Working With a PR Agency: Are You Ready?

2024 marketing trends

Marketing managers are like circus performers. Bear with me here.

They both have to learn to juggle, spin plates, perform under pressure and push the boundaries of creativity.

Recently, Marketing Week published an article highlighting how marketing managers (and execs) are required to wear more hats than ever, which puts them at significant risk of burnout.

Yet marketing managers play a crucial role in driving brand awareness, customer engagement, and ultimately, business growth. Businesses can’t afford to be without them.

Businesses also can’t afford to overwhelm their marketing managers so much that – even with their best intentions – they simply cannot execute an effective marketing strategy on their own. 

This is where a PR agency can help.

They support the main act while offering their own set of unique skills and expertise.

They get involved in all of the behind-the-scenes, making sure everything is perfectly coordinated and polished when it comes to the performance.

As they say, teamwork makes the dream work. Cliche, but it’s a saying for a reason.

‘Ok, sounds good’, you’re thinking, ‘but how exactly can they help me and how do I know when it’s time to start looking for an agency?’.

Well, I’m glad you asked. 

 

Why work with a PR agency?

We’ve already discussed time – and that’s a huge factor.

But why else might you decide to collaborate with an agency?

 

Fresh performers equal fresh insights 

PR professionals are specialists when it comes to sniffing out newsworthy stories to put in front of the media. And if there’s not a story immediately under their nose? Then they’ll create one! 

Agencies have a wealth of tactics at their disposal and will employ those that will work best for your brand, getting your products and/or services noticed by your target audiences.

Specialists will also pride themselves on keeping their industry knowledge up to scratch, so you can guarantee what they’re suggesting is based on new data, research, trends or learnt through experience.

 

Ability to switch acts at short notice 

If a circus performer cannot perform on the night for whatever reason, then it’s likely another act will be waiting in the wings as a backup. Same with football (and many other sports), that’s why they have subs.

The point here is that it’s about being flexible; you have to think on your feet.

PRs are very used to this, with reactive PR being a common technique to gain a flurry of coverage and backlinks to your brand.

Reactive PR tends to involve monitoring and responding to the news and relevant journalist requests through a range of paid-for platforms that agencies invest in.

 

Thinking outside the ‘circus ring’

Sometimes, performers will step outside the ring/off the stage and engage with the audience. This can result in memorable moments for members of the audience who get to get up close to the acts or are asked to participate in something.

In PR, this translates to thinking outside of your core focus. As a marketing manager, you will naturally want to talk about your products and/or services, but this is not something journalists tend to appreciate as it’s too close to your brand. PR specialists will conjure up campaign ideas that are more loosely related to your business, but not so far removed that people would wonder why a fashion brand, for example, is commenting on food trends.

 

When is the best time to collaborate with a PR agency? 

“This all sounds great, I’m going to employ a PR agency tomorrow. It’s going to help with my workload so much and free me up to focus on other marketing initiatives.”

Hold up.

Before you do that, it’s best to make sure you’re in a good position to get the most out of your agency. 

Here are a few things to consider:

 

Are you clear on your audiences and business goals?

For your PR to be a success, you need to be clear on who your target audiences are, and what your business goals are for the next six to 12 months at least. The reason for this is that PR professionals will create a bespoke strategy based on this information, what your competitors are doing and what’s happening in the media landscape. Top tip: if you have well-defined audience personas, share these with your agency. They will love you. Forever

 

Is your brand identity and messaging clear?

This one is similar to the above. If you’re going through a rebrand or launching a new website, it may not be the best time to invest. Wait until everything is stable and then make some noise about your business.

 

Do you have any budget to invest?

Although most agencies will offer a range of different packages to suit all budgets, marketing managers need to have some budget dedicated to PR resources. Even better if you could have a little extra aside for third-party costs that will enhance campaigns, such as surveys.

 

Do you have senior buy-in?

This is a big one. In our experience, there are often times when the marketing manager and the board are not on the same page. If they do not buy into the idea of PR or don’t understand it, then it will become a source of friction and frustration and is unlikely to result in a long-term agency-client relationship.

 

Are you able to offer up a spokesperson (or two)?

PR will not work if you don’t have a spokesperson. A spokesperson is necessary to attribute to journalist comments or thought leadership articles. At Repeat Digital, we ask all clients to share a list of spokespeople with us, along with their job titles, a short biography and head and shoulders shot. Having this information up front means we can react very quickly to any relevant opportunities.

 

Do you have something newsworthy to say?

Maybe you’re coming up to a huge business milestone, or you’re moving to a new office. Whatever it is, your PR agency can advise on and generate a buzz around your brand.

If you don’t have anything newsworthy to say, don’t stress! It’s a PR professional’s job to come up with things out of thin air, like the magicians that we are. This is called proactive PR.

 

In conclusion

A partnership with a PR agency can be a real game-changer. But it is a two-way street. Marketing managers should be clear from the beginning on goals and expectations, be receptive to feedback and new ideas and regularly communicate with their external PR team.

The best relationships are the ones where the agency becomes an extension of your team. You should work together to come up with a holistic marketing strategy, resulting in cohesive and impactful campaigns that resonate with your target audience.

Feeling ready? We’d love to offer you a free 30-minute consultation to discuss how we can help take some of the weight off your shoulders. 

 

Becca Tee

Becca Tee

Hi, I’m Becca! I am the latest addition to the Repeat Digital team, having joined to help launch the PR and content arm of the business. This is a very exciting time for Repeat and means we can now provide a holistic approach to marketing, offering a seamless and ‘hybrid’ blend of traditional PR and digital PR. After three years as a journalist, I moved to the ‘dark side’ and began my career in PR. I have experience in both traditional and digital, and have worked with a wide range of B2B and B2C clients, from small family companies to international enterprises. I love creating bespoke strategies and compelling press releases and always aspire to become an extension of my clients’ teams, not just a person they work with agency-side. Outside of work, I am a real homebird. When I’m not running around like a headless chicken after my son, or cuddling my two guinea pigs, you’ll find me at the gym, cinema, or enjoying a meal (probably at Wagamama).

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