How to be the perfect client

Let it be said that obviously all of our clients are wonderful to work with, but everyone has their ‘moments’ so we thought it would be a useful exercise to look at what clients can do to help their PR agencies so that time is being spent in the work that will get the best results possible.

Believe it or not, you play a crucial role in ensuring our success with your organisation. We will show enthusiasm and understanding for your business and listen to your daily pressures, but similarly in a perfect world there are certain criteria that go towards making the perfect client.

1)      Let’s work as a team: don’t make it be you vs. us, we want to be part of your team, like an extension of your in-house department, so let’s work together like that. We might be able to bring a different perspective to the table as well, so use it. We want to be a partner, not just another supplier. We’ll need input from you as well; if you think we can work in silo you won’t get the best from the relationship

2)      Trust us and listen to our advice: you hired us for our insights and expertise, so please listen to us. We might not always tell you what you want to hear, but we never said it was going to be easy.

3)      Share and share alike: share your information with us as much as possible as early as possible, if we don’t know the full picture we can’t sell your stories.

4)      Don’t set us up to fail: give us reasonable timeframes and reasonable budgets to allow us to do the best job possible and have realistic expectations of what can be achieved.

5)      Appreciate the value of PR: you hired us so hopefully that means you have an understanding of PR and what it can achieve.

6)      Give us time: it will take a while for us to establish relationships with you and your audiences, give us at least six months. If you’re not happy after that, then you need to have serious words with us.

7)      Work out how you will determine success: work with us to come up with some measurable goals so we’ll both know whether something’s worked and has been a success, for example just because it’s a big media title doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right one for your business, so, if you’ve told us who your audiences are, listen to us on that one.

8)      Speak up: if you don’t like what we’re doing, at any point, tell us. We’d rather hear it and try and fix it than not know and have you suffer in silence or worse still, sack us.

9)      Know what you want: the better the brief, the better the solution.

10)   Make your mind up: if you must change your mind about something make sure you understand and appreciate the implications.

11)   More work means more money: we’re a business too and much as we love you, we don’t work for free.

12)   Pay us on time: slow payers get slow workers.

13)   Give credit where it’s due: it’s nice to get a thank you.

And on the nitty gritty day-to-day stuff:

14)   Appreciate deadlines: you have deadlines, we have deadlines, journalists have even tighter deadlines and generally if we don’t hit them we’ll miss the opportunity.

15)   Be prepared: if you’ve got an interview and we’ve given you briefing notes, please read them.

16)   Know the value of a good picture: good photography is very important; it can make or break a story.

17)   Understand the bigger picture: you or your product aren’t always going to be the main event, there’s a lot of news and competing information out there.

18)   You might need to wait for coverage: we’re pitching to long lead and short lead media, stories might not appear straight away.

19)   Be available: if a story is breaking, make sure you’re available should journalists need to talk to you.

20)   Have a laugh: everything’s much better when you have a laugh with us.

Obviously no-one’s perfect, but hopefully the above points have given some food for thought. Do you agree with us?

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