Looking to make the most out of your new relationship with a Westchester PR agency or NYC Public Relations Agency? Be able to clearly articulate the answers to these questions to your new PR agency before you kick off the new relationship.
- What is PR nirvana to you? What does success look like to you?
- How do you see your company growing? What’s the end goal?
- For some people, it’s a simple 5% increase in customers…for others it’s a feature story in the New York Times or a trade journal. It’s important to know the difference. (You can’t achieve an end goal if you don’t know what it is)
- What makes you unique?
- What specifically do you want to be publicized for?
- Who are you ideally trying to reach?
To set up your relationship with your public relations agency for maximum success, you want to make sure you give them as much data as possible to help them propose the best solutions.
- What tools and platforms are you currently using in your marketing efforts?
- What are your goals? Leads, customers, or revenue?
- What is the lifetime value (LTV) of each customer?
- Do you have customer personas? Who is your ideal client?
- What percentage of your customers is generated through online methods?
- Content audit- what content do you currently have?
- Who on your marketing team will be creating content?
- Who are the influencers and experts in your industry that we need to be familiar with?
You also want to define clear expectations for weekly management:
- Weekly call time?
- Who needs to be on weekly or monthly project status meetings?
- Who is approving work?
Be Prepared for a Change in Scope
If your publicist or management consultant is worth their salt, they may completely change the scope of the engagement after hearing your answers to the PR/Marketing onboarding questions. Many business owners think they need PR to fix their business issues, but what they don’t realize is that they need to actually fix the business issues first to generate any worthwhile exposure long term. “Just get me positive press” may stop the bleeding short term, but it is not a long-term solution.
The only thing that needs to change is everything.
Surprise! You have a business problem. Not a marketing problem.
The below is a standard response from a client:
“We agree with everything you identified. There are certainly issues with conveying a consistent brand identity. The best thing for us to do is review this and discuss this….most definitely we need to increase our attention to those elements because we haven’t really done much with it. I don’t have anything to add other than we need to review it.”
Typically, the client will come back and say they have discussed it internally and what they really need you for is press. Think hard before taking on an engagement where you know you are being led to fail. You are the professional. You need to drive the client engagement. If you know there is an inherent business issue, and you start pitching media to review something that is half-baked, you will only hurt yourself, your media relationships and your reputation.
In an initial deep dive discovery meeting with a client, here is an example of one of their answers for their SWOT analysis.
“Weaknesses would be team, policy and procedure, consistency in food quality, proper training, staff enthusiasm and knowledge. Absence of good marketing, branding, and PR. Customers are unhappy with consistency and very upset with staff being completely unaware of dietary components of food items, like what is gluten free or not. Staff isn’t friendly.”
You CANNOT have good marketing if you have deep rooted organizational issues
In order to be of maximum service to your client and guide them in the right direction, you need to address the organizational issues before you can tackle the PR ones. PR should come LAST, not FIRST, when building a business.
It is my strong belief that the best PR strategists are half management consultants and half practitioners. You can only generate press when there are newsworthy items. The rest of the time you should be focused on the business challenges and how you can solve them. If the client inherently disagrees with this approach, think long and hard before committing to anything, and definitely make sure the revised scope is clearly laid out in writing.