This might sound too easy to be true, but when it comes to the PR they do, positive relations with your marketing firm will lead to a future of great work coming from them. Below are some simple tips that will help you help your agency make PR inroads into your B2B target markets, get the valuable exposure you need, and attract the right prospects to your website. These ideas don’t apply only to a new agency; being mindful of these points can kick new life into interactions with your long-time partner.
LAY OUT A ROADMAP
A marketing firm’s PR program should go beyond “run out and get some editors to run articles on our company.” Business success starts with setting goals and obtainable objectives, and just like other business goals, your PR goals should be specific. For example, discuss which titles you need to reach and what needs to be said about your company. Then collaborate on refining them with the agency.
TREAT YOUR AGENCY LIKE EMPLOYEES
Believe this: your agency badly wants you to succeed. They want the satisfaction of winning, of course, but most importantly, building your business builds theirs by providing a portfolio of impactful programs. These may be different motives than those of your own employees, but the agency is mentally invested in your company’s growth and thus merits the same regard given to those within your walls. You should want the agency to refer to what you do as “our products” or “our services.”
KEEP YOUR AGENCY IN THE KNOW
The last place you want to keep your agency is in the dark. Clients often think their agencies don’t have to know about their latest and greatest until it’s close to launch time, sometimes out of fear that the agency will prematurely spill the beans.
Overcome your fears. Bring the agency in early. As the new product develops, the ideas on how to present your big bang can marinate in the minds of the agency strategists and copywriters so that the communications are meaningful, robust and in-depth.
Worried about confidentiality? A PR pro and a Mafioso have one thing (and just one thing) in common: The code of silence, known in the later trade as Omerta, applies to the people handling your marketing and PR as well. In this profession, provide them confidential information and they lock it in the vault. Not only is their practice built on that trait, but so is their reputation.
CARE TO SHARE
There’s no doubt that you know more about your company and its products than your agency because you’re on site and this is your sole activity. So make it your mission to constantly feed your agency anything that can have an impact on PR efforts, such as what’s going on inside your company, industry trends, statistics relating to the use of your products/services or insights by industry experts.
Industry thought leadership depends upon having knowledge about the industry. Often the agency has personnel who are already familiar with those you’re trying to reach and the technology they use. While the article writers can do a fair amount of research, anything you can pass along will make that editorial even more effective.
WATCH THE CALENDAR
Turnaround is important. When a project is underway, agree on when the article or release will reach you for approval. It’s up to you to turn the material around before deadline. Make sure that everyone along the approval chain knows when they will be brought in on the review and when they need to get it back to you. Editors will extend a deadline from time to time, but you do not want to not get into the habit as missing your due date has an impact on the agency’s reliability.
COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR MARKET BEGINS WITH YOUR AGENCY
The road to good B2B PR is a two-way street. To hit your program targets, the flow of good communication between client and agency must be open, trusting and informative as possible. When it comes to your agency, feed ‘em right and watch your business grow.
Posted by Keith Schmitz
Keith Schmitz has a long-time career involved with getting his clients written up in scores of trade publications. Along with developing insightful content, Keith has walked acres of plant floors and job sites in pursuit of interesting client stories. For ideas on how to position your company in the trade press, he can be reached by clicking @krpr_inc.