Having now worked in PR both client and agency side for over a decade, I have smelt the stench of stale PR on quite a few occasions. But like any bad odour, there is often a sweet smelling cure, no Febreze necessary.
The early months of a new PR account is like a honeymoon period. Wowing clients with coverage, creativity and contacts comes naturally and everyone is a winner. But like every relationship, at some point, things can go stale. The fact is, it’s a bloody hard slog for PR professionals to keep churning out coverage and new ideas. Even with the tools and tactics at our disposal these days, it’s no walk in the park. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you get lucky, but more often than not, serious hard graft is required.
But hey, with my client hat on, that’s what we pay you for. To make things a little trickier, clients also start to become complacent about what the PR agency is achieving. The standard expectation raises and your great early work all of a sudden becomes a rod for your own back. Catch 22. So, when the coverage starts to dry up, the plan looks a little light and the meetings have lost that spark what can you do?
Firstly, never under value your results and make sure the client knows that. If you under value it, the client will rightly follow suit. Whether it’s a long term notch, spotting a quick opportunity or getting a bit lucky – it’s all based on your ability. Here at ramarketing, we’ve had an added complication to deal with. Often things get a new lease of life as people change, which is standard for the staff churn associated with most PR agencies.
But what happens if the people stay the same like we have with our Newcastle PR agency? We’ve not rested on our laurels. Rather than wait for the ‘stale’ chat (or smell), every six months we look to bring in an experienced fresh pair of eyes to help our account leads identify new angles, stories, contacts and tactics. In the same way an agency brings an objective approach at the start of an account, an experienced PR pro does the same for our team further down the line.
Don’t get me wrong, we have an amazing team and a staff continuity record at ramarketing that makes me very proud. But we’re still human. Lovely humans I might add. So our approach is all about giving client leads a boost, reinvigorating their energy for an account and of course continuously wowing our clients. Hard ask but hey, anything less is not good enough.
And sometimes, an account lead has done everything they can and reassurance from a fellow PR pro is no bad thing. For agencies, it’s about recognising that every account will have a lull. Fact. Plan ahead and make sure it’s just a blip at most. And for clients, most recognise that this is natural.
But if you value your agency and your relationship with your account team, trust them to make sure they keep things fresh and are always adding value to your organisation. Act now to avoid the unmistakable smell of stale PR. Otherwise, stay the heck away from me. And your clients.