We were somewhat taken aback earlier this week when a prospect asked a sensible – but seldom heard – question: “Why would we be a good client”?
Not much surprises us here on the business development team as we meet with the great and the good of tech PR firms, but this is one of those questions we do not encounter often, so the answer hardly rolls off the tongue.
However, after skilfully negotiating that meeting, it gave us pause for thought. What does make a good client?
There are a few fundamentals that should act as points of consideration for any client looking to make a splash in the media:
- Have an opinion. PR agencies understand the news agenda – and know the journalists tasked with shaping it. There will always be opportunities to add commentary to major issues hitting the headlines. What we require is a spokesperson with the confidence to deliver hard-hitting insight.
- Be willing to invest. Companies sometimes believe that PR will solve all of their issues. While it can solve many, it needs to be part of a wider mix. Therefore our advice to clients looking at doing PR “for the sake of it” is to invest that money elsewhere. This leads us on to…
- Integrate. PR is not an island and works best when integrated and embedded within the existing sales and marketing teams. It is highly unlikely that an appearance in the Financial Times is going to result in 25 marketing qualified leads picking up the phone. Therefore having the systems and processes to track leads across the buying cycle is crucial.
- Be brave. While tactical recommendations will, more often than not, boil down to the basics of thought leadership, endorsement and news, it is the willingness to address – and challenge – established industry perceptions through hard-hitting content, such as research, roundtables or news-hijacking, that will yield the most bang for their buck.
- Have an approval process in place. It sounds so simple, but PR agencies can be stifled by red tape when it comes to getting an article approved, or getting that fast-action comment out of the door on deadline. Consideration must be given to how you can mobilise the relevant internal stakeholders to get content out of the door as efficiently as possible.
There are doubtless more things to consider – and we would love to hear your opinion – but hopefully this is food for thought.