4 Things PR Clients SHOULD Be Able to Expect

Great expectationOccasionally I’ve come across stories about client/firm relationships gone awry. Two examples stand out in my mind: The mass email debacle (Google) and the client that publicly fired the PR firm for making the client look silly (FedEx).

I’ve personally encountered organizations recovering from bad service-provider relationships. While I’ll never know all sides of these stories, I can say that clients pay good money and, in return, should receive great service! As part of this, clients should be able to expect to:

1.  Be part of the creative process

including developing media angles, shaping how you will be represented to media/influencers and identifying appropriate media groups. In the second example, the client should not have been surprised at how he was being positioned with media. And, while his PR team can control what is provided to media, they cannot control what media write, say or do with that information.  NOTE: Sometimes PR professionals provide wise counsel to clients who choose to ignore it—I’ve seen that happen, too!

2.  Approve EVERYTHING that goes out.

After all, your PR professional is representing you, your brand/product/service. Read and evaluate carefully before “approving.” Unfortunately, some clients are not truly engaged in the process or are afraid to push back. This can be catastrophic for both parties.

3.  See and work from a formalized plan or timeline

This facilitates accomplishing goals and prevents busy work.

4.  Receive PR activity reports from their PR team on a regular basis (or as the activity level demands).

Reports should include accomplishments/deliverables, priorities and action items with due dates.

Clients need to pay attention, communicate often and respond promptly to questions and recommendations offered by their PR team. A client that is ignores important counsel, requests and mission-critical due dates is a serious concern. Experienced PR practitioners will walk away from these clients with good reason…there’s a storm-a-brewin’.

Tracy Richardson Clement