Understanding what a client wants to achieve
PR agencies will first try to understand what a client wants to get out of the relationship. PR can be about changing negative perceptions, telling potential customers about a new product or service and demonstrating that the client company is trustworthy and one to do business with. The goal of successful PR is to build long-standing positive rapport with the people who matter, including customers, employees, investors and the public-at-large.
Developing a plan
The PR agency works with clients to create a communications plan. The plan may consider competitive advantage, position in the market, challenges faced by the client, a PR strategy, timings, measurement and tactics/methods and tools.
Using PR methods to reach clients goals
There are a number of tactics that a PR agency uses. The most common is media (and now increasingly blogger) relations. The PR agency will work with a client to create content, from press releases, articles, research, whitepapers, case studies and blog posts. With this content, PR agencies will target media/bloggers by pitching them and offering information for a story. The content can of course be used by sales teams and on the client's website too.
Whilst print articles, such as those in newspapers, industry journals and magazines formed a key component of an effective PR campaign, with the expanding access to information online, PR companies are increasingly taking advantage of online resources such as online news sites, blogs and forums.
For technology companies, industry analysts are influential, so agencies will target analysts for briefings to help their clients get mentions in industry reports or ensure that they are the analysts’ radar. Agencies will also help to arrange analyst participation in a client’s event or joint whitepapers or surveys. We secured 15 briefings for one of our technology clients last year with some resulting in report mentions and blog write ups.
There is no substitute for face-to-face contact for establishing positive rapport with the public. That is why PR agencies also research and recommend speaking opportunities, panel discussions and workshops to their clients. PR companies will assist in writing presentations and pitches, enabling clients to establish themselves as leading experts in their fields and to increase their networking opportunities. We've secured speaking opportunities at events like Internet Retailing, Ecmod and the Civil Society IT conference.
Third party endorsement through awards is another popular tool. PR agencies will identify awards, write the award entry and then use any win in subsequent promotion. Our award wins for clients include Elektra, Mobile News, Online Retailer, National Outsourcing Awards and Ecmod.
Other ways that clients can engage with their customers on a personal level are through exhibitions, and product launch tours. PR agencies arrange these opportunities to meet prospects, from booking stand space to arranging media briefings on the day. We've supported clients to ESC, NEW, Infosecurity, Biometrics, RWM and Southern Manufacturing.
These are just a few tactics; for more, see our PR services.
Offering additional services such as search and social media
PR agencies know how to create content, so the next logical step is for PR teams to offer social media and search services. From running Facebook campaigns to managing Twitter feeds and writing blog posts, PR agencies can help. Agencies already know how to target other websites to gain exposure, so this ties in with targeting sites to gain natural links through engaging content. Many are now working with clients on integrated search, social and PR campaigns. We improve clients' website rankings through our search agency, here's an SEO case study.