In my last blog, I talked about mistakes 1 & 2, that most businesses make when working with PR consultants. This blog contains mistakes 3-6, highlighting proper training, need for good communication, staying in for the long haul and the client and PR person being a good match.
3. The client has not been properly trained on how to communicate with the media.
This is a biggie. It is important to provide media training for clients whether via phone, email or in person, so they know what to expect from the reporter. When we start with a client, we begin with message training to identify two or three salient points about their business that they can share with the media representative. We do a practice session to rehearse those messages, so that the client is comfortable speaking to the media.
In the case of TV, clients need to be trained to speak in short, quippy sentences, also known as “soundbites,” and to speak as if sitting across the kitchen table from a friend. The more helpful and non-self-serving the client comes across, the better.
4. PR professionals and clients, at times, do not communicate well.
Despite being in the business of communications, PR people sometimes aren’t the best communicators. Nor are clients. Often it’s a matter of learning each other’s communication style, whether that is via phone, email or text. Establishing the frequency of communication also helps. Weekly emails and monthly progress reports will clarify activity and pace.
5. The client has not gotten results quickly enough and ends the relationship too soon.
I have found this to be true. While sometimes clients don’t want to commit beyond three months, I have learned that this is not long enough. In three months, the PR professional and the client are just getting to know each other and probably have had to do some adjusting along the way — either with product messages or the way they communicate. In some cases, the PR professional has managed to quickly get some good publicity, resulting in the client thinking their PR work is done. The reality is that after three months, it is usually time to think about additional ideas, events or articles that can further promote the client’s business.
6. The client and the PR person are not a good match.
Businesses and PR professionals have all made this mistake — working with someone even though it’s not a good fit. Sometimes it was because expectations were not set from the beginning. PR professionals need to think about their ideal client and characteristics. Businesses, too, need to put some thought into what they’re looking for in a PR professional.
If the relationship is not working out, first try to resolve any differences that may be causing tension. If all else fails, it may be best to part ways. Prolonging a difficult working relationship does not benefit either side.
Tags: Client / PR Professional Relationship, How to Talk to the Media, media relations, news, PR, PR Mistakes, PR professional, public relations, Wendy Alpine