1. Be clear about why you are doing PR
Is it to build a brand name? Are you hoping to directly increase sales? Is it about driving traffic to your website? Are you interested in building your personal profile? Is your real motivation to put the frighteners on your competitors? If the answer is all of the above, then put this list in priority order.
2. Who are you targeting?
Potential new customers? Existing customers? Could you also be using PR to help with recruitment? With building profile and relationships with suppliers? With warning competitors that you’re on the rise? Again, you need to have thought this through before your first PR meeting.
3. No time wasters
PRs with a PR agency background will love meetings and reports. Possibly more than they love doing PR. It’s how they were brought up. The more time spent in meetings – and writing reports about meetings – the less time can be spent coming up with ideas and pitching them to journalists. Let them know where your priorities lie.
4. Be available
You can’t just appoint a PR and then leave them to get on with it. If they’re doing their job right, they will be working hard to create media opportunities for you. If you don’t answer your phone, then everyone is wasting their time. When you choose to prioritise your marketing spend on PR, you also need to back that up with prioritising some of your time. If there are periods when you will be unavailable, make sure you let your PR know this. Also tell them how you prefer to be contacted (email, Twitter, text, phone call) and which are your busy times of the day/ week.
Think about how you will evaluate the success of a PR project. Don’t let the PR tell you it’s all about the number of press releases they’ve written. Or the number of ‘journalist contact points’ each month. PR success is about results. It’s about positive media coverage – in the right places. Ten press releases sent out over three months, that generated no media interest whatsoever is not a successful PR campaign. It’s an expensive farce.
Sara Teiger is a Manchester based freelance PR consultant.