The good news is after some blood, sweat and tears from the agency team, that tech or consumer PR client you’ve been after has awarded you the business. The bad news? It’s a project, wherein the agency must prove its marketing mettle to be considered for PR agency of record status. What can your brilliant strategic communications team do to convert this PR project into a full-blown PR partnership? Here are five tips:
Set and meet deadlines and incremental goals. By micromanaging the project to the nth detail – and letting the client know it – your PR firm will look very buttoned-up and accountable for each aspect of the project. Consider sending the client sample reporting formats ahead of time so they know what to expect. Let the client know about “small victories” along the way and mitigate small hiccups before they become big nuisances.
Offer detailed – but substantive – reporting. If possible, have weekly in-person meetings to bring the team up-to-speed and collaborate on strategic direction and implementation. Nothing cements a relationship better than time spent together. If in-person is unfeasible, try conference call or skype. The personal touch goes a long way towards demonstrating how well your teams can work together in the long haul.
Ingratiate yourselves to all players. Is the client ad agency involved? Has the client brought in personnel from outside traditional marketing (merchandising? public affairs? brand manager?) Make friends and encourage conversation as appropriate. Going overboard here is NOT recommended.
Do more than is asked. This is simple good business practice anyway, but with a project that has defined parameters, it is sometimes more difficult to add creative or splashy flourishes. Let’s say the project is working a small trade show that doesn’t normally attract mainstream media. Can you leverage your client’s news to create a story angle that will? How about recommending a byline article to spin off what the client presented at the trade show? Always demonstrate your enthusiasm by going beyond.
Think two or three moves ahead. Engage your team to think about what kind of PR campaign or add-ons would logically come after the project. Brainstorm about follow-up that would be meaningful and strategic and present a proposal without waiting to be asked. Get on the client calendar to present as well.
Taking these steps will help ensure good ongoing relations with the client as well as the all-important end game, of course — to execute a flawless project that will translate into ongoing work for your PR agency team.« Eight Ways PR Pros Can Make The Client Look Good | Ask The PR Pro: How Does Your SEO Grow? »