Embarking on a B2B PR campaign with a new agency, some might say, is like a marriage and it can only work if both sides of the relationship put the effort in. From the moment an organisation puts out a tender for PR, the hard work begins. There’s the brief to create; researching and selecting a handful of agencies to send it to and then fielding their questions; and then inviting agencies into pitch for the business. Following that – it’s decision time, choosing the agency who meets your brief, impresses you with their ideas, and with whom you think you could have a productive working relationship.
Surely that’s the hard bit over, isn’t it? Now you can sit back and leave them to get on with it and await the results. Sadly, that’s not the case, and it’s here that your new agency should become the demanding one in the relationship.
From the outset your new agency will need to get to get under the skin of your business. It needs to understand what you do, why you do it and who for. What motivates the senior management team for instance? What are your spokespeople’s opinions and areas of expertise? Which of your customers are willing to speak out on your behalf? In addition, it needs to learn all about your marketing goals and ambitions and work with you to help achieve them. It will also need your help to champion PR internally to ensure all key stakeholders are on board and committed to making a success of the campaign.
Also, on a practical level, as their main contact it’s you who the agency will call upon to help them fill their PR kit bag. To enable your PR agency to create compelling content that will appeal to your target audiences and the media, there are a host of things they’re going to need, for example, an introduction to and time with your key spokespeople; access to company data detailing sales trends; photography of products, people and customers; your time and energy to attend brainstorming sessions; content approval; and regular face to face meetings or phone calls. There’s a lot to cover and it’s important the PR agency continues to drive the relationship, letting you know what they need from you as they go.
Just like a marriage, for the client/agency relationship to flourish, you need to work together as a team. Your PR agency can only meet your communication goals if your business is prepared to support their efforts and give them access to the people and information they need to do their job. Just like marriage, working with an agency is a big commitment. Are you ready to say “I do” to PR?