Why Good Clients Are Key for Great PR and How to Be One

Aug 23, 2017

Last month was atypical for sure. I had two clients call and ask me, “How can we be a better client?” Wow! In all of my years in public relations & marketing, I don’t believe that has ever happened before.

One of the clients actually said, “You’ve always been there for us and have done a great job. I know we are the bottleneck right now. We’ve got to be a better client.”

The second client said he was pleasantly surprised at how much we have accomplished since launching our program, was delighted with the traction and volume, and most definitely wanted to sustain it. He added, “But the last thing we want is to be a difficult client!”

Obviously the Universe is hinting it’s time for a list of tips on being a fantastic client but first, let me underscore how essential it is to partner with a compatible PR agency. I’ve noted before that selecting a PR agency is much like selecting a spouse. For a solid relationship going forward, be sure the foundation rests on good, open, honest communication.

Which leads to my first tip

Have a dedicated Liaison. Having someone on your team who is responsive to deadlines and requests for interviews and information is paramount to our success. If we uncover a media interview, chances are the editor will want to interview your executive or client that day or that week. We need our liaison to respond with availability so we can firm up the interview and prep all parties. Email, phone, text is fine just someone who responds in a timely fashion.

Available/Engaged company and client spokespeople. It is so helpful when the passion, enthusiasm and commitment comes from the top. The positive energy will trickle down. In addition, access to thought leaders helps to shape messaging, priorities and sets the tone for the entire program. We can be more successful when we have ongoing information and communication from your team’s visionaries. On a related note, be sure your company is actually cultivating thought leaders.

Treat us like a member of your team. We are family now, right? We view ourselves as an extension of your team and would like to be in the know on what’s going on. Keep us informed and be transparent. Share your ideas, corporate initiatives, new customers gained, upcoming events, marketing campaigns, and important timelines. Keep the line of communication open and remember, it flows both ways. So ask us for advice, or run ideas by us we love to collaborate with our clients! Please invite us to talk to your internal stakeholders, especially those in product strategy, sales and other key team members. We appreciate consistent, open communications about the company’s business activities, developments, successes, and milestones.

Prep before your media/analyst interviews. We will do our part to arrange a prep for your interviews but please come prepared. We’re here to help with that, too.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate Communication is the foundation to any relationship. If you are too busy to respond, let us know. If you are going to be out of the office, let us know. If you need extra support because your biggest trade show is coming up, call us NOW. There is no smarter way to leverage an expensive investment in tradeshows than through public relations. If you love our writing, let us know a little positive feedback goes a long way! By the same token if you don’t like the writing style, let us know we have multiple writers and can quickly make a switch. Lastly, we appreciate hearing (and acting!) on your interesting, timely observations, insights and thoughts on industry trends and developments.

Be open to feedback on positioning and strategy for media relations and thought leadership. You are hiring us to provide you with strategic guidance and counsel. You are hiring us for our expertise. And you deserve honesty. We have a great sense for what is newsworthy, what messages resonate and generally what works/what doesn’t. We are not shy. If you are open to it, we will tell you what we really think so ask away!

Set realistic deadlines. In our world, we are used to dealing with fire drills. Everyone wants everything yesterday. However, if you really don’t need the press release by the end of the day, then give us the proper time that is needed to give you something that is top notch.

Bring your positive attitude/energy. PR is one of the most exciting aspects of doing business. We love what we do, especially when we get to work with collaborative, upbeat people. It’s a close relationship, so let’s get comfortable, roll-up our sleeves, and do great things together!

Jodi Amendola

Jodi is an accomplished leader with 25 years of experience developing, implementing and executing high-impact, integrated business-to-business public relations and marketing campaigns. Since 2004, she has served as CEO and co-founder of Amendola, where she has led campaigns for countless industry giants and start-up companies.