes can be overwhelmed with email (hey, when you’re securing a significant amount of media coverage for clients, a lot of email updates are required). So is there another solution like Slack or even a Google Sheet that could offer real-time updates without inundating the inbox? It’s worth a discussion.
Deciding how you work with an agency is just as important as what agencies are doing for you because if you miss an update that the New York Times wants to interview you (because you missed an email) — you may risk losing that tremendous opportunity.
Additionally, communicating updates on the client end is very helpful for agencies. Making sure your agency account lead is notified on everything from who on your team is on vacation and when they will be out of the office to changes surrounding a product launch will keep agency work efficient and the budget on track.
Understand Your PR Agency’s Jargon
PR agencies often use industry jargon that clients might not totally understand. Using the word “pitch” may seem clear enough to a PR account executive, but the client may actually think they are referring to something completely different.
We use the term “newsjacking” when talking about pitching into timely news events. But when I used that term with our client in Helsinki, they had a lot of questions about what that meant — and rightfully so. Defining frequently used terms so your client doesn’t have to keep guessing is a smart move.
Put These Tips Into Action for Budget Management
When working with a PR agency, budget and scope of work conversations will be a regular occurrence. To keep budgets under control, we recommend clients work revisions to deliverables (infographics, article/news release/website content, website design, etc.) internally and then provide a robust document with edits at one time. If an agency is involved with multiple bouts of one-off edits, that’s going to impact the budget.
Be prompt with requests for feedback because delays in replying to your agency can also cause budget issues. Whether they’re reaching out to you for a media opportunity or to request feedback, if they have to do so repeatedly, that time adds up.
The MAPRagency Process: On the Record
At MAPRagency, we’ve launched a guide for new clients that helps to ensure both parties are on the same page. The document helps manage clients’ expectations on how MAPRagency works, details the service areas we work in, spells out a glossary of terms we use and highlights some of the best practices for clients to consider that would aid in the success of our engagement. We deliver this at the beginning of our engagement for their review and walk through the document together, answering any questions and addressing any concerns.
While many agencies may make a stellar first impression during the sales process, entirely too many overlook the critical next step of spelling out what it’s like to work with their agency and how they will work with you to achieve your objectives. This proprietary client onboarding process with MAPR goes above and beyond to ensure expectations are met for a successful engagement.
If you’ve experienced issues working with PR agencies in the past and still need help or are interested in seeing how our process can help you tell your story to the audiences that matter, we would love to work with you.