Welcome to The PR Desk, our latest monthly feature! Written by PR professional Heather Travis, it guides bloggers on the ins and outs of navigating the world of PR agencies and brands. This month, Heather gives great advice on establishing relationships with PR agencies.
As bloggers we all strive to work with brands we love. We shout our love from the rooftops (or you know, on Instagram!) and if we partner with those brands, we get paid for the time it takes to create great photos and videos, to share our memories or create new recipes. And over time, we as influencers are true partners in sharing the stories of the brands we love.
Here’s the catch though. In order to work with a brand, you’re more than likely going to have to work with that brand’s PR agency. In this post I’ll share some tips on how to establish relationships with PR agencies, and why it’s important.
Engage with them on social media
Just as you need to ensure the brand knows you’re out there and loving their product(s), you’ll also want their agency to know this. More than likely the agency will be the ones developing the list of influencers they’ll be reaching out to for any given campaign. If they're familiar with the quality of your photos or recipe development, for instance, you're more likely to be top of mind for any outreach. Be sure to follow the PR agency’s social media feeds. You can see photos of behind the scenes at media events, get to know the brands they work with, get to know the various PR peeps through their blog posts, and more. These insights will help you get to know the PR agency and its people better —after all, isn’t this what we want them to do when researching bloggers?
Show the agency you’re in this for the long term
Engaging with them before you work with them is just one step in establishing a long term working relationship with a PR agency. You’ll also want to ensure you keep up the relationship after the campaign ends. For instance, did a recipe take off on Pinterest months after the campaign ended? Share those results with the agency and use this as an opportunity to check in and catch up. If it’s been a few months since your last campaign partnership, reach out and say hello.
Help them help you
Just as you want to keep working with a brand, so does their PR agency. Help the PR agency out and go the extra mile. A detailed results report with screen captures and anecdotal information, plus your requested stats helps the agency deliver a more comprehensive report to the brand. Not only does this help your PR contact in their relationship with the brand, but it helps you in the long term too. And isn’t that what it’s all about? Helping each other?
Think beyond the agency
Just as brands change PR agencies, PR peeps change agencies too — and in today’s media climate it’s at a shockingly high rate. This is why it’s important to ensure you have a relationship with both the agency proper, and the PR guy or gal too. Connect with each PR agency contact on LinkedIn, engage with their personal social channels (without being a creep), and if you’re near the office, pop in with a sweet treat.
Side note: lots of PR and marketing people have their own blogs, so never assume they don’t know the blogging world as well as you do.
Use every opportunity as an opportunity to move the relationship forward
Yes, even a bad pitch. Part of establishing a long-term relationship is helping each other grow and learn. If a pitch comes to you that isn’t a fit, don’t ignore it or send a snarky response. Be helpful. Point them in the direction of someone who this project might fit. Say thanks for thinking of you, tell them you hope you can help in future campaigns. Maybe share an idea or pitch you’ve been working on. Move the relationship forward.
So now we’re all set to rock our relationships with PR agencies, but wait! How do we know which agency handles which brands? Stay tuned for the next post in this series where we’ll learn how to find right PR contact.
Heather Travis @heathertravis is a PR professional and lover of all things creative. She has extensive experience developing and implementing integrated public relations and marketing programs for agricultural brands, producers and processors, as well as high end sporting goods. She's a DIY junkie with a mean power tool addiction, and can often be found painting, refinishing, and scouring both junk yards and antique markets for her next fix … err, piece of content for her blog heatherinheels.com. Find Heather on Twitter @heathertravis and Instagram @heathertravis