By Scott Mills,
The agency has worked with hundreds of companies over the years, and we have seen how some programs, processes and relationships are more productive than others. I suppose it would be a great thing to engage a PR firm, sit back and wait for wonderful results. Truth is, there are six behaviors that make a big difference in achieving financial PR results that will make your management team proud.
1. Set realistic expectations – whether they are written down or not, everyone has expectations for the PR program. It is best to discuss and agree upon what success looks like.
2. Provide good customer references – the financial industry trusts its peers, and there is nothing more powerful than one bank telling its story (about how your company delivered for them).
3. Maintain frequent contact with the agency, attend meetings and conference calls – you heard it here first; yes, there is a direct relationship between engagement and agency performance. The more you engage the agency, the more you will receive.
4. Be available for interviews with reporters – in our business speed is worth a great deal. If we can get our clients speaking to reporters before the other companies…we win. You want to be the “go to” source for the financial media and associations.
5. Give access to executive team – if the person who manages the PR relationship doesn’t have the answers, authority to make decisions or know how to skillfully navigate the company…expect something less than great results. Small to medium-sized companies tend to have the advantage when dealing with agencies because their management teams are typically responsible for the PR programs.
6. Communicate important information to your PR team – your agency needs to learn about significant events, changes to strategy or product development road maps from you early on. Don’t play hide-and-seek with information – the agency will create content based on the quality of information you share with them and timed for maximum impact.
We are in a new era of accountability and measurement of return on investment. People who evaluate PR firms should also prepare their organizations to engage in a relationship for maximum return on investment. Great client-agency relationships are built on trust and the belief that greatness is achieved in partnership.