3 Signs your client needs a PR strategy, not just publicity

Have you ever had a discovery call with a client only to learn they:

  1.  Confuse PR with advertising and sales (read more here)
  2.  Aren’t sure about the services they want (or more importantly – need)
  3. Aren’t positioned for press coverage (social media/website need to be audited and cleaned up, etc.)

In my own career, and certainly for many other PR professionals, sales have come in to question when outlining agency workload and capabilities. I’ve been told retainer fees would be paid if and only if I agreed to be paid through a commission on sales, which made zero sense considering I do not offer and never discussed sales in my PR strategy. If your client is insisting on sales efforts from you, it’s best to be blunt and let them know this is not where your value lies. Even with clear contracts in place, misunderstanding and business needs can make things complicated. Don’t let it be!

One of the best perspective shifts I’ve had this year in business is realizing that clients often don’t know what they want from a PR agency, but even more importantly, they are out of touch with what their company needs from a PR agency. At Perry Rose Media, we look at each client for what they are – different from the rest. Your clients see you as the expert, so guide them with your expertise.

Often times preparing and positioning your client can be more beneficial than simply pitching them for features or interviews.

Also, this is no shocker, but you should expect every editor who reads a pitch to go to your client’s social media and website. If these platforms aren’t effectively branded and consistent, regularly updated and visually engaging, things may not move in the direction you or your client are hoping for. Often times preparing and positioning your client can be more beneficial than simply pitching them for features or interviews; a strategy for growing brand awareness should start with assessing their most basic and accessible communication platforms.

With VA’s, social media scheduling and publishing platforms, boutique PR firms and free PhotoShop dupe websites at the accessibility of virtually (no pun intended) every brand and budget, even the smallest companies have no excuse for poor communication and low-quality content.

Clients must understand creating and executing strategy for developing a client’s’ voice, image and credibility builds a foundation for brand loyalty and engagement growth while pursuing earned press and media. Best of all, being honest and direct with a plan for your client will further establish your credibility and secure future opportunities with them.

The next time you’re onboarding a client, working through a client’s rebrand or securing a freelance project, consider whether or not PR strategy would yield more value than publicity.

About This Author

Alex Perry is Owner and Creative Director of Bridal PR firm and creative agency, Perry Rose Media. Alex is passionate about producing high-quality campaigns through creatively directing photo shoots and thoughtfully crafting copy to tell a story. She is a Point Park University alum of '14 with a Bachelor's degree in journalism. Outside of Perry Rose Media, she is a reporter for lifestyle and entertainment news.