Public relations is an essential tool for any business. If you are running a PR agency, then there are things you should consider in order to give the best service possible to your customers. Here are some tips to keep your PR agency running efficiently.
Always have a plan
Whether you’re just opening your business or you’re looking to grow your business, it’s important to have a plan. From marketing yourself to pay structure and internal guidelines, make sure you have a map to steer your business. This should include an industry review and SWOT analysis that you complete every few years to assess if you’re making industry gains or if you need to reposition yourself.
A part of your planning should include creating a niche for your business. A niche will help differentiate you from the other PR firms out there. It will also help you focus-in on your expertise. This may seem like it’s narrowing your business and limiting your clientele, but it could actually help attract new clients seeking specialization.
Remember you’re in a people business
You’re in PR. You know you’re in the business of serving your customers and managing their external relationships. But, don’t forget how important it is to manage your internal relationships too. As a PR agency, you’re in the business of managing your individual employees so they can best relate to customers.
Your employees have to make critical decisions as they manage clients, so make sure you’re providing them the support and leadership that they need. You can get the support that you need through people analytics. This involves using data to help you understand your workforce and to improve the speed and quality of organizational decisions.
To help out your employees and free them up to manage customers, look into automating operations. Have client information sheets prepared in advance to distribute as you bring on new clients. Having pricing structure, information on press requests and general procedures ready when you bring clients onboard will greatly benefit your staff and your new clients. Outlining expectations will help keep from misunderstandings and disruptions.
Aside from materials you can distribute to clients, there are other processes and procedures you can automate to help streamline workflow. Consider having clear policies that relate to employee expectations and job description outlined. Also have procedures for everything from managing new clients to who gets to service potential clients outlined to avoid potential issues before they arise.
In addition to having policies outlined and procedures automated, have fees set in advance. Have a pay schedule and fee structure outlined. This means considering what you can charge to be competitive and how you want to bill before seeing customers.
Developing proposals for customers can be a huge time suck, which is why having a pricing structure outlined prior to writing a proposal can be so beneficial. Consider offering tiers of service with different price values. This will help your potential customers understand what they’re getting before you go through the work of writing a proposal. Since they’ll initially know what they’re getting, you can wait to create a more detailed proposal, and potentially save your agency valuable hours that may have been wasted on non-signers.
Lay your foundation
A lot of times developing the pricing structure and business plan are more exciting than the other paperwork that comes along with running a business. But if you run your own agency, it’s important that you’re legally and financially set to do so. Do you have the business licenses you need in your state? Do you have cash flow, like in the form of a business credit card or loan, to cover potential expenses? Once you’ve set this up, make sure you also have a process for employees to access funds and define what’s an appropriate use of business funds.
Whether you’re opening a new business or you’ve been running your own public relations firm for some time, make sure you have procedures and guidelines in place that will make it a great place for both your employees and clients.