Infinite Fist Bumps: How to build the relationship you want with your PR agency

3 key strategies for a strong relationship with your PR or marketing agency (one that reaps wins)

Author: Crystal Clarity, COO at s2s PR

Some types of relationships—like your barista or the delivery person you startle by opening your door while they’re still on your porch, are based on a transaction. 

Other work relationships, by nature, need to be much more relational because you need constant mind-melding to achieve the wins you want.

Follow me, this is our metaphor for your relationship with your PR agency:

Let’s say you decide that 2024 is the year you try weightlifting. Your first point of order is likely to hire a trainer.

Now, your relationship with this trainer is an investment from both of you: Your trainer uses their expertise to create a plan for you — but they’re not lifting the barbell.

To see results, you put in the work too. Hitting that next muscle milestone requires collaboration, trust, and mutual commitment.

You’ll need to adopt this same mindset in your relationship with your public relations or marketing agency to effectively build awareness, grow your brand, attract investment, and recruit top talent. 

Here are 3 key strategies to build the agency relationship that reaps PR and marketing wins:

Foster collaborative engagement with leadership

Ensure that your company’s leadership (in many cases, this means you) actively and regularly engages with the agency team. Close alignment will only enhance the authenticity and effectiveness of your public relations efforts.

By sharing your insights, perspectives, and industry knowledge, you and your executive team contribute to the creation of impactful narratives that truly reflect your vision and advance your business goals. 

This collaboration also provides an opportunity for leaders to learn from the agency team, gaining valuable insights into effective communication strategies and awareness-building.

While it can seem challenging in your busy schedule to carve out time to connect, try to make it happen at least once a month, even if it’s only 30 minutes. 

Embrace proactive storytelling between big announcements

One common misconception is that PR is only about managing major announcements (new hires, new products, new funding, etc). 

To maximize your PR investment, encourage your agency to adopt a proactive approach to storytelling. This involves weaving your company’s larger narrative in between major announcements versus turning the PR or marketing machine “off” when you don’t have something new to announce. 

This results in a continuous cadence of news, keeping your audience engaged and interested.

Subject-matter-expert pitching, event speakerships, and podcasts are instrumental in establishing your company’s thought leadership in the industry while fostering a consistent and compelling brand story. 

Share long-term plans and strategies

Transparency is key to a healthy, successful relationship with your PR or marketing agency. 

Providing your agency team with access to your longer-term plans, strategies, and initiatives, even before they are finalized, allows them to align short-term tactics with overarching goals. 

When your PR team understands your long-term vision, they’re empowered to identify and capitalize on opportunities more strategically. Last-minute information can hinder your team’s ability to craft a well-thought-out approach. 

In closing

Every dollar counts when building and growing a startup or small business. Apply these relationship-building strategies to help ensure you’re getting the best value for your agency investment, maximizing the impact of your public relations and marketing efforts, and effectively building your brand.

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PR tips for startup leaders to fuel growth & get noticed