Many law firms have great relationships with their PR agencies and have advisors who they stick with, not just for years but for decades.
We know from our discussions with numerous law firms that this sadly isn't always the case. Sometimes there's faults on both sides, sometimes there's faults on one side and sometimes its nobody's fault - one party simply no longer matches the other.
In the later case, the best thing to do is to have an open discussion and move on. However, in the other circumstances, there's lots that can be done to nip such problems in the bud.
Here are 5 ways to get the very most from your PR agency:
- Treat your PR agency like an important supplier. Invite them in, tell them your strategy and big goals for the coming year and beyond, tell them what you are planning for the year and invite them to suggest ways that they can help.
- Have discussions at a strategic level and don't have every meeting dominated by tactical and logistical matters about press release timings, social media updates and which journalists to meet for briefings.
- Invest a bit of time in making the relationship successful. Any PR agency and other supplier that is keen to have your business will be delighted at the invitation. Of course, if your partners don't want to spend the time there's a problem. If your firm doesn't see their PR agency as an important supplier, then it will be hardly surprising if they too pick up this vibe and reciprocate. If you don't think they have a useful role to play, think again. You will be surprised, hopefully delighted, by what a good public relations agency will bring to the party if you include them in your inner circle of key suppliers.
- Why not invite them to give a sales pitch. Some agencies are very specialist and simply focus on media relations, but most have a range of expertise and almost certainly are good at lots of areas you don't know about, whether digital marketing, design or whatever. Why not simply invite them in to get them to run through the areas they think they can help?
- Have you got a communications strategy? Probably not. To many law firms it sounds like a luxury, but in fact the more limited your resources, the more vital a strategy is for ensuring you get the very best value and impact from your limited marketing resources. Don't just see the Public Relations agency's team as the people who write press releases and lunch with journalists. A good agency will deliver great value on the strategy as well as Public Relations craft skills such as writing and creativity.