I work with PR people and reporters all the time. They are an essential part of messaging, for my own personal “brand”, and for communicating what I do on the job.
In the past, I have worked with extremely talented PR folks. And, I have also worked with firms that barely qualify as professionals.
Last year, I endured one of the worst PR interactions in my career. I was contacted by a PR firm – new to me – but now representing a trusted and key vendor that we were very happy with – a vendor with whom I had worked previously on other PR successful initiatives.
The new PR firm reached out to me by email, with a suggested time to call, a name of a person to whom I was to speak, and a list of topics we would discuss. All good to that point.
At the agreed upon time, no call. No explanation. I had blocked out the hour, but started working on something else. When the call did come, later that afternoon, the person on the other end was not the person I was expecting, didn’t know my name, the name of my organization, and didn’t know the first thing about us.
Now, without publicly trying to embarrass anyone in particular, let me offer the following tips for a successful interaction:
- Call when you say you are going to call
- Know my name
- Know who I work for
- Know why you are talking to me
- Don’t send someone in your place, unannounced
- Have your questions prepared ahead of time
Entrusting key customer stories to second-rate PR is a recipe for disaffection, disengagement – and disaster for your relationship.
Don’t outsource your relationship management.
That is, unless you don’t care about the long term prospects of keeping your customers.
Go, and be you.