July 15

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Five Things To Expect From A PR Agency

By Annette Densham


We can’t all be Tim the Toolman from Home Improvement. Sometimes doing it all yourself is overrated.

After all, as a small business owner there are so many other things that need your attention. Being a savvy business owner, you do recognise marketing and public relations as vital to your business’s growth. 

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If you ignore lead generation, you run the risk of running your business dry. Think of public relations as a form of lead generation – you need to getting your message out there anyway you can.

There is power in outsourcing – a smart business owner does NOT do everything themselves. How much is your time worth? If you have the budget does it make sense to engage someone to do the things you don’t know how to do, want to do or don’t have the time to do?

Don’t get me wrong, I think knowing how to do your own public relations is important – it’s not hard to learn how to do DIY PR - there are some incredible people out there who do it - Jules Brooke from Handle Your Own PR and Tanya Targett's Media Darlings.

For many, you just want someone to handle it for you.

If you do go down the path of engaging a public relations agency, here are five things you should expect from them – big or small.


Ownership

You really want the agency to invest in your campaign. That means they never give up when it comes to chasing opportunities. Most agencies work on monthly retainers – make sure you understand what that means in terms of time investment from the agency. You also want the agency to spend time getting to know your business, you and your products/service. After all they are representing your business – you want them as excited as you are. 

One size does NOT fit all

This is a pet peeve of mine – don’t treat me like everyone else; I am individual and unique. That is the approach you want from an agency – to treat you as one of a kind - when it comes to working out a public relations plan for your business. You want to know the agency has taken the time to explore your business and the best media outlets to approach. 

Make it happen

If you have a goal (more clients, more sales, more subscribers, become a sought after expert, exposure for a specific event), it is the agency’s job to make it happen. Make sure you ask lots of questions about who, what, when, where and why. If the agency has done a good job getting to know you, then the public relations plan should answer most of these questions. They should also provide regular reporting to monitor results; ask to make sure that is part of the package. 

Oops –mistakes happen

Admit it, we are all human and make mistakes. If your agency makes a mistake and admits it, you know you are onto a winner. They should never pass the buck. The rule of thumb for a media crisis plan is - tell the story, tell the truth and tell it now. The same applies for everyone; fess up if you stuff up.

Communication is key

The agency should keep in regular contact with you. Of course, this is something you need to negotiate with them. For you it may be monthly or weekly. It could be by phone, face-to-face, Skype, Zoom or email. It has to work for both parties. 


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Annette Densham

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About the Author

Annette Densham is an international award-winning publicity expert with a 30 plus year career in newspapers – The Australian, Financial Review, and Daily Telegraph, magazines (print and digital) and corporate communications. She uses her expertise to teach small business people how to use their stories to connect with the world and build influential brands.Annette is also a stand-up comedian, and as an author, trainer, mentor and speaker, she weaves her story magic everywhere.

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