CEO: “What the hell is that agency doing?”

frustrated guy

You’re the client. And frankly, you’re not all that interested in what your agency did yesterday.

It’s all about today, tomorrow and how they help drive your business forward. Now.

Twenty five years of this PR gig tells us that you want an agency that walks the talk, not just talk. There’s nothing worse than the client calling up, asking, “What the hell is your agency doing for us?” Ideally, the CEO, CFO or in-house marketing director never has to make that call.

Not with PRactical PR.

We’ve got the inside story on everything you should expect from your agency.

If you need a little more perspective:

For the Here & Now, read these required deliverables.

7 Required Deliverables from Your Agency

  • Start with expectations. There’s nothing worse than a client to expect ABC while the agency delivers XYZ. Everybody is unhappy–pointing fingers, blame-gaming and sweating like pigs at a sausage factory. Sit down and listen to client expectations and what they really want. Draw out their ideal “outputs” and ways to work. Then share the realities about PR’s quirky game. Discuss, manage and agree on expectations at the very start. Write them down. Everyone will need to be reminded. About once every quarter.
  • Consistent, frequent communications.
    • E-mail is great for quick updates and queries
    • Skype is great for interaction requiring several people in different locations to discuss everything from deadline confirmations to planned activities and roles and responsibilities.
    • Face to face. There’s nothing like it to build relationships. If it’s brainstorming and a creative process, this is the best way to go. It’s also best when reviewing activities and results. Body language says a lot.
  • A written plan. Where’s the roadmap to your communications plan? Has the agency spent several hours gathering information from your corporate subject-matter experts? What about identifying business goals, sales goals, even financial baselines? Communications should complement the business direction. The plan takes these into consideration. PR and communications isn’t just a creative process, or “working the phones.” Strategy and alignment with corporate direction are crucial.
    CAUTION:
    Having no written plan guarantees that you and the agency will chase rabbit trails that lessen results and makes entire campaigns impotent. Remember, it costs just as much to be smart as it does to be dumb. Do it right.
  • Creative ideas, BIG thinking. You’re paying the agency for their brains. They think differently, see the world in a whole new way, and have the talent to think big and really wacky. Let the ideas flow, even the crazy ones. Among them all, there’s always one or two that resonant, work within budget and seems to be right on target.
  • Editorial calendars. Many magazines, even online publications will publish an editorial calendar. It shows what story topics it covers in what months (This helps their ad reps to ring you up and remind you that Topic A is perfect for an ad campaign). But for the PR agency, it’s perfect for approaching the assigned reporter to make sure the client is quoted and part of the story.
  • Reporting. Even Captain Picard needs to know what’s happening in the next frontier. Everything looks “normal” until six cloaked Klingon starships show up. Not good. An agency needs to report during the lulls and peaceful times, and when the unexpected occurs. Good information is, well, good. Consistent reporting isn’t an extra; it’s a requirement. Agency reports may be weekly, monthly or quarterly, but should always be written and specific.
    A client should expect a report to include:
    • Summary of activities and results (ideally, an agreed-upon approach to measurement)
    • List of primary activities and current status
    • List or explanation of specific reporters/publications/online media called, the story topic being pitched and current status
    • Listing of actual news hits (that are or will soon be published)
    • News clips of stories that have published in print and/or online. These are often provided digitally. But are usually provided in some format.
    • A Quick-Glance of the upcoming set of activities and direction.
  • Of course, it goes without saying (I think) that your agency (if it’s a PR agency hired to attract media attention) should be focused on media relations that align with the written communications plan.

Are you getting these 7 Deliverables from your agency?

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Have a great, practical day.

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Filed under Dallas PR agencies, PR ethics, practical pr, Public Relations, Small Business, Small business PR, SMBs PR, Uncategorized, writers in Dallas

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