PR Is Not a SaaS Tool, It’s a Partnership
When prospective clients meet with us about how we can serve their business from a public relations standpoint, one of the truths we stress is that this is a partnership they must be engaged in and prioritize. PR simply can’t be approached as a SaaS solution, something you view as a “set it and forget it” tool.
Think about it: You’ve likely implemented some sort of technology for your business — say lead tracking on your website — that you just have to configure at the beginning and check in on occasionally to pull out information. But if that’s the sort of effort you anticipate putting into a relationship with a PR firm, we can guarantee you’ll be disappointed. Chances are strong that you’ll likely end up discontinuing the service out of frustration and maybe even say things like this:
“We hired a PR firm, and they kept asking for our input. That’s why we hired them!”
Today, we want to set expectations about what working with a PR firm is really like and how strong PR partnerships are what yield big wins.
Hiring a PR firm is a relationship, not an easy button
When you decide to hire a PR firm, you’re entering into a relationship. Like we mentioned at the beginning of this post, there is no such thing as a PR SaaS solution that you can choose to ignore for weeks at a time. A good PR firm will do everything in its power to get your business talked about and covered, but it’s still your business and you’ll need to participate in getting great media opportunities across the finish line.
To put it in football terms, you’re the quarterback, but we’re helping draw up the plays for you to succeed. We can design the perfect playbook to get you more coverage than your competitors, but you’ll still have to play an active role in “making the play.”
What do we mean by that? We can secure opportunities all day long. But the moment we secure interest, you’ll need to be ready to move on it. If a reporter says, “I’d love to talk to your client about a story I’m working on right now, but I have a deadline of 2 p.m. today,” we need to know if you’re available — and fast. This really happens (and is especially likely in TV news). If we can’t get in touch with you to coordinate, that not only puts us in a bind — it puts the reporter in a bind. And in many cases, that reporter won’t give you (or us) another shot.
Additionally, when a PR firm lands you an opportunity to join a podcast or a panel discussion, you’ll need to take time to prepare (and show up). Or if you get the opportunity to provide a thought leadership contributed article, you’ll need to make it a priority to lend your expertise to whoever is drafting it on your behalf. Those opportunities are your time to shine.
If you want coverage, do something that warrants coverage
Hiring a PR firm doesn’t mean you’ll secure automatic coverage of your business. It’s our goal, of course, to help craft your story and share it with the world. But if you don’t have anything worth sharing — or (more commonly) if you’re not sure how to present what you’re doing to the right content creators and outlets — you may not get the coverage you’re hoping for. A good PR agency can help you craft that message, but you’ll still need to deliver it in certain circumstances.
For those in the technology industry: Are you working on a significant feature release or a new partnership? If so, that’s the story. We can help craft the messaging about the benefits and approach media publications with a press kit, embargo period, and the opportunity to chat with someone from your company for a story. Are you in the nonprofit space and your organization is kicking off a new initiative in the community? We can take that story, hone the messaging, and then pitch it.
Do you see the trend here? It’s about giving your PR firm “the steak,” and then we can add the “sizzle” and serve it — it’s our goal to generate excitement that ultimately leads to media coverage.
Making a partnership a success
Just as in any partnership, success will take us both working together. You should be your own biggest cheerleader, so when you have the opportunity to share your story, it’s important to treat that as a top-tier priority.
Even in a high-tech world, the companies that get the best press coverage see the value of relationship-building and proactively networking. We’ve spent years building up our network of relationships with media members and content creators, and we want to help tell your story. Just remember it always works better when it’s a true partnership, both you and us working to execute on opportunities to share your story.
We love building strong, long-lasting partnerships with our clients. Interested in working together? Contact us.