Keeping it Real. Getting The Most From Your PR Partner is All About Setting Expectations

By Cindi Goodsell,  Director

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So you want to be in TechCrunch, the Huffington Post, Mashable, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the New York Times? You, and everyone else. We have placed plenty of clients in those publications and more, but such expectations at the get go can set you up for disappointment.

Most often getting into these publications is less about reaching your real target audience and more about bragging rights. Sometimes your news truly warrants a spot in these primo publications. However, sometimes it just doesn’t. When that’s the case, do you blame your PR people?

Let’s keep it real. We know you want to get exposure, pronto. As PR experts, we work hard to meet your expectations and those of reporters, and create stories that the media covers, media we don’t control, of course. But it’s no surprise, sometimes companies’ expectations can be unrealistic related to public relations.

Following are a couple things to consider in managing your public relations and social media expectations, so you make the most of your time and money:

Setting Realistic Goals

It’s commonplace for new clients to complain that their former social media or public relations campaign didn’t fetch the results they’d wanted. Given this backdrop, we have to be diligent about clearly identifying your goals and even sometimes educating you about why certain expectations and goals may need to be reevaluated. Asking for tens of thousands of new Twitter followers in three months or a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal are examples of unrealistic goals. It’s our job to help set and manage your expectations, so we can make sure what we seek is realistic and we can all be delighted with the results we achieve and move your brand forward.

Let’s agree—and this is really important—the foremost purpose of public relations is to build visibility and awareness, enhance reputations, and be part of conversations as an industry player. This can lead to great results, like more people engaging with your company on social media, increasing traffic to your website and increasing awareness of your brand. But there’s a disconnect if you think any communicator can promise you a direct increase in sales from PR alone.

We can, however, help you set realistic expectations and goals that reflect your unique situation in the market—because every effort we make at Harden Communication Partners is custom fit for each of our clients. You can expect us to get to know you inside and out. You can expect us to develop pitches that resonate with the target media and painstakingly pursue opportunities to place you prominently in the media. We will work with you on strategy, content development, preparation and fulfillment and more.

Some of the realistic goals we’ll help you set include:

  • Improving your reputation with stakeholders
  • Grow your influence, leadership, and affect opinions
  • Improve your communication and engagement with stakeholders
  • Strengthen relationships and your fan base
  • Motivate action, e.g. by helping to increase attention, attendance, interaction, etc.

You can count on honesty from Harden, we won’t ever promise what we can’t control. You should be wary if anyone does.

Timeline

Budget is an issue for most every client, however, unless it’s for a small project, your money isn’t well spent if you hire ANY PR team for less than three months and expect game-changing results. You’ll feel burned and we’ll feel like we just barely got rolling. PR is a marathon, not a sprint—even though we’ve all witnessed the occasional exceptions.

In the very beginning, a lot of what we’re doing is developing strategic plans, messaging, creating content, and building outreach campaigns for you, often from the ground up. If we do the groundwork effectively, the campaign will be far more successful.

Again, while there are notable exceptions and we’ve experienced them for sure, it bears repeating that public relations and social media are not usually super-quick, that is, unless you are in a crisis situation.  Communications campaigns are most successful and influential when effort is consistent and continuous over a longer period. If you want significant results, set realistic expectations, communicate with your team regularly, and stick to it. At Harden Communications Partners, we have had many clients come in the door complaining about previous public relations efforts. With honest and direct communications about goals, realistic timelines and creative plans based on a deep understanding of their business, PR becomes a win-win, building strong brands and long-term partnerships.

 

About the Author:

Cindi is a director at Harden Partners, and has nearly two decades of public relations experience. She has worked with front-runners in healthcare, technology, cleantech, financial services, automotive, and consumer products and services. She is the mother of two fantastic teenage girls, a triathlete and hip hop dancer.