If you haven’t worked with PR pro’s before you may be wondering what you can expect from this type of relationship. Even when you have worked with PR people in the past, if you’re not familiar with the craft you may not know exactly what to look for when determining if you have a good or successful relationship. Having a clear and basic understanding of a “standard MO” to expect from your PR person is nice to have.

To make sure you’re working with a professional that is awesome. Here are a few things you SHOULD and SHOULDN’T expect from your PR pro.

You SHOULD expect…

  • Clear communication – You should have a positive two-way communication with your PR person. If you can’t get a hold of them or get feedback within a few hours (unless they are out of office, that may be a sign that they are difficult to work with.

  • Strategic advice and insights on launches – PR people shouldn’t just do things because you want them to, they need to be thought out, planned with events, timed properly. Make sure there has been a bigger strategic discussion about your efforts.

  • Timeline and plan for outreach – A timeline is a great way to get a broad view of a combination of events, its good to have at least 3-6 months planned out and tracked on a regular basis.

  • Prep and background information for interviews – We prep clients on each interview with background information and talking points. This is industry standard practice. If your PR person isn’t doing this and making sure follow up is followed through, they aren’t doing their job.

  • Regular reporting and updates – You should have pretty clear and transparent reporting on a regular basis. Here we do weekly and/or bi-weekly updates at least.

You probably WON’T get…

  • Copied on sent emails – I’ve done this against my better judgment and had the client move forward to barrage the contact with emails. We know when, how often and how to communicate. Leave it to us.
    Review draft of pitches – While overall themes may be discussed and/or shared, each pitch can vary based on reporter, industry and a number of things, you can’t possibly expect a PR person to share each and every email that goes out.

  • A personal call every day – PR people have to maximize their time and truly there aren’t enough hours in the day and they probably have multiple clients. If they can’t talk to you right away, don’t sweat it too much. We spend a lot of time on the phones trying to get coverage and hopefully, that’s what your PR person is doing too.

  • Contact information for media lists – This is proprietary information that is typically private to agencies and the databases they own. This is part of what we do. You may get contact information if you have to call or follow up with someone directly, but don’t expect a list with contact info, unless you are paying for it…we have to.

  • A favor called in – In this day and age of fake news, no-one should ask for this unless it feels really relevant. The favors we are able to call in these days are getting the reporter to consider your pitch, it doesn’t mean at all that they will write a feature story. And even then, as good PR people, we don’t want to ruin our relationships by calling in a favor if we know that the story or angle isn’t quite relevant for our “friends”. If you need a “favor” called in, maybe its time to revisit the story angle instead.

Please remember that when you are working with a PR agency, freelancer, contractor, whatever, that it is a two-way conversation. You can’t just lay a project in a PR person’s lap and expect them to complete it to your satisfaction without collaboration. The BEST PR relationships are the ones that are collaborative and communicative. Nothing good comes without hard work!