As a startup, how to you get the most out of the first PR agency that you hire?

Here’s what I recommend to startups I talk to:

  • Include your PR team in all key marketing planning meetings. If they are unable to attend in-person, send them any slidedecks and notes, and then walk the team through the parts most relevant to them
  • Provide full visibility into the state of the business in each meeting (and in between meetings when big things happen)—share upcoming product updates, executive changes, etc. Often things you don’t think are newsworthy actually are. If the PR firm is going to act as an extension of your business, they have to know what’s actually going on
  • Don’t blindly forward emails with no explanation or next steps. Keep in mind that when you send an email, you’re paying your entire agency team to read it, discuss internally how to respond, and then develop that thoughtful response. If you’re not careful, you can blow hundreds or even thousands every month this way
  • Get involved! Yes, it’s the agency’s job to recommend story ideas and campaigns, but when you have a great idea share it
  • Give them clear goals with what you want to accomplish. Hold them accountable when they don’t meet them
  • Always be available and quick to respond. PR is very time-sensitive and deadline-driven. I’ve had journalists contact me when they were trying to file a story within the hour and needed a quote from a company executive stat. The PR firm needs your help making sure they meet those deadlines. Responding tomorrow is often not acceptable
  • Get to know your account team and treat them really well. And have fun with them! I can’t stress this enough. Agency staff are usually getting pulled in a million directions at once by their clients, and every day they’re faced with the question of whether to work on your client deadline or another client’s. Make your account the one they really want to work on
  • Have one person at your company whose job is to make the firm succeed and get them what they need. DON’T MAKE THIS AN INTERN or entry-level hire. And unless you’re very small, don’t make this the CEO who has a million other responsibilities. The ideal candidate is a VP/Manager who is very strategic, tuned into marketing, and knows when (and when not) to get the executives involved
  • Finally, be patient! It’s completely normal for it to take a good couple of months to start seeing results

Get your buzz. Talk to Atharva Marcom Public Relations – secure fantastic media coverage! his can include feature articles, radio or podcast interviews, talk show appearances, red carpet events and all those other blurbs that pop up about you or your project.

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