WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A PR AGENCY

If you’re a regular reader of the AMBITIOUS blog, you may have read our recent guides on ‘How to brief a PR agency’ and ‘What to look for when choosing an agency’.

So now you’ve done all the legwork to choose the right agency to work with, what can you expect of them? As an experienced PR agency, we’ve got a few ideas to share with you – as well as looking at what some of our clients think about how we work and what works for them ….

A clear agreement

Before you get started, make sure you both have a clear understanding of the basics that are expected. This should include:

  • Who is in your team and who does what? You may not be working on a daily basis with the people who pitched to you, so ask for a team overview and an introduction meeting to establish working relationships.
  • Clear objectives and targets – Just as it’s important to get the brief right for the PR agency, objectives are essential too. The agency may run a kick-off meeting to help set these together and to give them a chance to dig deeper into your business.

When we asked some of our clients for feedback, a clear theme that came back was the importance of understanding business objectives: “AMBITIOUS are a fantastic agency to work with. They take the time to understand your business objectives and work with you to keep focus and to achieve those objectives.”

  • Regular measuring and reporting – How do you intend to measure the agency’s success? Again, if your objectives are clear then the measurements should naturally come out of that. For example, are you looking to raise your profile in trade press and events? Or maybe you want to run a campaign to grow your social media accounts?

Base your measurements on these, set achievable targets and agree how regularly the agency will report back on progress. It’s also a good idea to agree how often you will have meetings/phone catch-ups and who will be responsible for scheduling them in to everyone’s diaries, or these can often slip.

Advice and input

It’s likely that at least part of the reason that you hired a specific agency is because of the knowledge, insight and connections they come with – so make sure you make the most of this.

  • Creative ideas – One of the benefits of hiring an agency is to get a fresh take on your business or brand. While there will be many creative minds within the company, it’s easy to get stuck in the day-to-day work, leaving little ‘headspace’ to think about creative ideas and campaigns. Your PR agency should help to not only generate ideas for you, but to facilitate situations that enable you to contribute your ideas as well.
  • A sounding board – Once the ideas are flowing, they will need to be refined. Use your meetings at opportunities to discuss your questions and concerns and tap into their knowledge and understanding of your sector and the media landscape.
  • A challenge – Be prepared for the agency to question – and even challenge – you! Try not to take this personally; remember it’s their job to understand your needs and deliver the results you want.
  • Contacts, connections and introductions – Again, this is often a big reason why a certain agency is picked over another one. If they promised you contacts or networking opportunities in their pitch, follow-up on this and ensure it happens. It could be the key to your success! A good agency will always be networking and looking out for the next opportunity or opening for you too.
  • Back-up and support – If you don’t have an in-house communications department then the PR agency can be a godsend if things go wrong. At AMBITIOUS, we often work with small businesses with no experience of handling the media, so our background can prove vital.

Here’s what one client had to say about the help they received from our director, Mel. “Mel is right up there in terms of being there in a crisis and cutting through the nonsense with common sense and media know-how. I trust her experience and have come to rely on her heavily over the last few ‘crisis’ comms moments we have had.”

The right attitude

Hopefully you felt some kind of rapport with the PR agency you selected – this natural ‘fit’ can be key when working with an agency. At the very least, you should expect them to have a professional attitude, to be friendly and positive about your business and the account they are running for you.

AMBITIOUS was thrilled to win the Best Public Relations Agency (under 40 staff) at the national RAR Awards 2018. To us, this is the best award we could win as it is based on our clients’ feedback, giving a true reflection of the services we provide. Many of the comments from our clients spoke about our attitude – here are just a couple:

“A really competent and capable agency. Creative and commercial, they are very effective – and very likeable as a team. It’s not that often you get access to such a senior, experienced team who are so enjoyable to work with.”

“Everyone in the agency that we have worked with has been great. Really engaging, genuinely interested in our business, able to offer insight and value.”

If you are at the stage of hiring a PR agency, don’t miss the other blogs on this subject – How to brief a PR agency and What to look for when choosing a PR agency.

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