Some companies handle all PR tasks in-house. This
can work well when the individual has sufficient training and is
given enough time to develop and implement a campaign. In many cases,
however, an outside PR firm is selected to work closely with the
company. A close relationship can and should develop
between company and agency. Heres how:
- Once youve selected the right agency,
dont think your work is done. Its just starting. To receive
the results you need, your agency needs to learn as much as it
can about you and your competitors. Because your technology
is new, oftentimes the primary source of information is you
or someone else at your company. Literature may be non-existent,
Internet research may be sparse. One-on-one interviews may be
time-consuming initially, but well worth the time expenditure
in the end.
- Remember that the agency is on YOUR team.
Keep them informed. Provide information BEFORE it happens, not
after. Strategic positioning can occur only when the companys
strategies are known. For example, if your attorneys have warned
about an upcoming quiet period, tell the agency right away. The
agency can shift to non-media activities until things return to
normal and wont run the risk of upsetting you, the legal department
or the media.
your agencys advice seriously. You understand your technology,
they understand PR and marketing. Trust the agencys sense of
what is "newsworthy." If they raise a red flag, take notice.
- Dont ask your agency to do things that
will make them look unprofessional this affects their reputation
and yours. High on the list of unprofessional things asked by
clients is the writing and dissemination of non-news press releases.
Too frequent releases about too-weak topics can make some shareholders
happy but only for a while. Meanwhile, this approach annoys
the media and damages your reputation.
- Your agency needs "ammunition" to make
things happen. When reporters want an interview, make yourself
available. At short notice, at odd times. If news is going out,
make sure someone can talk to the press the same day.
- Be straight with your agency. If they
make a mistake, let them know it. If they hit a "home run," let
them know it. Feedback is essential, good and bad.
- Designate a "point person" inside the
company to work with the agency. In entrepreneurial startups,
it may be the CEO. In more established companies, it's likely
to be the VP Marketing. Other likely candidates are the Marketing
Director or Manager, Product Manager, President, COO and CFO when
financial news is paramount.
- Always inform your agency of upcoming
trade shows, conferences and other travel to major media markets.
You never know if there will be press relevant to your company
attending the show or beat
reporters in that city who could interview you.
- There are many ways to approach the media
with a story. Allow your agency to function as a "surrogate reporter"
to ferret out interesting story ideas, particularly related to
management innovation. Try to become aware of story
angles that could interest the media and point these out to
the agency for their evaluation and action, if appropriate.