Okay, PR companies are not dogs, obviously, but the image illustrates the point. Let’s assume that you have decided that your business or organisation needs to have a greater presence in the marketplace.
You want your achievements to be broadcast in the places where your customers spend their time – that could mean in the columns of their top trade magazines (whether in print or online), on YouTube business channels, or on the various social media channels that they use (LinkedIn, Twitter and the like). So you engage a PR agency who has persuaded you that they can do the job.
Now comes the tricky bit. It’s your company, you know it inside out, you know its very ethos. You certainly know all the products and services that are on offer and you have employed some extremely talented personnel to manage every aspect of your business. Technical managers, sales managers, product development managers and so on – they are all being paid by you to do the best they can to help the company to improve and develop.
So the question is, how does your new PR agency fit into this mix? As the deliberately tongue-in-cheek heading to this piece suggested, what you don’t want to do is take on an agency then handle all the PR yourself with your new partners in business essentially fed some tasty treats now and then.
Of course, you are in overall charge of the direction you want your PR programme to take but you need to use the skills and experience you have brought in because just as you are the expert in your business, the agency is the expert in PR.
If you were an expert in PR you wouldn’t need an agency. So what you must look at finding is the perfect marriage between the two organisations and this involves being honest with yourself and with the key members of your team.
You may be the managing director or the sales director but you need to resist the temptation to direct everything to do with your PR. Seek input, ask for ideas and suggestions, look to your agency for direction based on the criteria you have set out. A good PR agency has organised hundreds of press events, written thousands of press releases and technical articles, sent hundreds of thousands of Tweets out on behalf of clients. And while your business is, of course, not going to fit into any formula, your agency knows exactly what needs to be done.
So let go of the reins, put yourself in the hands of the specialists, and watch them generate the results you are paying them for.
Of course, if you really want to be hands-on and you love Tweeting, no agency is going to stop you, but if your priorities are making sure your business is successful, making sure your employees are working as happily and effectively as possible, and making sure that your company doesn’t just stand still but grow over the years to come, then that’s where you need to concentrate your efforts and your skills.
In short, you need to let your agency do its job but obviously make sure that the job is being done to your satisfaction. When companies understand the genuine benefits that a PR agency can bring, and that the agency knows best how to achieve the goals that have been set, the relationship works incredibly well and all parties are delighted with the outcomes.