Are you a good client?

By Posted in - Public Relations on April 19th, 2012 0 Comments

I’m biased, of course, but I think we have the absolute best clients in the world. The companies whose stories we help share come from a variety of industries – sport fishing, architecture and design, retail – but they all share common characteristics that make them true FCPR partners. They work right alongside us to help bring their stories to their key audiences.

We’ve all heard horror stories about working with bad clients – ones that don’t pay on time, don’t value your counsel, relegate you to “do-ers” as opposed to strategic thinkers. And sure, we’ve had the misfortune to even work with some of them here (not any more, thank goodness).

But as with anything, you’re going to get out of your PR partner relationship what you put into it. Public relations firms (or any outside marketing firm for that matter) aren’t magical fairy dusters who can snap their fingers and create something out of nothing. It takes both client and agency working together in tandem to evaluate business goals and generate ideas that will solicit meaningful results.

So are you a good client? Take a look at this checklist and rate yourself.

  • You trust and value your PR firm’s recommendations. You don’t always have to buy in to every idea coming down the pipeline. But if you’re working with a true strategic PR partner, you should allow them to take the business goals you’ve all identified and come up with solutions that will help move the needle for your brand. As with any true team, each member should play a valuable role in bringing solutions to light – don’t impede the process by micromanaging every step of the way.
  • Play your part. You’re the expert in your industry. You know your business goals and what needs to happen to get there. Make sure you’re giving your PR firm the resources it needs to help share that story. They can’t do their job without you. This means being on time for interviews, providing collateral materials (images, statistics, etc) when needed and providing insight into what’s going on in your business and industry on a frequent basis. You’re setting your PR firm up to fail – and wasting your investment – by not giving your team the resources it needs to do the best job they can for you.
  • You give all marketing channels equal voices at the table. If you’re a CMO, you understand the full spectrum of the marketing rainbow. PR, advertising, digital, events, grassroots – not all of these channels are appropriate or even necessary for every brand – but it’s important to understand what each can do and how it supports your company. Treat each discipline that’s right for you with the strategic counsel it deserves and bring them to the table at the beginning of a project – as opposed to midway through or even at the end. Truly successful integrated marketing plans showcases various disciplines working together to accomplish a common goal for a brand.
  • You pay on time. This probably seems like a no brainer, but it goes back to the trust and value point made earlier. You pay for things you value. If you’re late on payments, or just don’t pay at all, it doesn’t give a firm confidence to keep working hard to generate results for you. Negotiate project fees at the outset and determine a pay schedule that works for everyone.


  • You follow through. So you have a cracker jack PR team and they’ve generated some incredible awareness for you. Now what? Take that momentum and capitalize. If it’s a magazine article that appeared about your brand, leverage that publicity through your other marketing channels. If it’s a successful event that just happened, follow up with the attendees to further position your company as a resource. There’s nothing worse than having PR results start pouring in, and the opportunity to build business from it is left sitting on the table. See your investment through.

When PR firms and clients work in a truly trusting partnership together, the opportunities for success are endless. Find a firm that’s right for you and work along side them to amplify your brand story.

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