Whether you’re on an in-house PR team that occasionally outsources specialized work or you’re engaging with a PR agency for the first time ever, there are a handful of best practices for optimizing outsourced PR to keep in mind. The goal of these practices is to provide a view of how it’s all supposed to work while setting proper expectations for all parties involved.
Once you have vetted candidates and found the perfect PR pro/team to help make your comms dreams come true, here’s what to do next:
#1 – Develop a clear and detailed strategy.
In a typical scenario, it can take two months to begin to see press coverage. This means the first 30 days are reserved for strategy, message development, positioning, and media research. This is also an ideal time to set your outsourced PR person or team up for success by giving them access to your product; Have them test it and allow them to give you feedback. Their input can be invaluable when it comes to key message or value prop development. Plus it never hurts to have another set of objective eyes.
#2 – Ask for a weekly status call.
Even if you don’t have anything to talk about, regular check-ins are a great opportunity to touch base, voice concerns, and ensure everyone is on the same page. Developing a close rapport with your partner helps them to feel invested in your business, and they’re likely to be more enthusiastic when they conduct outreach on your behalf because of it.
#3 – Set expectations for bi-weekly or monthly reports (via email).
Regularly updated documentation will keep you informed as to what outreach is being done and where your PR pro is currently focused. It also helps everyone stay on track or identify potential gaps in strategy. Sometimes monthly is enough, but if you want to see this stuff weekly or bi-weekly, your PR pro should be able to show you the goods (without getting heavy-handed on hourly billing).
#4 – Provide your PR pro with what they need in terms of content, feedback and access.
Without you, your PR pro may find themselves working with limited resources thereby undermining your potential success. Arm them with what they need to work their magic. This means data to help round out stories, access to the C-suite for media opportunities/interviews, and the list goes on. Help them help you.
#5 – Be quick to respond.
Respond to your PR pro within 24-48 hours when they have requests that will enable them to do their jobs better. Failing to get them what they need quickly is a lose-lose situation and, honestly, it’s just plain unprofessional.
Conversely, if your PR pro takes more that 24-48 hours to respond to you, that’s a problem. Their primary function is to push things through the funnel and if they’re not doing that, it could be cause for a larger concern (i.e. a waste of your money).
#6 – Agree on measures of success from the get go.
The worst thing you can do when working with an outsourced PR pro or team is not having a candid conversation about your PR expectations and measures of success. It is most important that both parties agree on what’s feasible and what the outcomes of the PR outputs should be. This conversation must fall out of your overarching business goals and should be a dialogue that may or may not evolve when the work starts.
Thanks, (author) Leta! Meet another bright mind behind the scenes at AirPR…