Like blogging, PR is a two-way street. A blogger has to engage visitors, readers and first-timers in order to create community and traffic. This two-way interaction requires focus, attention, commitment, and creativity.
Public relations, the practice of strategic engagement with a variety of audiences using a breadth of tools, is also a two-way street. (We’ll get to the definition of PR another day!)
When a company, brand or organization hires PR counsel, that firm’s team jumps into high gear to learn its new client’s business. The ramp up is not typically too steep especially if the following critical element is in place:
Give and take/back and forth/two-way sharing of information.
Most PR professionals develop content. It’s what I do and where I’m most comfortable. Fortunately, my storied career permits the ability to be inspired by just about anything. This leads to fresh ideas with creative approach to messaging and content development. What makes the relationship really roll, however, is interactivity. When clients make a point to include PR as a seamless extension of the team, that’s what leads to success.
Basics: How to Engage PR
For companies interested in developing the best possible relationship with their PR firms, PR contractors, and others in the marketing communications environment, engage these basic guidelines:
- Arrange weekly meetings for the first six weeks by phone and in person, if possible. Stick to them.
- Formulate an agenda for the weekly meetings with a follow-up report to ensure who’s doing what when. Stand by deliverables.
- Set a point person from the company to be PR counsel’s go to. Without a single point of contact internally, PR is challenged to meet expectations. Establish strong rapport.
- Exchange company information (after necessary NDAs are signed) on a regular basis with PR. In this case, less is NOT more!
- Invite PR to the table! Allow the senior PR counselor to sit in on strategic meetings to listen, learn and interact strategically. Consider outside PR your team.
Where the relationship falls flat is squarely with number five. In the beginning, everyone is eager to get started and earn results. Companies are happy someone is picking up the work, and PR counsel is happy to showcase its strengths.
After about six months, the honeymoon phase is over and it becomes more a chore to remember that PR teams need consistent infusion of information to do their jobs well.
No one creates in a vacuum. It’s helpful for both sides to remember the person sitting outside the company is still a viable part of the internal marketing team. The insider on the outside needs to be invited to participate; only then will creative results happen.