Kim Sudhalter: My 3 Pointers for Making Your PR Agency Work For You

How To Put The Love Back Into Your Agency-Client Relationship

Kim Sudhalter: My 3 Pointers for Making Your PR Agency Work For You
How many times have you heard a business owner complain, “I just hate my PR agency! I pay them ungodly amounts of money every month and never see any results. I gotta find someone new!” These people seem to go through agencies like potential mates, never finding satisfaction with any of them. But perhaps the problem lies not so much with the agencies themselves, but with the way they’re being managed.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are agencies that bring in all the top brass when they’re pitching you, and then assign unskilled and unmotivated interns to your account the minute it’s landed, resulting in…nothing. But the majority of agencies work hard and do whatever it takes to secure the big stories that make their clients happy.

Here then are three simple things you can to do to ensure that you get the most out your agency:

1. Assign a day-to-day marketing contact to work with them.

Many business owners consider themselves masters of all departments and think they can oversee PR as well as running the company. But it rarely works. PR companies work best when they have one person to deal with every day…someone that speaks their language, understands the time constraints of working with the media, can answer questions quickly and provide materials immediately. Way too many opportunities are lost when agencies don’t get what they need when they need it.

2. Narrow down what they’re promoting.

This may seem like a no brainer, but often business owners say, “just get me PR” without helping to highlight key products, providing story angles, or even identifying corporate spokespeople to pitch. Many companies offer hundreds of products or a wide array of services. Provide your agency with maybe 3-5 key areas to focus on, ones that are innovative and newsworthy in some way, and they’ll be positioned for much greater success.

3. Give them room to be creative and entertain new ideas.

You’ve done business the same way with the same results for a while. If you’d like to capture new audiences or change public perception of your company, let your agency do what they do best: come up with really cool new ways to garner attention and give one or two of their crazy suggestions a try. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Now, if you’re doing all three things and nothing’s happening, then it might well be time to put the account into review. But if you’re not, try at least one and see the magic return to your relationship! A lot can change with a little love.

Kim Sudhalter is a communications and public relations expert who specializes in corporate branding. Her main passion in life is urban renewal and she has worked with neighborhoods across Los Angeles to usher in development and repurpose historic buildings.

Have you had a similar experience with a PR Firm or outsourced service provider? What steps have you taken to ensure productivity and met expectations? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below.

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