How to work effectively with a PR agency?

If you are an entrepreneur and you are about to launch a new product, you are looking for an effective way to reach specific audiences, or you want to promote your business and gain a competitive advantage, it is very likely that you will direct your steps to a public relations agency. If you want the cooperation between the two of you to be effective, it is worth keeping these 5 simple rules in mind.

  1. Ensure the flow of information

When starting cooperation with a PR agency, the basic thing to take care of is to work out a system of communication. In order for cooperation to run smoothly, a specific person should be delegated on the company's side who will be responsible for contact with the agency. It is through this person that communication plans, proposals for press materials, requests for expert commentary or invitations to radio and television recordings will flow. A competent person in this position will allow a quick and efficient exchange of information between the agency and its client, which will translate into efficiency for the agency itself.

  1. Tell us how you are doing

PR people are gifted with many extraordinary skills, but predicting the future is very rarely one of them. It is therefore a good idea to provide them with information well in advance, i.e. important changes in the company or events it is organising. This will give them time to plan communications, prepare materials and contact media representatives and ultimately achieve the best results for your company. Unfortunately, it is often the case that PR specialists find out about interesting initiatives of their clients from... the company's Facebook page, when the event itself has already taken place or when there is very little time left. So remember that your PR person will not be offended if you share with them, for example, a list of planned events, even very far in advance. If, on the other hand, you are not sure whether your company's initiatives are interesting enough to talk about, remember that this is what you have a professional for. A PR professional is a person who, thanks to his or her knowledge and experience, is able to correctly suggest to you which of the information provided is worth including in your communication strategy.

  1. Tell the truth

With a PR'er as in a confession - it is not allowed to lie. The PR'er should be the best informed colleague, because only then will they be able to put together a communication plan that is appropriate to the real situation. This is particularly important in the event of a crisis situation, but telling the truth is also necessary in everyday communication. Presenting a 'coloured' version of your business to a PR person misses the point. It is important to remember that the proverbial lie always has short legs - false information is very easy to spot and communication based on it can very easily turn against the company.

  1. Assign the appropriate priority

Cooperation with a PR agency, apart from the effects of a strategically built image, also brings with it certain responsibilities. Employees designated as experts will often be asked to give interviews or commentaries, send media-relevant information about the company or materials, e.g. in the form of photos. The low priority given to requests and enquiries from the agency (sending materials with long delays, cancellation of arrangements, permanent unavailability of the expert) clearly reduces the effectiveness of the agency's activities and makes it difficult or impossible to achieve the set goals. It should also be remembered that a journalist's interest in a given topic often does not come easily and is the result of long-term, sometimes months-long, building of positive relationships. The aforementioned delays and resignations jeopardise such relationships - a journalist will be much less willing to cooperate with a PR person on whose help he or she could not count before.

  1. Remember, PR ≠ advertising

One of the points of contention between the client and the PR agency can be the proposals for the materials created. Experienced PR professionals are very familiar with the specifics of the media and know how to prepare a text to get journalists interested in a given topic. Sometimes, however, the people who review proposals for topics and texts on the company's side confuse PR with advertising and make corrections that change the tone of press releases to a very promotional and "marketing" one. This has the opposite effect to the one intended - instead of better promoting the company, it limits its presence in the media, which are far less likely to be interested in such material. This is why it is a good idea to rely on your PR person in certain matters and, if in doubt, simply ask about the reasons for such an approach.

Signing a cooperation agreement will not automatically make all the issues involved. There are many factors which influence the quality of cooperation between a company and the PR agency serving it. It is worth taking care of, because the better the cooperation between the agency and its client, the better the results of that cooperation.


Text author: Krzysiek